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Lucid Decapitation

Article #158 • Written by Alan Bellows

For thousands of years, the forceful removal of the human head has been used as a form of capital punishment. In fact, the word "capital" in the context of punishment was coined to describe execution by decapitation, derived from the Latin word caput, which means "head." Since the very beginnings of the practice, there has been much speculation and debate regarding the length of time that the head can remain conscious after its removal. Many argue that a beheaded person will almost instantly lose consciousness due to a massive drop in blood pressure in the brain, and/or the heavy impact of the decapitation device. But there are countless eyewitness reports in history describing a few moments of apparent awareness in the victim.

Beheading has been discontinued as a form of execution in much of the world due to the suspicion that a severed head remains conscious and able to experience pain, so there have been no recent scientific observations of human decapitation. However studies of decapitated animals has lent some credibility to the massive number of stories regarding a head's brief consciousness after being separated from the body. Under certain circumstances, it is very possible that a head so removed may remain lucid long enough to know its fate.

In many cases, the anecdotal evidence describes blinking eyes, wandering gaze, and moving lips on a freshly amputated head. As grotesque and troubling as these movements may be to the witnesses, such muscular spasms are not surprising under the circumstances. It is not uncommon for any separated limb to twitch briefly due to reflex nerve action. More difficult to attribute to nerve reflexes are the stories of specific facial expressions sometimes seen on the faces of the beheaded as they died. Some were said to change expressions several times in the last few moments, ranging from pain and confusion to grief and fear.

In the heyday of the guillotine during the French Revolution, it is said that many of the condemned were asked to blink for as long as possible after decapitation. While many reportedly did not blink at all, some complied for as long as thirty seconds. Still other observations describe much more specific reactions to stimuli following beheading. Consider the case of Languille, a convicted murderer who was guillotined in France. He was observed by Dr. Beaurieux during his execution at 5:30am on June 28th, 1905. As written in Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, here are the doctor's observations:

Here, then, is what I was able to note immediately after the decapitation: the eyelids and lips of the guillotined man worked in irregularly rhythmic contractions for about five or six seconds ... I waited for several seconds. The spasmodic movements ceased.The face relaxed, the lids half closed on the eyeballs, leaving only the white of the conjunctiva visible, exactly as in the dying whom we have occasion to see every day in the exercise of our profession, or as in those just dead.It was then that I called in a strong, sharp voice: 'Languille!' I saw the eyelids slowly lift up, without any spasmodic contractions ... Next Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine and the pupils focused themselves ... After several seconds, the eyelids closed again, slowly and evenly, and the head took on the same appearance as it had had before I called out.It was at that point that I called out again and, once more, without any spasm, slowly, the eyelids lifted and undeniably living eyes fixed themselves on mine with perhaps even more penetration than the first time. Then there was a further closing of the eyelids, but now less complete. I attempted the effect of a third call; there was no further movement and the eyes took on the glazed look which they have in the dead.

I have just recounted to you with rigorous exactness what I was able to observe. The whole thing had lasted twenty-five to thirty seconds.

In the book Crucibles: The Story of Chemistry, a story is related where the unnamed servant of chemist Antoine Lavoisier was beheaded by guillotine. According to the writer, Lavoisier immediately picked up the head and asked the servant to blink if he understood. Reportedly, the man blinked. There is also an oft-repeated anecdote involving Antoine Lavoisier's own later experience on the guillotine in 1794. The story is dubious considering that it does not appear in any of his biographies, but reportedly he told his assistant that he would blink for as long as he was able after execution, and successfully did so for fifteen to twenty seconds.

A more recent account tells of an accidental decapitation in an automobile. In 1989, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Korean war was riding in a taxi with a friend when it collided with a truck. The witness was pinned to his seat, and the friend was decapitated by the collision:

My friend's head came to rest face up, and (from my angle) upside-down. As I watched, his mouth opened and closed no less than two times. The facial expressions he displayed were first of shock or confusion, followed by terror or grief. I cannot exaggerate and say that he was looking all around, but he did display ocular movement in that his eyes moved from me, to his body, and back to me. He had direct eye contact with me when his eyes took on a hazy, absent expression . . . and he was dead.

Judith Beheading Holofernes
Judith Beheading Holofernes

Not all attempts to observe consciousness in decapitated heads has been successful. In 1836, a murderer named Lacenaire agreed to wink after execution, but he did not do so. Another murderer named Prunier in 1879 also failed to respond to stimuli. But it is likely that some individuals will lose consciousness immediately upon decapitation, while others might experience a few horrifying moments of lucidity as one's head parts ways with the rest of one's person. It is also very possible that most beheaded persons are too disoriented and/or distracted by pain and grief to trouble themselves with such trivial tasks.

Can it be concluded that a separated head is capable of consciousness and awareness following the event? Not with any certainty. Further scientific observation of human decapitation is highly unlikely, so it is a question that may remain unanswered indefinitely. But there is much evidence to indicate that for some, death is not instantaneous, which probably offers a truly surreal experience for those few, brief moments. It goes without saying that there are no first-hand accounts to shed further light on the subject.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 08 April 2006. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design by Alan Bellows.
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170 Comments
Nastimann
Posted 08 April 2006 at 11:06 pm

Oh... my... God... This is really too horrible to contemplate.


gorgeousplanet
Posted 08 April 2006 at 11:28 pm

I think there has been some first hand accounts: Futurama? I mean, if it was on tv, it must be correct...


Berkana
Posted 09 April 2006 at 12:33 am

Guillotine's decapitating machine was supposed to be fast and humane. If he above accounts are true, then decapitation is not fast nor humane enough. IMHO, for someone to die without knowing what hit them and without feeling it at all, their brain has to be put out of consciousness in less time than the human reaction time, which is about an eighth of a second. Having one's head unexpectedly exploded with brisant high explosives or shot with a high caliber firearm might do that.


Berkana
Posted 09 April 2006 at 12:36 am

I amend my above comment; 1/8 of a second may be our reaction time, but our preceptive time is something more like 1/30 of a second. Basically, whatever the frame rate of video so that we humans cannot perceive choppy motion, but perceive it as smooth motion--the fraction of a second that one single frame takes is roughly the average human reaction time.


Berkana
Posted 09 April 2006 at 12:36 am

. . . perception time I mean.


Arcangel
Posted 09 April 2006 at 01:08 am

Geez, just don't go losing your head over this. Chop chop!


Marius
Posted 09 April 2006 at 04:30 am

Umm, pleasure dome one day, horrible tales from the hideous edge of that undisovered country the next. Maybe in the future you could put something a little more middle-of-the-road betwixt such stories? My mental clutch nearly stripped. ;-)


ForestGrump
Posted 09 April 2006 at 05:06 am

Berkana,

Being humaine is only a perception. To us, in today's society where executions are carried out via electric chair/lethal injection. These methods are considered more "humaine" than prior methods such as firing squad, cyanide gas, or "hang the bastard hang him high. hoist his body to the sky. It's as nice as a day can be, won't you come to the hanging with me?"

Now step back in time and consider other methods of execution... The guilotine was a precision instrument when you compare it to an executioner and his ax or burning people at the stake, or nailing them to a wooden stick...aah good friday is coming up! (And no, I'm not here to start a debate on cults. Let's stick to the topic at hand.)

Grump


wileybot
Posted 09 April 2006 at 06:52 am

This is damn interesting, i appreciate the link to Straight Dope. Kudos!


another viewpoint
Posted 09 April 2006 at 07:19 am

Everybody, all together now, uh one and a two..."I ain't got no body....and NO body got me!"

Really now, next we'll be reading about artificial intelligence. For that, look no further than the board rooms of most Fortune 500 companies as well as Washington, DC.


APA7HY
Posted 09 April 2006 at 08:55 am

Hey another_viewpoint, are you available for children's parties?


1c3d0g
Posted 09 April 2006 at 09:29 am

OK, now that was disgusting. :-/ Can you imagine the horror of seeing your own body lying there while your head slowly dies an ugly death? Ugh!


Stuart
Posted 09 April 2006 at 12:12 pm

The humaneness of modern forms of execution is not undebatable. Their is a strong argument that the anesthetic used in lethal injection is too short term and may wear off before death occurs but the victim is paralysed by Pancuronium/Tubocurarine and so the death appears peaceful. Wikipedia explains it better than I can:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lethal_injection.

Ofcourse theres still the question of whether it is ethical to put any person to death which is why some countries do not have capital punishment.


mrjondoe
Posted 09 April 2006 at 12:41 pm

i dont understand why people assume the death penalty must be painless. the point of the death penalty is to punish someone by killing them, and it was originally painful intentionally. if someone did something bad enough to be given the death sentence, i think it merits feeling some pain as well. thats the point of a punishment is it not?


just_dave
Posted 09 April 2006 at 02:18 pm

I'd have to agree with mrjondoe. Why is there such concern over whether the condemned feels pain or not? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment"? I don't think anything is mentioned about the punishment not involving pain. If the job is done well the pain will be short.

Funny thing is that this seems to be of little concern to the Islamists who behead in such a way to prolong the sensations of pain in their victims. Forget not Nick Berg.


JustAnotherName
Posted 09 April 2006 at 03:15 pm

ForestGrump said: (And no, I'm not here to start a debate on cults. Let's stick to the topic at hand.)

Grump"

Yes, Alan. Do refrain from blogging on topics that are bound to lead us down the road of cults and such.


white_matter
Posted 09 April 2006 at 04:10 pm

mrjondoe said: "...the point of the death penalty is to punish someone by killing them, and it was originally painful intentionally... "

Not entirely true. The purpose of the death penalty is a deterent for other criminals from similar offenses. I know: six of one, half dozen of another.

I say we make a headband of C4 and off criminals that way. Messy but quick...and fun too!


another viewpoint
Posted 09 April 2006 at 04:21 pm

APA7HY said: "Hey another_viewpoint, are you available for children's parties?"

Sure...depending on time and place...humor comes at a price. The sarcasm is no extra charge!

As Mr. JonDoe said, why is everyone so upset about decapitation? Where were the victims "rights" when the crime was committed? An eye for an eye and pain for pain. And now I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those that claimed capital punishment was inhumane so that I have to support criminals for the rest of their breathing days. I don't have enough other hands in my pockets already helping themselves to my hard earned dollars without having to think about supporting hardened criminals. Anybody remember being drawn and quartered? How about the electric chair? Or how about the first automatic tooth extraction machine...it accidentally twisted the patients head off.

The world has invested so much in inventing ways to destroy one another...how about investing some of those dollars to improve life for everyone? If you're not part of the solution, you must be the cause of the problem.


Oax
Posted 09 April 2006 at 07:50 pm

Electric chair, medium voltage. or, a guillotine that cuts you the long way.


tha_vampyr
Posted 09 April 2006 at 08:03 pm

mrjondoe said: "i dont understand why people assume the death penalty must be painless. the point of the death penalty is to punish someone by killing them, and it was originally painful intentionally. if someone did something bad enough to be given the death sentence, i think it merits feeling some pain as well. thats the point of a punishment is it not?"

i think in part its so the people doing the killing arent effected quite as much. its like the common question, why do they swab a prisoners arm before a lethal injection. its so the person who is performing the act, or preparing the act feels a little more procedureal in their actions, and its more of a task, then 'handing out punishment'


ronmojohny
Posted 09 April 2006 at 08:40 pm

This reminds me of the video from Iraq of a beheading. I swear the man was still concious when his executioner (the man with the sword) separated his head from his body, and turned it around to show him his fate; the look of horror on the severed head sends chills up and down my spine..

http://www.saves-gas.com


kamiller
Posted 09 April 2006 at 09:34 pm

ronmojohny said that the sight of a severed head sent chills up his spine, that is exactly the point. Capital punishment is for determent, it is not supposed to be painless. In fact I don't want it to be painless, I think we should bring back public hangings. Not that it will do much, but it would serve a grime reminder of what happens when you are "bad".


gilgamesh
Posted 09 April 2006 at 09:35 pm

I can't believe how strongly people feel the need to kill people humanely. Repeat that phrase: kill people humanely.

I wrote a blog article a couple of months ago titled: We're only going to kill him if it doesn't hurt:
http://www.gilgamesh.ca/index.php/2006/02/21/were-only-going-to-kill-him-if-he-doesnt-feel-it/


Mike Abundo
Posted 09 April 2006 at 10:37 pm

So they asked people to do stuff after their heads came off?

Suddenly, the command "gimme head" takes on a whole new meaning.


grey matter
Posted 09 April 2006 at 11:25 pm

Whats the use of killing a criminal humanely if you want to punish him?
And anyways, its not the criminal himself but his dependents i.e. his family thats going to pay for it.


Armani
Posted 10 April 2006 at 12:29 am

mrjondoe said: "i dont understand why people assume the death penalty must be painless. the point of the death penalty is to punish someone by killing them, and it was originally painful intentionally. if someone did something bad enough to be given the death sentence, i think it merits feeling some pain as well. thats the point of a punishment is it not?"

You guys are animals. Death penalty is for taking away the right to live. It doesn't mean it should be painful. You all watch too much news and t.v. Like my 90 year old history teacher said, we can watch ppl die on tv and still eat our cherios in the morning.


rexrufus
Posted 10 April 2006 at 01:23 am

Regarding the guillotine as humane punishment ... a simple alteration that would ensure a more painless and immediate dispatch would be to replace the blade with a broad, flat, massive implement -- perhaps a huge lead ingot -- and rest the condemned's head upon a resilient surface (exposed bedrock if possible, or else another ingot. The new mechanism would combine the actions of a guillotine and a mortar and pestle. Given sufficient velocity and mass, death would be all but instantaneous, if a tad graphic. One question concerns the proper alignment of the head: face-down, face-up, or on its side. If excessive cruelty is justified for a malicious crime, then face-up with an unobstructed view may be appropriate.


Coneee
Posted 10 April 2006 at 02:46 am

You guys are disgusting. I realise I'm arguing with Americans (and 60% of you support state executions), but I still feel that I should stand up against you lot. Some choice quotes:

"I think we should bring back public hangings."
"I say we make a headband of C4 and off criminals that way. Messy but quick…and fun too!"
"why is everyone so upset about decapitation? Where were the victims "rights" when the crime was committed? An eye for an eye and pain for pain."

You're not talking about the death penalty as a "deterrent", you're talking about revenge. The fact is that there's no proof the death penalty is even effective as a deterrent when compared to other non-lethal punishments. Also, innocent people have been executed many times in the histories of countries that have the death penalty and it violates the human right to life.

Damn Interesting is a brilliant website, but I think a little more moderation of the comments is in order. I don't want to read the written masturbation of blood-lusting idiots on DI again.


Carlsb3rg
Posted 10 April 2006 at 03:06 am

What happened to Nick Berg is different than the traditional Islamic beheading. Berg's head was 'cut off' with a Knife. An Islamic beheading happens with one sword strike, which is similar to the french beheading. Islam claims that the beheading (sword strike) ends one's life painlessly and immediately.

The only country that follows the beheading execution(as far as I know) is Saudia Arabia, which follows the Islamic sword beheading. Nevertheless, if it's really immediate and painful, it is still cruel and sick, and should not be used. Some information on beheadings in Saudia Arabia:
-A person is beheaded only in the crime of taking another life.
-The victim's(killed person) family and the person to be executed's family are present during the execution. The victim's family has right to stop the execution, while the other family tries(if they wish) to beg for mercy. Sometimes the victim's family stops the execution at the final moments when the sword is about to strike. You could imagine the fear the about to be executed person feels at that moments and probably for the rest of his life.

Regarding the subject of criminals should feel pain, IMHO there's no greater punishment than to stop one's existance. Pain or no pain, the punishment of ceasing to exist is greater than any pain in the world.


bug
Posted 10 April 2006 at 04:14 am

Perhaps we don't want the condemned to feel pain because that makes us feel cruel? Today's executions are certainly very... clinical, and maybe that allows people to ignore the fact that they're killing someone (which in my opinion makes the pain negligible).


hubo
Posted 10 April 2006 at 06:14 am

What "right to life"? If you want the privileges and advantages of living in a certain society, then you are constrained to live by that society's acceptance rules. If you choose to abandon the rules and thus the privileges, you also abandon the protections.

Anyway, what's wrong with revenge??


Digital
Posted 10 April 2006 at 07:14 am

Berkana said: "Guillotine's decapitating machine was supposed to be fast and humane. If he above accounts are true, then decapitation is not fast nor humane enough. IMHO, for someone to die without knowing what hit them and without feeling it at all, their brain has to be put out of consciousness in less time than the human reaction time, which is about an eighth of a second. Having one's head unexpectedly exploded with brisant high explosives or shot with a high caliber firearm might do that."

I forget where I read this (or maybe it was the History channel) but the guillotine wasn't always as quick as people would like. After a long day of head chops the blade would get dull and would sometimes take 3 or 4 drops of the blade to get things done. Now that has to be painful.


Quagmire
Posted 10 April 2006 at 07:43 am

Not even considering the moral question of taking a life for revenge or deterrent, are we really 100% sure a convicted person is really guilty? We have that perfect of a legal system that we can kill someone with absolute certainty? I tend to think not. Even if it seems like a sure thing, how do we *really* know? If one person is wrongly executed it's too many.


EvilBit
Posted 10 April 2006 at 07:49 am

I'm also quite disturbed by some of the comments made here. Particularly, the one about blowing someone's head up as being "fun".

But I'm not here to start or contribute to a flamewar. I'm here to recommend a book called Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. It's an extremely well-written, respectful, entertaining look at the many things that happen to cadavers after the occupant departs (however you want to take that). One entire chapter is about the "human head transplant" and discusses post-decapitation lucidity and some of the rather macabre experiments that were carried out in revolutionary France when freshly-separated heads were in strong supply.

I can be morbid at times, but I am not one for bloodlust. This book isn't meant to cater to the Faces of Death crowd so much as the crowd that doesn't squirm (much) at the thought of topics such as death, decomposition, dissection, and decapitation. I've known several medical students and the like who enjoyed the book thoroughly.


jbloggs2002
Posted 10 April 2006 at 08:14 am

It's interesting that the US is the only Western country to still have the death penalty, and yet has the highest violent crime rate. Hardly seems like the deterrent is working - seems more like the most religious Western nation is also the most brutal and inhumane.

I also second the post about the Mary Roach book - excellent!


myname
Posted 10 April 2006 at 09:12 am

mrjondoe said: "i dont understand why people assume the death penalty must be painless. the point of the death penalty is to punish someone by killing them, and it was originally painful intentionally. if someone did something bad enough to be given the death sentence, i think it merits feeling some pain as well. thats the point of a punishment is it not?"

I mean you're KILLING the guy, I think thats enough punishment.

And I'd like to say for the record, that the French beheaded ALOT of people over the course of the revolution. Case and point that IDIOTS almost literal reign by guillotine...what was that guys name...it was called the "reign of terror" I think....well anyway, Ironicly the moron ended up getting beheaded himself.


Stuart
Posted 10 April 2006 at 09:45 am

I agree with Coneee, a lot of people on this thread are talking about execution as a form of vengeance. If capital punishment is supposed to be a deterent then why do countries that exercise it (like America) have such high murder rates? I used to think that American state execution was a reserved for pe0ple who were psychotic to the point were they are uncontrollably compelled to kill (in which case there is no deterent) but then the Stanley Tookie Williams III execution changed my mind and I realised that he was vengefully executed despite him being a reformed criminal. Most Americans are supposedly christian but the moral "turn the other cheek" has obviously been ignored.


myname
Posted 10 April 2006 at 09:52 am

hubo said: "What "right to life"? If you want the privileges and advantages of living in a certain society, then you are constrained to live by that society's acceptance rules. If you choose to abandon the rules and thus the privileges, you also abandon the protections.


Anyway, what's wrong with revenge??"

