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Why I'm Against the Death Penalty (my soapbox for today)


Anime Otaku
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The following Is a blog by a friend of mine on yahoo from the Phillipines who is a Human Rights consultant and has been working in the field since 1986. In such places as Bosnia with the U.N. and currently Cambodia.

First, I want to make clear, I'm not in favour of criminals, or people who violate the law. They must be punished for the crimes that they've done. But I don't agree with the death penalty. I think it's inhuman, and based only on people's need for revenge, and blood and the infliction of pain.

 

I don't deny that some of the crimes committed have been horrible. But for several different reasons, I'm still not in favour of killing people.

 

For religious reasons:

 

Life is sacred. All life. Even the life of a sinner. Didn't Jesus Christ say, "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone?" Who are we to judge? We are people, fallible, and biased, and we make mistakes. We tend to judge people by our own beliefs, our dislikes, our own personal moral codes. Therefore, we are bound to be wrong sometimes.

 

If you think about it, Jesus Christ was executed. He was given the death penalty. The system was wrong then, it's wrong now. If we could make that mistake, and kill the one who saves us, what more when we judge less exalted humans?

 

The sad truth is that people want to see people killed. They want to watch executions. They want to see people die. What for? It becomes less as a punishment, and more for some sick gratification. It is done because of revenge, because people want to see blood. That the person who is going to be killed is a criminal makes it easier for people to accept, he is less of a person, he is no longer a person. He is meat. He is animal. He can be slaughtered.

 

What happens then to moral codes?

 

The "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" doctrine is in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ, by dying for us, by being a victim of the death penalty, rewrote the Old Testament. Instead, he preached about love, and tolerance and forgiveness. I'm sure today, some would say that Christ was a bleeding heart liberal communist terrorist...

 

For human rights reasons:

 

In the US, there are more black persons on death row than any other race. There are also more poor people on death row. Rich, white people who can afford good attorneys will almost never get the death penalty. Poor people (black, hispanic, white, asian) who are given overworked and underpaid lawyers are more than likely to get the death penalty. Guilt or innocence then becomes immaterial; what matters is race and money.

 

How many cases have been overturned because it turns out the prosecutor or the police withheld evidence? How many cases have been overturned because it turns out a witness was mistaken? How many people have been cleared by later DNA tests? How many innocents have died, because DNA tests weren't available at the time of their execution? How many innocents have died because of technicalities?

 

The US Supreme Court has since backtracked on killing juveniles. But it has killed mentally challenged people, who may not have understood what it was they were doing. Is that humane?

 

Governments in other countries have used the death penalty to silence the opposition. They've used it officially, and unofficially through extra-judicial executions. They've sentenced women who are allegedly adulterers (even if they've been raped) to death by stoning. How humane is that? It's not that far a step from death by stoning, which is always in public, to showing public executions. Now they use lethal injection, which can be more painful than people think, and in some states, they still use the electric chair. Killing is killing, regardless of who does it. The end result is the devaluation of life, and the acceptance by people that killing is okay.

 

For economic reasons:

 

It's cheaper for someone to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, than to be sentenced to death. The rights to appeal have often drawn out the legal process, and have cost states more money than simply sentencing a person to life without parole.

 

There is an alternative.

 

Life without parole.

 

Think about it. What is the worst thing that you can imagine? Isn't it to live the rest of your life behind bars, your life controlled, unable to go watch a movie, to go to the mall, to eat whatever you wish, to see your loved ones...isn't that a terrible vision? Isn't that a suitable punishment for someone who has violated society's laws? By locking them away from society, telling them they have lost their chance to interact with other people because of what they've done?

 

When you kill someone, it's final. When you sentence them to life imprisonment, they will have no choice but to think about what it is they've done that's put them in that situation. They will have nothing but time to reflect on who they've hurt, and how they've messed up. A rationale behind imprisonment is rehabilitation. It's a more humane rationale, it's more ethical than mere revenge, or a need to see blood.

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"When you kill someone, it's final. When you sentence them to life imprisonment, they will have no choice but to think about what it is they've done that's put them in that situation. They will have nothing but time to reflect on who they've hurt, and how they've messed up. A rationale behind imprisonment is rehabilitation. It's a more humane rationale, it's more ethical than mere revenge, or a need to see blood."

 

What if they simply don't care? I.e Charles Manson

 

Its a nice idea, but like far too many things in life, filled with so many flaws. Presuming as soon as you enter prison, you'll realise what you did was wrong and what not. If that was the case, then why do so many people re-offend?

 

I'm not saying I agree with the death penalty, but surely its down to the individual, and there shouldn't be one same application for everyone.

 

For instance if Gary Glitter gets it, its his own fault, for constantly doing it over and over again, despite being given chances. As much as I felt sympathy for George Best, he had his chances to get over it, but didn't.

 

Where as someone may have regretted it, and turned a new leaf, found god, whatever and its different.

 

But just saying "no death penalty, just send them to prison and they'll realise how bad they've done" is just incredibly naive.

 

Of course they have a choice about what to think about it when in prison.

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For economic reasons:

 

It's cheaper for someone to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, than to be sentenced to death.

I'm sorry, but this is just rubbish.

 

Take somebody who has "life without parole" - if they're in their 20's, then that's at least 50 years that they have to be paid for in the prison.

 

If you sentence them to death, and then actually take away their life quite quickly, what are the costs? A few thousand dollars? If you can keep somebody alive for 50+ years on a few thousand dollars, then I'd like to see it.

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I'm sorry, but this is just rubbish.

 

Take somebody who has "life without parole" - if they're in their 20's, then that's at least 50 years that they have to be paid for in the prison.

