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Death Penalty

Posted at 09:46 on June 21st, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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As I watched a documentary about death penalty in China recently, I just wondered: Is there any argument that justifies the execution of criminals? Is there a situation when it is right to execute a human? What's your opinion about that?
Posted at 10:13 on June 21st, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Of course there are arguments in favour of death penalty:
-It's an effective program against overpopulation.
-It's an easy way to get rid of political dissidents who only cause trouble anyway.
-It saves the costs of putting people into prison and keeping them fed. These costs are putting a major and unnecessary strain on the economy!
-Prisoners who are kept alive take away many jobs, for example in call centres. These jobs should be given to good lawful citizens!
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Posted at 10:25 on June 21st, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Here, in the states that allow death penalty (Mine hasn't ever since they killed an innocent person in the mid 1800s) it actually cost more to execute criminals than to keep them in for life. This is due to the huge appeal process that can last for years. Of course, in places where trials sometimes do not happen, this arguement would not apply.
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Posted at 10:27 on June 21st, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Appeals are liberal mumbo-jumbo anyway. Decent countries can do without them.

Edited by Mr Creosote at 19:28 on June, 21st 2004
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 10:37 on June 21st, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Is there a situation when it is right to execute a human?

In any kill or be killed scenario, you as an individual, have the right to take the life of anything or anyone who appears as a genuine threat to your own life. The most basic right anything has is the right to exist. If someone threatens that right you have the right to defend that right with whatever means are available and should the death of the agressor ensue, that was his responsibilty because he started the hostile action.
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Posted at 09:07 on June 22nd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I think Tuss is right; the costs for life imprisonment are lower, at least in countries with an advanced legal system. However, the costs are no valid argument anyway, because for me it's a moral decision.

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The most basic right anything has is the right to exist. If someone threatens that right you have the right to defend that right with whatever means are available and should the death of the agressor ensue, that was his responsibilty because he started the hostile action.

That seems logical in the first place, but in reality it is sometimes hard to judge who or what started the hostile action. Perhaps someone feels threatened by the state he lives in. Is it then right to kill its representatives? In the 70s and 80s, there was a terrorist group called RAF in Germany. For them it was perfectly legitimate to assassinate members of the government. Would it then be right if the government killed the terrorists in this situation? The members of the government were threatened, so according to you, the answer must be yes. Then again, the terrorists would be authorized to kill even more representatives of the state, because they are threatened as well. It's a chain without an end.
Posted at 10:56 on June 22nd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted by Tapuak at 18:07 on June, 22nd 2004:

I think Tuss is right; the costs for life imprisonment are lower, at least in countries with an advanced legal system. However, the costs are no valid argument anyway, because for me it's a moral decision.
Is there necessarily a difference between costs and morality? How moral is it to waste the money of lawful citizens on people who've put themselves outside of the civilized society by committing crimes?

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That seems logical in the first place, but in reality it is sometimes hard to judge who or what started the hostile action. Perhaps someone feels threatened by the state he lives in. Is it then right to kill its representatives? In the 70s and 80s, there was a terrorist group called RAF in Germany. For them it was perfectly legitimate to assassinate members of the government. Would it then be right if the government killed the terrorists in this situation? The members of the government were threatened, so according to you, the answer must be yes. Then again, the terrorists would be authorized to kill even more representatives of the state, because they are threatened as well. It's a chain without an end.
To add to this: The RAF in fact did use this reasoning, and they called their actions 'self defense' and 'civil defense' against a state which oppresses people and thus kills them slowly.

Edited by Mr Creosote at 19:57 on June, 22nd 2004
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Posted at 11:38 on June 22nd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Is there necessarily a difference between costs and morality? How moral is it to waste the money of lawful citizens on people who've put themselves outside of the civilized society by committing crimes?

It's very moral if one considers life to be the highest value. The value of the money that is spent to preserve life is ridiculously low in comparison to that.

Quote:
To add to this: The RAF in fact did use this reasoning, and they called their actions 'self defense' and 'civil defense' against a state which oppresses people and thus kills them slowly.

I think virtually any terrorist or government that kills people uses the argumentation of "self defense". The feeling of being threatened is something subjective, and therefore everyone could say he is threatened by someone in order to justify his murders.
Posted at 11:40 on June 22nd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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It's very moral if one considers life to be the highest value. The value of the money that is spent to preserve life is ridiculously low in comparison to that.
If the money to preserve this kind of life would be spent on different things, it might save more worthy life, so there is still no contradiction there.

Edited by Mr Creosote at 20:41 on June, 22nd 2004
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Posted at 11:55 on June 22nd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I'm against the death penalty, but I can imagine an extreme case, in which the criminal being left alive only puts new victims at risk, for instance a serial killer that managed to escape from prison three times already and started killing again every single time. But even then, however "evil" that person may be, he/she's still human.
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Posted at 11:56 on June 22nd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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more worthy life

That only applies if you make a difference between the "qualities" of life. As no one can objectively judge which life is "better" or "worse", there is no life that is more valuable than others.

