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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 17:07   #1
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To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

In the US there is an ongoing debate about the death penalty.

To debate whether or not there should be a death penalty is a reasonable and rational discussion to have, even if some on both sides don't avail themselves or either reason or rationality. However, centering on a local case, is a discussion which I find amusing in a "look at the spastic trying to eat an ice cream cone" sort of way.

The debate is over whether the way that California and most other states executes prisoners is "cruel and unusual" according to the Constitution. Now, clearly killing human beings by a governmental entity is far from being unusual so the real debate is around whether the method used, lethal injection, is "cruel" or not.

California uses a three part method. One injection causes unconsciousness, the second and third stop the heart and lungs from functioning.

The debate is about whether or not the unconscious inmate is aware of an unreasonable amount of pain before he dies. Death usually occurs in less than 15 minutes.

Is it just me or does it strike anyone else as a bit bizarre that we are wringing our hands over the possible pain of a person that we are killing? Now, this is not to say that if a method was employed that caused a great deal of pain, just to watch the bugger squirm, that there wouldn't be a lot of room for discussion. But the reason we are using lethal injection is because in the past, the same people who are arguing that it is too painful argued that other methods were too painful and that the only answer would be lethal injection.

The strongest argument against the death penalty is that it makes the entire justice system look insane.
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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 17:16   #2
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

I dont see why you dont just shoot them in the back of the head with a shotgun, its messy but much quicker than 15 minutes suffocation and heart failure.
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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 17:28   #3
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Well death row on its own is inhuman, never mind the killing part. So it's hardly justice before you even got to the killing stage.

I don't see it as necessary at all and considering the US's rate of violent crime, it hardly acts as a deterrant.
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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 17:31   #4
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Only for witches !
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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 18:41   #5
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by lokken
it hardly acts as a deterrant.
I don't believe that the idea for capital punishment is really rooted in deterrance, however, it is highly effective on an individual basis. There is no known case of someone who received the death penalty ever reoffending.
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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 18:54   #6
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by dda
I don't believe that the idea for capital punishment is really rooted in deterrance, however, it is highly effective on an individual basis. There is no known case of someone who received the death penalty ever reoffending.
Very witty, very droll.
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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 19:03   #7
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Crusiefixation all the way!


Seriously what was this thread about again?
Your wondering if lethal injections are cruel or not?

If you compare it with other methods, it seems more civilized
but I think a headshot is less cruel, it's fast, painless and less creepy for everyone

Lethal injection seems to much like a mad scientists show to me
I always get the feeling they only do that because they can, but it seems pretty awkward
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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 19:09   #8
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by dda
Is it just me or does it strike anyone else as a bit bizarre that we are wringing our hands over the possible pain of a person that we are killing?
No you're not you're wringing your hands on how ghastly the spectacle is for you. I don't believe for a minute the feelings of the prisoner are paramount in the debate. A firing squad shooting his brains out, a guillotine that decapitates with in one move. They're quick effecient and instantaneous. They're also incredibly bloody and traumatic - for those watching. You* want death but you can't deal with the fact you're killing someone, a nice 'pleasant' death where the condemned goes to sleep saves you the trauma of comprehending what you're doing avoids having to deal with what happened; the prisoner 'just went to sleep'. Strap the mans head to the pointy end of a tank gun and fire it, he won't suffer a bit.

Incidently im against the death penalty** primarily because it doesn't act as a deterrant and because i don't trust the police or the state; but the most effective ways of killing someone are also the most gruesome - the people dying don't care, its only those watching.



*societal you not personal you before texan goes off on one

**yeah yeah i know, the pro gun bit is to defend yourself from an immediate threat not as a form of impartial justice
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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 20:22   #9
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

In all honesty, it really isnt a big deal and far too much effort is wasted arguing about it. Does it really matter that much whether someone spends their life in prison as opposed to being killed? Personally I like the death penalty because it seems like a massive waste of time and effort keeping someone alive for 30+ years when they arent ever going to be released from jail, but compared to the 101 other things that are wrong with the current legal system its not something I can get particularly worked up about. If I was American then I'd care far more about the apparently widespread prevalence of prison rape than I would about California executing people, because that looks like a far far more serious problem.

