The Death Penalty

Discussion in 'Politics, Etc. (Archived)' started by keithburgun, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    I oppose the death penalty strongly across the board. I think I maybe assumed that the left was more uniformly against the death penalty, but it seems with this Dylan Roof thing that I was mistaken. I've been seeing people say horrible stuff on Facebook today like "I want to watch him get killed on live TV!"

    Are there any compelling arguments from the left - or from any other perspective - in support of the death penalty? Seems like most western advanced liberal democracy type places are getting rid of it. We seem to be in the company of countries like Saudi Arabia and China now.

    What are your thoughts on the death penalty?
     
  2. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    I think it's inappropriate in the context of the current legal/economic system. We're not good enough at reliably protecting innocent people or convicting guilty people, and we have enough money to keep people in jail when they screw up.
     
  3. alastair

    alastair Well-Known Member

    It does seem fine that it'd be acceptable to kill him in self defense. When he was about to shoot someone, or in the process of doing it, then it would have been okay to stop him with force or shooting. Though killing him after all this time later? Emotionally I'm leaning towards it being bad, but I'm not sure yet why it's bad philosophically.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  4. Weaver

    Weaver Active Member

    If revenge by bloodkin/friend/insurance companies can get big mitigations, I support the full riddance of death penalty.
     
  5. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    I really think it's dishonest to use lousy claims like "we're in the company of X" without actually giving real data, so here:

    The top 5 countries to commit executions are, in order, China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

    1. China- numbers are uncertain. Estimates for 2014 are 1000+ people.

    2. Iran- 977+ in 2015

    3. Pakistan- 326 in 2015

    4. Saudi Arabia- 158 in 2015

    5. USA- 28 in 2015

    This does make the US the highest execution rate among industrialized nations, but we are FAR closer to other industrialized nations in are numbers (which are admittedly single digits) than we are to the levels of Saudi Arabia let alone china (and that's even ignoring the REASONS people are executed in these countries). Also of note no accurate information exists for North Korea.

    The other nations ripped from wiki/amnesty, with industrialized nations as defined by the source bolded (Belarus would be on that list but didn't have an executions in 2015):

    • Afghanistan (1)
    • Bangladesh (4)
    • India (1)
    • Indonesia (14)
    • Iraq (26+)
    • Japan (3)
    • Jordan (2)
    • Malaysia (+) (no accurate data)
    • Oman (2),
    • Singapore (4)
    • Taiwan (6)
    • UAE (1)
    • Vietnam (+) (no accurate data)
    • Yemen (8+)
    • Chad (10)
    • Egypt (22+)
    • Somalia (25+)
    • South Sudan (5+)
    • Sudan (3)
    So a much better claim if you want to argue against the death penalty would be we are in the company of Iraq, Egypt, Somalia, and Indonesia would likely be just as effective and not hellishly inaccurate and grossly distorting.

    Beyond that it's hard to say. I'd probably put my personal line at " ideally the death penalty should exist, but should be exceptionally rare and require more proof and less arbitrary and enforced appeals, and ultimately be a bullet to the head".

    To clarify a little of that, I think capital punishment is warranted in some rare but extreme scenarios, I think mandatory appeals are good, but the current system isn't working at all and is basically just a pointless drain on funds that still executes innocent people, and this idea that we should somehow make death "neat" is less human than something straight forward and simple and frankly the visceral and disturbing nature of shooting someone should serve as a needed social deterrent as well. It is also worth noting that I think the only country on that list that does lethal injection is the US, while most opt for hanging. Taiwan shoots people in the heart or head.

    Realistically is tough. As I already mentioned the appeals process looks absurd given its insane cost and obvious ineffectiveness and the justice system has been caught too frequently killing an innocent (or at least potentially innocent enough to be disturbing) person.

    Would we be better off if our system had the same rate as Singapore/Taiwan/Japan? Hard to say. Each is its own interesting study in how they treat those condemned and what qualifications are required. Singapore is especially fascinating given the mandatory death penalty for drug importing, and yet a HUGE drop in numbers since 2010.
     
