The Death Penalty

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Pasquinade, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. Pasquinade
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    Pasquinade Rookie

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    Leading up to the time of year when forgiveness, compassion and love for humanity should radiate throughout the world, the ‘Land of the Free, Home of the Brave’ has shown their true Christian morals, by executing Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams, former leader of the notorious Crips gang.
    Here is a man who has been on death row since 1979, who has since that time renounced violence, an author who has written several children’s books denouncing gangs and gang related violence, someone who has been nominated 5 times for the Nobel Peace Prize, surely clemency would prevail?
    But no, at 12.01am on the 15th of December, Mr. Williams will be strapped to a gurney, drips will then be inserted into his arm and then a lethal cocktail of drugs will be introduced that will cause a slowing down of his breathing, that will ultimately lead to heart failure and then…death.
    There is a tragedy brewing in America, and people should be told.
    As of this time, 3,709 people are scheduled to be murdered. Most of them know of their impending fate, but are powerless to do anything about it.
    Why is nothing being done to help these unfortunates? Why is law enforcement not combing the streets, actively hunting the perpetrators of this heinous crime? Why has the legal community turned a blind eye to this imminent loss of life?
    Why? Because in all of these cases, law enforcement and the legal community are the perpetrators of a form of legalized murder.
    Since the Supreme Court decided to reintroduce the death penalty in 1976, 763 people have been executed. So far this year, 14 people have been "legally" murdered. Yet statistics continually show that violent crime (that is, crimes against people) has changed very little, and in some cities is even increasing.
    I would like to thank the Coalition for the Abolition of the Death Penalty for allowing me to quote the following facts and figures:
    Of the 3,709 individuals currently waiting on death row, 55.2% are white, 42.9% are black, and 1.8% are classed as “other,” which includes Hispanic, Asian and American Indian. If you break it down by sex, 98.6% are men and 1.4% are female. The average age of those on death row is in the 35-39 year range. As for educational achievement, 13.9% have an 8th-grade education or less, 37.7% have completed grades 9 to 11, 38.2% are high school graduates or have a GED, and only 10.1% have any college.
    In economic terms, taxpayers in Florida are spending on average $2.3million per execution--over six times what it would cost for life without parole. In 1995, the Empire State brought back the death penalty, and the Department of Corrections estimated that it would cost approximately $118 million annually to implement. That same year, state legislators said that there would be a severe budget shortfall, and made dramatic cuts in funding education and health care. In New Jersey in 1991, the State spent $16 million to impose the death penalty. The next year it laid off 500 police officers because it couldn't afford to pay them.
    What is also interesting is that the average murder rate per 100,000 people in states with capital punishment is about 8%, while it is only 4.4% in abolitionist states.
    Even law enforcement officials agree that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent. Fully 67% of police officers, when asked to comment on the death penalty, do not feel that capital punishment decreases the rate of homicides. Only 3% of police officers see the imposition of the death penalty as one of the most useful weapons in their fight against crime.
    However, in a 1997 survey of the population at large, fully 75% of respondents polled believed that the death penalty was effective and only 22% opposed it. How have the views of the general population gotten so far out of whack with those of the people who actually uphold the law?
    The facts and figures should make the average person seriously think about just how effective the death penalty is at actually curbing violent crime. But this is not the case, as shown by the fact that violent crime, although slightly down in the past several years, has once again begun to creep back up. The ultimate deterrent has shown to be fundamentally flawed on many levels, yet it continues to be used on a regular basis, apparently without any real evidence of its effectiveness.
    With the current prison population now pushing 1,300,000 and the possibility of a decrease nowhere in sight, perhaps it is time for the whole criminal justice system, from prosecution to sentencing, to be put under the microscope and seriously re-evaluated--especially in relation to the death penalty.
    I know that there is no "quick fix" solution to the massive problems facing the justice system at large, but a serious review and overhaul of the system is long overdue, and without direct and immediate corrective action, the whole system will continue to disintegrate.
    I fear that many inmates now under sentence of death will continue to languish in prison with the sword of justice swinging inexorably hanging over their heads. I would wholeheartedly agree that persistent violent offenders should receive harsh punishments for their crimes, but does killing them really make a difference? In interviews with convicted murderers, when asked if they thought the threat of a possible death sentence would have made them think twice about committing their crimes, very few killers said that it had a deterrent effect. Quite obviously, then, the threat of the ultimate punishment is viewed by some criminals as little more than an occupational hazard.
    Man as a species likes to think of himself as the highest and most evolved form of life on this planet, yet we still continue to be the only group that kills for the sake of killing. Here we are at the dawn of a new millennium, having long ago shed most of our primal instincts, yet we still punish wrongdoers in a very primal way.
    Are we really so advanced--or are we still little more than educated murderers?
     
