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Do you believe the death penalty is unethical?


Lyudmilascience
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And why exactly would you give a murderer a second chance? His victim didn't get one and they were presumably a better person that the murderer himself. What exactly do you expect to be amends for killing an innocent and productive person?

 

You think that if they regret the murder and become a good person, they've somehow corrected their mistake? Their ''mistake'' is permanent and can never be corrected. Giving them a second chance is immoral towards the families of the victim.

 

He who is without guilt, cast the first stone.

Edited by dimreepr
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Yes but that is twisted logic. Are you seriously suggesting that the wrongdoings of the average person equal that of a murderer? You can't go ''we all make mistakes'' on me here. Killing someone isn't a mistake, it's a giant blunder.

I think there are degrees of murder and not all deserve the death penalty. Ruth Ellis didn't but the death penalty was mandatory then. I don't agree with it being mandatory or that all murders are equally heinous.

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I think there are degrees of murder and not all deserve the death penalty. Ruth Ellis didn't but the death penalty was mandatory then. I don't agree with it being mandatory or that all murders are equally heinous.

 

Yes, I agree with that. Not all murders are equal. I meant cold-blooded, unwarranted murders.

 

Also, can anyone explain to me how the death row works and why it needs to exist?

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Yes, I agree with that. Not all murders are equal. I meant cold-blooded, unwarranted murders.

 

Also, can anyone explain to me how the death row works and why it needs to exist?

It's an in limbo period for the appeals process to take place and to make sure all the evidence has been presented and assessed.

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I see. That's what I said would be right anyway. Only sentence them to death if you are completely sure they are guilty.

 

Still doesn't explain how it's more expensive than keeping them in prison, though.

 

The appeals process is expensive, and the actual housing is more expensive.

 

Also, they are rarely "completely" sure, as many people have been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. They are only sure "beyond a reasonable doubt". If that.

Edited by zapatos
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But shouldn't there be appeals anyway, with or without the death penalty? One must review someone's conviction, whether he be senteced to life in prison or executed.

Also, people on death row stay housed for a shorter period of time than those convicted to life in prison.

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And why exactly would you give a murderer a second chance? His victim didn't get one and they were presumably a better person that the murderer himself. What exactly do you expect to be amends for killing an innocent and productive person?

 

You think that if they regret the murder and become a good person, they've somehow corrected their mistake? Their ''mistake'' is permanent and can never be corrected. Giving them a second chance is immoral towards the families of the victim.

 

This might be over simplified. There are the persistent traits of an individual that dispose to such conduct (i.e. personality traits), and then there are social circumstances that can make normally good people act out of character. This is the domain of social psychology: group behavior. However, whatever the quality of the person on trial, punishment still expresses disapproval and discouragement of the action taken.

In that vein, it would be interesting to see how much homicidal behavior could be accounted for, or predicted by, measurable personality traits, or "abnormal personality" traits for that matter.

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But shouldn't there be appeals anyway, with or without the death penalty? One must review someone's conviction, whether he be senteced to life in prison or executed.

Also, people on death row stay housed for a shorter period of time than those convicted to life in prison.

 

Appeals are automatic with the death penalty. The only way to have someone's conviction reviewed for other sentences is to request them, and unless you can show reason (such as new evidence) the appeal will be turned down. (These are generalities only; I'm sure there are certain situations that fall outside of what I've just said.)

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The legal system, judges and jury is the one to determine that and I am comfortable with that. The question posed is.: Do I believe, in principle, the death penalty is unethical? I believe, no, it is not unethical. The question is a philosophical one -and dragging in the flaws of any particular country is not relevant and extraneous to the philosophical discussion of it, especially one that specifically asks for ones belief. Note that 'ethics' is a branch of philosophy.

 

The determination is dodgy in Saudi but not in the USA which has plenty of oversight but, again, it's not pertinent.

The question is a philosophical one as ethics are not natural laws but merely concepts that govern individual (groups or persons) behavior. That said ethics can still be contradicted.

 

I think we all agree it is wrong for an inidividual to make the choice to kill someone out of revenge, hatred, jealousy, or etc. If it is self defense I think the majority of society understands choice doesn't apply as one is forced to act, needs to act, in order to preserve themselves or others. With that basic ethical understanding, it is wrong for someone to kill purely by choice rather than need, we have accept soldiers killing combatants, Law Enforcement killing dangerous criminals, citizens killing would be buglars, rapists, and etc. All the acceptable ways a person kills is founded in need. The Death Penalty doesn't follow that.