Yoda voice: mmmmmmm......a product of fear revenge is......fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads...to suffering.

rexrufus says:
Regarding the guillotine as humane punishment … a simple alteration that would ensure a more painless and immediate dispatch would be to replace the blade with a broad, flat, massive implement — perhaps a huge lead ingot — and rest the condemned's head upon a resilient surface (exposed bedrock if possible, or else another ingot. The new mechanism would combine the actions of a guillotine and a mortar and pestle. Given sufficient velocity and mass, death would be all but instantaneous, if a tad graphic. One question concerns the proper alignment of the head: face-down, face-up, or on its side. If excessive cruelty is justified for a malicious crime, then face-up with an unobstructed view may be appropriate.

Geez buddy....

Coneee says:
You guys are disgusting. I realise I'm arguing with Americans (and 60% of you support state executions), but I still feel that I should stand up against you lot. Some choice quotes:
"I think we should bring back public hangings."
"I say we make a headband of C4 and off criminals that way. Messy but quick…and fun too!"
"why is everyone so upset about decapitation? Where were the victims "rights" when the crime was committed? An eye for an eye and pain for pain."
You're not talking about the death penalty as a "deterrent", you're talking about revenge. The fact is that there's no proof the death penalty is even effective as a deterrent when compared to other non-lethal punishments. Also, innocent people have been executed many times in the histories of countries that have the death penalty and it violates the human right to life.
Damn Interesting is a brilliant website, but I think a little more moderation of the comments is in order. I don't want to read the written masturbation of blood-lusting idiots on DI again.

Here here, this is insane. Just one wrongfull death is too much, and we KNOW there have been more than that. In itslef that justifys discarding capital punishment.

Carlsb3rg says:
What happened to Nick Berg is different than the traditional Islamic beheading. Berg's head was 'cut off' with a Knife. An Islamic beheading happens with one sword strike, which is similar to the french beheading. Islam claims that the beheading (sword strike) ends one's life painlessly and immediately.

The only country that follows the beheading execution(as far as I know) is Saudia Arabia, which follows the Islamic sword beheading. Nevertheless, if it's really immediate and painful, it is still cruel and sick, and should not be used. Some information on beheadings in Saudia Arabia:
-A person is beheaded only in the crime of taking another life.
-The victim's(killed person) family and the person to be executed's family are present during the execution. The victim's family has right to stop the execution, while the other family tries(if they wish) to beg for mercy. Sometimes the victim's family stops the execution at the final moments when the sword is about to strike. You could imagine the fear the about to be executed person feels at that moments and probably for the rest of his life.

Regarding the subject of criminals should feel pain, IMHO there's no greater punishment than to stop one's existance. Pain or no pain, the punishment of ceasing to exist is greater than any pain in the world.

...Interesting... the family can stop the execution. Thats almost sadistic, given that if the execution goes through the family KNOWS they could have stopped a death and did nothing...effectivly putting the mans death on their hands. And i dont care who you are, you tkae that with you to bed........so is it really worth it? Did the death make the crime any more acceptable? Or would the execution just make the world harder the bear?


bug says:
Perhaps we don't want the condemned to feel pain because that makes us feel cruel? Today's executions are certainly very… clinical, and maybe that allows people to ignore the fact that they're killing someone (which in my opinion makes the pain negligible).

Absolutely, the deaths are made "Humnae" to try and avoid any sense of having KILLED someone. The thinking is "Well he's not suffering" in replacement of "He's being killed.


jbloggs2002 says:
It's interesting that the US is the only Western country to still have the death penalty, and yet has the highest violent crime rate. Hardly seems like the deterrent is working - seems more like the most religious Western nation is also the most brutal and inhumane.
I also second the post about the Mary Roach book - excellent!

This country is founded on hypocrisy.


JustAnotherName
Posted 10 April 2006 at 12:08 pm

Armani, Conee, MyName,Quagmire and others I may have missed.

We know this is an excellent site. And many a "conversation" can take place due to differing opinions.

But know this: the original traps were not set for you but for one who is quite familiar with the message they wish to pounce upon; and they cannot win a battle or war but disgrace the SOURCE of that ones' replies. Nor can they receive satisfaction of a battle when that one refuses to post.


Haywood Jablome
Posted 10 April 2006 at 04:48 pm

I think we should resume the study of decapitation by asking the guys on death row to blink and look around after their head is cut off. It would be fun like the c4. And educational. Not too messy. And yea i agree that if someone is sentenced to death for murder, they should be murdered. Not by lethal injection. Unless of course they lethally injected the victim in the murder they committed. Decapitation or hanging sounds good to me.


debbiebf
Posted 10 April 2006 at 08:39 pm

I, for one, consider myself a Christian with a promise of an afterlife for everyone from a fair and loving God (fair not to be confused with giving everyone an easy life on earth).

If I were found guilty of murder (whether it was a just conviction or not), I would much prefer to be executed than to spend my life in solitary confinement or jail, truly a fate much worse than death. I believe God loves ALL his children and even sinners will be in a place better than earth when they die, although they will have to atone for their sins.

My point is that it is my faith in the after-life that makes death NOT a revenge or even punishment, but a just and fair sentence to certain crimes. Innocent or guilty, death is preferable to living in bondage in jail, so the fact that the jury may have made a mistake is a moot point.

Execution, by the way, DOES have a0% rescidivism rate.

How can we justify spending precious limited resources to keep an adult alive with free food, housing and medical care in order to be arguably "humane" while others, even children, on earth are starving? No, the murderer has had his chance on earth and we can let God deal with him as He sees fit, and reserve our limited resources to make better lives for others so they don't fall down the same path.

And speaking of hypocrisy, why would someone think it is wrong to execute a prisoner who has lied, cheated, raped and murdered, but think it is okay to kill an innocent baby in its mother's womb simply because it is inconvenient for the mother to be pregnant? Don't say the mother deserves freedom of choice, because it was her freedom of choice that got her pregnant. Two wrongs don't make a right. If killing prisoners is wrong, please don't try to justify killing babies.

As for pain, well, childbirth is painful, too. But you end up with a new life, just as death is a new life in heaven.

Just a thought.....


locstando
Posted 11 April 2006 at 12:33 am

I totally agree with the words above from debbief, if execution was good enough for God's only son Jesus it should be good enough for any of us. If it's in the bible its right, right?


locstando
Posted 11 April 2006 at 12:51 am

On the other hand... Many Christian's get their wires crossed which parts of the bible they wish to follow. It seems like many of them will turn to the laws laid out in the old testament (you know the Torah) when they feel retribution is nescessary. All the really sexy stuff happens there anyway. Its the Old Testament that gives us our wrathful god who is not afraid to smite entire peoples, plague enemies, flood the world, etc... All that stuff sure comes in handy when you disagree with some else's choices religeon, or lifestyle. But they frequently tend to forget that the Christ's message contravened all that. He came to offer a new comandment, treat others as you your self would be treated. He stood up to those followed the Old Testament and offered a new path, one of peace and caring, not hate. I feel so sorry for all the "Christians" in our country who have appropiated this wonderful message and twisited it to their own goals and desires.

Personally, I'm buddhist, but I study the teachings of all enlightened teachers. It just saddens me so much to see such hate from the followers of one so driven by love and acceptance.


Haywood Jablome
Posted 11 April 2006 at 07:05 am

I believe in evolution. They teach it in schools. I don't really believe in religion one reason is that it is the cause of most of this world's wars. And it's just a good way to live your life, that's what i love about this country, freedom of religion. Free to any religion you like or like me, no religion at all.


towerrat
Posted 11 April 2006 at 09:47 am

No religion here either my evolved primate brother, too controversial. The evils and horror and tragedy we live with in the world is lifes tests given by God??? Real nice fella. Whatever!!!!!!!What a crock.... those who kill need to be killed - period!!! Right to life, my ass. Capital Punishment is only fair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Haywood Jablome
Posted 11 April 2006 at 10:55 am

Right on bro. I feel ya. although I am open minded with all religions. I find them all fascinating in their own way. Some of them are funny, interesting, or even just plain boring. None of them seem to be worth killing people over. The only thing i have a hard time understanding is how can you just toss aside facts that have been proved and are now taught in schools. Religious people should take the next step and learn about the cosmos and how massive the universe is. I find it funny how incomplete the bible is.


orc_jr
Posted 11 April 2006 at 11:28 am

whether capital punishment is right will be debated for years to come and i don't feel fit to judge, but one thing seems unarguably clear to me; regardless of the what the punishment is for, the person to be executed is exactly that - a person - and as such deserves the minimal dignity of dying with the least pain feasible. i don't believe that just because they chose to ignore their victim's humanity we should do the same by cruelly torturing them. if we can't choose the higher path then we have no place administering punishment in the first place. to suggest we should intentionally cause pain is disgusting.


Stuart
Posted 11 April 2006 at 11:48 am

debbiebf said: "And speaking of hypocrisy, why would someone think it is wrong to execute a prisoner who has lied, cheated, raped and murdered, but think it is okay to kill an innocent baby in its mother's womb simply because it is inconvenient for the mother to be pregnant? Don't say the mother deserves freedom of choice, because it was her freedom of choice that got her pregnant. Two wrongs don't make a right. If killing prisoners is wrong, please don't try to justify killing babies.


As for pain, well, childbirth is painful, too. But you end up with a new life, just as death is a new life in heaven. "

I am in support of abortions but I don't try and justify killing babies. A foetus is not a baby. If that where a case then given the amount of pregnancies that terminate before the 1st month (about 80% from recollection) heaven must be full of blobs of non-descript cells saying "I'm innocent, what did I do wrong?Why didn't I get a chance to live?". Except they couldn't say anything cos they haven't formed mouths or lungs yet. And it would make your god a genocidal hypocrite.

Oh and if childbirth is really so amazingly painful then why do some people have several kids? What about those mothers with over a dozen kids? Surely everyone would just have one kid and then say "I'm not going through that again!". Instead we get to hear how wonderful the 'miracle' of childbirth is.


Haywood Jablome
Posted 11 April 2006 at 12:54 pm

Very well put Stuart. I couldn't agree more.


spac3m0nk3y
Posted 11 April 2006 at 01:54 pm

I'm not religious at all, but I believe that capital punishment is wrong. Why is that you say? For one, it makes you no better than the person that is condemned to begin with, two wrongs don't make a right. Second, how can you be absolutely sure the person is guilty? I hate to think about it, but I'm sure many innocent people have been falsely accused of a crime and then executed. That alone is not worth capital punishment. If we had a foolproof, 100% accurate lie detector, then capital punishment wouldn't be such an issue. Maybe this is why execution isn't used so much anymore? I don't know, but I tell ya, i would be very sick to learn an innocent man had been executed. I mean, everybody in prison is guilty right?


debbiebf
Posted 11 April 2006 at 07:43 pm

If we can only execute someone if we are "sure" he is guilty, and if he believes life in prison is worse than execution, than do we really have the right to punish them at all? Isn't that playing God as well? As for no pain, I live with severe pain every day. So what? Of COURSE you don't purposefully inflict pain, but let's not go nuts about this.

I think it is amusing that everyone judging women's childbirth pains are men! I have four children - enough said on that. But they each proved they were capable of learning in the womb, responding to the stimuli of my voice and other sounds and stresses. I don't believe a month old fetus has his spirit yet, but I know a 7 month old does. But it is still legal to kill them as long as the umbilical cord is not cut. So where do we draw the line? No simple answer, to be sure, but the pendulum needs to swing back to the life side.


Berkana
Posted 12 April 2006 at 01:28 am

Pardon the morbid conversation, but. . .

Digital said: "I forget where I read this (or maybe it was the History channel) but the guillotine wasn't always as quick as people would like. After a long day of head chops the blade would get dull and would sometimes take 3 or 4 drops of the blade to get things done. Now that has to be painful."

Not so, if I remember that episode correctly; an axe after a long day of chopping heads would be ineffective, but the guillotine was designed to do better. They also noted that the blade had a ~65 pound weight on top, that the thing fell about 18 feet before making the cut, and had the blade cut at an angle so that it would more effectively slice through vertibrae.

I would be very surprised if even a dull blade didn't cut someone's head off if it fell some 18 feet with a 65 pound weight on it, especially with an angled blade. Heck, a plain old slab of steel would probably cut a head clean off with that kind of momentum.


Ogre
Posted 12 April 2006 at 07:25 am

Look at it this way does it really matter that its humane or not. A person that commits murder, why should he or she be given a humane death. You think there victims gotten a humane death? Why do people care about the what murders feel. ACLU and Liberals need to go away....


Stuart
Posted 12 April 2006 at 10:19 am

Ogre said: "Look at it this way does it really matter that its humane or not. A person that commits murder, why should he or she be given a humane death. You think there victims gotten a humane death? Why do people care about the what murders feel. ACLU and Liberals need to go away…."

Normal people care about what any person is feeling because empathy is what seperates us from animals. I obviously didn't realise that conservatives/republicans aren't member of the same basic human community as normal right minded people but now that I think about it it makes sense to me. It explains how you can hold certain groups of people in such contempt that you come to the conclusion that they don't deserve basic human rights (homosexuals, muslims, marxists, anyone who threatens your precious little existence).

Also, why should we presume to know whether someone should be allowed to live or not? If a murderer decided that his/her victim did not deserve to live, it would not be accepted as a justification for their crime. So if one person is not allowed to decide on someones right to life why can a dozen or so jurors be given the choice?


Carcer
Posted 12 April 2006 at 10:37 am

Somebody brought up the idea of it being hypocritical to support "Choice", and yet condemn capital punishment. Well, I think I have to agree. Whether of not the fetus is a life or not yet, it is certain that it is going through a life process. The amorphus blob of cells that a fetus may be will, barring natural deficiencies, form a living breathing learning growing being. The same cannot be said of say a rock, or even an unfertilized egg. So if this is the case then the artificial termination of their life process is if not inhearently immoral, then I hope you would at least grant that it's morality is open for a possible, intellectual non-muddslinging or name-calling debate?

That being said, I will border on hypocracy here when I say that I am in favor of capital punishment. But hopefully, some of you will be able to follow along with my train of thought on it. I feel that those who should be subject to artificial termination of life are themselves responsible for the artificial termination of life. Even then there are degrees to which this must be metered out. Someone who kills in a blind unthinking rage of passion, they probably do not need to be terminated, provided they can be safely removed from society. Prison, exile, what have you. Someone who has killed in a calm, calculated and logical state of mind, who has shown no remorse, nor even culpability, they on the other hand should be executed simply because their life is a threat to the lives of others. This is why I feel Tookie's execution was justified. The man proudly caused the deaths of MANY people, law officers included, and showed little to no remorse, in fact he did nothing to dissuade other young african males from holding himself up as a martyr. His continued existance threatened the lives of not only those that his potential followers would murder, but the lives of those same followers when they engage in their battles for "respect" and "cred" from a world that is only going to reject them for those actions. Cops, my friends, shoot back, and well they should with irresponsible and reckless individuals such as these.


Carcer
Posted 12 April 2006 at 10:48 am

Jimminy Christmas! That was wordy. Sorry guys. I guess I went into auto-monolouge mode. I'll resume my normal cracking wise from here on in.

Unless this is well-received, then I'll debate all you want.


Haywood Jablome
Posted 12 April 2006 at 01:33 pm

The guys in the photo look like gangsters to me. Obviously the guy about to get decapitated didn't pay up.


Stuart
Posted 13 April 2006 at 07:20 am

I believe the reason Tookie was nominated for a Nobel peace prize is because he actively sought to prevent young people joining gangs. As for him being held as an icon in the gang community (although I'm not sure if he is) he may not have wanted this in the same way that I'm sure Che Guevara didn't want wealthy people in capitalist countries wearing his image on expensive t-shirts. I don't think it is hypocritical to be pro-choice and anti-capital punishment because as I've said I don't think a foetus is a human being. I think it is hypocritical to be pro-life and pro-capital punishment. How can you say we have no right to end one life (as you may see a foetus as being) and yet be able to end another. If someone is locked away for their entire life with no chance of parole they pose no threat to society and so do not need to be executed.


Carcer
Posted 13 April 2006 at 10:18 am

Stuart said: " I don't think it is hypocritical to be pro-choice and anti-capital punishment because as I've said I don't think a foetus is a human being. "

I'm sorry, and this is not meant in any negative way, but I just cannot wrap my head around this way of thinking. I'll grant you, it's not a human yet, but the blob is designed, by nature or God whichever you believe, to become a human. I know that my religious beliefs affect my thinking in this. I am not so naive as to thinking they don't, but I also don't think they make my obsevation exclusive to those of a religious persuasion.

As far as Tookie goes, I will admit to going on second hand information, and the possibility of said information's inaccuracy. However, I only used Tookie as an example, not proof. I still feel that the argument I made in that regard is sound. Having someone placed in prison for the rest of their lives does NOT remove the possibility of their influence. Tookie may have been the reformed man you say he was, but others are not, and they may take the opportunity to influence others. Notice I did say that capital punishment should be restricted to those individuals who are truly irredeamable by all reasonable methods.


Carcer
Posted 13 April 2006 at 10:33 am

Stuart said: "How can you say we have no right to end one life (as you may see a foetus as being) and yet be able to end another?"

I noticed my response did not clearly answer your last question, so here it is.

I believe that any person responsible for the termination of anothers life has commited a crime against nature, or God as I mentioned above. But that by itself is not sufficient cause to end their life. The qualifying factor in my estimation is the intent to do so again. What I mean is that it takes someone who does NOT value life as much as the rest of society to intend to kill again. These people are a threat to society, and as such their ability to affect society should be removed, permanently. Yes, this does mean that some lives are worth more than others. Yes, this is a judgement. Yes, this is enacting punishment based on said judgement. That being said, the thought of not passing judgement is a fantasy. The concern I have is how do we as a society ensure that the judgement is passed based on the actions and intent of the individual, and on any other factors. This requires a dedication to the service of the society that unfortunately few if any people, myself absolutely included simply do not have.


sierra_club_sux
Posted 13 April 2006 at 10:49 am

Stuart, you my friend have posted a mass of lunatic rantings.

I don't see the issue with killing violent convicts. It's not like the government hands out lethal injections for tax evasion. Only the most violent criminals are eligible for the death penalty. I guess a good alternative would be cease utilizing the death penalty and let those responsible for it's (death penalty) abolition contend with the long-term care of individuals like Timothy McVeigh. Punishment goes hand-in-hand with justice. If punishment was meant to be pleasant it would have a different name.


Stuart
Posted 13 April 2006 at 11:48 am

For all you know sierra I may have serious learning difficulties and could be classed as a lunatic. You are discriminating against people of deranged mental ability. One last point on this issue though (I'm fed up arguing), it seems as though capital punishment has been more prevelant in the past and is only widely used today in countries which would be classed as under-developed, both economically and in terms of human rights. In countries which would be classed as modern thinking, capital punishment is all but gone, replaced by jail sentences (except ofcourse america-catch up guys). So hopefully if these trends continue, in few thousand years capital punishment will be a thing of the past and noone will have to spend time debating it in online forums.


Carcer
Posted 13 April 2006 at 01:51 pm

Well, since Stuart has already decided that his opinion is the only one that matters, and that any opposing viewpoint is archaic and not worth his time. (Which actually means that he is admitting defeat while trying to leave on a high note.) Does anybody else want to take up his side? I am enjoying this thread, and I still feel that there is plenty of room for discussion.


myname
Posted 14 April 2006 at 12:59 pm

JustAnotherName said: "Armani, Conee, MyName,Quagmire and others I may have missed.


We know this is an excellent site. And many a "conversation" can take place due to differing opinions. But know this: the original traps were not set for you but for one who is quite familiar with the message they wish to pounce upon; and they cannot win a battle or war but disgrace the SOURCE of that ones' replies. Nor can they receive satisfaction of a battle when that one refuses to post."

Pardon? So are you saying im replying to statements that were not aimed at me and therefor out of context???

Anyway, as for the "death is a mercifull release" rational thats going around , its all well and good..for you. But to use it as the ultimate form of punishment and justify said useage on that bases alone is pure projection. Not every shares the same faith, or any faith at all for that matter, so how can capital punishment be justifyed on its christian merits?


just_dave
Posted 14 April 2006 at 01:18 pm

Regarding the subject of criminals should feel pain, IMHO there's no greater punishment than to stop one's existance. Pain or no pain, the punishment of ceasing to exist is greater than any pain in the world.

