Capital Punishment

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by Geist, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,786
    Likes Received:
    2,496
    I'm sorry you think it a cheap shot....for the life of me I can understand how any christian would think Jesus would have lead or accepted the Crusades...the Spanish Inquisition...burning books, heretics, witches...I'm sorry, I think it ridiculous.

    I believe that man grew greatly in his understanding in his short time on earth...and I don't see him preaching capitol punishment...he physically told us to find someoone without sin to cast the first stone...that is if one believes anything in the book.

    I can see an atheist, arguing for capitol punishment. My uncle was shot, as I said I have a very close friend who lost her sister to her nephew....she was able to understand forgiveness.

    I have a friend that told me if you don't understand the concept of unconditional love for ALL. You will have to have an occurance in your life, to assist you in that understanding...I don't wish that on anyone. My brother, I'll take as many cheap shots as I can to forstall that level of understanding.
     
  2. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,906
    Likes Received:
    5

    That is true, that was man, not the Lord's doing. However, all things work for the glory of God, including stupid blunders, or outright wretchedness by man. God is much bigger than that.


    Really? Pacifism never won a war. War is real, murder is real, cheating is real, crime is real. Unless you expect the Lord to fix all things for you, when others choose to do you wrong, while you do nothing for yourself, in defense of yourself...your life is going to be either rather short, or miserable, or both...


    Capital punishment has nothing to do with forgiveness. There is a price for everything. Justice demands that. Forgiveness does not negate the offense. That is where I think you are getting confused.

    Unconditional love, is the love of Mr. Williams' mother. No matter what, she loves her son. And part of her died with him. The price for unconditional love for ALL, is death. Jesus dared love unconditionally...soldiers dare love their brothers in arms unconditionally. A man dares love his family unconditionally...

    Your friend is mistaken. Man is incapable (in current state), to unconditionally love ALL. That means give up self (self preservation). Think about that...

    v/r

    Q
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,786
    Likes Received:
    2,496
    I believe Man is not using all God has given him, and is capable. everything that he has done you can do and more...I have faith in your abilities to rise above that.
    Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven.... We have yet to try pacifism...Ghandi did pretty good at it, yes he was murdered but he made tremendous changes. We have a lot to thank for Dr. King and his efforts as well. Some day would I be willing to step up to the plate for my principles...especially if generations after me benifited from it...I sure hopes so.

    We have never tried peace, we've been trying War for how many milllenia?? How do you think that is going...well I assume.
    Amen brother, truer words were never spoken.
     
  4. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think there's two levels in operation here with respect to forgiveness. On an individual level, forgiveness is possible & often laudable. That is distinctly different from society's need to protect its members from each other, and to punish wrongdoers. I would argue that what's laudable on an individual level is anything BUT at the society level. To forgive someone at that level is to force each member of society to forgive the offender, which is not forgiveness at all ... in fact, it's harming them by putting the society at risk by removing the rules that protect it. Think about a child who breaks the rules and is perpetually forgiven for it - will that child modify their behavior? No, for their actions have no consequences. Similarly, other children around them will take on the poor behavior since it is encouraged.


    Is capital punishment right? That's another kettle of fish. SOmewhere up the thread the question was asked what the purpose of capital punishment is - and I think there are three (for any punishment, come to think of it):

    1) Punishment for wrongdoing (aka consequences)
    2) Preventing the re-occurrance of the crime, or at least protecting society from the criminal for some period.
    3) Deterring others

    Capital punishment has the advantage that 100% of the time, the executed person commits no further crimes. I'm not sure that it may not be the *only* advantage - studies show that the costs of executing someone exceed that of life incarceration. It does eliminate the risk of someone escaping from jail as part of that.

    On the down side, there's not much that can be done if there's been a mistake. If someone's in jail for life mistakenly, you can at least let them out - you can't give them back the lost years, but you can give them whatever remains of their life. Once they're dead, there's not much that can be done to mitigate things.

    Capital punishment's deterrent effect on people is, I think, questionable - whether or not it actually deters people thinking about a crime is hard to prove, and certainly if you've committed a crime that is a capital offense, there's no additional deterrent effect on other crimes (similarly with life imprisonment, although I gather in many cases "life" is much less than life, so additional sentence time is possible for more offenses.

    I think it's Wil's tagline that's most appropriate here - we are free to choose our actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions. If the law states that the punishment is X, then it needs to be X - or we lose the glue binding society together.
     