 

If you sentence them to death, and then actually take away their life quite quickly, what are the costs? A few thousand dollars? If you can keep somebody alive for 50+ years on a few thousand dollars, then I'd like to see it.

Sorry but thats incorrect. Maia has asked for updates on people's comments and gave me this link to a study on the costs of capital punishment.

http://www.ub.es/penal/historia/PdeM/costs2.html

She also wants me to point out she is not trying to change people's minds just give her point of view as a Human Rights person and but she will defend her opinion and prove she's not making things up.

Edited by Anime Otaku
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Sorry but thats incorrect. Maia has asked for updates on people's comments and gave me this link to a study on the costs of capital punishment.

http://www.ub.es/penal/historia/PdeM/costs2.html

Here's why that makes no sense to me:

When you execute somebody, that's it, no more costs.

 

If you keep them alive for 50+ years, you have to pay for their food, cleaning, human waste removal, somebody to guard them, etc.

 

What that means is that executing somebody must cost about $20 million, which is just insane.

 

One a "year to year" basis, if you don't look long term, then I can see why it'd be more expensive, but the following year you don't have to pay to keep that prisoner, so your following year's expenses are down.

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Here's why that makes no sense to me:

When you execute somebody, that's it, no more costs.

 

If you keep them alive for 50+ years, you have to pay for their food, cleaning, human waste removal, somebody to guard them, etc.

 

What that means is that executing somebody must cost about $20 million, which is just insane.

 

One a "year to year" basis, if you don't look long term, then I can see why it'd be more expensive, but the following year you don't have to pay to keep that prisoner, so your following year's expenses are down.

 

From the bit of research I've done on this, the problem isn't the cost of the execution itself but rather the costs of getting there. Trial and appeal costs for capital cases are far far greater than those of life imprisonment trials due to the nature of the punishment.

 

Trials take longer and much more preparation time is needed.

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The problem is that people on death row are in the system in terms of court time mroe than someone whose in prison for life. There are numerous studies that show that it is more expensive to sentence someone to death than to keep them alive. Its weird, but apparantly true.
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Thats the thing, there is no need for the state killing of people. It's by and large considered to have failed as a deterant, there is a growing movement against it in many conutries that do have it. In America, 13 states namely, Alaska, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin have no death penalty and it is protested against when it does happen. Its also expensive as the appeals process adds atleast $1 Million per case as more appeals are allowed and that should not change soon as it is a basic human right, much like the right to life.
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If its a clear cut case like Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy or Fred West who murdered multiple times, then they should fry the bas**rds, no questions asked I reckon.

 

If there's any doubt whatsoever, even after they've been found guilty, then it should be life imprisonment, with the possibility of regular appeals.

Executing someone who is later to be found not guilty is the only real reason I dont fully agree with Capital Punishment.

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Haha' date=' well done Gene :D and yes Taj, you do have to kill people sometimes. People who fiddle with kids should be killed, to save themselves aswell as others.[/quote']

 

I have to agree with my fellow Fifer! (if its St andrews, fife your from that is) And believe me when i say i have a GENUINE reason for feeling like that.

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Meh! I think the death penelty should be allowed (although I havn't read any of the thread as of yet:()

 

Say a murderer only gets life imprisonment, then gets let out 20 years later due to good behaviour. What's to stop him going out to murder aswell. If something was there to make him kill the first time round, what's to stop the same happening a second time round?

 

Say a guy is given life imprisonment for mass murder, then manages somehow to break out, and does another mass killing. Wouldn't it just be better to have that person over and done with as soon as possible?

 

Also, what about the threat to the staff working in prison's?

 

Kill the murderers, and chop the private's off the paedophile's.

 

There's probably be a lot less of each, if they new that these were the punishments.

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PC and cost be damned. I dont care about how much it costs, I dont care about being PC. At the end of the day Justice and Law are different things and I belive in justice FAR more than I do the Law any more.

 

Kill someone in cold blood and you should die. And none of this 'Oh but that means the executioner is a murderer' becouse balls to that, they are filling a role in society and well done to them for having the balls to do it.

 

 

It boils down to the simple fact that if someone killed gemma then I would kill them: Justice is best, the law be damned.

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Meh! I think the death penelty should be allowed (although I havn't read any of the thread as of yet:()

 

Say a murderer only gets life imprisonment, then gets let out 20 years later due to good behaviour. What's to stop him going out to murder aswell. If something was there to make him kill the first time round, what's to stop the same happening a second time round?

 

Say a guy is given life imprisonment for mass murder, then manages somehow to break out, and does another mass killing. Wouldn't it just be better to have that person over and done with as soon as possible?

 

Also, what about the threat to the staff working in prison's?

 

Kill the murderers, and chop the private's off the paedophile's.

 

There's probably be a lot less of each, if they new that these were the punishments.

 

I couldnt agree more! If you murder someone then you should be given the death penelty!

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Why should those who have been given multiple life sentences be allowed to sit on the "appeals" process for ages?

 

They've been convicted, tried by a jury of their peers, therefore they are GUILTY.

 

At this point, since they've been proven guilty, they should be executed post haste - no waiting, no messing about with courts, just execute the idiots.

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Sorry Anime but your political correctnous all the time makes me sick.

I think its sickening that people support state murder.

 

There have been more than a few cases where a person has been executed and then found to be innocent by use of new DNA analysis techniques.

Darkstar let me ask you this. What if Gem was the one that was convicted and sentenced to be hung would you still be happy for 'justice' to take its course then? and what if it was later found that she was innocent after she was killed?

Also I don't think that Murderers should be let out after 20 years if it is a calculated cold blooded murder or multiple murder and feel Peadophiles and rapists should face physical castration.

Edited by Anime Otaku
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