I don't know that this is true in every case. Every now & then you hear of a defendant pushing for his own death; there is a guy on Death Row in my home state that has called off his defense attorneys and wants the execution to proceed. Another excellent example is Zacharias Moussaoui; he's hoping for the death penalty so that he can claim martyrdom (and the requisite number of virgins in the afterlife.) For him, I think the worst punishment (and perhaps even more fitting than the death penalty) would be to let him rot in prison and die a decrepid old man.


debbiebf
Posted 15 April 2006 at 10:39 am

I agree with just_dave. To asssume that since not everyone is Christian, and therefore Christian's are wrong about an afterlife, so no one should be executed is somewhat self-serving. Christians are not the only ones that believe in an afterlife.

Perhaps we should take an individual's feelings towards this into account when we decide his "punishment". I don't believe in punishment as a vengeful act, even for children. I believe punishment is to teach the offender to shape up or to limit his ability to offend again, whichever is appropriate to the offender. If Moussaoui wants to die, it would be vengeful to keep him alive. At the risk of asking a stupid question, what makes killing "wrong" anyway?

Getting back to the thread, the beefeaters in the Tower of London tell the story of how when Anne Boleyn was beheaded, which was with a quick, clean, single, blow, she looked around at the crowd in bewilderment and continued praying for several minutes. Proof to some that she truly was a witch as charged!

BTW, I appreciate being able to listen to rational responses rather than silly rhetoric to some controversial topics.


macaronias
Posted 15 April 2006 at 09:18 pm

Maybe we could train dogs with explosives strapped to them to go up

and lick convicts face which causes explosion and quick death

i don't think ic3dogsp would like that though.

poor doggies

p.s. how do you type sarcasm?


sierra_club_sux
Posted 26 April 2006 at 08:53 am

Let's just give the criminals some methamphetamines to keep them alert and send them through a shredder up to their thighs. Then they can live in regret.


fidget
Posted 28 April 2006 at 08:16 pm

Well now! Can you imagine the horror of having your head taken from your body - No? Nor can I, and thank God/Alah/Bush/Blair I live in a society where I can ignore the brutality that goes on elsewhere in the world. Or can I?


sulkykid
Posted 10 May 2006 at 12:10 pm

jbloggs2002 said: "It's interesting that the US is the only Western country to still have the death penalty, and yet has the highest violent crime rate. Hardly seems like the deterrent is working - seems more like the most religious Western nation is also the most brutal and inhumane.


I also second the post about the Mary Roach book - excellent!"

(Sorry for the late post on this.) I am surprised that jbloggs2002 was not taken to task over this comment.

First of all, cite some acceptable sources, please. Especially on that "highest violent crime rate" part.

"Western" is a vague term. Which countries are "Western"? I suspect that "Western" is meant to connotate "superior" or "civilized" in some unspoken way. What difference at all would being "Western" (whatever the meaning) have in the general capital punishment debate?

Secondly, there are numerous "Western" countries with capital punishment, the U.S., Guatemala, some other South American, and several Carribean nations. Not to mention many non-"Western" African, Asian, and Middle Eastern countries.

Also, measurements of violent crime is problematical in many countries. Crimes are reported differently and statistics are recorded differently from country to country. Do you really think that the rate of rape is significantly lower in Mexico than in the U.S.? Also, why bring all violent crime into the discussion, when the death penalty is not a legal punishment for robbery, rape, etc.?

And who says we are the "most religious Western nation"? And how is "religious" defined?


cptchris
Posted 13 May 2006 at 12:23 pm

I recall UPenn doing a biofeedback study a few years back where they performed EEG's on folks performing various tasks. They then generated music for the patterns formed from the brain waves and used them to help people control hypertension and the like....now, here's my scary part; The next time someone needs to be decapitated, perform an EEG on them at the moment of truth, then makes music from it, or maybe even now they are able to make a more concise mental image from the signals...I wonder what that music would sound like. My idea of this stems from the throws of some magnificent drugs as a young impressionable man....I felt is you made music from the EEG signals of people having sex, or riding a rollercoaster, you could illicit sexual arousal or tremendous excitement....it was my idea before them!! REALLY it was....the eggheads stole it they did....I've gotten over it, but it seems that idea has another use I never considered. Have a nice day everyone.


hero_saku39
Posted 21 May 2006 at 10:13 pm

The pain is trivial. How much does a lethal injection cost? More than droping a giant razor blade on someones neck. Someone mentioned how violent the US is. It has nothing to do with religion (very little anyway). It's as simple as our government trying to force several races together that don't want to intergrate and most of us just don't like eachother. We can't devide the nation into four or five new nations so why not bring back public execution. Do away with life inprisoment too. Two effects. Lower crime rate. Lower tax expense for the hemorrhaging leaks in society we call inmates. Sorry for jumping around there, but, to the point.......why do we spend such enourmous amounts of resources "raising" society's weak link. If a person will never get out of prison, they are no longer an asset to society. Why do we keep them around? If a person keeps going to prison for "less serious" crimes, why do we beleive they will straighten up?

I see a lot of people crying about....."it's just mean to end someones life, what right do you have"........You are the ones that whine about your lives and never do anything about them. You are the people that become victims. You are the ones that shared your toys like mommy told you when the other kids took them from you. You are the ones that didn't fight back in school because you'd get kicked out too. You are the ones that let your children walk all over you because you don't want to discipline them. You are the ones that are affraid to demand that your boss treat you like you deserve. You are the ones that stand by and cry "don't hurt me" while 3 or 4 guys take control of a plane with 150 people on it and let them fly it into a building without a strugle.

Criminals are a little different. They figured out a long time ago that modern societys create victims and they are easy to exploit (the government has too but that is for a different thread).They have very little to fear because law abiding citizens would not be likely to fight back, and if they do even less likely will they have a gun. They also know that since most Americans' vaginas hurt when they have to consider whether a person should die, they have a very small chance of being executed, and no chance of being executed in a fasion that may allow them to veiw their own body (12 feet away) for 15-20 seconds.

Some friendly advice for all you victims. Go learn some Jiu Jitsu and/or Muay Thai and empower yourselves.

Before anyone accusses me of playing God, I have the distinct advantage of knowing that there is not god.

On a lighter note, and 80% reduction of the human population is the best thing that could happen for our survival on this planet. So why are we woried about a few criminals?


iRsobuCk
Posted 28 May 2006 at 11:43 am

hero_saku39 said: "The pain is trivial. How much does a lethal injection cost? More than droping a giant razor blade on someones neck. Someone mentioned how violent the US is. It has nothing to do with religion (very little anyway). It's as simple as our government trying to force several races together that don't want to intergrate and most of us just don't like eachother. We can't devide the nation into four or five new nations so why not bring back public execution. Do away with life inprisoment too. Two effects. Lower crime rate. Lower tax expense for the hemorrhaging leaks in society we call inmates. Sorry for jumping around there, but, to the point…….why do we spend such enourmous amounts of resources "raising" society's weak link. If a person will never get out of prison, they are no longer an asset to society. Why do we keep them around? If a person keeps going to prison for "less serious" crimes, why do we beleive they will straighten up?

I see a lot of people crying about….."it's just mean to end someones life, what right do you have"……..You are the ones that whine about your lives and never do anything about them. You are the people that become victims. You are the ones that shared your toys like mommy told you when the other kids took them from you. You are the ones that didn't fight back in school because you'd get kicked out too. You are the ones that let your children walk all over you because you don't want to discipline them. You are the ones that are affraid to demand that your boss treat you like you deserve. You are the ones that stand by and cry "don't hurt me" while 3 or 4 guys take control of a plane with 150 people on it and let them fly it into a building without a strugle.

Criminals are a little different. They figured out a long time ago that modern societys create victims and they are easy to exploit (the government has too but that is for a different thread).They have very little to fear because law abiding citizens would not be likely to fight back, and if they do even less likely will they have a gun. They also know that since most Americans' vaginas hurt when they have to consider whether a person should die, they have a very small chance of being executed, and no chance of being executed in a fasion that may allow them to veiw their own body (12 feet away) for 15-20 seconds.

Some friendly advice for all you victims. Go learn some Jiu Jitsu and/or Muay Thai and empower yourselves.

Before anyone accusses me of playing God, I have the distinct advantage of knowing that there is not god.

On a lighter note, and 80% reduction of the human population is the best thing that could happen for our survival on this planet. So why are we woried about a few criminals?"

I never knew I would see someone have the same ideas as I. The human world has become so tame and stupid that they cannot fend for themselves. And religion? Bah, both that and politics do not accomplish anything.


i_love_nukes
Posted 07 June 2006 at 05:49 pm

I agree with hero_saku39 and iRsobuCk. We should execute all the worthless fools that don't care about their life. If they keep commiting crimes and going to prison, we should atleast save thousands of dollars that would be used for taking care of the bastard and put him in a guillotine. He should have his eyes open so he can see the blade coming down on to his neck. If he ever does stay alive, his head should be lifted so the dismembered part can see the rest of itself. On another note, this country's government(USA), and those loser, attention whore bastards called Baptists just keep on bitching and whining saying that execution is "against god". They probably don't even know a single person that is in prison or on death row. And another note. Why are we spending thousands, sometimes millions of dollars taking care of some delinquint on death row. If he has done a "horrible crime that isn't even mentionable" and is sentenced to death, he shouldn't have to wait 20-40 years to be executed. Once he gets into prison, KILL HIM. If not for society for the prisoner. Wouldn't you want to be killed right away instead of waiting years, knowing the exact date of your death and knowing you can't do much because you're in a prison. Another point, we should make the death penalty legal again and we should bring back public executions. We should chop heads, burn people at the stake, hang 'em at the gallows and so forth. Until then, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!


curious
Posted 06 July 2006 at 07:58 pm

***I AM VERY LATE, BUT WOULD LIKE TO VOICE MY OPINION HERE***

i strongly agree with many of the opinions people have shared here, but i have 2 things to say that only a form of parent will understand to the maximum. #1: i am a mother, but i am not the mother of child that has been hurt or killed by a criminal, therefore i cannot say if i would be for or against capital punishment if it were my child. #2: i am a mother, but i am not the mother of a man or woman being put to death for his or her crimes, therefore i cannot say if i would be for or against capital punishment if it were my child. those are the people that should be making the decisions on this matter, and it should be done per crime by the families of the criminals and victims involved in each particular crime. this subject of debate is one that has been here since forever and will be here forever more because there is no answer you can come to that will please you morally, religiously, and justly all at the same time. though there is no right answer, there are many wrong answers. it all depends on how the answer is brought forth. did the answer come from vengeance, cruelty, or some sick place in some sick persons mind (the kind of person that would just like to blow peoples heads up because it would be fun)? if it came from someplace like this then i would say the answer is wrong. but, the debate of this subject leads to its very own version of the chaos theory.


ChickenHead
Posted 14 July 2006 at 03:54 pm

curious said: "***I AM VERY LATE, BUT WOULD LIKE TO VOICE MY OPINION HERE***

i strongly agree with many of the opinions people have shared here, but i have 2 things to say that only a form of parent will understand to the maximum. #1: i am a mother, but i am not the mother of child that has been hurt or killed by a criminal, therefore i cannot say if i would be for or against capital punishment if it were my child. #2: i am a mother, but i am not the mother of a man or woman being put to death for his or her crimes, therefore i cannot say if i would be for or against capital punishment if it were my child. those are the people that should be making the decisions on this matter, and it should be done per crime by the families of the criminals and victims involved in each particular crime.

Alrighty, it sounds like you are of the view "let those who are directly wronged (or otherwise involved) be the dealers of the punishment". It's a common view regarding this topic as others above have pointed out including the details about Saudi capital punishment.

curious said: "this subject of debate is one that has been here since forever and will be here forever more because there is no answer you can come to that will please you morally, religiously, and justly all at the same time. though there is no right answer, there are many wrong answers. it all depends on how the answer is brought forth. did the answer come from vengeance, cruelty, or some sick place in some sick persons mind (the kind of person that would just like to blow peoples heads up because it would be fun)? if it came from someplace like this then i would say the answer is wrong. but, the debate of this subject leads to its very own version of the chaos theory."

If it is a form of vengence, then it is wrong?

Fair enough to say, that's how many view capital punishment.

But here's the problem - that's exactly what you described in the beginning of your message. Allowing those who are directly wronged be be the choosers of the punishment *is* vengence (when they choose a harsh punishment).

The purpose of a societal level of capital punishment (imposed by elected agents of justice - judges and jurries) is to remove as much of the vengence from the punishment and inject as much deterence to the rest of society as is possible. As has been pointed out numerous times - the effectiveness of this (particularly in the USA) is highly questionable. Yet, that is the intended goal regardless of its obtainment.


CosmicFS
Posted 29 July 2006 at 12:55 pm

I beg to differ, Carls3rg:

Carlsb3rg said: "What happened to Nick Berg is different than the traditional Islamic beheading. Berg's head was 'cut off' with a Knife. An Islamic beheading happens with one sword strike, which is similar to the french beheading. Islam claims that the beheading (sword strike) ends one's life painlessly and immediately.

The only country that follows the beheading execution(as far as I know) is Saudia Arabia, which follows the Islamic sword beheading. Nevertheless, if it's really immediate and painful, it is still cruel and sick, and should not be used. Some information on beheadings in Saudia Arabia:

-A person is beheaded only in the crime of taking another life.

-The victim's(killed person) family and the person to be executed's family are present during the execution. The victim's family has right to stop the execution, while the other family tries(if they wish) to beg for mercy. Sometimes the victim's family stops the execution at the final moments when the sword is about to strike. You could imagine the fear the about to be executed person feels at that moments and probably for the rest of his life."

When I visited Riyadh in the early 90's, an Afghani and a Pakistani were both beheaded for bringing drugs into the country. The grand mosque was under construction when we arrived, so they performed it out in the parking lot (hot!). A Sudanese swordsman is the one that performs the "bebodying" (why should we call it beheading?) and he places several swords on the hood of his Chevy Blazer before he begins.

The two men were shuffled to the center of the ring of rubber-neckers and made to kneel (their hands were tied behind their backs and they were blindfolded). A bunch of arabic is squirted out of a loudspeaker and everyone drops to their knees to pray (we felt weird being maybe just 4 or 5 non-muslims standing in a ring of around 1,000.

Then more arabic, and we feel hands on our backs, pushing us to the inside of the ring. The Saudis want westerners to see their brand of 'justice'. The Sudanese man pushes their heads down repeatedly until it remains down for the fraction of a second needed for him to whack him with the sword. The head is not entirely cut off, it's still connected by a flap of flesh/skin.

When he finished with both, he wiped off his sword from the shirt-tails of one of the dead. He cheerily shakes hands with some of the Saudis. We felt queasy for a couple of days later-- it just didn't look like the Hollywood means of death.

I wonder what this Sudanese prick knows about people's faces after he makes his cut?

Just a footnote about women's executions: the woman is stoned by other women until she falls to the ground stunned. A bulldozer rumbles up to her body and dumps a huge load of gravel on top of her, killing her. This method is used so her face is never uncovered.

Funny how you'll never see a tour poster of Saudi Arabia.


njg
Posted 19 October 2006 at 10:21 pm

I am sorry but I read all the comments and it is really bothersome how people are so revengeful. I am a christian and we learn from the Bible that he handles our revenge. We are to forgive and leave that to God to handle. Yes, I know it hurts when someone wrongs you but MAKING TWO WRONGS DOESN'T MAKE A RIGHT. It makes it worse and keeps it continuing. This article is interesting cause it makes you wonder if a person is able to think afterwards. We will never know. Hopefully crazy scientist that have to know won't continue beheading animals to get an answer. But it is hard to forgive and forget but having faith helps. You know there is a better place out there for the ones who believed and died. I pity the ones who aren't christians. It only takes these words to save yourself, "I believe in you God, I understand you died for our sins so we could live an everlasting life with you later, please come into my heart and help me". Good luck and God bless you. Now your job is to tell others about Christ and try to save someone else.


Iss
Posted 28 October 2006 at 04:32 am

I am not really bothered by the execution of criminals, since I live in a country that does not practise capital punishment and since I have no real intention of commiting a crime.

What does bother me though, is the appeareant thougtless bloodlust of so many on these forums. Basing your opinion of crime and punishment on a purely personal and highly subjective feeling of right and wrong is an ineffective thing.
I'll not go into the details of underprivileged groups, mental disorders, circumstances, differences in opinion and the possibility of changes in personality that can develop given time and help. We have long since discussed to death all those things which turns a black-and-white, right-or-wrong argument into an enourmous amount of shades of grey.
What really should be considered is what can be done to actually reduce crime over a long perspective, or at least to choose the kind of crimes we want committed. Any objective analysis will tell us that capital punishment and imprisonment is expensive and ineffectual, and seriously biased towards certain groups of people. The brits used to send their convicts into exile or into the navy, which gave us Australia. Make of that what you want...
In short I want to say that taking a vengeful approach will only further alienate those for whom committing a crime is a very real possibility, and make it so much easier for them to take that step into criminality.

Setting aside all attempts at objective analysis I will contribute my very personal view of the matter. Which is best done in a quote. "The only thing uglier than wickedness revealed is the righteous face of virtue triumphant."
Or something to that effect.


Tink
Posted 13 November 2006 at 02:44 am

I have no opinion on the right or wrong of the death penalty that I wish to share and I can not quote all the revelant comments here, but would like to tell a little secret from a R.N.PMT, with those who think that lethal injection is a peaceful and relativly painless death.

Three chemicals are used.
The first is supposed to put the person to sleep.
The second paralyzes the body, including the lungs.
The third posions and stops the heart.

If the Doctor/Technician knows what he is doing, and the crime was particurly henious, then the second drug can be administered about 10 seconds before the third and then followed by the drug that should have been first.
(Yes, yes I know about the "failsafes" but this Can and has Been Done.)

The condemed would then be fully concious and aware that he could not breath, move, or cry out, while feeling the pain of the posions rushing through his veins and stopping his heart, seconds before going under the sedation. Though of course at this point, adrenalin would probably disarm the seditive and he would basicaly die then fully aware, from lack of oxygen and ceastation of heartbeat.

Sweet, huh?


emerald
Posted 07 January 2007 at 04:36 pm

First, I'd like to say that the following is merely my thoughts and feeling on the subject of capital punishment, and I don't believe any other opinions are wrong as there are certainly valid points in each.

I don't believe in taking another's life for any reason, and I feel fortunate my country does not practice capital punishment. I simply do not want to be associated in any way with taking another's life.

Jail sentences, executions, ect. are meant as punishment/consequences of a crime as well as a detterent, and in some cases a means to protect the population from the offender. All of those are functions of sentences handed down by judge and jury, but as many have pointed out they are costly to taxpayers, and given the choice between life in prison and the death penalty, the latter is much less costly to the taxpayers.

So what is the real problem then? Noone feels they should have to pay for the wrongdoings of others. I certainly don't, but I also object to the alternative. To address the cost associated with long prison terms, I suggest putting the prisoners to work for the state to pay for their incarceration, and likely make the state money. There would be no inhumane treatment of the inmates, and they would not be a drain on society.
This would even pay for monitoring of those released after having been convicted of particularly violent crimes, or those at risk to reoffend. Just a thought I had.


helmett
Posted 08 May 2007 at 03:11 pm

Tookie Williams regardless of repentance and reform was sentenced and executed for this:

"Once inside the storage room, Williams, at gunpoint, ordered Owens to "lay down, mother f*****." Williams then chambered a round into the shotgun. Williams then fired the round into the security monitor. Williams then chambered a second round and fired the round into Owens' back as he lay face down on the floor of the storage room. Williams then fired again into Owens' back. (TT 2162)."

His reasoning for murdering a helpless man on his face:

"When Sims asked Williams why he shot Owens, Williams said he "didn't want to leave any witnesses." Williams also said he killed Owens "because he was white and he was killing all white people." (TT 2189, 2193).'

Heck of a guy, really. It seems the courts agreed that he forfeited his right to life when he denied Mr. Owen's his. At least they were willing to make him responsible for his acti0ns unlike so many who would blame society or some outside source.


