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  1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Death Penalty in Boston Marathon Bombing

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Steerpike, May 15, 2015.

  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm opposed to the death penalty because I don't think any human has the right to take another human's life without their consent, and because I think it's horrific that a state would ever consider killing its own citizens.

    So, this seems barbaric and sad to me. Not that the crime wasn't horrible, just that I expect a civilized government to find a better response.
     
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  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't have a problem with it, in theory, if it is pursuant to procedural and substantive due process. However, the risk of mistake is too high, given problems with the judicial system generally. My feeling is that there should be a higher standard than "beyond reasonable doubt" in cases where the death penalty is sought, and it should be reserved for the most egregious criminal offenses. I think the Boston Marathon bombing qualifies as the latter, and there doesn't seem to be any doubt whatsoever as to the defendant's guilt, so I'm not troubled in this case.

    As an overall matter, I'd rather see a moratorium on it until the system is fixed, if that is even possible.
     
  4. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I once had a huge debate on the death penalty issue. Personally I am not bothered by it. I am not familiar with this case but I will say it like this.

    I believe we hold a standard that gives us certain rights and those rights are only rights as long as we respect them in others. No one has a problem with someone who traffics humans going to jail right? He took the freedom from others and as such he lost his freedom. The loss of his freedom protected others. Simple math. This does mean I don't believe the death penalty should be used as a means of punishment exactly. Punishment to me implies teaching and death is not teaching. Death penalty to me is simple math. It is saying "For your crimes against life we find you unworthy of a chance to redeem yourself and for the sack of future victims will remove you from the picture."

    I can already here the argument too. "But Wynn if you lock them up for life they won't have future victims?" I disagree. For one, prisons aren't perfect and killers can kill other inmates. You can argue the whole solitary confinement position but I have 2 retorts.
    1. Cost
    2. Fate worse than death

    Cost. Simply put if a man is locked in a single cell alone for his life we are paying for his cost of living. Not to say we should have poor prisons and give minimal care. Rather saying. Life has limited resources. If he is never going to be let out and never going to be given a chance to do anything ever again. Why should he get the food or money when there are people starving in the streets? Again cold logic.

    Fate Worse than death. To never be given a chance to do anything ever again beyond sit and dwell in your thoughts? This is horrible. At this point we are deciding his fate anyhow. I think it is evil to force him to sit and dwell in pain.

    Funny thing is my logic mainly ties into the sentence I said earlier. "Beyond redemption." Someone once asked me what I thought about this one guy(I forget the name.) See he killed like 20 people over a large time gap. He was sentenced to die and we did actually kill him(I think. Personally me being wrong doesn't change the end point.). Thing is in prison he had a change of heart and felt bad and freely accepted the idea of never leaving prison. He wanted to write children's books. How do I feel about that? Simple. He isn't beyond redemption. Let him sit in prison. Let him write his books. If he makes any money let it go to the state. Heck let him try and make up for his sins. If he can interact with the world which leads to a positive effect on both himself and the world by all means I see nothing wrong with that.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Mixed feelings. The family that lost a son didn't want it. That weighed heavily.

    The chance of a false conviction is my biggest opposition to the death penalty in general, and that doesn't apply in this case.

    That leaves which would be worse for the guy, with worse being my preference. And which, if any, would have the chance of deterring someone else, even if only a slim chance. I don't know the answers to those questions.
     
  6. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Just keep in mind that, now that he's been sentenced to death, his lawyers can appeal, and appeal and appeal again, and again and again. He's got another 10 years or so at the very least.

    So why not just lock him in a dark room and forget about it for 60 years.
     
  7. Mike Hill
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    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

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    I'm against death penalty but I don't consider it barbaric. In this case it's reasonable because he surely is guilty but life without parole is actually worse crime for terrorist. Then he is unlikely to become a martyr.
     
  8. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    He dies a martyr, radical Islam continues its defiance, murders more innocents in the name of their barbaric faith to avenge their own monsters.
     
  9. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    No. I think we should leave the state-sponsored murder to countries like China and Singapore, and join the civilized nations which have banned it.

    It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their kind.

    ~George Bernard Shaw
     
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  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @Stacy C you don't appear to understand the definition of the word "murder." It's fine to be opposed to capital punishment, as I am generally, but let's use words correctly.

    As for the martyr issue, I don't believe a death sentence or life sentence in this case will have any impact whatsoever on future terrorist activity.
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like it's George Bernard Shaw who didn't "understand the definition" - and I think maybe you don't understand the quotation, if you think he doesn't understand the word.
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    OK, then Shaw didn't understand the word, and the failure to understand it was repeated here.