  2. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    P, I appreciate your strong feelings on this issue. The death penalty is a tough issue, and one which I grapple with. But there are two things I have to say.

    First, our gov't has been systematically told by groups like the ACLU that they are to operate separately from "Christian values". To do otherwise would be the basis of a lawsuit faster than you can recite our Lord's Prayer.

    Secondly, I have been waiting for someone from Europe to explain to me why it is you feel that you have the right to criticize our internal legal system. Escpecially when no mention is made of the countries that have brutal and unjust systems where people wish they could live under a system like ours. This is a sincere question, which I hope you are willing to answer.
     
  3. Shattered
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    Obviously, killing them DOES make a difference.. If the THOUGHT of death isn't enough to deter them, actual death is the ONLY thing that will deter them.
     
  4. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    If the death penalty isn't a deterrent, that is probably because everyone knows that they will have 20 years of appeals, and in the end, even a possible commutation of the sentence. It is hard to be deterred by something so distant and uncertain, especially if you are young and think you will live forever.
     
  5. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    Tookie was forgiven. Tookie was shown compassion. Tookie also recieved justice for his crimes against society. Justice is not tied to forgiveness or compassion. Love for humanity was shown by removing from society a criminal. A Felon. You know Felon - it's a french word.
     
  6. Merlin
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    It shouldn't take over about a buck to carry out the death penalty if it was done properly. That is what a round from a 44 magnum cost. When a person is found guilty, the judge should be required to pull out his piece and carry out the execution right then and there. Walla, end of story. If he doesn't want to do it, call me, I will help him/her out.
     
  7. Pasquinade
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    Dear Abbey,
    It's not that I believe in criticizing another countries legal system (to each thier own) but I find it amazing that the US talks of Democracy, Freedom, Liberty etc all the while holding people incomunicado in Gitmo, sending supposed terror suspects to 3rd party states to be tortured and then say that condems terror. What the US is doing is terror under a different name.
     
  8. LuvRPgrl
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    LuvRPgrl Senior Member

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    That is a TRUE oxymoron.

    Murder is the ILLEGAL taking of deaths.

    Nice orwellian.

    It lowers your credibility.

    If you want people to take you seriously, dont distort the meaning of words. When the definition of words is distorted to suit your agenda, they no longer work at creating accurate communication.

    The NEED to use HYPERBOLE is PROOF that your base arguement is useless.

    Their were two murderers who broke out of a texas prison. They subsequently killed a security guard, shooting him 17 times. Is that your compassion for murderers?

    If you create a prison that can guarantee no breakouts, you compassionates will complain its to cruel and unusual.

    A friend of mine, his brother was in a state correctional facility, for burglary. He was murdered by a fellow inmate. Can you assure murderers given life sentences wont commit murders in prison?

    The purpose of govt is to make people secure in their life and property. Executing murderers helps insure that.
     
  9. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I can't understand this myth that somehow its unchristian to enforce the law in putting to death.

    The Bible is full of crimes punishable by death. We are commanded to obey the laws of the land as well. Criminals should be punished. Why is it somehow unchristian to do what God commands?
     
  10. archangel
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    First and foemeost any evidence you would like to share to support this accusation? Furthermore and when Germany invaded France during WWII who did the French reach out to for saving...gee was it Hitler or President Roosevelt...please tell me! :slap:
     

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