Beautiful Confusion
Posted 17 August 2007 at 03:11 pm

I am a spriritual person although I am not religious. (I don't believe that there is a right or wrong way to worship God) But if people are going to bring Christianity into the argument of the death penalty then my answer is always the same: Read the laws of Moses- and eye for an eye, and this means a life for a life. Maybe a person that killed one person could just get life in prison and possibly that person can be reformed but someone that has murdered many people should without question be put to death. it's not fair for the victim's families to allow them to live.

I believe that this will always be a hot topic of debate because we can't please everyone and their beliefs. I believe someone before me said that same thing way better.
Maybe we should leave the punishment up to the families of the victims, see what they think is fair (as long as it removes that person from society in one form or another). laws are set in place to protect people from being wronged so it makes sense that the people wronged would determine the punishment. I'm sure there are a lot of flaws with that way of thinking, but it's something to consider since everyone's belief systems are different.


Voodooshizzle
Posted 21 November 2007 at 05:51 pm

Seems pretty logical that at least some people may maintain some awareness after losing the body. And I just hope that that person was indeed a scumbag and deserved such a punishment.


kweeket
Posted 07 December 2007 at 08:32 pm

hero_saku39 said: "I see a lot of people crying about….."it's just mean to end someones life, what right do you have"……You are the people that become victims. You are the ones that shared your toys like mommy told you when the other kids took them from you. You are the ones that didn't fight back in school because you'd get kicked out too. You are the ones that let your children walk all over you because you don't want to discipline them. You are the ones that stand by and cry "don't hurt me" while 3 or 4 guys take control of a plane with 150 people on it and let them fly it into a building without a strugle."

An ad hominem attack is a pretty poor rationale for executing people. Your argument is basically, "Everyone who thinks capital punishment is wrong are victims. Those against capital punishment get beat up as children and were responsible for the 9-11 attack." Doesn't that sound slightly ridiculous?

I'm also seeing a lot of people who justify the death penalty by claiming it will reduce crime by acting as a deterrent. Several studies have been done to see if that is the case, but it seems like either the crime rate is unaffected by instituting capital punishment, or it rises slightly. Another justification for the death penalty is the "closure" the family of the victims will supposedly experience once the criminal has been executed, but I didn't find much information on this. I wonder if they do feel much better? I would be interested in knowing if it really helps, or if they just hope it helps. Orson Scott Card wrote a great short story on this topic, called "Closure" if I remember correctly, in which the criminal was sent to the victim's family so that they could kill him however they liked.

So basically, killing criminals doesn't make the country safer, but doling out revenge might (might) make people feel better. I'm ignoring the Christians' appeal to the Old Testament, because Jesus was pretty clear that the New Testament's message of forgiveness and empathy trumps the "eye for an eye" mentality based on the Code of Hammurabi.


AJ1952Chats
Posted 05 April 2008 at 12:23 pm

Coneee said: "You guys are disgusting. I realise I'm arguing with Americans (and 60% of you support state executions), but I still feel that I should stand up against you lot. Some choice quotes:

"I think we should bring back public hangings."

"I say we make a headband of C4 and off criminals that way. Messy but quick…and fun too!"

"why is everyone so upset about decapitation? Where were the victims "rights" when the crime was committed? An eye for an eye and pain for pain."

You're not talking about the death penalty as a "deterrent", you're talking about revenge. The fact is that there's no proof the death penalty is even effective as a deterrent when compared to other non-lethal punishments. Also, innocent people have been executed many times in the histories of countries that have the death penalty and it violates the human right to life.

Damn Interesting is a brilliant website, but I think a little more moderation of the comments is in order. I don't want to read the written masturbation of blood-lusting idiots on DI again."

I'm in the 40% and proud of it--and for those who say that I wouldn't feel that way if I had somebody near and dear to me killed, I have. September 12, 1978 is when I was sitting on the floor of the family room making arts and crafts for the upcoming church bazaar and thinking that I wanted to be sure to let Roberto know about it only to have the news come on that he had been shot to death a few hours before while waiting for a light to change. Almost 30 years later, I still remember his phone number and often wish I could call it and have him pick up.


AJ1952Chats
Posted 05 April 2008 at 12:27 pm

debbiebf said: "I agree with just_dave. To asssume that since not everyone is Christian, and therefore Christian's are wrong about an afterlife, so no one should be executed is somewhat self-serving. Christians are not the only ones that believe in an afterlife.

Perhaps we should take an individual's feelings towards this into account when we decide his "punishment". I don't believe in punishment as a vengeful act, even for children. I believe punishment is to teach the offender to shape up or to limit his ability to offend again, whichever is appropriate to the offender. If Moussaoui wants to die, it would be vengeful to keep him alive. At the risk of asking a stupid question, what makes killing "wrong" anyway?

Getting back to the thread, the beefeaters in the Tower of London tell the story of how when Anne Boleyn was beheaded, which was with a quick, clean, single, blow, she looked around at the crowd in bewilderment and continued praying for several minutes. Proof to some that she truly was a witch as charged!

BTW, I appreciate being able to listen to rational responses rather than silly rhetoric to some controversial topics."

I had no idea that Anne Boleyn was a witch, but I can certainly believe that her husband had to be among the WORST when it came to being good husband material!


AJ1952Chats
Posted 05 April 2008 at 12:30 pm

CosmicFS said: "I beg to differ, Carls3rg:

When I visited Riyadh in the early 90's, an Afghani and a Pakistani were both beheaded for bringing drugs into the country. The grand mosque was under construction when we arrived, so they performed it out in the parking lot (hot!). A Sudanese swordsman is the one that performs the "bebodying" (why should we call it beheading?) and he places several swords on the hood of his Chevy Blazer before he begins.

The two men were shuffled to the center of the ring of rubber-neckers and made to kneel (their hands were tied behind their backs and they were blindfolded). A bunch of arabic is squirted out of a loudspeaker and everyone drops to their knees to pray (we felt weird being maybe just 4 or 5 non-muslims standing in a ring of around 1,000.

Then more arabic, and we feel hands on our backs, pushing us to the inside of the ring. The Saudis want westerners to see their brand of 'justice'. The Sudanese man pushes their heads down repeatedly until it remains down for the fraction of a second needed for him to whack him with the sword. The head is not entirely cut off, it's still connected by a flap of flesh/skin.

When he finished with both, he wiped off his sword from the shirt-tails of one of the dead. He cheerily shakes hands with some of the Saudis. We felt queasy for a couple of days later– it just didn't look like the Hollywood means of death.

I wonder what this Sudanese prick knows about people's faces after he makes his cut?

Just a footnote about women's executions: the woman is stoned by other women until she falls to the ground stunned. A bulldozer rumbles up to her body and dumps a huge load of gravel on top of her, killing her. This method is used so her face is never uncovered.

Funny how you'll never see a tour poster of Saudi Arabia."

Definitely not a country high on my list of tourism possibilities.


Rachelita
Posted 12 June 2008 at 10:48 am

Coneee said: "

Damn Interesting is a brilliant website, but I think a little more moderation of the comments is in order. I don't want to read the written masturbation of blood-lusting idiots on DI again."

Then don't read the comments... simple solution for you.


Lisette
Posted 09 July 2008 at 01:22 am

Oh dear, this is terrible!
Seen a chicken flapping about after its head has been chopped off?
This would be a million times worse!


Jade E.
Posted 09 July 2008 at 04:57 am

I could be wrong, but I was always under the impression that 'an eye for an eye' was a call for leniency, as the standard punishment if you put out someone's eye at the time was death.


Redneck Beauty
Posted 09 July 2008 at 09:01 am

mrjondoe said: "i dont understand why people assume the death penalty must be painless. the point of the death penalty is to punish someone by killing them, and it was originally painful intentionally. if someone did something bad enough to be given the death sentence, i think it merits feeling some pain as well. thats the point of a punishment is it not?"

I agree. Another thing is the sterilization of needles. Who cares if they get HIV when they're dead?! Why should their death be humane when they're most likely on death row for the inhumane killing of someone else?


pappyl
Posted 09 July 2008 at 09:47 am

I didn't like reading this story - reminding me too much of my mortality. In the end we are all heads on a plate.
What face will you make in the end? I'd like to think mine will be peaceful.


Radiatidon
Posted 09 July 2008 at 10:17 am

The phrase “eye for an eye, tooth for an tooth” originates in Exodus 21:24. The translated verse is misinterpreted as it is written. What you have done to me, I can return the favor to you. Otherwise poke out my eye, I get to poke out yours, or kill one of my kin, and I get to kill one of yours.

Of course taken in this manner, rather than punishment for a crime we have revenge. You can see how individual revenge can get out of hand due to the verbal understanding.

Now if the meaning is taken from the original language’s syntax, which is Hebrew, it is Oral Law that means monetary compensation must be paid. This includes indentured servitude. Thus a judge would decide what your eye is worth and the offending party must pay you that cost. In the case of murder, you become the servant, for life unless the offended party grants you leniency before then. Your new master(s) could rent you out to others. In this way, if you killed a husband/father, you replaced them as the wage earner for the family.

In the case of serial or multiple murders, all your worth would be divided between those you have wronged. You would then be sentenced to hard labor for the rest of your life. Anything you earned during that time would cover your jailers, food, and clothing. Anything left over would be divided among those you had wronged and paid out weekly. A death sentence really since many would perish within a year or so due to the harsh working conditions. Basically many would rather die than live that way. So suicide was prevalent, be it taking your own life, or attempting an escape that usually resulted in death.

The Don


reachenovergrabben
Posted 09 July 2008 at 11:59 am

DI! Creepy, indeed.

Don, you are fascinating. I look forward to your comments nearly as much as a new DI. What I wouldn't give to pick your brain for a week.


justjim
Posted 09 July 2008 at 12:38 pm

Quite nothing to lose one's head over... now is it?


Stead311
Posted 09 July 2008 at 12:48 pm

Remember Anne Boleyn.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 09 July 2008 at 03:39 pm

As cruel as the punishment is, I believe at least some people were detered from crime knowing the chopping block awaited those who were caught transgressing. The punishment remains a quick option to be done with habitual offenders, a shame this practice and public executions are no longer employeed... If only one potential murderer was detered by viewing or knowing the block was their fate if caught, I'd say it is worth it. We have so much violence in our society as it is, why not make a gruesome spectacle of our most despicable, that is closer to justice than housing them in Super Max prisons at our expence. We, the people, paying to feed these slugs of society year after year is cruel, gruesome and unjust; not a quick televised execution to serve as a warning to those who dont abide with self restraint and the Law. The punishment in which takes life is not really aimed at the offender; to society, that criminal is already dead, but to help steer people from crime and give law abiding citizens a sence that justice has been carried out. Our criminals seem to have more rights and privledges than we do in certain areas of our lives. Most get fed, clothed and are provide room without having even worked a day? What is that concept about?? Violation of rights? What?!!! With one percent of our people in jail, I know it is time to put them to work and let the baddest of the bad meet their maker.
Let the media show us dirty, tired criminals going back to the cell after having worked all day and show us criminals getting executed, portray that every day and see how popular being a hoodie, criminal or gangsta becomes in the land that I love...


Radiatidon
Posted 09 July 2008 at 04:20 pm

reachenovergrabben said: "DI! Creepy, indeed.

Don, you are fascinating. I look forward to your comments nearly as much as a new DI. What I wouldn't give to pick your brain for a week."

Now why would you want to converse with a slightly demented yank like me? I usually babble incoherently and converse with people no one else can see. ;)

Say, if you’re the reachenovergrabben on Choppercycle, that was one fine orange-cream ride you had there, very nice, very sweet to the eye. Did you customize that ’68? If so, fine talent in your hand, good eye for detail.

The Don


hello
Posted 09 July 2008 at 07:37 pm

Who are these people discussing what punishment is and how it should be? What makes anybody who has a PC and who is able to type a thinker and a knowledgeable person on a subject such as this, writing about people's lives? Where does this arrogance come from which makes an idiot think that he has something to write that is worth reading?

the article was an interesting read but most of the comments makes one wonder if the head is any better on a body!

thinking that you have a right over somebodies life, even if it's a criminal's, would put you in the same place as the criminal you think that you have a right to punish. To draw a difference between you and what you call a criminal you have to be more careful with how you think.
if that's what you wanna do, that is, reading how passionate you are about punishing


oldmancoyote
Posted 09 July 2008 at 08:12 pm

The guillotine was indeed a cruel form of execution. It would sometimes take several falls of the blade to fully behead someone. The blades were not made of our nice modern steels that can stay sharp for long periods. The steel was fairly soft and while chopping through bone it would dull rapidly,flattening out and making a rough jagged edge. If you were rich, your family could pay to have the blade sharpened (about the only time it would be sharpened). If you didn't have that kind of money you payed to be executed right after the rich guy that could afford to have it sharpened.

After spending a lot of years (and a lot of money) on a college education in criminal justice, I have learned that punishment (all forms of it) are intended to serve two purposes: 1) Deter crime. If you don't like the punishment, don't do the crime. In order for punishment to serve as an effective deterrant it must be a) swift and b) sure. Capital punishment in the US is niether and as such it does not serve as an effective deterrant. 2) Retribution. Yes, I said it, RETRIBUTION. When society feels it has been wronged it wants its revenge. Society gets it. Majority rules in this case whether you like it or not.

As for the studies of crime in correlation to executions: while data has a hard time establishing a true correlation of cause and effect, violent crimes tend to have a very slight increase around the time of an execution. However, capital crimes (those that could get you the death penalty) Decrease immediately prior to executions up until sometimes weeks after an execution. What most people fail to understand is the sheer number of capital offenses committed that are never prosecuted as such. Enter the plea bargain. Say hello to prison overcrowding. And how about a "good morning" to our friend "Nobody cared about the victim anyway."

Unfortunately, there is no easy solution. Except for DON'T COMMIT CRIMES, PEOPLE!
Now that I got that out of my system, let us all retire to the kitchen and have pie!


rashoy
Posted 09 July 2008 at 08:55 pm

Allen, I do not agree with your comment of there are no first hand accounts to shed more light. There is one gentleman in the entire known history who has been lucky (or unlucky?) to give the account of the experience. Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington (d:oct 31, 1492) has given his first hand account in the following poem he composed post de-capitation:
It was a mistake any wizard could make/Who was tired and caught on the hop/One piffling error, and then, to my terror,/I found myself facing the chop.

Alas for the eve when I met Lady Grieve/A-strolling the park in the dusk!/She was of the belief I could straighten her teeth/Next moment she'd sprouted a tusk.

I cried through the night that I'd soon put her right/But the process of justice was lax;/They'd brought out the block, though they'd mislaid the rock/Where they usually sharpened the axe.

Next morning at dawn, with a face most forlorn,/The priest said to try not to cry,/"You can come just like that, no, you won't need a hat,"/And I knew that my end must be nigh.

The man in the mask who would have the sad task/Of cleaving my head from my neck,/Said "Nick, if you please, will you get to your knees,"/And I turned to a gibbering wreck.

"This may sting a bit" said the cack-handed twit/As he swung the axe up in the air,/But oh the blunt blade! No difference it made,/My head was still definitely there.

The axeman he hacked and he whacked and he thwacked,/"Won't be too long", he assured me,/But quick it was not, and the bone-headed clot/Took forty-five goes 'til he floored me.

And so I was dead, but my faithful old head/It never saw fit to desert me,/It still lingers on, that's the end of my song,/And now, please applaud, or you'll hurt me.

ref.? read Harry Potter & Chamber of secrets, draft 1. or http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Nearly-Headless_Nick


Anthropositor
Posted 09 July 2008 at 10:27 pm

When I die I intend to watch, if I'm awake and not otherwise occupied.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 10 July 2008 at 12:27 am

hello #100

Do you think it wrong to kill a man after he has killed ten and says he would do it again given half a chance? I dont... idiocy? No, bad spelling yes! :)
You must have more patience than I do when it comes to giving people time to change before the full measure of Justice is administered. I would give a man a chance after the first serious crime, that is all... you kill once, I want you in jail for at least a few decades; do it again, I want you dead. That is not idiocy, harsh or arrogant, it is Justice. I do have a right to expect criminals to be brought to Justice and again I have a right to demand suitable punishment for a criminal.
Without jumping down your throat about your friviolous accusations and cheap shots to common sence not bound by the ever muting political correctness issues where we are supposed to talk to our enemies while they kill, appease them while they parade instead of blowing them to tiny pieces so the ants can store up for winter. The blood stain serves as a reminder not to mess with the U.S., its citizens and troops! Same goes for enemies within, you kill one of ours, you may get mercy once, do it again and I'd like to say and or hear your execution went well. We have taken the fear from our Justice system. Granted, some do not need fear or intimidation to stay within the law, but some do, simple to the point of being stupid hello.
I am guessing here but I think you may be the type of person that:
1. Forbids "harsh" punishment then complains about the crime rate.
2. Didnt want the War on Terror but would complain when more civilians get killed and maimed by crazies doing us harm.
3. Accepts "undocumented" aliens then complains about lower wages, losing our competative edge, having to move to new neighborhoods and loses touch with the concept that Americans will do those jobs to survive.
4. Has gone Environmental then wants to gripe about gas prices and doesnt even know how solar or wind power works.
5. Cant read a well written article and see that the harshness some of refer to acts as a deterent and retribution. (good word oldmancoyote) I get angry when I see people break our laws and get away with it or go unpunished. I am a big fan of accountability and responsibility, I have the right to expect people to be held to those standards of conduct.
6. Beat someone over the head to make them express themselves then beat them over the head for having expressed themselves when it offends delicate sensabilities.
Again as with most who do not feel accountable or responsible, I am sure hello meant nothing by the words written nor of the snide remarks posted. If that is the footing hello stands on and prefers a "talk to them mentality" when dealing with violent repeat murders and rapists, perhaps hello will volunter to welcome them home and they can talk at hello's house after they are released after mercy has been shown them again...
I personally think there should be no more than one chance for crimes so cruel, permanent and costly. I will stand by my conviction of the public use of the rope, bullet and blade as being just and fair ends to a criminal with a reputation deserving of such services and lament that those tools have been removed from the arsenal of Justice in most cases/places. I would however consider it merciful to grant the sentenced the choice, in that respect I'd be pro choice!
As usual more words than a simple I disagree followed by a few descriptive adjectives, just kidding. :)


DontPanic
Posted 10 July 2008 at 01:34 am

i havent read all the comments - i stopped at the first few.... i have to say, interesting article, but the people who commented, are damn brutal!! Nobody has the right to take away anothers life! If they've killed lots of people theres obviously something wrong with them and we should punish them yes but you shouldnt take away their life. That makes you just as bad as him!! I mean if you kill someone, to show people that killing people is wrong.... im just glad its outlawed where i live.


Ahuva
Posted 10 July 2008 at 03:28 am

I am very much against the death penalty. I think, that in the long run, it promotes murder instead of preventing it. It is true that the statistics are unclear. But, I think the effect that legal murder has on society is more long term. I think it is very important for society to say that it will not accept murder in any way. As it is, where the death penalty is legal, the message is that murder is acceptable under certain conditions. For me, this is similar to the parent who smacks their child and says: No hitting!


Gil
Posted 10 July 2008 at 03:44 am

Back to the issue ;). I'd hazard a guess (I'm no medical expert, still I'll have a go :P ) that a fast, clean, perpendicular strike on a horizontal neck would allow the head to survive without the body. Enough bloods vessel would possibly close up some (just as losing a limb won't necessarily result in copious blood loss) for enough blood to feed the brain for a short while. We do know that the brain lasts up to five minutes without circulation before damage starts to occur. So I believe the ye olde notion of warriors who'd lop off someone's else head and show them their body before they died where technically correct. :\


theotherworldly
Posted 10 July 2008 at 08:40 am

I feel that the capital punishment should definitely exist.

Firstly, it is because for some crimes so heinous, there is no other recompense even close or fitting to the crime, and the death of the purpetrator represents the only just punishment left on earth. I don't mean that our justice is infallible, but that if any justice is to be carried out, it has to provide recompense and closure to society's outrage. This does not mean revenge either, but also to establish clear attitudes.