    People always lament controversial threads being shut down, but throwing out inflammatory (and worse, inaccurate) rhetoric is part of the reason threads escalate.
     
  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think threads also get shut down because people are too quick to assume others don't understand, just because they disagree. In order to have a good discussion, I think we need to assume that the people we're speaking with have understanding at least equal to our own. In the case of Shaw, I think we should probably assume he has understanding far beyond most of us.

    With that in mind, maybe you could be more specific in your disagreement, rather than being dismissive.

    So, what is it specifically that you disagree with about the quotation? You think murder and capital punishment actually ARE opposites that cancel each other out, or you think they don't "breed their kind", or...?
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't assume Shaw's understanding was far beyond anyone else's. "Murder" is a legal term. Capital punishment doesn't fall within the definition.

    Although I can think of ways to argue the other side as a devil's advocate. But the counter-argument isn't one people generally have in mind when they throw out quotes like the above.
     
  15. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    But he didn't say that murder and capital punishment are exact synonyms, he said they're "not opposites" and are "similars".
     
  16. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    Quoting someone (throwing out a quote?) doesn't necessarily mean that I think the author of the quote has any special insight, but rather has made a point (with which I may or may not agree) in an interesting or entertaining way. In this case, I do agree with Shaw.

    The whole 'murder is a legal term' thing has gotten old. Technically, that's true, but the word is used more often colloquially to describe any killing of another human one thinks is wrong or immoral. IANAL.
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    He referred to it as state sponsored murder.
     
  18. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not in the line quoted here, he didn't.

    Oh, I see what's happening. @Stacy C referred to it as "state sponsored murder". Not Shaw. The quotation isn't set off properly in the post.

    For clarity, I'm assuming the first line is Stacy C's idea, the second line is Shaw's.
     
  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think it is used colloquially that way as often as some think, and even if it is a colloquial misuse of a word isn't a good reason to use it. On a writing forum, I hope we can use words more precisely.

    I doubt Shaw was ignorant of the meaning, and it may be an even more egregious error for Shaw, because the essay's I've read of his suggest he was a supporter of positive law (if I'm recalling his work correctly). You could make a natural law argument in support of what he's saying, but from a positive law standpoint he's dead wrong.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    That was my initial assumption, but when you came back saying I was criticizing her for what Shaw said I thought perhaps the whole quote belonged to Shaw. The second part of the post is easier to defend. The state-sponsored murder quote is not, particularly if it came from Shaw (who should have known better), and more particularly if he was a positive law theorist.
     
  21. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    State sponsored murder or not, I wouldn't want to live in a country where the government has the final say on whether I get to live or die.
     
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  22. uncephalized
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    uncephalized Active Member

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    This, forever this.

    I feel an open-and-shut case like this is a sufficient rarity not to base policy on it. And it doesn't change the fundamental nature of the act--to deprive a person of life, when that person is not currently a danger to others, is in my opinion wrong. Period.

    Thank you for this. What an excellent quote.

    This 'let's only use words the way I decide' is a false tactic. Words are not such rigid things, and murder can have more than one definition. Do you not understand that by using it in this way, we are arguing that what is given the euphemism of 'capital punishment' ought to be called murder? That it is an unjust act which deprives another of life, and therefore worthy of inclusion?
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think it ought to be called murder, though. Giving words fuzzy definitions because we want to draw on a certain connotation does no favors for the language. Murder is a pretty specific term. It should remain that way. Calling something murder when it isn't, just because you have an emotional response that tell you it should be on the same level of murder, seems to me to be a simple misuse of language, and I don't think making the language ambiguous when more concrete and accurate expressions are available makes much sense from the standpoint of communication.
     
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  24. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    Fair enough. I like precision in word usage myself. I'll point out, though, that many people refer to abortion as murder, and prior to 1973 (in the US), they were correct. When one court decision can change the entire meaning of a word, it's probably unreasonable to insist on a pedantic definition.
     
  25. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    But that just reinforces the point that "murder" is a legalistic determination. That's why it can change if the law changes. It's an "unlawful" killing with requisite intent. Since unlawful is part of the definition, it is subject to change if what is lawful changes.

    If capital punishment were outlawed (for example because it was found Unconstitutional), and a state carried out an execution anyway, then I think you'd be right to characterize it as murder. If that same execution was carried out in a system where capital punishment was legal and was done pursuant to the law, it wouldn't be a murder. I don't think it becomes pendantic, it's just the nature of using a legal term.
     
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