  5. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,906
    Likes Received:
    5
    Forgiveness is one thing...justice is another. Mercy is something totally different.

    v/r

    Q
     
  6. I am free

    I am free And anything is possible

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can understand 2 and 3. To protect society from the criminal, I believe life imprisonment which actually lasts for life should be sufficient. Capital punishment (or any punishment for that matter), I feel does not truly act as a "deterrent".

    As far as 1 is concerned, there has been a lot of discussion in this thread about justice being done, consequences for wrong doing, etc. and I wonder if this comes under man's jurisdiction at all.

    As wil pointed out, it seems to me only an atheist would want man's justice done right now.
     
  7. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    2,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wasnt' aware of that. Point taken. I did a bit of internet research and found the following in Wikipedia:

    For what that's worth. Anyway, I feel the constitutional argument is just a piece of a larger disagreement of values.

    Actually, those are facts that back up your opinion. You are a good debater. Still, I disagree with you, and find your values rather repugnant. Strong words, I know. It just seems to me that rather than think critically about issues and come to a conclusion for yourself, you cling to the Rock of Ages of your faith and come up with nice, neat, logical arguments to support your particular--and to me, skewed--perspective. You seem to have a very strict, patriarchal, Big-Poppa-in-the-Sky-dishing-out-justice view of Christianity. My idea of Christ is quite different than yours. To me, Christ is a person of radical spirituality, compassion, and equanimity who came to "free the slaves," as I once heard Ani DiFranco put it. He came to put an end to many of the oppressive and unnatural Old Testament 'laws' that you grip so tightly, and in their place brought Love to the front. My Christ would be the first to speak out against the death penalty--indeed, he did in the Biblical story about casting the first stone, recounted by Wil.

    You speak a lot about justice as if it is some rigid, codified, objective reality, but we all have our own ideas of justice and no one has a monopoly on it. There's no stone tablet that defines what is just in all situations, at all times. Personally, I firmly believe that there can be no justice without compassion.
     
  8. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,906
    Likes Received:
    5
    Correct, I think very critically about issues, and then come to the conclusion that the edicts of my faith, are right on the money, hence my perspective.

    Again correct. "Big Poppa" is the justice giver, and always has been. Christ did not come to judge but to enforce judgment. He is also given license for mercy, at His choosing. Whether it is judgement over life and death or judgement over conduct and accountability, Christ is come to enforce that.

    Then you haven't read your Bible. Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fullfil it. He specifically stated as much. I'm not making this up. It is a quote from Jesus, in the NT, not some obscure passage in the OT. And his notation about casting the first stone was for a "victim" who was being judged by those that instigated the injustices perceived of her. In short my friend, the "whore" was being stoned by the very "whoremongers" who helped create her condition. There is no justice in that kind of punishment. Jesus would have had them all sit in the pit and be stoned, and they knew it. By dropping their stones and departing, they convicted themselves. Who does the greater wrong, the poor who are desperate to survive, or the rich who pay the poor to do desperate things, for their own selfishness?

    That is justice. It is rigid, codified, and objective. It is right or wrong, black or white (no shades of gray). There is no emotion in justice. If there was, it wouldn't be justice. And there is a stone tablet that defines all in every situation, at all times. It is called the ten commandments. And justice needs no compassion. There is no emotion involved in judgement over what is right and what is wrong.

    What you describe is a judicial court with...mercy.

    That is where Christ comes in. Without Christ, this life would be extremely harsh indeed. See, even the judge showed us mercy. He sent His most precious envoy to save us from ourselves, because it was a last ditch effort.

    That you find my sense of right and wrong rigid and repugnant, is irrelevent. I'm not your judge...I simply wear a uniform and carry out orders so that you can freely express your disdain, anytime you like. So in a way, I too believe in mercy, or at least in your rights...;)

    v/r

    Q
     
  9. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    2,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello Q,

    Thanks for the reply. You and I are more similar than I would have supposed yesterday; now I see that we are both very passionate about our beliefs and somewhat proud of ourselves for upholding the values that we do.



    I've read that passage before, I think. I would imagine that you are more versed in Biblical scripture than I am, for sure. There are, however, many different interpretations of scripture (hence all of the differing denominations of Christianity); also, to me, it seems that the Bible is full of stories, parables, maxims, or what have you that tend to contradict each other at times. I guess we will all take from it what feeds our passions or our particular beliefs.

    Subjectivity, once again, comes into play with our belief systems. Even if we hold things to be objective realities, really they are only so as much as we structure them and define them as such. Our beliefs and values color our worlds and shape our personal reality. There is much variety between people in this.