Secondly, despite the fact that there remains a high crime rate despite the existence of capital punishment as a deterrent (especially in USA), it should be taken into consideration that not all murderers are executed. Living murderers quite often commit murders again.

Thirdly, some suggest life imprisonment instead of death penalty due to humane and ethical reasons. Society values freedom to consider it as a just and grave punishment to remove freedom and to incarcerate criminals for life. However, life is considered far more precious than freedom. Murderers have confessed that they value their own life more than freedom. 99% or more of convicted capital murderers seek life sentences rather than death sentence. Should justice be extending mercy to the merciless? Should those executed for war crimes and the Holocaust be lamented as -- we should have taken their freedom away--?

Capital punishment is not merely a deterrent, it is a representation of justice and its infallibility to restore life to the victim. It does not mean that justice is trying to correct the wrong by causing another wrong, it means that the victim has right to recompense over a murderer's right to life.

From where I come from, Singapore, the death penalty is awarded to murder, kidnapping, and drug trafficking. To some, this may seem draconian, but I am proud to say that my country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. The country is extremely safe and free from violence. Clearly, the death penalty has worked as a deterrent.


etherwar
Posted 10 July 2008 at 10:10 am

I wish they would have asked those who were condemned to have their head lopped off to open their eyes really wide and chomp their teeth rapidly instead of blinking.


Rich T
Posted 10 July 2008 at 10:39 am

It costs more to execute a criminal than to lock him away for life. Those who think money can be saved by killing someone are showing their ignorance.


Anthropositor
Posted 10 July 2008 at 12:32 pm

I've known a few murderers and some killers. Some of the murderers, killing was too good for them, leaving open the temptation to torture.

Torture, execution, even incarceration in the fashion and with the scope and frequency that it is being done in the United States is unsound policy, unevenly administered. Prison populations have continued to grow explosively along with costs. The leaders of the largest gangs run the prisons and exercise full control of their street gang activities from the most secure maximum security facilities we have been able to devise. Prison guard unions are among the strongest unions around. In spite of the decades of experimentation and failure to reform inmates effectively, we continue to build more and ever larger prisons. We even subcontract to private prison companies. Little reform occurs in the system and even less actually has positive results.

And members of the public at large have no idea how many of our convicts are wrongly imprisoned after being falsely charged and convicted, or have "plea bargained" even though they were innocent, for a reduction in the duration of the time to be served.

Meanwhile, our politicians can not even sort out what is torture and what is not. Waterboarding is not just an effective interrogation technique. The victim has no idea that he is likely to live through it. There us no torture that quite matches the potential prospect of death. People ARE tortured, even to death, in the United States. Rarely is anything effective done about it, except in the rare incidents when some of it has been clandestinely videotaped, in which a few cops become scapegoats for the many officers who continue to routinely engage in the same practices.

When I was fourteen, a sheriff's deputy in Del Norte county, California, who beat me up, for refusing to identify myself, was skilled at what he was doing. He inflicted severe pain, never leaving a single mark. He did not automatically just know how to do that. He almost certainly learned from his fellow officers. And he absolutely made me into a far more dangerous individual than I was before meeting him. He did society no great service that day. And I was not even suspected or accused of a crime. I had simply inconvenienced the deputy by refusing to identify myself. I MUST have been some kind of hoodlum. The proof of that was my refusal to identify myself. I was a fugitive from home and that was a violation of law. That is a reason to hold me, but not to torture me.

The importance of the Miranda warning (which did not exist then) is not just to inform suspects of their minimal rights. It also reminds the cops that prisoners have some rights, a thing that is very easy for the police to forget in the heat of the night.

And for many of you on the other side of this question, who feel that society must be protected even more strenuously against all the miscreants among us, watch out what you wish for. You too could wind up in the hands of a rogue police officer, or have to wait months in jail for a trial. Justice delayed IS justice denied. You might then change your tune.


GeorgeAR
Posted 10 July 2008 at 12:51 pm

etherwar said: "I wish they would have asked those who were condemned to have their head lopped off to open their eyes really wide and chomp their teeth rapidly instead of blinking."

cool.


ChrisW75
Posted 10 July 2008 at 06:51 pm

If people really are concerned with "humane execution", I can't see why they don't just give the executee a bunch of morphine, or some other painkiller, followed by a heavy dose of some sort of depressant/anaesthetic so that they simply go to sleep and eventually suffer cardiac failure.
Really, lethal injection and the electric chair? That does not sound pain free at all, and we've all heard plenty of stories to indicate it's far from that ideal.
Personally, I think that these methods are chosen for the spectacle as much as for ridding society of those deemed beyond redemption. Otherwise they'd dope them up first.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 10 July 2008 at 07:31 pm

Rich T #110
Interesting comment, do you have any facts?
I agree, it is costly with all the red tape, but an average bill of $30,000 +- a year per inmate, that is steep. If more criminals got shown the barrel, noose or block, I know we would have considerably less crime. What good comes from a life sentence?? Does it make you feel better? We run the risk of those kind of people being back out on the streets if something went wrong at the prison, why risk it???
I am sure the lawyer bill is staggering as is the adminstration, only because of beauracy...
Again, how much does ammo, ropes or blades cost? I dont believe an execution should be a long drawn out ordeal for an inmate that has confessed and admits given another chance he/she would do it again. Too many Lawyers and Psycologists meddling with getting the job done...


Ronald
Posted 10 July 2008 at 11:25 pm

Two Cents from Girth, (and anyone else who cares about my opionions, as if anyone does)
I disagree with the death penalty for a number of reasons, but a few of the reasons I think you may actually agree with.
1. Innocent people are executed.
2. I disagree with the precedent set by the government killing its own citizens, whatever the reason.
3. The death penalty is racist. This makes sense if you think about it. There are far more white people in the United States than black. Therefore there are far more racist white people in the United States than racist black people, I mean by absolute numbers here not percentage. Even if 50% of black people in the US were racist and only 20% of whites (arbitrary numbers) the number of racist whites would far outweigh the number of racist blacks. Therefore any jury is far more likely to have biased whites on it then biased blacks. This is just a simple mathmatical argument, see the attached link for a study which goes into far more detail on the subject. Even if you disagree with this study please look at other studies, many more have found the same conclusion.
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=539&scid=#The%20Raw%20Data
4. I completely disagree with the argument that the death penalty deters anyone. Why do I think you will agree with this? Because right now state sanctioned executions are not publicly displayed. If the state is going to publicly execute someone, then they should publicly display it. Deterence will not work with private executions. Sound grisly to anyone? The government of the people, for the people executing it's own citizens should be grisly.
There are of course many other arguments against the death penalty, but I believe that no unbiased person could object to these arguments. Any who, interested to hear anyone's thoughts on this.


Ahuva
Posted 11 July 2008 at 03:27 am

Very well put, Ronald. I thought you brought up some important points. I would like to add another point dealing with the issue of retribution, closure and even revenge.
I feel that all of these issues are based on the emotions of the people victimised or the empathy felt by other people in society. Often, in discussions on the death penalty, I've been told that I would feel differently, if it was someone I loved who had been brutally murdered. And, that could very possibly be true. I have luckily never had to deal with such a situation, but I think that this is exactly the point.
I believe that laws should be above our emotions. I think laws should be logical and as objective as possible. They are the structure on which our society is built and need to define how we can live together without stepping on the rights of each other. Emotions, although precious to each individual, are not a stable foundation for justice. I think we need to be wary of motivation such as fear, hate or revenge, or even something as positive sounding as love. These are the things that biases are based on.
So, the only real reason for having a penalty under the law is if it helps society promote the rights of everyone. And, since revenge, or even more nicely put, retribution is not a right. but instead a feeling, I cannot support its use.
I know that many people for the death penalty believe that the people against it are basing their opinions on their emotions. I think that the opposite is often true.


Tim_2_some
Posted 11 July 2008 at 05:39 am

As a form of deterrent, Shoguns of ancient Japan would decapitate the victim and place their heads on spikes lining the thoroughfares to the city gates (the Romans did similarly with crucifixion). This, along with mass public burnings was used as a means of dissuading the general population from taking up Christianity. The shogun saw the new religious craze as subverting his authority (the crimal is forgiven rather than punished) and would as he saw it encourage criminals to reoffend. You would have to look at the results in determining whether it was effective or not, there aren't too many churches in modern day Japan, also very little crime..hmmmm


Rich T
Posted 11 July 2008 at 06:13 am

Two Cents from Girth said: "Rich T #110
Interesting comment, do you have any facts?
I agree, it is costly with all the red tape, but an average bill of $30,000 +- a year per inmate, that is steep. If more criminals got shown the barrel, noose or block, I know we would have considerably less crime. What good comes from a life sentence?? Does it make you feel better? We run the risk of those kind of people being back out on the streets if something went wrong at the prison, why risk it???
I am sure the lawyer bill is staggering as is the adminstration, only because of beauracy…
Again, how much does ammo, ropes or blades cost? I dont believe an execution should be a long drawn out ordeal for an inmate that has confessed and admits given another chance he/she would do it again. Too many Lawyers and Psycologists meddling with getting the job done…"

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-murderersalive.htm


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 11 July 2008 at 06:51 am

Ronald #115

I think those are the most grounded points I have heard in opposition to mine. They are without the notion that the criminals life is more important than the victims and works to show the tolerance of our Society. That is very a Jeffersonian outlook which implies the higher opinions of man. I would love to have a system where capital punishment was not needed and all the citizenry would need is a slap on the wrist, a society of responsible and accountable citizens.
My view is not really one laced with heart felt emotions but a scale on which to measure a crime and match a suitable punishment as compensation. When I reflect on the death sentence and allow emotion into the equation it saddens me to know there exist people in our society who can commit these crimes. It is up to society to prevent the death penalty, I agree with that whole heartedly, but the way I'd go about it is different. If no one murders anyone, the death penalty is not used. Do you see?? The death penalty is not the cause but the effect, eliminate the cause which is actually far more important and the effect never happens. This where the criminals have power, they determine when these actions are to be employed, not us, death was their descision, not ours. In a parent/child relationship, it is the child that determines when discipline is to be used, most people get this concept at an early age, but it just doesnt sink in. What parent would discipline their child when the child was behaving...
Point one is very well founded Richard. I dont think I would expect the Justice system execute someone unless it had their confession and or a public understanding that they would do it again.
Point two I disagree with, order must be maintained...sounds bad but there it is. Again, death penalty is an efeect, not a cause.
Point three, surprisingly, that has validity, the punishment often reflects attitudes of the criminal and those in charge of Justice. If a criminal misbehaves and holds contempt for authority even as a trial is held, so they can appear "hard", I guarantee a "hard" sentence should be handed down. Yes, I believe SOME are racist on both sides of the law.
Another statistic to crime is the level of education. On average, the more education, the less violent crime. So, if your talking about black people being more prone to crime, lets try to keep reaching them while they are in school, look at the families of blacks and lets help instead of hinder. We have made many laws to try to help and curb the "black man condition". Using what the government offers can transform a troubled citizen onto a productive, educated member of society. I dont think many other countries have devoted so much time, money and energy to providing the opportunity to succeed as we have... really welfare, student loans, job training, funded trade schools, an education, help lines how much more of a hand can we extend before it comes to the point where we are doing it all for people who dont want to do it for themselves...cant do it for themselves is another subject.
Point four grisly fear works... plain and simple. If you gave governments another option as close to effectiveness as grisly fear they would use it. Again, if a no, dont do that in a sweet but stern voice would work, I'd be all for it. I am a fan of Justice that works... I am not saying our sytem is not without its flaws, but with the ammount of crime we have, harsher punishments and a change in how the media portrays the criminal is needed desperately; more of the second than the first.
I think many people value your opinions, they make sence and would contribute to a better society once the cause of the problems are addressed. Identiying a problem is great finding the solutions are golden. I just think to prevent a cause, the effect must be as bad or worse than the crime.


Fallen
Posted 11 July 2008 at 07:03 am

Tim_2_some: Unfortunately Japan isn't quite as crime free as it's commonly made out to be. As an example, teenagers beating and murdering homeless people is quite common, but I doubt it makes it onto any of their statistics.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 11 July 2008 at 01:44 pm

Rich T #118

As I stated, your right...in this system, beauracry not Justice is king. The technicality is enforced more than the effect.
Read and reread what I have written: "I dont believe an execution should be a long drawn out ordeal for an inmate that has confessed and admits given another chance he/she would do it again." That does not include those screaming their innocence and demanding another appeal. You may find it frightening to know that there are convicts that confessed and say that if ever released their first order of business is to go have a little fun committing that little crime they love so much. It is for those I wish we had a bullet, rope or blade. Please read carefully...no innocent people get executed when that is the policy.
Good link saying exactly what you stated and I agree, it is expensive when all the beauracy is added. On a critical reading note if this were a debate forum, the statistics were dated, latest was from 1989...alot has changed since then. However, I am of the opinion that current statistics would further reinforce your point, proving execution within the structure we have now is indeed more expensive. Not all of lifes qualities are measured in money... Execute those whom Ive mentioned for cheap, media portrays that, the crime rate drops, less people doing life or on death row, take savings and put it into education, safer, smarter more peaceful society. Our society holds life so precious it would kill those who offend/take it to preserve its own. See: Military, Justice system, Parent with a gun protecting home, strength... of course all are flawed to some degree, find me a solution that isnt...


Star-doggeed
Posted 11 July 2008 at 05:22 pm

I read in some article that the reason the head was held out to the crowd after it was decapitated was because the head had consciousness for 8 seconds in which the head was shown its body and then the people watching him... don't know why though..


little gator
Posted 12 July 2008 at 05:35 am

When you swab the skin with alcohol, it makes the veins dilate so they are easier to find. It's routinely done for that reason when euthanising small animals.


BlackFoxOne
Posted 12 July 2008 at 08:14 am

Seems logical. I guess once your head is chopped off you can remain alive long enough to see your head falling into the bucket. Man that is wicked.

JT


[0001001100110111]
Posted 12 July 2008 at 10:34 am

Good afternoon, Damninteresting.com populace! I've just recently registered a account to repsond after many months of Trolling (known by some as "Stalking") and I look forward from conversing with you all in the near future!

Back to the topic at hand though, I find this article very, (as others have said before me I'm sure) Damn interesting!

The human head living for fives and tens of seconds at a time after decapitation! Amazing! The human body truly indeed is a fasinating bio!

Though, some of the comments I've read have.. disturbed me, would be the best way to describe the way I'm feeling at the moment, and more then likely not for the reason your probably thinking and this being a place to express my opinions, I believe I will join this Gladiator's Colussium of mental jousts!

First off: I hardly think the person who sugjested the "Strap a bandana of C4 to their head!" was serious. Quite personaly, a well aimed bullet would have the same effect and cost less, which I'm sure the person realized and was just trying to lighten the gloomy forums with a-bit of humor. Though, by the looks of it many people took him/her seriously for which saddens me because I personaly thought those of which who go by the names of "The Don", "Tink", "Old man", "Annomyiousxx2" (If that's not your name then I readly appologize :) ) and.. Oh boy, I know there are more of you guys but that's all that come to my mind currently, as some of the most brilliant people I've had the pleasure to read their opinions on the Inter-net, (and on damn interesting topics that spark my interests no less!) and I'm very dissapointed in those Others of you who misread this simple post and created this monster of "Savagery" "Brutality" "Revenege" "Closure" "Abortion" "Religion" and other.. topics.

Secondly, I'd like to agree with the above posters about how to best lower our Crime-rating in the U.S.of A. I strongly believe that with a stronger educational system the citizen's of this fine country would realize that taking another's life is indeed wrong and not worth it, which would only breed anger from the family members and friends of the murdered who would only push for the death of the murderer (or, Gods help them, take the law into their own hands and start the cycle with another circle of family and friends). The pain may never go away, and yes, it will Hurt when it's committed like I am sure is one of the most horrid cocktail of emotions one could ever have the misfortune of gulping, but the death of another will never bring back the one you loved. The only Real way of not letting the deceesed's death to not-be-in-vain is to grieve, ponder the circomstances that led that indivual to commit such a haneious attrosity and understand why they did it, and after many long years where the loss of your friend/spouce/family member has given you much to think about, you are able to forgive the person for what they have done. I'm not going to lie and say that they may not very well turn around and strike you down when you confrount them if they are indeed a phycospath, but it never deals to kill without the to-be-killed to know why it's being done or nothing will come out of it! (I strongly recommend those frightened by this ideal to take up a martal-art which deals with hand-to-hand combat and disarment, so as to only incompasitate the offender without killing so as to meet trial for what they did/tried to do. My favorite by far is Aikido. Wikipedia gives a good example of the teachings of Aikido and I highly recommend it for those looking as a way to defend yourself and others.)

Third: I do believe that the idea of the death penalty is indeed a good idea and should be impliminted for the most horrifying of crimes (the murder of 2 or more people for example) but should not be delt out by just anyone, but rather say a high-ranking judge of the Judictial system who has served under many cases and has a long life of experiance, who knows what is to done where and why and for what crimes and the extremes of said crime. Who though, is to be granted this power for what reasons after what time of servitude remains to be decided by those who know more then myself.

(I'm running out of things to respond to, don't worry. :3 )
Fourth: (NOTE: Though I hardly think the DI populace would mis-interperate this next paragraph, I would like to note that I do and say nothing that I have not seen for myself to be true and openly request any who believe my information is wrong and would like to post the correct stance-of-view to encourage you to do so.)
------- On the racial side of the problem, I am aware that there is racial tension of all races and people of colors for a majority of reasons and the Salvery of African-Americans did in no way help, I have seen people of "darker skin pygment"s shall we say, more prone to committing crimes, for which reasons may be just and simply a nessisity of circomstance, (forced, in other words.) (dealing drugs on street conrers to provide food for their family, for example) but, again, I must re-instate my opinion of a better educational system. The education of "less desirable" people in the public's eye from a well-funded place of learning in a safe enviorment, and teachers comitted to their line of work. (also well paied as well-taught and teaching Teachers (of all fields of knowlage, not just math and english mind you) in my mind are the foundation of new ways of thinking and the tool by which America is able to change this proud nation into something far greater!) By which I am 99.5% positive that they would indeed be able to find a legal and productive job in society to make money and provide for themselves and their family not have to worry about being caught and inprisioned in a place-of-holdig that's already overcrowded with people of similar backrounds.

That's all the time I have for now. I look forward to mentaly sparring with you all soon!

Until then! -[0001001100110111]

(also, my name is indeed 4-digit binary for those wanting to decode it. it is my age, by which I hope at least my views will change your outlook of those with far fewer years of experiance. :) We are the X-geration. Resistance is futile. You will be taught new ideas and ways of thinking and like it. You will be assimilated.)

(also-also, as much as I love using a large range of words and spell a good majority of them and DO hold proper grammar very highly in my eyes, I am alas, without spell-check and at work. =( please disreguard any spelling errors you encounter in my rant as they are just illusions. my grammar is perfect. )


Web
Posted 12 July 2008 at 11:33 pm

A few people here have mentioned that they would still oppose the death penalty even if they had lost a loved one to a murderer. How would you feel if it was more like this?

Eight year old Sally is abducted on her way home from school. Her abtucter rapes then releases her with an ominous death threat meaning to silence her. Being a smart little girl, she immediately tells her parents what happened. Also being smart folks, her parents call the police, and within hours, the suspect is in custody. As time moves forward, our perp is sentenced to 15 years in the state prison. After 6 years, he's paroled, and free to once again walk the streets. Before the week is over, our perp abducts YOUR daughter. She resists his attacks by biting and clawing at his face, and ultimately he strangles her to death.

My point is twofold:
1) You can NOT trust the penal system to simply "contain" all the undesirables. Our justice system can and does regularly release violent offenders back to the streets.
2) The death penalty is far too good for some.

Consider yourself fortunate that you haven't had to face such tragedy.


[0001001100110111]
Posted 13 July 2008 at 07:34 am

Web said: "A few people here have mentioned that they would still oppose the death penalty even if they had lost a loved one to a murderer. How would you feel if it was more like this?