  6. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    Your statistic for USA executions appears to only count judicial executions, ignoring the far more troubling executive executions.
     
  7. major_shiznick

    major_shiznick Well-Known Member

    What are executive executions? Google was not helpful.
     
  8. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    Drone strikes. As this was not obviously about such things, I did not include them. They number in the thousands killed.
     
    major_shiznick likes this.
  9. Redless

    Redless Well-Known Member

    It's very funny to me how quickly left-wing people go from "I truly love every living being on this planet, let us all join hands and soak in our unity." to "I want him to DIE SLOWLY and BLEED OUT before my eyes and I'm going to laugh as the life drains from his body because he's EVIL and DESERVES PAIN AND DEATH, HAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!"

    Not that I particularly disagree with the blue tribe, but I think most of its members hold their beliefs for terrible reasons.
     
  10. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    It's extremely rare for those to happen to American citizens.
     
  11. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    I think it's an entirely separate topic and not really at all under the scope kieth brought up which is pretty clearly about judicial executions (and i'm not sure i agree with the term executive executions). Was just answering major's question.
     
  12. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    Sorry, I was trying to add to what you said, not imply that I was disagreeing with you.
     
  13. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    As it happens, one American was killed in a US drone strike in 2015.
     
  14. Elliot George

    Elliot George Well-Known Member

    In the US it's more expensive to execute someone than to give them a life sentence. So already it looks pretty dumb to have the death penalty.
    Then there's the worryingly high number of falsely convictions. I'm not sure how many innocent people would have to die to make the death penalty just completely unacceptable, but it can't be that many right? In what way is the death penalty so necessary that anyone would be willing to overlook the largest possible miscarriages of justice in order to keep it? If you're wrongly convicted and given a life sentence you can appeal and possibly be exonerated. Obviously you can't do that if you're dead.
    The retributive notion of "justice" is garbage, we should only look at what produces the better outcome. It looks a lot like the death penalty does not deter crime. Certainly not in a significant enough way to justify the death of some number of innocents.

    I live in Australia, we don't have guns (by and large) or the death penalty and things are pretty good here, so I think those two issues, which seem to get some Americans really riled up, aren't that necessary.
     
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  15. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Why?
     
  16. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    Why not?

    My main issues are not with capital punishment itself, but with the fact that our justice system will fuck it up (seemingly willingly in some unfortunate cases) and given that no I don't think we should have the death penalty, but that has nothing to do with the death penalty itself.

    In a scenario where the persons guilt is not in any question then it's not like life imprisonment is about redemption or rehabilitation. Its about removing the person from the general population and some generally unidentifiable concept of justice, in which case I see the death penalty as a viable option for terrible enough crimes.
     
  17. Inkstud

    Inkstud Member

    I think that unfortunately this speaks to a broader issue in the left right now of being more concerned with superficial issues of identity politics rather than principle. The death penalty is bad... except for that dude who killed black people. Rehabilitative justice is better than punitive... except for anyone committing violence against women. Human sexuality spans a large spectrum and people shouldn't be shamed for expressions of that between consenting adults... except if it's Donald Trump.
     
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  18. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    This is kind of like saying it's more expensive to eat fastfood than fine dining, because we only drive to the fastfood place in our Lamborghini and eat with disposable gold cutlery when we go for fast food.

    The US isn't really even close to practicing thrift in this particular area.
     
    Redless likes this.
  19. Nomorebirds

    Nomorebirds Active Member

    I agree that a life sentence isn't about rehabilitation, but then doesn't the problem there come from the fact that we give life sentences in the first place?

    Is there a level of terribleness that a person can reach where they become irretrievable and cannot be rehabilitated? If that is true, then a death penalty might make sense, but I'm skeptical of that.
     
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  20. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    How do we define when someone is rehabilitated? I mean, if we could predict their future behavior reasonably accurately, how do they have to behave in order to qualify as rehabilitated? What does it really mean to be habilitated?
     

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