The strongest argument for the death penalty imo is that it prevents prisoners who should never ever be released from getting out of jail due to political reasons. Look at the digusting travesty that was the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland if you need evidence that the death penalty is a nice way of sidestepping potential future problems. Of course, you need to weigh this against the possibility of executing innocent people, and so on.

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Unread 9 Oct 2006, 22:08   #10
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by dda
Is it just me or does it strike anyone else as a bit bizarre that we are wringing our hands over the possible pain of a person that we are killing?
Not really. It depends on why you want people to be executed. If this is some righteous infliction of anger on the wicked then I suppose it doesn't really matter. But if the death penalty is simply removing people from society in a permanent sort of sense then it makes sense we would want to make it as painless as possible. Tangentially I would say I view torture as worse than murder in most cases.

Obviously the act of killing someone is pretty much always going to be cruel no matter how it's done (then again, I'd say the same about long-term imprisonment) - the issue here is whether it's unnecessarily cruel. Lethal injection should intuitively be the easiest way of administering a painless death but obviously they might be doing something wrong (or I maybe misunderstanding what's going on). If you were determined to kill people then I'm sure the combined weight of America's medical community can invent a way which is as painless as possible.

On the death penalty as I've said elsewhere I couldn't practically support it given the possibility of mistakes which exist. If you could somehow (magically) remove that possibility then I see no problem with executing people (I doubt it's necessary very often, especially in sane, healthy societies). Of course the death penalty isn't much of a deterrent, but then again neither is prison (seemingly). The most violent brutal murders seem to be carried out by people who are either bizarre nutcases or are in utterly ****ed up situations anyway and in such cases I'm not sure it makes sense to talk of deterrents.

I'd tend to agree with Nod that I don't see the point of imprisoning people for 40 to 50 years, spending literally millions of pounds on individuals who will never be released (sometimes this is explicit) and who (because of the way prison seems to operate) will never be able to contribute anything back to society.

I don't really understand the view of death some people have where (say) it's preferable to force feed Ian Brady than to let him die (presumably so he can go on suffering more or something). That seems much more cruel to me than in giving someone an injection which ends their life.

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Unread 10 Oct 2006, 06:59   #11
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Maybe the Death Penalty would be more of a deterrant if they walked you out of the courtroom and down to the chamber and gave you the needle. This would save taxpayers those millions of dollars that go into appeals and feeding and providing shelter for the condemned for 10-40 years, and quite frankly I'd rather see this money put into schools, which are always in need of better funding.

Yes, I am aware that this idea does have the side-effect of possibly killing off innocent people, but aside from really screwed up police work, or dirty cops beating a confession out of someone so they can close the case, the technology we have now a days with DNA evidence and all that almost guarantees that they got the right person.

As for whether or not I'm for or against the Death Penalty, I'd say yes. As to whether or not I think it's cruel, I say no. I know this sounds mean and extremely cruel, but I think they should kill the prisoner in the same way they killed there victim (eg if they shot the victim, you shoot them, if they gutted them with a knife, gut them, if they blew them up, blow them up), this would be cruel, but I'm betting most of the family and friends of the victim would be utterly happy with them getting what they dished out.
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Unread 10 Oct 2006, 08:37   #12
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jt25man
Yes, I am aware that this idea does have the side-effect of possibly killing off innocent people, but aside from really screwed up police work, or dirty cops beating a confession out of someone so they can close the case, the technology we have now a days with DNA evidence and all that almost guarantees that they got the right person.
I'm going to ring up Mr Science to see what he think of this. Hello? Yes? No, can I speak to Mr Science? Thanks. Mr Science, are DNA tests anywhere close to infallible? No? My word, Mr Science! What do you mean they're a bit rubbish really? Wow, I never knew. Thank you, bye bye snoochie.