Eight year old Sally is abducted on her way home from school. Her abtucter rapes then releases her with an ominous death threat meaning to silence her. Being a smart little girl, she immediately tells her parents what happened. Also being smart folks, her parents call the police, and within hours, the suspect is in custody. As time moves forward, our perp is sentenced to 15 years in the state prison. After 6 years, he's paroled, and free to once again walk the streets. Before the week is over, our perp abducts YOUR daughter. She resists his attacks by biting and clawing at his face, and ultimately he strangles her to death.

My point is twofold:
1) You can NOT trust the penal system to simply "contain" all the undesirables. Our justice system can and does regularly release violent offenders back to the streets.
2) The death penalty is far too good for some.

Consider yourself fortunate that you haven't had to face such tragedy."

To be completelty honest, mate, I'd want to tie him to a shaggy-sharp-barked tree, douse the free with a highly flammable liquid, attatch a conductive metal rod to the tree above his head, all on top of a tall hill in the middle of a thunderstorm. Children, for the most part, are innocent. Kiddy-fiddlers should be spaid with salad tongs and have the little... genital fish, thing, (the name escapes me at this point in time, Allan did a article about it a few months/a year ago) placed inside their, ahem, extremity.

May be borderline vengence, but even the... (hell, must be early, I can't remember their name, but they are supposedly one of the most powerfull--if the THE most powerfull--prison gangs) ... mulagan. One of the most powerfull prison gangs has it in their Code of Rules that NO MEMBER is to EVER harm a child (what they deem as "child" escapes me. I need coffie..) along with family members who have done nothing wrong to the Brotherhood (there's like 3-4 Brotherhoods that I know of, bare with me :P) other then be family members of rival gangs which some members of the Brotherhood would put Hits out on to threaten/intimidate rival gangs with the safty of family and friends.

My point being, crimes involving children should be prosicuted Much More Extremely then those concerning adults because adults, for the most part, and able to defend themselves to some degree and are able to bounce back from tramatizing happenings in their lives. This is not the same as children. Children tramatized at a young age can have life-lasting effects on their ability to trust, have relations, and be socialy accepted. (all major keys to growing up as a productive member of scoiety)

Kiddy-fiddler's beware: If I had my way, you'd be walking around without hands, genitals, and [CM] or [CR] branded on your forhead. (guess if you'd like about the [CM] and [CR]'s full abreviated meaning. not all that hard.)

-[0001001100110111]


Web
Posted 13 July 2008 at 07:50 pm

I agree 100% 0001001100110111. I'm a firm believer in the death penalty. While I don't think it should be used lightly, it should be used under extreme circumstances on first offenders, and guaranteed for repeat violent capital offenders. As far as the "it costs more to kill them" argument goes.... I call BS. If we use capital punishment only for non-repentant murderers and repeat offenders, then there will be no need of a lengthy appeals process. If you are wrongly accused of murder twice, and convicted twice, then you will have to accept my apology as fate has it out for you.

I don't have any bloodlust. I don't think we should kill the condemned for the sake of vengeance. I do think that permanently eliminating dangerous criminals is crucial for the health of our society.


An Unconvincing Alias
Posted 14 July 2008 at 12:33 am

DI article, and a DI debate (yep, just finished reading all 128 comments - phew!)

It's interesting when people talk of capital punishment as a deterrent there's no mention of the fact that most people who would commit a capital crime just don't think the same way as rational, law abiding citizens. To most would-be criminals (even criminals in general), their life situation or mental state just means they're simply not thinking of the consequences. If I ever had occasion to plan somebody's brutal murder, I'd almost certainly re-think the because of the punishment I'd receive - losing my life or losing my freedom. Either way, not being there to watch my daughter grow up would be a massive deterrent for me. But then I'm not criminally-minded.

As you would expect, the statistics just don't support the deterrent argument either - from my quick research on capital crimes before/after the introduction of the death penalty, or between US states that have/don't have capital punishment, there isn't a statistically significant difference. I found it damn interesting that in some cases capital crimes actually rose with the introduction of capital punishment! For those who want to read more, this is an excellent article: http://www.enotes.com/does-capital-article.

With that argument gone, essentially capital punishment comes down to a moral question - is it right to take away somebody's life? For me, I'm morally opposed to taking a person's life - I don't feel that anything gives me that right. The fact that a _group_ of people have decided it (i.e. the state) doesn't make it any different. But that's my opinion. For a more rational argument, I think the chance that somebody on death row may be innocent is reason enough to not have capital punishment.

And as for the argument about criminals getting a free ride on the taxpayer's dollar - I agree we could do a lot more to alleviate their burden on society. I dunno, maybe we could get them all riding bicycle powered generators and help reduce global warming? Anyway, I really don't think life in prison is a life on easy street. And really, I'm more than happy to pay a very small proportion of my tax to ensure violent criminals are away from society.

There is, however, a one very big problem with our justice system. While a stint in Her Majesty's Hotel is punishment (to act as a deterrent to future crimes), it's purpose is also meant to be rehabilitation. But is prison a good environment for rehabilitation? By putting a prisoner together with a whole load of criminals? No way! If we want to prevent people from re-offending, we need to do something about the current system. Just not sure how to find a balance between protecting society and rehabiltating prisoners to prevent future re-offending...

And to the French out there - happy Bastille Day. Very appropriate for an article on the guillotine!


dentarthurdent
Posted 14 July 2008 at 07:29 am

Why, thanks, dude. Now, we've come a long way since that shameful 8th of May 1794, that saw LAVOISIER's beheading. Today, death penalty is not only abolished here, its re-establishment couldn't even happen on a legal basis.

Two Cents from Girth said: "I dont believe an execution should be a long drawn out ordeal for an inmate that has confessed and admits given another chance he/she would do it again."

Now, if one has to volunteer for capital punishment, you won't get much results as a deterrent, will you ?

Death can never constitute an act of justice, anyway.


biggin
Posted 14 July 2008 at 07:42 am

Good morning - long time listener - first time caller!


insight and perception
Posted 14 July 2008 at 08:13 am

I believe in thorough due process.
I believe in victims’ rights (not revenge)
I believe in capital punishment as a public deterrent but more importantly a consequence of one’s individual actions reserved for only the most heinous crimes.
Should child murderers, serial killers and violent repeat offenders be offered reform?
Cruel and unusual punishment is debatable as a perception of the offenders sense of values. A child murderer, properly convicted, has no right to expect anything less than a government sanctioned death in the manner he/she provided their victim(s). To them it would not be unusual.
Wrongful conviction, capital crime selection and individual circumstances are extremely important questions for society. Lethal injection, firing squads and beheadings are cocktail hour horsecrap.


Radiatidon
Posted 14 July 2008 at 10:09 am

The fear of death has less meaning if it offers no fear factor or pain index. If executions were to reintroduce the fear factor – public executions such as the guillotine, or axe/sword beheadings – and reintroduce the pain factor – The punishment should be equal to the murder details, otherwise however the murderer killed their victim that is how they would die. Why should their death be any less painful? Check out the Hi-Fi murders in Ogden, UT, nasty http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi-Fi_Murders – this creates a resistance factor of fear. Also from trial to completion in one year or less, why should one fear death if they can keep their case tied up with appeal after appeal? Did they offer any appeals to their victims or just kill them? The downside is that the executioner would have to be just as unhinged as the people who performed the crime. So monetary returns to the victim’s family plus hard labor as I noted in an earlier post seems the only possible recourse.

I have the unique perspective of understanding the victim’s view of torture and just missed suffering the ultimate demise by murder. Do I feel those who hurt me should die for what they did? No, but I do believe that they should suffer as I did. Why, because I need the revenge? No, but perhaps by enduring the same pain they performed on me would give them an incentive not to perform it on another.

How I view life and how I live changed that day. Did they suffer for what they did to me? No because law enforcement was next to nil for that area. Those that “played” with me seemed confident and skilled in how they damaged me. Most of the physical scars have mended, only some of the mental ones. Where is my justice? Where is the justice for the possible victims who came before and after me? Don’t forget that these men left me for dead. They unceremoniously dumped my body into a cesspool, perhaps believing that no one would bother searching for me there, or that a jungle animal would have made off with my corpse.

Where is the justice in that?

The Don.


dentarthurdent
Posted 14 July 2008 at 11:05 am

Radiatidon said: "Where is the justice in that?"

There is no justice in that. This is animal rule, the very contrary of the rule of law.


King Photography
Posted 14 July 2008 at 11:12 am

The problem with capital punshment (and I do believe in it) as a deterrent is that no criminal crazy enough to do something that gets them the death penalty never believes he will be caught.


Anthropositor
Posted 14 July 2008 at 02:35 pm

Two Cents from Girth said: "Rich T #110

Interesting comment, do you have any facts?

I agree, it is costly with all the red tape, but an average bill of $30,000 +- a year per inmate, that is steep....

I too believe that $30,000+ is excessive to house, feed, guard, and provide medical care to the typical inmate. And Rich T has made his point well. Because of the rot and inertia in our legislative and judicial systems, we may not be able to resolve these problems in our usual way -- making incremental adjustments. Particularly when so many of those adjustments are in the wrong direction. Many years ago Robert A Heinlein came up with a concept which could play some part in a reform. But it is quite extreme, and in my opinion, should only be used with those criminals we currently house in our worst "Super Max" prisons. This can be found in the section of "Revolt in 2100" called "Coventry." But it is a slippery slope...


Radiatidon
Posted 14 July 2008 at 04:08 pm

Anthropositor said: "I too believe that $30,000+ is excessive to house, feed, guard, and provide medical care to the typical inmate."

That $30,000 price does not include extras such as medical needs, which on an average is around $15,000 per year additional. But for a lifer over 40 years of age that number increases to $26,000 to over $65,000 depending on needs. My medical is not covered by any government agency, even though many of my needs were created unjustly by criminals. Thanks to some lawsuits against the judicial system by inmates, they can now expect and receive medical service from non-prison doctors in the private sector. US taxpayers have the dubious honor to pay for that. It sours my gut that a hardened criminal can receive better health care than I myself can afford, and on my dime.

Those figures also do not include the cost increases faced by the judicial system this year. For instance food has increased to seven cents (US) per meal per prisoner just this year alone.

Being in jail should not grant a free card on basic needs or otherwise. Like anyone else you should work for what you get.

There are also lawsuits against the judicial system to allow lifers the right to die at home with loved ones rather than jail. Gee, did they give that benefit to those they murdered? So why should they expect to get it themselves?

The Don.


bobba
Posted 14 July 2008 at 08:28 pm

Stuart said: "Of course there's still the question of whether it is ethical to put any person to death which is why some countries do not have capital punishment."

Actually, most countries do not have this disgusting act in practice, just some 3rd world countries.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/Death_Penalty_World_Map.png


Web
Posted 15 July 2008 at 01:34 am

bobba said: "Actually, most countries do not have this disgusting act in practice, just some 3rd world countries.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/Death_Penalty_World_Map.png"

Thank you for the excellent link.

It's very interesting to me that when I compare your map to the one showing the highest murder rates per capita, Kazakhstan and Mongolia are the only countries that use capital punishment and have more than 10 murders per 100,000 population annualy. Interestingly, your brutal Saudi Arabia seems to be a shining example of how to protect citizens from murder, as they come in below 1 murder per 100,000 pop.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Map-world-murder-rate.svg


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 15 July 2008 at 03:23 am

After doing a little research, I believe Kazakhstan can be removed from the list of countries practicing capital punishment in regards to the "general population".
Here is a tidbit: "In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which was amended in May 2007, the death penalty may be imposed only in exceptional cases, such as grave crimes leading to the killing of people by terrorist acts or during wartime."
A lengthy release from Kazakhstan Embassy in late 2007 after a non binding UN verdict stated Kazakhstan would comply with eliminating the death penalty as stated in the Constitution.
Undoubtably a victory for the cause of abolishing the death penalty...
Murder rates have climbed since the process of eliminating the punishment, instead of the criminal, took root in 2004. Again, it is a case of Judging the Effect instead of the Cause.
The souring part of the victory: Be glad to hear the innocent will continue to be slaughtered at an increasing rate, while the violence of execution on these perpetraitors is halted due to "human rights" standards... Make sure these criminals have enough to eat, the batteries in the remote are kept charged and heaven forbid they should do any labor which could be construde as laborous or constitute a risk to their person.
Monglian Constitution states: "Mongolian ConstitutionArticle 16 Section 1
Article 16 Section 1 States the right to life. Deprivation of human life is strictly prohibited unless capital punishment as constituted by Mongolian penal law for the most serious crimes is imposed as final decision by a competent court."
Crimes Subject To Capital Punishment:
terrorist acts committed for political purposes, terrorist acts against representatives of a foreign State for political purposes, sabotage, premeditated murder committed with aggravating circumstances, rape with aggravating circumstances, Armed Robbery
How Capital Punishment is Carried Out
These are the several ways that capital punishment is carried out in Mongolia:
Beheading, Electrocution, Gassing, Hanging, Lethal injection, Shooting, Stoning
In my opinion, a death penalty for things other than murder or military tribunal items such as espionage, treason and other "at war" violations is harsh. Mongolia does appear rough around the edges, Amnesty International has made Mongolia a poster child in the fight against the death penalty. As rough and open as the Mongolians are with the penalty, the Law is clear; the right to life is sacred among its citizenry, any violation of that right spells death. I am disappointed the old horse drawn draw and quartering is out of style here as well as the old tried and true favorite, the "long ride". This is a good one where the criminal is simply dragged along the broken earth until nothing remains except some scraps for the birds. If that dont make a crook think twice...
I think Mongolia is a country that would have a high level of murder in its community with or without the death penalty. Of course I am going to say that I believe murder rates would be higher without the death penalty; because I know, for some criminals, surely the thought of being put to death does curb them from becoming a murderer. So, with these two maps, can we say murder rates and the death penalty rates are linked? Does the death penalty reduce the murder rate?
Note to Bobba: Be accountable for your words lest they lose their validity. Japan, China and the USA are far from 3rd world countries. I believe many in this forum would agree, you'd do well to remember this forum and its particpants, on whichever side of an issue, really dont subscribe to the realm of the implied, insinuated or innaccurate.
(That is what we have media for)
Again Bobba, accountability...


Treblaine
Posted 15 July 2008 at 08:09 am

I have not read all the comments, but I believe there is a humane way that his can be tested on humans with no long lasting effects. It would basically involve recreating the effect of severing the spinal cord and large arteries to the brain while keeping the head attacked. The aim of this experiment would be to discover how the brain and muscles of the head act when cut off from the rest of the body.

The central nervous system could be deactivated with a local anaesthetic called an epidural that effectively turn the person into a quadriplegic until the drug wears off. The severing of the large blood vessels in the neck could be simulated by applying a clamp to all the arteries and allowing the vein to flow freely pumping to the heart (though would effectively stop due to no more inflow).

It may not be necessary to stop breathing but this experiment would be EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and could only be justified if it satisfied more than people's curiosity and would require EXTENSIVE animal testing to determine the safe parameters for our brave (or foolish) volunteer. Even then the risk of brain damage is great and would best be performed in controlled conditions with resources for a full resuscitation are available.

This might be relevant for surgeons treating serious neck wounds which can range all the way up to partial decapitations though the survival chances with a severed jugular vein are lower than being shot point blank in the forehead with a 9mm handgun (brain injured but alive).

It seems to be that the brain is extremely sensitive to hypoxia (low oxygen) as is demonstrated with the sleeper hold where the wrestler squeezes the jugular veins (not the wind pipe) with the arm muscles where just a reduced blood flow and hence supply of oxygen will overload the brain and where they pass out as if sleeping, yet if the hold is stopped and the victim keeps breathing then they will suddenly wake up again as their blood flow resupplies oxygen.

It may be that certain people or under the right conditions (adrenal response, intoxication, high blood pressure, plaque deposits in veins) could endure brain hypoxia for longer.

Since this is such a dangerous test, it would be best to take as many readings as possible when this virtual decapitation happens such as recording brain activity, retinal response and even reaction times. This could be quite a plausible experiment as it is not clear how the human brain functions, especially under extreme conditions such as severe injury inducing hypoxia aka shock.


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 15 July 2008 at 12:38 pm

Treblaine, that is NUTTY...but I respect your imagination, kudos for that. Maybe you could channel it into writing a book or something.

It's been awhile since I've commented on here, and I'm not too sure why I'm plunging into this one (such passionate arguments presented!) but I've always sort of felt like it isn't up to any person when someone else should die. I personally have no religious affiliations, not much in spiritual ones either, so it isn't that I think "God" or a godlike being is responsible for that, its just that I think the natural order of things should preside over something as priceless as a life. Even if that person is a "monster" (child rapist, murderer, sociopathic serial killer, etc).

This is where I veer off onto Crazy Street (according to some, seems perfectly sound to me). I have a found a way to get the criminals off the taxpayers bank roll yet not kill them, at least not on purpose, and still be punishing them. Why don't we start putting all those dollars used on R&D for the pharmaceutical companies and allocate some of it to human trials on prisoners during drug development and testing? After all, we'd save some monkeys, preserve nature, the food and shelter of said prisoner would be funded by R&D dollars, so the taxpayers wouldn't be paying anything for them. Some might say that the cost would then be passed down to to those who buy drugs made by each specific manufacturer, but thats already being done, except they test on monkeys and other animals and "willing" people instead. This way the prisoner is punished, mentally tortured by the unknown of what is inside the needle they get poked with next, physically tormented by side effects, all without costing the taxpayers a cent. Infect them with STD's and figure out how to clear it up, it isn't meant to be nice, its punishment. If they die as a result, they shouldn't have been raping/killing/maming in the first place. And if by chance they are the lucky person(s) that were the human trial that cures AIDS, then at least with all the bad they have done to the world they ultimately contributed in a positive way, even if against their will. Seems poetic to me...

I suppose we may still have to house them, but hey, monkeys get a cage and food, you'd think the same could be done by Big PharmCo for prisoners. And I am by no means suggesting a 19 year old caught with a nickel bag of pot be subjected to this, but the repeat offenders, those who stay in the system indefinitely, those who rape, kill and mame, my suggestion here is punishment with a capital P.


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 15 July 2008 at 12:44 pm

By the way, I fully understand some people might think this is "torture", and geewillickers that's just not right, but I have to wonder what their victims, alive or dead, would say about that.

Make the last thing they do in their life a thing of purpose by helping heal the sick...for all the "torture" you could endure, I think its a helluva way to end a bad tour on this earth. If they are nothing but mere criminals who deserve life rotting in a cell or death anyway, we might as well make use of them...


Treblaine
Posted 15 July 2008 at 01:14 pm

The pain a prisoner goes through is almost trivial to the daunting fate of their mortality. People can endure incredible pain and suffering by their own will to survive such as crawl through broken glass and fire to save their life in accidents and a painless death is hardly appealing. Then again, many go out of their way to end their lives if they are in constant pain from a terminal illness.

The ironic thing about Britain was we abolished the death penalty but then went on to have the most deadly serial killer in recorded history with Dr Shipman. Less than 5 years into his sentence he hung himself and died of slow strangulation, a method of execution that he would have received 40 years ago. The government and newspapers loved this but the relatives of the 250 victims (that's right; two-hundred and fifty murdered by a discrete lethal injection) would have preferred a confession and apology. That's just the way things are in Britain now, moralising over the death of one of the most prolific murderers of all time. If he is sorry for anything, he is sorry he got caught.


sid
Posted 18 July 2008 at 10:29 am

Radiatidon said: "The downside is that the executioner would have to be just as unhinged as the people who performed the crime.

The Don."

Easy solution. Just hire Dexter as the national executioner. It feeds his murderous impulses and serves the public's need.


Web
Posted 20 July 2008 at 01:25 am

Two Cents from Girth said: "So, with these two maps, can we say murder rates and the death penalty rates are linked?"

I can't imagine the two not being linked. The only question is, how much is one affected by the other? That is something that simplistic statistics will never solve. Our world is too dynamic these days to easily establish a cause/effect link.

Personally, I consider capital punishment a huge deterrent. I'm not much of a criminal though, so I can't presume to know how the mind of a murderer works.