    I have emphasised your words because I find them very poignant in regards to the debate about the death penalty and Stanley Tookie Williams. One way of viewing the situation is that Mr Williams, and other impoverished people like him, are victims of a hierarchy of oppression that starts in the offices of our nation's government--a governement that, along the line of this country's sad history, has sacrificed its very democractic principles for a system of pathological consumption through capitalism. He with the most money and the least heart buys the most disposable toys to win, along the way sucking the life out of others and damning many to poor healthcare, poor education, poor living conditions, and poor prospects.

    Just as, "the 'whore' was being stoned by the very 'whoremongers' who helped create her condition. There is no justice in that kind of punishment," I find no justice in the death of Stanley Williams. Yes, he was a criminal and a gangster at one time. We can observe, however, that the nation in which he lived is one that creates unequal opportunity (very unAmerican, no?) between the haves and have-nots--a situation in which hopeless people are driven out of desperation to try to claw their way to the top, or at least to a position of comfort, with total disregard for a set of laws which are not fair or just (or sane, for that matter).

    Now I would ask you to look at your own question again: "Who does the greater wrong, the poor who are desperate to survive, or the rich who pay the poor to do desperate things, for their own selfishness?" Granted, no one was paying Stanley Williams to start again, but I would imagine no one was paying Stanley Williams much for anything that he did, which led him to start a gang out of desperation.

    From the petition for clemency submitted on behalf of Stanley Williams:



    I am certain that Jesus’ teaching of “let he amongst you who is without guilt…” could be applied here. Q, you claim that compassion has no place in justice, and yet state that Christ is the bringer of mercy. Is Christ alive today? Would you be surprised if I answered that question in the affirmative? He is alive today; we are his representatives on earth; indeed, I believe that at the deepest level, we are Him. It is up to us to celebrate and honor the life of Christ by challenging ourselves to practice His teachings of compassion, mercy, and justice, and his teaching of unconditional love for all. Not only are we capable of doing this, it is our nature as humans to strive for this, and to always move closer to the perfection seen in Christ. Anything less and we are shortchanging ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters on this beautiful, rare planet that we inhabit.
     
  10. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    2,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oops, I mis-typed, and didn't catch it in time to edit:



    should read, "Granted, no one was paying Stanley Williams to start a gang..."

    :rolleyes:
     
  11. truthseeker

    truthseeker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    1
    Human rights is not a constitutional issue - only American rights. :eek:

    This issue will forever be a fight of human rights and conservative morals. One who completely believes in the system of laws set by a political culture couldn't fully understand the issue of human rights. Tookie was a rehabilitated man - I'm sure he did kill some people but he has repented those crimes with the time in jail and his redemptive personality. If you have not been a inner city youth, one who works with inner city youth, or has not been a victim of war, then you can never understand the prejudices endured by one who is outside of the mainstream political ideology.
    They could've let that man live just as easily as they put him to death. When you weigh whether you let a man live or die, you wonder if you let him live, how much more harm can he do? If you let him die, he can do no more harm, ever. Tookie was writing children's books with a positive message for inner city youth. One who is not or has never been or can't relate to inner city youth sees the whole thing as detrimental and can not discern what is or is not constructive. In that case, the man would be better off dead - which the state had the power to do. Only the state can decide whether someone is better off dead. Not the victim - whether the victim is living or dead there is no power for the citizen because to live in this society you give up the right to protect yourself and have given the state the right to decide whether you are innocent or guilty of proper reasoning.
     
  12. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Messages:
    3,786
    Likes Received:
    45
    Namaste all,


    Quahom, by the by, pacifism did win a war. the War of Indian Independence.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  13. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,906
    Likes Received:
    5
    When World War II broke out, the Congress party and Gandhi demanded a declaration of war aims and their application to India. As a reaction to the unsatisfactory response from the British, the party decided not to support Britain in the war unless the country were granted complete and immediate independence. The British refused, offering compromises that were rejected. When Japan entered the war, Gandhi still refused to agree to Indian participation. He was interned in 1942 but was released two years later because of failing health.

    By 1944 the Indian struggle for independence was in its final stages, the British government having agreed to independence on condition that the two contending nationalist groups, the Muslim League and the Congress party, should resolve their differences. Gandhi stood steadfastly against the partition of India but ultimately had to agree, in the hope that internal peace would be achieved after the Muslim demand for separation had been satisfied. India and Pakistan became separate states when the British granted India its independence in 1947. During the riots that followed the partition of India, Gandhi pleaded with Hindus and Muslims to live together peacefully. Riots engulfed Calcutta, one of the largest cities in India, and the Mahatma fasted until disturbances ceased. On January 13, 1948, he undertook another successful fast in New Delhi to bring about peace, but on January 30, 12 days after the termination of that fast, as he was on his way to his evening prayer meeting, he was assassinated by a fanatical Hindi.

