Death Penalty

GeneralRamos's picture

I have great difficulty understanding how people can support the death penalty. We're talking about killing people because of revenge and inconvenience.

So why do people support this? Some people contend that it's justice to have the people who commit heinous crimes to be killed and removed from existence. Others claim it's a deterrent to future crimes. Others that we should waste our taxpayer money keeping these people alive in prisons.

Why do I NOT support the death penalty? Firstly, because the above are all bullshit arguments for the death penalty. Secondly, I find it hard to jsutify the killing of somebody who is in prison and no longer puts the peoples at risk (I advocate life improisonment for such cases that the death penalty would be used), and because of the possibility (and reality) that innocent people are on death row.

1a) While some might feel better knowing that the person who committed a heinous crime against a friend or family members is dead, this is an emotional, not a rational response to the situation. Revenge is a natural feeling, and one to which we can all fall victim, but that's why the justice system is set up as it is - to take the passion out of revenge and make sure the punishments are meritted. Government sponsored killing shouldn't be considered acceptible. Especially considering that the next two arguments fail, there is no justification for killing these peopel other than pure revenge. Punishment exists so that you can learn from a crime - to kill someone can not do that. Life imprisonment is a far better solution.

1b) The death penalty is not a detterent to crime. Death row does not seem to have any effect on curbing other people from committing murders and other crimes. Despite the existence of the death penalty, murder continues. If it were really a big deterrent, we would expect to see people thinking twice about murdering. But murderers don't work like that. They kill for profit, out of passion, and out of revenge. If you're killing for profit, you've already weighed the risks and feel justified in your actions. If you're killing out of passion, the flare of your emotions that leads to a spontaneous killing, you're not going to be thinking about the consequences. And finally, most undeterable of all, is vengeance. If you're lusting for vengeance, no punishment is going to stop you from it. The murders being committed aren't just casual killings, where one would think - meh, i don't want to get killed for doing this. No, they're either premeditated and planned out so as to avoid the punishment, they're the result of a peak of rage and emotion, or they're the result of an undying urge for revenge.

1c) To say that we should execute people simply because we don't want to pay for them is the biggest fucking bullshit of all, and it gets me extremely angry to hear people speak so calmly about it! This is making life a matter of convenience. Saying that we should kill people simply because we don't want to support a life in prison term is a serious infringement on even the most libertarian morals. If you're concerned about money, look for cheaper alternatives to the materials at their disposal - food, clothing. There are programs that could be put into place that would generate some money from the prisons. Implement that if you're concerned with the change in your wallet. Let's not jump to exterminating people because we don't have enough for our mornign coffee.

2) People in prison no longer put people at risk. The entire reason for jail is to remove people that are harful to society from society, and to rehabilitate them if they can be, and leave them locked up if they can't. We don't need to kill people to prevent them from doing further harm to the world, we just need to take them out and put them in a place where they can't kill or rape or whatever the rest of society.
Life imprisonment is a better solution not only because the death penalty is a bad and immoral solution, but because life in prison is a punishment that is humane, but at the same time, still a punishment. It is removing these people's freedom, one of the most cherished posessions, because they infringe on others' freedom. It also gives these people a chance to rethink what they've done, and sometimes apologize for their actions and change their outlook on life (what they've got left of it). With the death penalty, they simply cease to exist. With imprisonment, who knows what information they could give us that could lead to future investigations, or profiling other murders out there, etc. Death penalty simply cuts off any knowledge they had that might have been useful.

3) This leads t the fact that there are INNOCENT people on death row, which is the only reason I needed to oppose the death penalty when I first started thinking about the issue a long time ago. You might still be able to argue for the death penalty if we were sure that everyone on death row was guilty, but the simple fact is that we're not. There have been far too many people that were released from death row after new evidence has overturned their convictions. Until there comes a day when we can be absolutely certain, with absolutely NO shadow of a doubt (not just beyond one), can the death sentence be justified. Every person you kill is possibly innocent. With imprisonment, you can always release the person if they've been found innocent (though it still sucks for the person, to have been jailed), but once you've killed a man you can't reverse the punishment. He's gone and done. If only one single innocent person dies on death row, it is government sponsored murder. I don't care how many guilty people you are getting rid of, I WOULD RATHER HAVE 20 GUILTY PEOPLE SET FREE THAN A SINGLE INNOCENT PERSON KILLED. To argue otherwise is to accept collateral damage as acceptable in a situation that could easily be remedied by not using the death penalty, and instead making the maximum punishment LIFE IMPRISONMENT.


How is your emotional belief in the sanctity (though I doubt you'd use that word!) of human life any more rational than a desire for revenge. Also the point about 20 guilty people going free so 1 innocent one doesn't die. That all falls to pieces if just one of these 20 kills an innocent person. And given that the death penalty is only used in the most serious cases I reckon that'd be a high probability.
Strangely though I agree with you, there should be life imprisonment in case of mistakes.

GeneralRamos's picture

I'm not basing it on an

I'm not basing it on an emotional belief, maybe my wording was misleading. It's an unjustified killing, which is morally wrong. There is no logical reason to kill a person who has been captured and detained, in jail he's no longer posing a risk to society. Life internment provides an opportunity to change you lifestyle and, even though you're condemned to jail for the rest of your life, you can set your life on a better course. Revenge isn't based on rationale, but raw emotions. Nobody thinks whether their thirst for revenge is logical, it's an emoptional need they feel they must quench.

And for clarity on the '1 innocent' issue, if an innocent person dies on death row it means that we are all guilty of murder. It's more an issue of state sponsored killing than of the killing itself. A system that has the glaring potential to punish the innocent should not have death as an option. Its more the reason that the action, as much of morality is. Even though its only an option for the most severe crimes, there are still innocent people on death row.

Prison should be about

Prison should be about "correcting" people, not killing them... that's just mob law!