Web
Posted 20 July 2008 at 01:28 am

I still think the major failing of the US judicial system with regards to violent crime is the lack of swift and sure punishment for offenders. It's not enough for capital punishment to be legal. For it to be effective as a deterrent it has to be nearly guaranteed.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 20 July 2008 at 07:00 am

Web #146,
I am not sure the death penalty and murder rates are a 100% "surefire" (executioners humor) cause/effect and can be linked together. The tendancy the maps show does suggest that in the countries with the higher than average murder rates, no death penalty exists. The two maps hint, lead and would beg the two to be linked, but it is true they are not a concrete model because of other factors.

Also, if you shift the statistic to include the reasons for the Cause (murdrer), the analysis becomes very mired in criminal brew of motovation, pressures of society, economics and the morals (etc) of the criminal. The basis of my cause and effect is so simple it makes too much sense and therefore would probally not be instituted. Again, the cause is a murder by a criminal that has confessed and is willing to murder again; or a second offender. The Effect is the death penalty; swift, cheap and televised. There are no comlicating issues or impossibilities with this cause/effect, the complications should only reside within the reasons for the cause. There should be no complications with the effect, that should be automatic... as it stands now it is as many processes, wholeheartedly backwards!! Many people may be swayed from the death penalty because of the way the system is geared, to that respect I agree killing the innocent is not the best way to insure justice is served, nor is awaiting a death penalty for ten-fifteen years...


Web
Posted 22 July 2008 at 02:08 am

Well said Girth. I don't have any more to add... I just hope the next article is about gun control! :-o


Destroy09
Posted 22 July 2008 at 05:14 pm

I don't think that capital punishment is much of a deterrent, but what are you supposed to do with people (ie. child rapists) that have proved to us multiple times how worthless they are or have become? Pay for them to breathe and eat in a prison that they will never get out of? Seems like a waste to me.

You can never be 100% sure that someone you're executing is guilty, but the same also goes for life in prison. I have no guilt supporting the death penalty for repeat murderers and rapists


defancredi
Posted 25 July 2008 at 02:24 pm

i am no godfreak or smth but all this makes me think that there's great sense in those 10 rules given by God. Actually no matter who gave them, but it's sure that those rules would help us to avoid all the bad stuff and ceratinly discussions like this one...
Sometimes it just makes me wonder how stupid and stuborn people can be even when everything is shown to them. All the good stuff is simple. You don't even have to believe in god to understand that these rules bring peace and happiness. But humans think they are smart on their own so they keep generating death, pain and suffering.


Brombachian
Posted 31 July 2008 at 09:17 am

I watched a show about convicted fellons and it had an interview with a deathrow inmate. This fellow was ignorant, crude, and brutal but he made one very profound point:

*The following is paraphrased based of my memory of the show*

I don't agree with lethal injection. All of these people want to turn executions into some kind of painless medical procedure but it isn't. It is brutal and violent and they need to show it for what it really is. I'm a condemned person and I would rather die by a firing squad. There is more honor in that. I don't deserve to die a painless death.


hkstar
Posted 07 August 2008 at 01:20 am

What part of "Thou shalt not kill" do you Christians not understand?

I'm not even religious but those 10 Commandments seem pretty solid to me.

How many people did Jesus put to death? Even for the most heinous crimes? None, I believe?

Geeze, I'm an unbeliever, but seems I still know the bible quite a lot better than some of the hypocrites here. Or did you get confused and start thinking the God the book mentions all the time is actually referring to yourself?


sid
Posted 07 August 2008 at 10:30 am

hkstar said: "What part of "Thou shalt not kill" do you Christians not understand?"

I believe a more accurate translation from the original language would be "Thou shalt not murder." At least, that is what I have read in other discussions on the Commandments. I believe there is a distinct difference between "kill" and "murder."


bluenoterain
Posted 09 August 2008 at 01:04 am

I'd be interested to know the difference between "kill" and "murder," according to a christian. I also wonder at what point in the criminal justice system a christian considers it ok to step in and determine the accused person to be unworthy of life. If the human justice system calls someone guilty, is that good enough for you? You can sleep at night with that?
And not only does this person deserve murder, some of you say, but torture! hanging ! vengeance!
Some of you seem to think that's just great. if that's your opinion; fine. But don't try to back it up with the bible or the golden rule or the jesus christ whom i seem to remember said something about turning the other cheek. Don't pollute a decent religion by calling yourself a christian.


Loumanac
Posted 18 August 2008 at 07:28 pm

hello said: "Who are these people discussing what punishment is and how it should be? What makes anybody who has a PC and who is able to type a thinker and a knowledgeable person on a subject such as this, writing about people's lives? Where does this arrogance come from which makes an idiot think that he has something to write that is worth reading?

the article was an interesting read but most of the comments makes one wonder if the head is any better on a body!

thinking that you have a right over somebodies life, even if it's a criminal's, would put you in the same place as the criminal you think that you have a right to punish. To draw a difference between you and what you call a criminal you have to be more careful with how you think.
if that's what you wanna do, that is, reading how passionate you are about punishing"

"Hello" - You are bloody awesome! The best post amongst all this disappointing garbage I've been skimming through. I was really deeply disturbed at the righteousness of the people posting in this thread and left speechless. "Hello" You summed it up perfectly.

Thankyou HELLO you rock!! :) :) :) I have nothing more to say.


Capt_Willard
Posted 01 September 2008 at 02:47 pm

The argument "America has the death penalty and yet there is still violent crime" is a child's argument. First and foremost, for any system of justice to work punishment MUST be SWIFT and SURE. We lack that, mainly due to lawyers who are unconcerned with justice but with "winning". A vigorous defense is NOT supposed to mean lying and slandering against victims of crime. The reason innocent people have been punished is because of YOU! How many of you weasels whine about needing to "get out of jury duty" or come to an absurd and short judgment because you "have important things to do" (catch 'reality' tv or a sporting event)? How many of you say "he must be guilty, they don't just arrest someone"? Grow up and do your proper duty. Don't take someone else's life for granted. Lastly, a relatively painless method of death is easy to consider. One could hit the person with a massive dose of barbiturates then drain their blood w/a large diameter IV, or shoot them in the base of the brain or hang them. Done. Ted Bundy, JW Gacy, JW Booth, BTK and hundreds of others were definitely, clearly AND ADMITTEDLY guilty...what is your excuse THEN? Cowardice.


paulabob
Posted 04 September 2008 at 09:08 am

After all these comments I wanted to find out what typical church policies were on capital punishment here in America. I scanned through a '97 book I had on protestant religions, and culled the information from churches that had over 500,000 members, then added in catholics & mormons from the internet. Now, that may have skewed the numbers, because non denominationals don't report numbers, and there's lots of evangelicals with low numbers. Anyhow, here's what I found:

Church's Position On Capital Punishment
Armenian Church, 1 million members, Supports
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 million members, Supports
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, 2.6 million members, cedes government its right to capital punishment
------------
9.6 million Support

United Methodist Church, 8.6 million members, No Position
Southern Baptist, 15.7 million members, No Position
Seventh Day Adventist, 9.3 million members, No Position
Assemblies of God, 2.5 million members, No Position
Church of the Nazarene, 600,000, No Position
Church of Christ, 3 million members, No Position - check your local church
Baptist Bible Fellowship, 1 million members, No Position
American Baptist Churches, 5800 churches, No Position
------------
41.2 million No Position

United Church of Christ, 1.4 million members, Opposed
Presbyterian Church, 2.7 million members, Opposed
Evangelical Lutheran, 5.2 million members, Opposed
Episcopal Church, 2.5 million members in N&S America, Opposed
Christian Methodist Episcopal, 886,000 members, Opposed
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 933,000 members, Opposed
African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2 million members, Opposed
Catholics, 51 million members, Opposed
------------
67 million Opposed

I grew up in a denomination that opposes (Presbyterian), and as an adult chose another denomination also opposed (disciples of christ). Looking at the numbers, I'm surprised we don't have more opposed based on religious grounds. Then again, we often don't accept every part of our creed.

In high school our teacher had us divide up and argue this position. This was an AP history course. I was the ONLY one opposed. A lot of their arguments were based on money. However, they lost in that regards, as it's cheaper to keep a prisoner for life than to get him executed (because of the legal fees the state pays). I just can't believe any woman or man can decide when another human dies. Depriving him or her of life cheapens our own, and leaves the criminal no chance to find grace before death.


ironcross
Posted 12 September 2008 at 10:41 am

If you take a person's life then you know you should be prepared to give up your own. Capital punishment does not go far enough - they should do to the murderer what the murderer did to the victim. And on national TV at 8 o'clock on all stations. Watch the murder rate go down. If anything the amount people who tend to kill would be greatly reduced, recidivism you know. If you want to see what happens when a person is beheaded, screw the written 300 yr old accounts, go on the Internet and watch the savagery yourself, then tell me we should let these sick bastards live.


MortallyWounded
Posted 07 November 2008 at 10:11 am

I have often wondered this very question, and offer myself as a test subject for scientific observation of a beheading. I promise to try and blink, or maybe even stick out my tongue and go cross eyed. Then take me away to the body farm for further analysis.


PizzaLuvr
Posted 29 January 2009 at 04:49 am

bluenoterain said: "I'd be interested to know the difference between "kill" and "murder," according to a christian. I also wonder at what point in the criminal justice system a christian considers it ok to step in and determine the accused person to be unworthy of life. If the human justice system calls someone guilty, is that good enough for you? You can sleep at night with that?

On the first point, the difference between "kill" and "murder" is that "kill" simply means ending life, while "murder" indicates malicious intent and/or criminal behavior.

The 2nd point is that unfortunately, the justice system must be run by humans. It is left up to us and of course, we are prone to mistakes. However, if we chose the alternative, to do nothing, it would be much worse.

Since only the extremely bad individuals are executed, I'm going to give an extreme example to illustrate. Let's say that we take 100 individuals like Saddam Hussein (spelling?) and sentence them to life in prison rather than executing them. Now let's say that 10 of these individuals is able to continue his crimes either through a network of individuals or escaping from prison. Now let's say that because of this continuation of crime 100 additional innocent people die. And just to make the figures work out nicely, we found out we as humans screwed up and 1 of the bad criminals was actually innocent. So, the question is, where are we better off? With capital punishment we've killed 99 murderers and 1 innocent, but we've prevented 100 innocents from dying. Without capital punishment we've let 100 innocents die and accidentally imprisoned 1 innocent man for life, but we've at least not killed the 1 innocent man.

The way I see it, it would be unethical to not have enforced capital punishment to prevent additional murdering of innocents in order to ease our conscience about making a very small number of mistakes.

The example above, of course, is probably off on likelihood percentages, but it illustrates the point. It also doesn't take into account any murders of innocents that may have be prevented due to the next criminal fearing the death penalty. As mentioned previously by others, the inconclusive deterrent results in the US are probably affected by the lack of consistency with the death penalty.


zed
Posted 21 February 2009 at 08:52 am

I think we would all be better off trying to figure out the actual causes of the crimes. Though I think really we know the answer but we don't want to look at it. I have to wonder really if cultural factors including the societies over all priorities on compassion and human life vs say material wealth and the breeding of selfishness don't come into play. I mean when you have people murdering over an argument , or for say a pair of sneakers (not any of course only certain name brand ones because that is actually not a shoe but a symbol of status which is equated with popularity and sex) something is wrong .

Then of course there are the psychological and educational issues. I wonder if those crude violent people didn't grow up surrounded by ignorance and violence. Finally there will be some who are just psychopaths born with different brain function and can not judge right from wrong or even care that they can't but these are few and far between.

The problem with capitol punishment (and I do support it for those that are psychopaths or brutal murders but the point is to remove them from society.) The reason for the lengthy and expensive death row process is that we do find out that people were innocent while on death row and people have been convicted on surprisingly little then had dna or a witness later exonerate them , there was a guy who spent 14 years in jail for killing a stranger with a glass bottle that had his prints on it then it turned out she had been struck by a car not killed with a bottle. Also the rich can murder in broad day light and maybe get off or avoid death and the poor and ignorant don't get the same representation.

Big problem with deterrent is that we teach people to be self centered we say look don't do this because of what happens to "you" if you get caught. Then some Jackass thinks well I don't care or I just won't get caught , is too stupid , or has already all but self destructed mentally and is just gonna take somone with him and enjoy the ride to the chair. Maybe even fantasies about the attention (at least he's important for a little while.)

We need peoples heads on straight in our society in the first place. What would happen if everyone got an equal education for example and actually were forced to go through high school and grew up understanding the importance of education human life and ethics and actually were engaged more like college or trade school in learning what interested them as well as the important areas of development in a positive environment. The parents can't be the only source of this environment especially when they had little education themselves.

Also everyone needs to be taught ethics and basic mental health and decision making early on. I'm not saying biased religious morals but the process of moral debate and thought.

Lets face it also in poor communities their are less real businesses/ jobs and the schools are a place to hang out and become delinquent while staying ignorant until they wash their hands of you. Mean while your taught via the rest of societies unwritten rules of the importance of competing for money , being greedy and selfish and getting material goods, respect and sex.

Turn on the TV and there it is. If we had high quality equal learning not some bullshit prison like sink hole for some and good schools for others this would be less of an issue. If our culture were fundamentally compassionate rather than everyone for them selves and screw you mentality this would help a lot.We need policy that doesn't wait until some one falls through the cracks, melts down, malfunctions and then says lets make you sorry (that you got caught or maybe were ever born at least) after the fact. Maybe changing that would go a long way in stead of just being more defensive and punitive. Haven't we tried the latter already and it's not working ? Aren't other well developed counties who are not having these issues looking at us and wondering why we are having this issue and thinking we must be idiots or have lost our minds ? As if they didn't have reason enough to think that after we created foreign policy nightmares, then tried to deal with the consequences by electing crooks to office, shedding the bill of rights and declaring war on a noun.

Do we take a Que from them ? No were America and we know and we don't contribute to our problems at all we say. That's right when something doesn't work lets go farther to the extreme that got us here after all what we do is always right so we must just need more of it.

As for the guy who said anti punishment sissy's "shared their toys", it's because our parents were teaching us not to be narrow minded selfish pricks. When you get to be an adult the other "kid" maybe doesn't have any toys and your the 12th one to tell him to get bent you don't share and he mugs you , or you kill him first then his friend or father kills you and yours kills his and then maybe the state gets involved. Great way to live your life. There are lots of third world countries that all live by this tribal law, revenge, self severing, eye for an eye look out for number one mentality and everyone life is a living hell. There is always going to be one more guy outnumbering you at some point or some one with a little bigger gun or who just gets lucky. This a poor last resort and we can do better than that.

How many times have you heard a Realtor or new couple buying a home talk about are the schools here good ? In the benefits while the real estate agent is justifying that huge 30 year debt you'll hear her mention how it's worth it because the schools are good (unlike the others in cheap neighborhoods that aren't right ?) meaning your kid will be groomed to think and function instead of groomed for a gang , prison or a life of poverty. They will be empowered instead of having to beat the odds at "cesspool high". All the schools have to actually give a good competitive education (sorry for those that think they had to earn their kids education but we want actually want everyone to be able to think, thrive and at least be reasonable, because we have to live with them) that means when they leave they can speak ,read and write, understand critical thinking, basic scientific method, philosophy arts literature computer and a little basic financial/business skills and actually have a full understanding of themselves and the world around them on which to base decisions. Then give the opportunity to go to a real college. That is the only thing determining Harvard state or community college is their current grades and level of commitment to study and intelligence. do they want vocational training or a more extensive education ? At least they can exploit their potential.

We don't want to put our money here though do we ? We need some one to flip that burger , scrub that toilet and bag our groceries. Without a formal caste system or slavery we need some way to force some people to work for minimum wage with no health care , or education and live in rented crappy real estate they don't get to own unless they live in shack they had to get through a predatory loan they couldn't even aford. Citybank then collects the rent and opens a check cashing/pay advance place next to the liqueur store since the rest are not getting a real loan anytime soon and we still want to make interest off their meager income.

So people are raised to feel entitled to stuff , told their self worth depends on it after all that's how we keep the middle class slaving away for stuff they don't need. Then being ignorant being told they need to get stuff , realizing they don't have it fair or maybe not have the ability to think critically to even see they have options. Even if it will require an extra decade of their life ten times the work and some real education that's not in card for many people. We instead have them act like idiots, or aggressive selfish materialistic a-holes with no value for human life and a warped view of reality and we act surprised when people who are poor or defective go bat shit nuts.

I once saw a woman almost stab a guy over a McDonalds parking spot ? Do you think this parking spot was really that important to go to jail over , or she even wanted it that badly ? I'd guess her whole life is way in the toilet and she's at melt down before she ever pulled that knife over whose gonna get an egg Mcuffin in the first place. It matters little to that guy if he got stabbed that she's gonna be punished later. We have people living life in perpetual state of stress poverty and "road rage" and were too busy trying to dig ourselves out of debt and chase the American dream to worry about our communities.

We give people just enough freedom, desire and ignorance so that when we dangle the carrot just close enough to their nose they loose it and try to take what they want. Others, poor or not, are still brought up totally morally bankrupt and they kill when they don't get exactly what they want from someone or they just don't know how to make decisions but have been taught they are supposed to be entitled after all this is America.

There will always be nuts and psychos out there thieves and crooks but Id rather they be educated "white collar" criminals or at least as small a percent as possible of the population.

How much crime would we get rid of if people were decently educated through child hood and then all had to choose Harvard- college or crime ? How much more would it go down if the environments were equaly good in the community and the parent rasing the kids in the first place and there was no poor or disadvantaged starting point ? We need a moral well educated youth across the board that didn't learn first the value of money and self interest need for taking respect and competition as there universal core values before we said hey, ok the rest is up to you good luck ! For one of the wealthiest hardest working nations we have all the wealth in the top 10 percent how is that hand holding ? Welfare (for impoverished single mothers pretty much if your a man your expected to work at KFC and sell drugs on the side) we have 30,000 to 80,000k educations and then houses outside the ghetto that cost 300k to 800k no one can afford ? Dose welfare include an education or good schools to help you compete ? No. Should it ? Maybe not but if we had the other priories straightened out first we wouldn't need the welfare and the prisons nearly as much.

So we don't need to change the punishment it's about as good as it might get. I do believe in holding people accountable but if you really want to lesson the chance you'll get victimized on the whole as a society you need to hit the source in your society and not take some small consolation that your dead but so are they. Your family got revenge and the criminal didn't care at least at the time they were committing the crime or were too stupid to make a good decision.

So you've set up an evolutionary sort of survival of the fittest reactionary system to weed people out after they go off the deep end clearly that's not the best way to do it. As more criminals grow up dumb and violent and mentally defective, they act the way they are and you kill them, lather rinse repeat. That's why the deterrent doesn't work as you get tougher punishment and no prevention it just means they make dam sure not to leave any witnesses when they rob you. If these people could make good decisions or were growing up to have better options or give a crap rather than being defective with a faulty world view they wouldn't be insane enough to rob you anyway.

I say why not rehabilitate them starting when they are two years old with a good environment and childhood education not once they are already long gone and the shit has hit the fan ?

We need to change the process that helps turn a newborn baby with no predispositions into dangerous human waste. There will still be crime but it would be the rare exception rather than the common statistic. There is a reason the prisons are not full of violent mostly rich business owners, doctors and lawyers or successful well educated people. There is a reason why on tv that these offenders sound like ignorant dangerous violent assclowns it's because that they grew up in our society to be ignorant, dangerous, violent assclowns. You can say not my problem buddy screw you sink or swim but in a society we all have to live together and are dependent on one another so if your neighbors sink they very well may try and pull you down too.

You can say hey not my fault and maybe it's not directly but as a whole when a society is looking for a real solution then they have to do what fixes the problem at the source, not just say you had your chance and still couldn't cut it in America supposed land of opportunity so you suck tough luck.

This doesn't work because we all have to live together and when someone else fails or goes insane we also bear the consequences and financial burdens. Talk of hand outs all you want clearly some thing was not enough or just not the right way. Some people will always be criminals but we have big problem when our prisons are overflowing and it's with the environment that breeds this. Other counties that fair better have more uniform educational and wealth distribution and a different culture so comparing death penalty to crime rate is assumed causality. It's apples to oranges when your society and culture is promoting, class division, narcissism, self entitlement and materialism coupled with a lack of universal high quality education (essentially violent crime waiting to happen).Our is inherently to begin with.