    India and Pakistan have been at eachother's throats ever since.

    I don't think pacifism won India independence. More like comprimise, and blood shed, combined with a raging World War set the stage for a smaller version of India, being independent. Also, the fighting between the two former parts of one India is still going on.

    Pacifism did not change the tide, imo, economics did. Britian could not maintain its empire economically. Almost 60 years later India is still a fractured land. Religious groups violently oppose each other, and stability is questionable. India was split into two countries (who still fight over a third part of the land, and threaten eachother with nuclear retaliation methods). That is MAD (mutually assured destruction) tactics. Clearly not pacifistic.

    I'm not dismissing Ghandi's infleuence in setting India free. Not at all. I'm pointing out that pacifism didn't do the trick.

    There were pacifists in the colonial Americas as well, but it did not win the war for independence. They ended up either going to Canada, back to England, or accepting the new rule of the law of the land.

    my thoughts Vaj.

    v/r

    Q​
     
  14. truthseeker

    truthseeker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    1
    Funny how these people go and colonize in different places and always seeming to turn the indigenous people against eachother, all at the same time calling it "freeing the people" or some kind of "improvement". These people can never go and enjoy the land without turning everything upside down.
     
  15. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,906
    Likes Received:
    5
    Perhaps due to the concept of conquest. The idea is not to enjoy anything, but to subjugate. Colonizing is a misnomer. Can't colonize a land full of people unless the intention is to get rid of those that currently exist and replace with one's own, or, populate a land with no people, with one's own.

    Conquest is to subjugate others to one's own way of thinking. Whether it be for self defense or for other than honorable reasons. Is it right or wrong? Depends.

    The United States, considers "conquest" as a self defense action. It did not until after 9/11/2001. Now it does. It did not prior to 12/7/1941, then it did. Look hard at Japan and Germany. America was definitely a nation of conquest pertaining to these to lands and people. Didn't quit until America felt the results were satifactory (happened to benefit the two nations as well). The middle east is no different. You bring it to our shores, we take it back to your home land, and we don't stop until you get it. That is American mentality. Break you down, then build you back up, and let go (for the most part). That is justice, met with mercy.

    If those in the middle east were smart, they'd let us do our thing, and build them back up. Then they'd take over and self govern as they see fit. But some people refuse to be smart. We on the other hand refuse to be terrorized.

    That is the truth, basic and simple. History is quite prevelent in presenting this set of facts. That is also capital punishment on a large scale. Kill us, we kill back.

    Unfortunately the ratio of deaths is very lopsided. For every coalition soldier killed, 1000 middle eastern people have been killed (and that does not include the innocent civilians)...such is war. Make no mistake, this is war. This is survival, America's survival.

    We used to think our shores (the oceans), would protect us, and we could remain rather isolated...now we know better. The sleeping giant is once again awake, and ticked off...

    Attacking the US was a "capital crime"...for which we will punish.

    I'm sure some of you will disagree (as is your right). But majority rules, at least here it does.

    Funny thing about America though. Back off, and it tends to back off as well...

    Continue pushing...and we push right back, and then some...

    my thoughts

    v/r

    Q
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,786
    Likes Received:
    2,496
    a little off topic but you started it.

    Which majority decided to go to Iraq?

    What did Iraq have to do with the attack?

    How many of the attackers were Saudi, and what punishment have we meted?

    Why have we killed more Iraqi's in 3 years than their viscious dictator did in 30?

    As I indicated before, me thinks it is vengence, not punishment, me thinks you have supported my views.
     
  17. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Messages:
    3,786
    Likes Received:
    45
    Namaste Quahom,

    thank you for the post.




    yet, Gandhi clearly advocated pacifist tactics to win their independence... especially with regards to textile goods and, most importantly, salt.

    many Indians still lament the actions of Kamal Mustaffaa and his desire for a seperate Muslim homeland for Muslim Indians.

    in fact, there were three partitions, East and West Pakistan and India. East Pakistan is now Bangladesh.

    i beg to differ.