There you have it. Right from the horse's mouth.
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Unread 10 Oct 2006, 11:20   #13
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by dda
The debate is over whether the way that California and most other states executes prisoners is "cruel and unusual" according to the Constitution.
I guess I'm not too far off reality if I blame this on the whole "worshipping the constitution as the ultimate holy document"-deal some of you people over there seem to have going on. If you accept that premise, I guess the discussion is sane enough.
Quote:
Now, clearly killing human beings by a governmental entity is far from being unusual so the real debate is around whether the method used, lethal injection, is "cruel" or not.
Far from unusual? Even Russia abandoned it

Quote:
Is it just me or does it strike anyone else as a bit bizarre that we are wringing our hands over the possible pain of a person that we are killing?
Americans having inane debates lost its shock-value some time ago
Quote:
The strongest argument against the death penalty is that it makes the entire justice system look insane.
That and the whole 'thou shall not kill'-bullshit some fundamendalists have going on..
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Unread 10 Oct 2006, 18:38   #14
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jt25man
As for whether or not I'm for or against the Death Penalty, I'd say yes. As to whether or not I think it's cruel, I say no. I know this sounds mean and extremely cruel, but I think they should kill the prisoner in the same way they killed there victim (eg if they shot the victim, you shoot them, if they gutted them with a knife, gut them, if they blew them up, blow them up), this would be cruel, but I'm betting most of the family and friends of the victim would be utterly happy with them getting what they dished out.
What about theives? Are we to start cutting off peoples limbs?

I am 100% against victims or the families of victims having ANY say whatsoever in any sort of sentance. Emotion has no place in the court of law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyfe
Far from unusual? Even Russia abandoned it
Chechnia? (sp?)
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Unread 10 Oct 2006, 18:47   #15
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyfe
Far from unusual? Even Russia abandoned it
Any country which has an army, police department or allows its citizents to act in self-defense is killing people.
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Unread 10 Oct 2006, 19:33   #16
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

We kill animals to eat .. (ok i know they are not human) in a humane way to ensure they do not suffer needlessly.

If the US if its going to keep the death penalty should at least ensure that humans get the same treatment.

So yes ... it should be investigated as to wether unecessary pain is caused, if a human is going to kill a human because its law, he/she should not have to wonder if he/she is torturing that person needlessly and have a clear concience.

Someone has to actually do this ... think of them.. rather than the prisoner.
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Unread 11 Oct 2006, 14:14   #17
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by Alessio
Your wondering if lethal injections are cruel or not?

If you compare it with other methods, it seems more civilized
but I think a headshot is less cruel, it's fast, painless and less creepy for everyone

Lethal injection seems to much like a mad scientists show to me
I always get the feeling they only do that because they can, but it seems pretty awkward
The real question is why do they sterilize the needle?
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Unread 11 Oct 2006, 16:46   #18
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by Travler
The real question is why do they sterilize the needle?
If the condemned is afraid of needles, wouldn't that make this a cruel punishment, the last thing they'll ever know is seeing that big long needle, and they'll know that the fear of needles they've long had is finally coming true, getting stuck with a needle will kill them.
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Unread 11 Oct 2006, 16:48   #19
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by All Systems Go
Chechnia? (sp?)
Fair enough, I was really referring to a government killing its own electors though.

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Originally Posted by dda
Any country which has an army, police department or allows its citizents to act in self-defense is killing people.
Are you equatating self-defence in-the-moment-panic to a bunch of people sitting down and trying to decide if somebody should be 'removed' from society or not?

Either way.. when is the last time the Swedish government killed anybody?
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Unread 11 Oct 2006, 17:38   #20
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by hyfe
Are you equatating self-defence in-the-moment-panic to a bunch of people sitting down and trying to decide if somebody should be 'removed' from society or not?
They're not the same but I'd say they had a similar moral basis.