We have an education system that is really good for some and really awful for just as many. Look how much college or a home costs and ask why ? Because these are not considered necessities but instead investments and status symbols that we inflate and make out to cost a fortune because we are greedy.

Why do people keep saying how great our education system is and how wealthy our nation is when these benefits are concentrated among a disproportionately tiny mount (those not committing many crimes btw are in guess what group) ? We could even have lesser standards of both but spread more evenly as other countries still with lower crime happen to have rather than what we do now which is look at an average composed of two extremes in America and say hey we have a great system here too.

Some one has to be Janitor or make your french fires and we sure as hell can't have them in college instead though right ? Some people would work 30 hours a week at burger king if it paid an ok wage that met all their needs , others might aspire to more but that's not how our system is set up. We go a decade barley raising the minimum wage a few cents we let education and higher education be an overpriced status symbols. We implode our mortgage market till it burst and hundreds of millions of middle class Americans walk on their house payments, then give the crooks a 700 million bailout for their trouble, we let our nation go uninsured and pay 10 times the cost for prescriptions as every other country whos government isn't on their payroll and we do all this to maintain an un official caste system because we think we are going to be rich some day too, or have this idea of this fantasy of the American dream. We deluge everyone with consumer greed and dysfunction ram it down peoples throats that they are in the land of opportunity and then make it so some can barley afford to live with any quality of life and are ignorant and so they act accordingly. We say hey it's your fault and they say ok screw it I'm going take what I want, and we then go ok now your punished and they say whatever screw it at least I took you with me. Not the best system is it ?

I also read an article in London about a stabbing and how people were calling for better knife control I kid you not. They had the same discussions in the media like that it would not do any good , saying that people find a way to kill people, or that the criminals would stab you because you can't get a knife and they had the argument going back and forth .It was identical to our gun control arguments but guess what I noticed they had pretty much no shootings to argue over.

And if your thinking your country is so messed up your afraid without citizens possessing arms that your government might go fascist on you one day or your neighbors kill you in your sleep then you have to wake up and realize something is very very wrong here.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 29 May 2009 at 08:40 am

Awesome post about the education system!
Though it is a very interesting topic, I'd rather get back to the topic of capital punishment. Over the course of this discussion a lot of arguments for and against the issue have been raised, and for the most part, they were well justified. I'll just add my opinions about the main arguments to the mix:

CONTRA
1. Religious arguments
Example:

hkstar (#153): "What part of "Thou shalt not kill" do you Christians not understand? I'm not even religious but those 10 Commandments seem pretty solid to me. How many people did Jesus put to death? Even for the most heinous crimes? None, I believe?"

Well, the justice system is not really a religious but a secular matter. Any religious community should have the right to sanction its own members for transgressions against that community's teachings (as long as those sanctions don't go against the law of the state in which they practice their beliefs), but transgressions against secular law cannot be redressed by religious law. Considering the diverse beliefs in the US alone this should be obvious. Let's say a Christian Methodist murders a Mormon. Whose religious law would be applicable?
Besides, most religious groups don't even have a penal code sufficient to deal with the wide range of transgressions that face the judiciary of modern states, so why should they get a special say on capital punishment?

2. Innocents could be wrongly executed
Example:

spac3m0nk3y (#50): "...Second, how can you be absolutely sure the person is guilty? I hate to think about it, but I'm sure many innocent people have been falsely accused of a crime and then executed. That alone is not worth capital punishment."

This argument could be made for other punishments as well (there are probably some people unjustly imprisoned as well), but I concede that in the case of capital punishment, it would be difficult to cancel the verdict after the execution...
100% certainty will not be easy to achieve, so yes, the standards to which a trial with a capital punishment sentence should be held have to be high.
Requiring a confession would not be practical, as the convict could thus prevent his execution by simply withholding his confession.
Capital punishment could be reserved for repeat offenders. As Web (#128) said, the odds of being wrongly accused and convicted of murder TWICE are vanishingly small.
Also there are cases where the guilt of the offender CAN be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The case Don linked to in #133 is a good example.
Of course this leaves UNreasonable doubt, but I for one would be willing to take that risk.

3. Economical reasons
Example:

Richt T (#110): "It costs more to execute a criminal than to lock him away for life. Those who think money can be saved by killing someone are showing their ignorance.
http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-murderersalive.htm"

Sorry, but that's not an argument against capital punishment, but one against the ridiculously long and complicated appeals processes.
However if convicted criminals were put to productive work, so they can pay for their expenses out of their salary, this could tip the balance for this argument. This could also be a valuable tool for rehabilitation.

4. The convict's Right to Live would be violated
This is in fact the best argument against capital punishment, I have heard so far. Yes, the convict has violated just this same right in others, but doesn't the US constitution have a passage where it says that an individual's right to life is "unalienable"? Other modern democratic constitutions contain similar passages, so does that mean that no matter what one does, the constitution prevents capital punishment?
Well, obviously there are exceptions, for in the same sentence of said constitution - in fact right next to the word "life" - is the word "freedom" which is supposedly just as unalienable, but we see people sent to prison every day and for the most part no one seriously objects (at least not because of the constitution). I am no lawyer but I have my personal opinion on what those exceptions should be and will explain them a bit farther down this post.

There are a few more arguments that are not so well thought through:
5. "The death penalty is racist."

Ronald (#115): "There are far more white people in the United States than black. Therefore there are far more racist white people in the United States than racist black people, ... Therefore any jury is far more likely to have biased whites on it then biased blacks."

An astounding feat of logic... I recommend a basic course in causality. However even if those assumptions are true, even with my rudimentary knowledge of the US judicial system I know that there are safeguards against this: Both the defendant and the prosecution can refuse jury members they suspect to be prejudiced or racist. I believe both sides do make generous use of this right.

6. "I disagree with the precedent set by the government killing its own citizens, whatever the reason." (also #115)
So you do, but that is your personal opinion (to which you certainly have a right) and not an argument against CP.

7. People on an internet forum have no right to an opinion on this matter
Example:

hello (#100): "Who are these people discussing what punishment is and how it should be? What makes anybody who has a PC and who is able to type a thinker and a knowledgeable person on a subject such as this, writing about people's lives? Where does this arrogance come from which makes an idiot think that he has something to write that is worth reading?"

Right back at you.

PRO
1. Justice
Just to define the meaning of Justice is something you could write books about, even if we limit ourselves to "retributive justice" as applicable to the topic at hand.
Obviously, justice is THE argument for CP, isn't it? After all the offender killed, so it is only just that he be killed in turn...
However it is not that easy. I think that justice is what should be done after all the arguments both for and against CP have been heard and weighted.
If there are sufficient arguments for CP then CP is "just", if the arguments against CP are better, it is "unjust".
Justice cannot be the REASON for CP, it is the END to which CP should be applied or not applied depending on the reasons presented.

2. Revenge
Every time I hear a news-story about a guy who brutally raped and killed a 9-year old or other crimes just as heinous, it is a very compelling notion to just off the guy and be done with it. It is a very slippery slope we are on here though.
Revenge for one thing doesn't care about justice. If revenge is the only reason for killing an offender, what will the family of the offender do? Revenge always leads to a vicious circle of violence.
It is for a reason that our judiciary system is built on neutrality!

3. Closure
It is possible that the death of the offender will bring closure to some of the victim's family, but will it bring closure to all of them? Will they even know if it brings them closure until after the execution? Will they feel worse? How will we decide whether this criminal should die and that one shouldn't? Will the criminal's punishment be dependent on the mental state of the victim's family? Will criminals whose victims don't have any relatives get off "easy"? Would a mourning mother condemn the poor bugger who reacted a second too slow and drove over her child with his car? If I had just lost a loved one, I wouldn't trust myself to make a "just" decision.

4. Deterrent
Deterrent would be a good reason for capital punishment, but its effectiveness is hard to prove.
Some statistics say the murder rates in the US are higher than in other countries despite the existence of CP, but there are many other factors that are likely to influence this as well, not the least of which are the very loose gun control laws. Also not all US states have CP, so the statistics are likely skewed.
Some argue that criminals simply do not consider any consequences or deterrents before committing a crime, or hey rationalize that they won't be caught anyway:

Alias (#129): "To most would-be criminals (even criminals in general), their life situation or mental state just means they're simply not thinking of the consequences. If I ever had occasion to plan somebody's brutal murder, I'd almost certainly re-think the because of the punishment I'd receive - losing my life or losing my freedom. Either way, not being there to watch my daughter grow up would be a massive deterrent for me. But then I'm not criminally-minded."

That may be true, but on the other hand there are all those who DID consider the consequences and decided NOT to commit a crime. It is simply not possible to reliably collect those numbers for a statistic. Also it is impossible to know how many people will find a 10 year prison sentence inadequate deterrent and are swayed by the prospect of the death penalty.
I do believe that the death penalty does have a deterrent effect, but as it is impossible to quantify, it should not be the sole justification for CP.
Some others argue that the deterrent effect would be increased by making executions public and/or excessively painful. While this is probably true, I'd hate to see what society would come to if we started to take pleasure in such things. Reality TV is bad enough as it is today...

5. Prevention of Recidivism
For me, the best reason for CP is to protect innocents from those people who pose a serious threat to society. There are people who feel no remorse about killing and who will do so again if given the chance and the incentive (and for some, this "incentive" can be quite trivial). It is for those people (psychopaths, terrorists etc.) for whom CP should be reserved.
According to the US recidivism statistics, about 60% of released prisoners go on to become repeat offenders. According to that statistic only about 1% of released murderers were rearrested for murder within 3 years, but I don't believe the vast majority of murderers pose a significant threat to the public and should thus be subject to CP. For example, some US states differentiate between murders of 1st - 3rd degrees, where 3rd degree murder would be murder without the intent to kill. I didn't find any statistics regarding this, but I think a large part of murders falls into this category. Also there are probably a number of 1st degree murderers (intentional, premeditated and deliberate action) who do not pose a threat to society (i.e. the wife who poisons the husband who has been beating her, revenge killings, etc.)

FAZIT:
I support capital punishment for those who intentionally and deliberately caused the death of innocent people and are likely to do so again if released among the general public, provided that their guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. This definition explicitly includes terrorists of all kinds.
Other criminals should be sent to prison and there made to work to help pay for their upkeep. Maybe they could even learn some craft to help support them after their release.

Hmm... This post has gotten almost as long as zed's. I swear that wasn't my intention ^^°


Niceguy_Nomore
Posted 27 November 2013 at 11:19 pm

just_dave said: "I'd have to agree with mrjondoe. Why is there such concern over whether the condemned feels pain or not? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment"? I don't think anything is mentioned about the punishment not involving pain. If the job is done well the pain will be short.

Funny thing is that this seems to be of little concern to the Islamists who behead in such a way to prolong the sensations of pain in their victims. Forget not Nick Berg."

Would choose to disagree with those who suggest that capital punishment should be painful as it is meant to serve as punishment.

It is now a days intended to remove individuals "who are a menace to orderly society". Thus viewed, it is not about inflicting pain. If that were so, lengthy torture would have been a better option; won't you agree? Like stoning someone to death as is still practiced in some places?

I agree on the power of CP acting as a deterrent though. Look at the unusually low incidence of heinous crimes in some Arab states.

Just my two pence....


Lady Carole McLean-Smith
Posted 29 November 2013 at 05:59 am

debbiebf said: "I, for one, consider myself a Christian with a promise of an afterlife for everyone from a fair and loving God (fair not to be confused with giving everyone an easy life on earth).

If I were found guilty of murder (whether it was a just conviction or not), I would much prefer to be executed than to spend my life in solitary confinement or jail, truly a fate much worse than death. I believe God loves ALL his children and even sinners will be in a place better than earth when they die, although they will have to atone for their sins.
My point is that it is my faith in the after-life that makes death NOT a revenge or even punishment, but a just and fair sentence to certain crimes. Innocent or guilty, death is preferable to living in bondage in jail, so the fact that the jury may have made a mistake is a moot point.
Execution, by the way, DOES have a0% rescidivism rate.
How can we justify spending precious limited resources to keep an adult alive with free food, housing and medical care in order to be arguably "humane" while others, even children, on earth are starving? No, the murderer has had his chance on earth and we can let God deal with him as He sees fit, and reserve our limited resources to make better lives for others so they don't fall down the same path.
And speaking of hypocrisy, why would someone think it is wrong to execute a prisoner who has lied, cheated, raped and murdered, but think it is okay to kill an innocent baby in its mother's womb simply because it is inconvenient for the mother to be pregnant? Don't say the mother deserves freedom of choice, because it was her freedom of choice that got her pregnant. Two wrongs don't make a right. If killing prisoners is wrong, please don't try to justify killing babies.
As for pain, well, childbirth is painful, too. But you end up with a new life, just as death is a new life in heaven.
Just a thought....."

If I had not had a termination- both the baby and I would probably have died. I do hope your "holier than thou" response would not be to kill us both.


Lady Carole McLean-Smith
Posted 29 November 2013 at 06:11 am

njg said: "I am sorry but I read all the comments and it is really bothersome how people are so revengeful. I am a christian and we learn from the Bible that he handles our revenge. We are to forgive and leave that to God to handle. Yes, I know it hurts when someone wrongs you but MAKING TWO WRONGS DOESN'T MAKE A RIGHT. It makes it worse and keeps it continuing. This article is interesting cause it makes you wonder if a person is able to think afterwards. We will never know. Hopefully crazy scientist that have to know won't continue beheading animals to get an answer. But it is hard to forgive and forget but having faith helps. You know there is a better place out there for the ones who believed and died. I pity the ones who aren't christians. It only takes these words to save yourself, "I believe in you God, I understand you died for our sins so we could live an everlasting life with you later, please come into my heart and help me". Good luck and God bless you. Now your job is to tell others about Christ and try to save someone else."

Oh dear - is it only Christians who go to heaven? So all the people who live wonderful loving, caring, healing dedicated lives don't get to heaven because they are not Christian. Oh dear - how narrow minded and indoctrinated.


Natalie
Posted 12 July 2014 at 08:15 pm

This is so horrible and morbid. If I don't have nightmares after this I will be surprised.


Tom Brown
Posted 12 August 2014 at 07:30 pm

If you really want to have nightmares, visit bestgore.com

The guy that runs is ... weird. Not totally objectionable, but pretty out there: he seems to have an odd mixture of normal reactions, disgust, conspiracy theorist, realist, and sick outlooks on what he posts.

But, putting that aside, he has the most disturbing videos anywhere on the net that I've found:

LOTS of real beheadings... from Islamic terrorists in Syria and Iraq, but also from Mexican drug cartels. Mostly the cartels are *WORSE*

Most of these beheadings use a knife. Sometimes the knife isn't so sharp, and sometimes the beheader isn't very skillful. Some of the more prominent examples:

Mexican drug cartel member standing over a kneeling woman making a speech, he then proceeds to cut her head off with a knife. She has her hands tied behind her back. This guy is good... he finishes in under a minute and holds the severed head up to the camera... you can see her eyes both turn to the right. She hardly lets out a whimper as the guy does his dirty work. Crazy.

Islamic terrorist (ISIS I think) with buddies cut the head off a victim with a dull knife. It takes a while just to break the skin, but they manage... holding the guy on the ground the whole while.

Some victims scream. Sometimes their mouths are taped shut so you can't hear them at all. Sometimes they gurgle while their neck is being sawed.

In general the Islamics are better head cutter offers... getting the job done more efficiently. But the Mexicans are crueler ... it seems they go out of their way to make it horrible. Sometimes when they behead women, they make them get naked first, or pull boobs out. Sometimes they seem to try to keep from cutting the main arteries to keep the victim alive longer. Sometimes they skin the head... one video shows a female Mexican murderess cutting a poor guy's head off with a knife. He's a gurgler. When she's done she skins the head. Sometimes it's implied (but no videos) that the head is skinned while the victim is alive.

Mexicans also love to interview the victims before they butcher them. In one case a group of women in kneeling on the ground, most with their breasts exposed while the killers stand behind them with guns... they interview each one, asking her name etc. Then proceed to just start sawing their heads off with knives and machetes simultaneously. When they're mostly done, they chop their bodies into pieces with axes... with a pile or arms, legs, torsos and heads the result. They did all this pretty quick... but then there must have been about 10 or 12 killers to help. This was like about five women. Sometimes there's a mixture of men and women, but often the women are fully or partially naked, whereas the men usually keep their pants on at least ... however there are exceptions!

Sometimes the Mexicans will do their victims one at a time so some have to wait their turn to have their head sawed off. Sometimes they do teenagers. Sometimes they hang people, or beat them first. One video shows each victim getting knocked hard on the head with a 2x4 prior to their head being cut off (which probably mercifully knocked them out). Often the arms will twitch while they chop or saw through the spinal chord. Sometimes the beheader will get frustrated trying to fully detach the head and will attempt to twist it off.

One poor guy was hung naked upside down. Before using a knife on his neck they cut his genitals off... he thrashed around a lot while they did that (I was surprised at the relative lack of blood from his groin), which made it take longer. Then they cut his head off and chopped up the corpse. Another poor guy was beaten badly and then they used what appeared to be an arc welder on his body and face before cutting his head off.

They always make the victims confess that they are part of a rival cartel first. Sometimes they have to name names of other people helping the rival cartel (one can only imagine that those who are named are also targeted). Sometimes they seem unsure of the answers, as if they were just innocent victims snatched off the street to "star" in the execution video (and had to memorize lines they were given)... perhaps so the perpetrators can use it like a video resume to get in their cartel of choice? I really don't know. What's their motivation to learn their lines? Perhaps they are threatened with worse tortures if they don't comply. I don't know.

The victims mostly seem resigned to their fates. Most don't scream or moan. In one two guys (uncle and nephew) are sitting next to each other being interviewed... when the interview ends you hear a chainsaw starting up off camera, and then a guy comes forward and just saws the uncle's head right off with the chainsaw... he seems to have cut the nephew's arm in the process, but the nephew doesn't even flinch... he just stares to the side waiting for the horror to be over. They don't use the chainsaw on him though after they're done beheading his uncle... instead they use a knife (which takes longer, as you can imagine).

A couple of people do make a last minute plea. One guy, after watching two or three of his buddies have their heads cut off with a knife, pleads for them to just shoot him. The tape runs out, so it's not clear what happens to him. Another lady, again kneeling on the ground, pleads for them to spare her right before she gets a bullet to the head. It was like a last minute after thought... she was resigned and compliant up until that last futile attempt to beg for mercy. Another girl (probably 17 or so) is crying while they interview her... they cut her head off with a knife... it takes a while too. Pretty horrible.

So, I think there are plenty of opportunities to do more tests... for an enterprising researcher willing to brave the people he'd have to hang out with, and willing to stomach lots of sickening and cruel violence.


Amy T
Posted 06 October 2014 at 12:57 pm

Coneee said: "You guys are disgusting. I realise I'm arguing with Americans (and 60% of you support state executions), but I still feel that I should stand up against you lot. Some choice quotes:

"I think we should bring back public hangings."
"I say we make a headband of C4 and off criminals that way. Messy but quick…and fun too!"
"why is everyone so upset about decapitation? Where were the victims "rights" when the crime was committed? An eye for an eye and pain for pain."
You're not talking about the death penalty as a "deterrent", you're talking about revenge. The fact is that there's no proof the death penalty is even effective as a deterrent when compared to other non-lethal punishments. Also, innocent people have been executed many times in the histories of countries that have the death penalty and it violates the human right to life.
Damn Interesting is a brilliant website, but I think a little more moderation of the comments is in order. I don't want to read the written masturbation of blood-lusting idiots on DI again."

I'm American, and I agree with you, 100%.


Rachael F
Posted 03 January 2015 at 06:08 pm

Hi, do you have a source for the story about the veteran in the car crash please? Im putting together a website on the gadhimai religious sacrifice where bulls heads are seen to show consciousness


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