Once you officially define what a "good" life is, it will result in the stigmatization and, in the worst case, killing of the people who don't fulfill the standards of a "good" life. ("lebensunwertes Leben")
Posted at 16:43 on June 22nd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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All life is basically equal, of course, but as soon as someone put him- or herself outside of this rule, he/she shouldn't complain if the proper and legitimate authorities react accordingly.
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Posted at 17:03 on June 22nd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Good morning! :D

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Posted by Mr Creosote at 01:43 on June, 23rd 2004:

All life is basically equal, of course, but as soon as someone put him- or herself outside of this rule, he/she shouldn't complain if the proper and legitimate authorities react accordingly.

Hmmm... Could you clarify that with an example?
Posted at 02:52 on June 23rd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Sure: There are rules set by decent society; e.g. you shouldn't steal. If someone consciously decides to ignore and break these rules, he/she apparantely thinks they're not valid for him/her. If the restrictions (not stealing, not killing,...) aren't valid for someone, though, why should the rights (not being killed) be?
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 07:31 on June 23rd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Well, if one person breaks a rule, the rule doesn't become generally invalid because of that. As long as the people of the society are convinced that life is the highest value, the rule will persist, and it will apply to the one who broke the rule, too.
Posted at 16:12 on June 23rd, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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The rule itself doesn't become invalid because someone breaks it, and that's exactly my point. How is decent society supposed to deal with people who don't accept the rules otherwise? Locking them away? That's taking away their basic rights (freedom), too. Where's the difference?
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Posted at 04:32 on June 24th, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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there is another good reason to abolish it-it's kinda irreversible!
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Posted at 06:41 on June 24th, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted by Mr Creosote at 01:12 on June, 24th 2004:

The rule itself doesn't become invalid because someone breaks it, and that's exactly my point. How is decent society supposed to deal with people who don't accept the rules otherwise? Locking them away? That's taking away their basic rights (freedom), too. Where's the difference?

The difference is that most societies consider life to be more important than freedom. I agree with that, because life is a precondition for physical freedom.

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there is another good reason to abolish it-it's kinda irreversible!

That's true, but if someone was innocent in prison for 30 years, you can't reverse that either...

Edited by Tapuak at 15:42 on June, 24th 2004
Posted at 07:40 on June 24th, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Here's another point: If someone committed murder for example, the relatives and acquaintaces of the victim have to have adaequate revenge as compensation. Only executing the murderer can provide that.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 17:16 on June 24th, 2004 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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On the RAF-bit: that is not what I meant. There is a difference between feeling threathened and being threathened. I meant that if someone attacks you physicly and directly (maybe with the aid of some weapons or whatever) with the intent to kill you, it is your basic right to defend yourself and if this results in you killing the aggressor, in my opinion you've done no wrong and shouldn't feel a tad remorse for his loss of life.

I doubt very much that the german government ever actually attacked the RAF (except in WW2 but that's a different RAF anyway so not really relevant) so the RAF had no right to go after the government-representatives. In my opinion, if any representative killed and RAF-member in a battle where the terrorist attacked the rep, he was fully within his right to do so.

The only subjective part is the "intent to kill" which you can never be 100% sure of but you generally get a pretty good bearing on that. If they are shooting at you, it ain't 'cause they wan't to come around for tea :) But in my book this is a right that solely plays on an individual level.

A state should never ever take a human life as we invented the state and who's to say we got it right? (I'm actually pretty sure we got it really wrong, democracy just doesn't work but neither do any of the current alternatives except one but it has some inherent flaws too which cannot be solved easily so democracy is the lesser of all evils state-wise). The only thing the state may do is set up a bunch of rules (laws) and demand that anyone who wants to be part of this state adheres to them and thusly benefits from whatever pro's the state might have. If someone chooses not to be part of this state (like Creo said, by breaking the rules) he also loses any benefits previously given to him (social welfare, healthcare, ...) and if the state finds that this person is too much of a problem ('cause he goes around killing a bunch of people for instance) they should exile him. If he then later shows remorse over his actions and wishes to become a part of the state again, then the state could give him a rehabilitation-program in a specialised centre in case he needs medical/psychological help and in the case that he is perfectly fine, he can pay his debt to society by doing community-service (under strict controll off course, else he could just go on another murdering rampage). Imprisonment as it is now only creates more and thougher criminals in my opinion.

I know banishment isn't easy to enforce 'cause you can hardly guard every square inch of border your country has to prevent em getting back in. Maybe it should become a global project to create an island in the middle of some ocean somewhere where we could send all our convicts (after they've been nuetered (sp?) to prevent them from breeding, after all, any children which they might produce would be stuck there too whilst they never did anything wrong) to live in the wild with other outside aid. Nato should impose a strict no-fly zone above it to prevent third parties from contacting and helping the convicts. And in case any of em want to rehabilitate, they can contact the drop-off ship which comes around about once a month or so. Off course, any attempt to leave the island should be intercepted and put back. I know all this sounds a lot like a bad movie but that is the fairest thing to do imo. That way you do not restrict any of their basic rights (namely to live and to move about freely) and society is nolonger burdened by their dissident behaviour...
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"In theory, if people bred as fast as ants, and with an equal indifference for it's surrounding species, earth would have 5 million human inhabitants at the turn of the century. But this, of course, is highly unthinkable"
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