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Call for an End of Executions

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  • Groakes
    replied
    One of the reasons I love this group is that we CAN have a Reasoned Debate - and we DO!

    Yes my position is a very difficult one. Taken to its practical extension, as described by TA - someone somewhere is going to have to push a button, pull a trigger, pull a rope etc. I had thought of a Schrodinger's Cat type scenario but it still has to be designed, built, programmed etc. So yes, from that perspective my position is untenable because I would be forcing someone to be a killer....

    With regard to "dehumanising" serial killers (as per Kev), my argument would be that they have dehuamanised themselves by their actions - their actions are not the actions of a human being.

    Like I said, my position is a difficult one. And I'm not aware of a single person whose mind has been changed through debate (reasoned or otherwise) in an internet chat room. And I do support the abolition of Capital Punishment around the world.

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  • Kevin McCabe
    replied
    Ach, leave off. I don't agree with Groakes either, but he has a right to his opinion. He's an honest anarchist who really doesn't believe in state power. I disagree with his rabid dog analogy because I think de-humanizing people is unacceptable. But, if that's how feels, well he's entitled.

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  • thingfish
    replied
    Guys Guys!!
    If you look at what i said the operative word was "might".
    Im only chucking in suggestions here
    But plain common sense tells you that you cant tell everyone that something is wrong and then turn around and do it yourself then expect to maintain the respect of everyone.
    Execution to me is just laziness,and as you just pointed out Adlerian people should be made to live what they have done in their heads until they either die naturally or by their own hand.
    And Groakes no-one should respect you less for sharing your honest opinion
    I certainly dont.

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  • Groakes
    replied
    This is such a loaded topic and was one I hesitated entering in to as I want to avoid losing the respect of my friends here....

    As a rule I don't agree with state imposed punishments. I don't believe that prisons work as a form of rehabilitation and I certainly don't agree with the concept of some form of communal vengeance in the form of execution being meted out under the masquerade of justice against those who cannot afford the best legal representation.

    BUT

    I don't see the execution of serial killers as being a matter of justice or vengeance or punishment, rather than the killing (and I'm not shying away from the term - it's not execution, which I don't support and it's not euthanasia which I do support) of a sick and dangerous animal - the rabid dog analogy I used before was purposeful.

    I don't necessarily hold with a concept of the "sanctity of human life" - above other life at least. I do believe that the definition of human cannot be contained in merely the biological or genetic definition. And while I can't pretend to know where "humanity" starts, I would suggest that the killing of others to fulfill an essentially sexual desire or need is well past where it ends. So I guess I view the killing of sexually motivated serial murderers as being self defence on a communal level.

    Solutions such as chemical castration generally don't work - in fact there is some evidence to suggest that it might make a bad situation much worse in that chemical castration doesn't remove the "desire" it only inhibits the ability. A situation which can lead to deep frustration that may only be "relieved" in more violent and dangerous ways.

    (and in cases such as John Wayne Gacy, Fred West, Dennis Nillsen, Jeffrey Dahmer etc, there was ZERO doubt that they had committed these murders)

    This is such a difficult subject and like the rest of life, I don't think it can be dealt with in purely black and white terms.

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  • thingfish
    replied
    I dont see where war and abortion comes into the execution argument.
    When you sign up for the forces you are trained to kill to "protect your country" so that is just part of the deal.
    And forcing any woman who has been raped to have the baby regardless of time passed is just sick and should have no place in any society.
    The crux of the biscuit here is that if any set of peers decide that someone who has killed should then be killed by them have no right to pass judgement in the first place as they have shown no moral superiority and have resorted to the justice of the playground.

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  • David Mosley
    replied
    Originally posted by johneffay View Post
    Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
    The taking of life is either wrong or it isn't.
    I understand this and also TheAdlerian's point about executions have an impact upon those involved in them. However I do wonder how you can square that with soldiers fighting in just wars, unless you think they are all wrong as well.
    Oh, you don't need to point to the 'just war' argument, what about all the abortions that take place up to 24 weeks? I think many politicians, for example, fall back on the 'miscarriages of Justice' argument because it's less complicated than arguing about the sanctity of human life. It's the old paradox that if you kill x people during war time you get a medal but if you kill them in peace time you get a life sentence.