Although that wasn't really the main thrust of his point. His point was that governments killing people is not that unusual. And he's correct. Certainly if you take only the twentieth century there are those who are that people were more likely to be killed by their own government than by foriegn powers (or by other citizens). Admittedly Russia / China / Germany warp those statistics a little, but the point remains.

On executions, even ignoring dissidents afaik China is well ahead of America on executions (even if it's not on prisoners).
Quote:
Either way.. when is the last time the Swedish government killed anybody?
Sweden is hardly typical of most governments, and in any case there are probably cases where the police have killed people who resisted arrest (admittedly I have no basis for this, but most police seem to do this from time to time even if accidently).
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 00:27   #21
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by hyfe
Are you equatating self-defence in-the-moment-panic to a bunch of people sitting down and trying to decide if somebody should be 'removed' from society or not?

Either way.. when is the last time the Swedish government killed anybody?
There are those on this forum who held the US government responsible for the deaths during hurricane Katrina. The policies of governments almost always lead to the deaths of some of their citizines. I was being somewhat sarcastic in what I said. However, it is still the unusual country which hasn't either taken part in a war, executed a prisoner or had a police officer kill a citizen. Killing people is a regulr part of human history and will be into the forseeable future. Killing is not unusual in human history. It is the curelty which is the subject of the law suit.

As to Sweden and the Swedish government: certainly the Swedish government took part in the Napoleonic wars which led to life being lost. The Swedish government chose to remain neutral during WWII and to trade with NAZI Germany and supply them with items which enabled the NAZI war machine to function more efficiently, thus leading to the death of numerous human beings.

Does Sweden have an army?

What is their purpose?

Are they trained to pass out flowers?

Do they have mechanized machines of war?

Are these just show pieces for kiddie rides?

All governments are prepared to kill or they cease to exist.
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 15:53   #22
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

I don't see the point to the death penalty. It does not seem to fit a purpose, eye for an eye tooth for a tooth and all that.

The only valid reason I have heard for the death penalty is purely economics, so that tax payers don't have to support and feed criminals for the rest of their life sentence. That is shaky grounds to me, use that comparison and you start putting a price on peoples heads, just how much money are we willing to sacrifice human life for?

I also do not believe there is such thing as a humane way to kill a person, whether it is quickly or slowly, at some point leading up to their death they will undergo considerable stress as they contemplate those last few seconds of life.

Killing ourselves is such a Darwin thing to do.
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 16:09   #23
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Would you feel the pain of death if you are under a general anaesthetic? I guess not. One could also argue for the death penalty to be retained for criminals who opt for it*.









*Moors murderer Ian Brady; who craves death;and Huntley the Soham killer who tried to commit suicide being good examples.
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 16:39   #24
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by dda
There are those on this forum who held the US government responsible for the deaths during hurricane Katrina. The policies of governments almost always lead to the deaths of some of their citizines.
I believe the point there was that the US government was responsible but that that was to be considered a BAD THING for a government to do.

Governments and the state shouldn't be killing their own citizens. It's to be considered a BAD THING when they do and it is not an acceptable counter argument to say "but they've done it before" or "even their incompetence can lead to them killing citizens".
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 18:07   #25
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by djbass
The only valid reason I have heard for the death penalty is purely economics, so that tax payers don't have to support and feed criminals for the rest of their life sentence.
The german wikipedia says that due to the increased legal requirements before a person can be killed, the overall costs in the USA are higher than a lifetime sentence.

Other arguments for the death sentence are usually that it is the only way to make sure

a) a dangerous criminal doesnt escape from prison
b) dangerous criminals cant be pardoned later due to some misguided political decision
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 18:10   #26
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by Yahwe
I believe the point there was that the US government was responsible but that that was to be considered a BAD THING for a government to do.

Governments and the state shouldn't be killing their own citizens. It's to be considered a BAD THING when they do and it is not an acceptable counter argument to say "but they've done it before" or "even their incompetence can lead to them killing citizens".
The points being made, within the framework of the language used in the constitutional amendment, were:

1. The sarcastic point that it really isn't "unusual" for a government to cause the deaths of its citizens. The point was not to argue that it was a "good" thing.