    India is the largest democracy on earth.

    in your view, of course.

    clearly, i would disagree with this view as it seems that a proper cognition of the teaching of Ahisma would make clear.

    nevertheless, the forms of protest were economic in design and pacifist in action. to wit, the aforementioned salt and the homespun cloth. that is why, by the by, that Gandhi always appeared in homespun.


    perhaps if the Americans had a Mahatma, they too, could have achieved independence through pacifist means?

    violence does not achieve lasting peace, even in the Americas. it was not long until the British were back and even managed to burn the White House down during the War of 1812.

    it takes a rare sort of courage to be able to resist violence with peace and tolerance.

    i know that i could not do so.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  18. truthseeker

    truthseeker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    1
    :eek:
    Maybe you are even spoken like a True Christian - you are definately spoken like a true American soldier.
     
  19. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,906
    Likes Received:
    5
    11 October 2003
    "In a major victory for the White House, the Senate early Friday voted 77-23 to authorize President Bush to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to give up weapons of mass destruction as required by U.N. resolutions.
    Hours earlier, the House approved an identical resolution, 296-133. "

    By representation, the majority of America voted the attack on Iraq.

    What did Germany have to do with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? I don't normally answer a question with a question, however my intent is to point out the obvious hidden in plane sight. Though it was not known for certain that Japan and Germany were allied, it was suspected. Only later did we find the proof needed to link the two, as allies.

    Al-Queda attacked, and Saddam Hussein promised the Americans the mother of all battles.

    Japan attacked and Germany declared war on the US.

    Like WWII, none of us know the depth of knowledge the US had prior to the war. We do know some was faulty, and some was true, and some was speculation (that later on...year later), proved true.

    15 of the 19 were Saudis. However they did not claim to be fighting for Saudi Arabia. There battle cry was for al-Queda. What punishment is being metted against al-Queda?...look around the globe. We fight an enemy with no borders, and a shadowy form of government.

    I'm not sure you have your numbers correct. In thirty years Hussein has overseen the death of over 3,000,000 people. 1,500,000 were his own people, including over 5,000 civilians in a single day (as a test of chemical weapons, and a means to eradicate Kurds from his land).

    In three years 35,000 have been killed in Iraq, including 6,000 civilians 2,300 US military.

    One man's vengence is another man's justice. Depends on the point of view.

    Hitler thought he should rule Europe. Hussein thought he should rule the Middle East. Japan thought they would have their empire never have the sun set on it. Al-Queda thinks the whole world should come under their rule. And that the world should adhere to their religious and theosofical beliefs.

    Every one above had a vision of the perfect human race, pure, unquestioning, un tainted. To these people above, the rest of us are either impure, unclean, infidel, or gygene. If you and I are not one of groups as noted above, we were/are less than human, unworthy of even life.

    All above had visions of re-claiming lost glory of years gone past.

    So as I stated before, it isn't vengence, or punishment really. It is a matter of survival.

    And Vaj, you make a valid point about pacfism. However I submit that it only works with a "conquestor" with some kind of conscience. I doubt it would have worked with those noted above.

    v/r

    Q
     
  20. Silverbackman

    Silverbackman Prince Of Truth

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interesting thread, its time I add my input:).

    On the capital punishment issue, I am quite divided on the issue. I used to be totally for it but now I'm thinking: What if a person kills more than 1 person? What if they kill 2, 3, 4, or even 5 people?:eek: How would eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth help then? Perhaps an even worse punishment should exist above the death penalty: The torture chamber. But then if we start something like this, human rights groups would go bonkers declaring it cruel an unusual punishment. They will also argue the man was most likely insane and that it isn't his fault.

    Life in prison is another issue, is it really so much better than the death penalty? Well it depends how you look at it. Most prison systems today are like a country club in many ways they even get health benefits many good people cannot get ;). What's worse is that life in prison is a waste. I mean think about. The people don’t want to pour in their money for a criminal with no hope. Should the tax payer pay for such people (at least murders like pre-meditated murder)? Furthermore capital punishment has shown to be more effective than the other form in preventing crime. If we look at countries like Singapore we will note the crime rate is extremely low. Of course our countries don't have to be as strict as Singapore but the death penalty seems to prevent people from doing crime.

    Of course a very strong argument against the death penalty would be that the government should not be at the "level" of the murderers by murdering themselves. Then again there is a strong counter-argument saying some people just deserve it.

    Is there a centrist solution for this? I haven’t thought of one yet, but perhaps I should start thinking of one ;).

    As for the aggressive defense vs pacifism debate, that one will never be solved. Both are valid and have good points to both of them. Just look at to former British colonies: USA and India. The US used aggressive self defensive against the British and it worked out perfectly for them. India used pacifism and equally powerful tool and defeated the British. Both are valid and there is no right or wrong question for that ;).
     

Share This Page