    I would say that the taking of human life (by others) is usually wrong, although in the case of self-defence - and some wars could fall into that criteria where one is not the aggressor party - some justification can be made. On the other hand, I happen to believe individuals should have the right to terminate their own lives - particularly in cases of terminal and debilitating illness - through euthanasia, if they so choose.

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  • L'Etranger
    replied
    Originally posted by David Mosley View Post

    Krzysztof Kieslowski's film A Short Film About Killing was particularly significant in forming my views on the matter.
    Very brilliant of you to mention this movie!
    I wonder if it ever got anywhere west of NYC in the US though. Not to mention those countries of "the East" where the penalyt is still in use.

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  • johneffay
    replied
    Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
    The taking of life is either wrong or it isn't.
    I understand this and also TheAdlerian's point about executions have an impact upon those involved in them. However I do wonder how you can square that with soldiers fighting in just wars, unless you think they are all wrong as well.

    I also wonder whether if executions were carried out humanely, they would not be a lesser punishment than genuine life imprisonment. Consider Myra Hindley, who never gave up trying to get released.

    However I am totally against the death penalty because of the miscarriages of justice argument that you alluded to.

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  • David Mosley
    replied
    The topic of the death penalty in the UK has arisen again in light of the comments of certain of the families of the victims of Steve Wright, the Ipswich "serial killer".

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/suffolk/7257402.stm

    While one understands the emotional reaction of Wright's victims' families, it simply is perverse to for the State to punish murder with (State-sanctioned) murder. The taking of life is either wrong or it isn't. That, more so than the risk of miscarriages of Justice, is the reason why I'm opposed to the death penalty.

    Krzysztof Kieslowski's film A Short Film About Killing was particularly significant in forming my views on the matter.
    Last edited by David Mosley; 02-22-2008, 01:23 AM.

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  • L'Etranger
    replied
    I am completely against death sentences! I would immediately give back my passport if I'd belong to a country that still uses this penalty or reinstates it. I would refuse to be part of it.
    The chance of an error is always there, and I wouldn't want it on my conscience to know that a certain percentage is executed because of a judgement failure. And then, once you have it, it is always quickly extended to other offenses besides murder. I know it is the ultimate revenge for the families and friends of murder victims, but I think we still have the human and moral capacity to overcome ancient eye-for-an-eye instincts. And I want the society I live in to be on a higher moral level, with all possible costs.
    And honestly, if you look at the persons getting executed and those who don't (or even get free), you find it is very much a question of who can afford top notch lawyers and who can't.

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  • thingfish
    replied
    In the case of sexually motivated crimes i have always thought that a mixture of chemical castration and rehabilitation might do the trick.

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  • Groakes
    replied
    I generally agree pretty much with almost everything written here - prisons dehumanizing both prisoner and guard, the abhorrence of state murder, even the concept of personal vengeance.

    But sometimes there are crimes committed that are so far beyond mitigation, where The Line has been stepped so far over (and I am thinking specifically about sexually motivated serial killers - Jeffery Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Fred West, Ian Brady, Dennis Nillsen etc) that you have to question whether the perpetrator is what can be described as "human" anymore.

    It may well be true that these individuals have themselves suffered abuse that has deformed their personalities to the point that their world vision makes what they have done logical and in their eyes acceptable. But the fact remains that sometimes you can look at another "person's" actions and say that what they have done is something so contrary to being "human" and is so threatening to other humans that they can never be part of human society again.

    Granted such people are "sick". But what can be done with them? Generally speaking they are beyond rehabilitation. Do you imprison them for the rest of their lives? Or, like a rabid dog, kill them?

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  • Kevin McCabe
    replied
    For my part, I quite like corrections officers. Unlike (slightly less than half of) the cops, I've never known a corrections officer to lie on the stand. But, what really gets my respect is that they are kind to the mentally ill. To my state's shame, the second largest in-patient mental health facility in the state is the King County Jail. The CO's deal with a large population with the difficult needs in a largely empathetic and humane way.

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  • Kevin McCabe
    replied
    Which brings us back to the Philosophical Repugnance bit:

    1) The greatest of all crimes is to take life,
    2) You have taken life,
    3) Therefore, we will take your life.

    Even if the person - by any measure - has earned the fate, it lessens us all to participate in the same sin.

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  • thingfish
    replied
    I would also feel tainted even being in the same building.
    You would think that you would be given an option on that one but as you said on your last point the attitude of the prison system would not stretch to that.
    In fact they would probably come out with some nonsense involving heat/kitchen which would just re-inforce your point

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