2. The ironic point that killing itself isn't considerd "cruel" under our law only the manner of the killing is in question as being cruel.

One must remember that I DO NOT support the death penalty. However, I am angered more by those who are on my side but who don't attack the problem head on with some semblance of reason than I am by those who take the other side but state their argument effectively. These arguments by the opponents of the death penalty that the METHOD of killing the convict is too cruel to be allowed, rather than just sticking to the point that state executions are pointless and wrong, do more to promote pro-death penalty sentiment than virtually anything else currently going on.
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 18:12   #27
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by Ramihyn
The german wikipedia says that due to the increased legal requirements before a person can be killed, the overall costs in the USA are higher than a lifetime sentence.
The latest figures which I saw estimated the cost to kill someone was 3 times that of life imprisonment, on average.
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 19:27   #28
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by dda
The latest figures which I saw estimated the cost to kill someone was 3 times that of life imprisonment, on average.
I find that incredible! Can you quote some references please?
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 19:32   #29
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by pyirt
I find that incredible! Can you quote some references please?
Remember that in America you basically serve a 20-30 year sentence before being executed and you're allowed unlimited appeals, plus the special level of security they have to use with death row prisoners. It's certainly credible that it costs that much.

However, in somewhere like China where I imagine "justice" is a little swifter I suspect the cost per execution is dramatically lower.
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 19:39   #30
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by dda
These arguments by the opponents of the death penalty that the METHOD of killing the convict is too cruel to be allowed, rather than just sticking to the point that state executions are pointless and wrong, do more to promote pro-death penalty sentiment than virtually anything else currently going on.
Maybe, but if the people who are currently trying this tactic manage to delay (or conceivably even halt) even a handful of executions, they might feel it was worth it.

(I agree with your specific point however, this entire argument seems like lunacy but I thought this is the sort of thing that lawyers did where required - used every legal argument available in the interests of their client. Although this isn't a case as such, I can certainly see an analogous process here. It's kind of like the Southern Poverty Centre who engage in tedious legalistic tactics against white supremacist groups. While it might seem ridiculous trying to bankrupt hate groups instead of arresting them, if it works - why not?)
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Unread 12 Oct 2006, 19:50   #31
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante Hicks
Remember that in America you basically serve a 20-30 year sentence before being executed and you're allowed unlimited appeals, plus the special level of security they have to use with death row prisoners. It's certainly credible that it costs that much.

However, in somewhere like China where I imagine "justice" is a little swifter I suspect the cost per execution is dramatically lower.
I remember reading that in China the family of the prisoner put to death (usually by a shot to the back of the head) is sent the bill for the bullets used. Taking this, and the ££'s or $$'s paid for the dead convicts various organs used in transplants, into account I guess death row is a fiscal winner for the Chinese.

I'm not saying it's right though.
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Unread 13 Oct 2006, 01:03   #32
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

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Originally Posted by MrL_JaKiri
Very witty, very droll.
my dad once told me about a paper that he read in some law journal. topic: recidivism rates in capitol punishment cases. apparently the conclusion was 'pretty low'

topically, it's been said by a number of people on here before, but basically at the low rate of enforcement in the US it's hard to consider it a significant issue.

i used to be strongly opposed on the grounds that having the death penalty makes it difficult to condemn torture without people giggling. and i'm pretty strongly anti-torture.

but recently my government has made that anti-death penalty argument entirely moot, so i've moved on to "it really is an inconsequential issue"
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Unread 15 Oct 2006, 15:17   #33
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyfe
Either way.. when is the last time the Swedish government killed anybody?
Swedish soldiers are killing people most every day in Afghanistan.
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Unread 15 Oct 2006, 16:41   #34
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Re: To Kill or Not to Kill, That Is the Question

i say make it slow and painful...if they on death row its for a reason...so make the buggers pay
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