 

Now, one may argue that they agree with the death penalty as an expection but what exactly is the exception for? Is it for heinous crimes: the exception is granted based on the crime? If that is the case why can't a father kill a man who raped and murdered his daughter, a soldier in theater kill prisoners they know to have killed, a policeman kill a serial murderer who turns themselves in, and etc? The exception isn't actually attached to the crime specifically. There are cases where killing such heinous people wouldn't be allowed. Because of that in my opinion the Death Penalty is a contradiction to the basic ethical standard most all of us share. Maybe you are fine with that. Maybe you don't mind the contradiction. Being okay with it doesn't realy explain why it isn't unethical, doesn't really answer the question this thread asks.

 

And if what makes it ethical is your opinion is the process itself, judge/jury, than "dragging in the flaws" of the unethical ways the process is used around the world become relevant.

 

I'm sorry, that's not a good comparison.

1 - What I mean is, yes, this is only applicable for murderes. The rest can be dealt with by prison time. What's so unreasonable about that?

 

2 - The only problem is, as StringJunky says, the possibility of executing an innocent person. I obviously meant to say that only proven and undeniable acts should be punished by death.

1 - Prisons contain many murderers. Obviously murderers can be "dealt with by prison time" too considering it is already happening. You ask what is unreasonable about applying it just for murderers but didn't state any reason for it.

 

2 - No system of law enforcement that has ever existed, to my knowledge, has been perfect. Proven and undeniable acts are few and far between. Eye witness testimony is imperfect, confessions sometimes given out of fear or mental disorder, investigators can be bias, juries currupted, and etc, etc, etc. Innocent people are abused by their govt's legal systems around the world daily.

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I'm wondering whether the death penalty adds anything unique to punishment / intervention. Punishments reduce the quality of one's life. With enough punishment life will be deprived of all its value, and it is at this point that death becomes desirable. At this point it will be punishment to prevent suicide. Hypothetically, if the prisoner's life were to lose all value under conditions of forced labor that are profitable enough to pay for the offender's own detainment, then what would the death penalty have over such a system? It is at least as punishing, it's nearly as restrictive in terms of preventing future offenses, it's at least as cheap, and it's superior in that it allows innocents to later be released.

 

As barbaric as it may sound, we might be able to test the severity of the punishment with a suicide test. Release a prisoner by a cliff, and if he jumps then the regime has become too cruel.

Edited by MonDie
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I'm wondering whether the death penalty adds anything unique to punishment / intervention. Punishments reduce the quality of one's life. With enough punishment life will be deprived of all its value, and it is at this point that death becomes desirable. At this point it will be punishment to prevent suicide. Hypothetically, if the prisoner's life were to lose all value under conditions of forced labor that are profitable enough to pay for the offender's own detainment, then what would the death penalty have over such a system? It is at least as punishing, it's nearly as restrictive in terms of preventing future offenses, it's at least as cheap, and it's superior in that it allows innocents to later be released.

 

As barbaric as it may sound, we might be able to test the severity of the punishment with a suicide test. Release a prisoner by a cliff, and if he jumps then the regime has become too cruel.

Punishment in western society is generally intended to be corrective. An adult puts a child on time out, a Highway Patrol officer issues a ticket, and so on with the intentions of correction. The hope is that the child will correct their behavior, grow up, and flourish in society. Same for the ticteted motorist, they will improve how they drive making our roads safer. Life in prison vs death is such a often debated topic because the correction aspect of either punishment seems ambiguous. If a person is in prison for life and never getting out their is clearly no hope for corrected behavior that enables one to flourish in society.

 

The degree of any punishment is seldom agreed on by all. Some parents find time outs laughable and perfer to physically strike their children with belts, sticks, or whatever. Some states have more stricked laws on a variety of crimes which in others states are not viewed as serious. In some cases it is merely a matter of degree which is required to best cause correction. Some people simply feel a greater degree of punishment is required. In other cases however I think the concept of discipline/correction simply isn't reasoned out and the result is something more insidious. Some people want to punish others purely out of emotional reflex with the intention of hurting them. Punishment without corrective motive is abuse/torture. Some people just want to hurt others to make themselves feel gratified. I think society boardly agrees hurting someone for self gratification is wrong.

 

So with no corrective goal for the punishment (life in prison vs death) what is the purpose? I believe it is protect society. Someone who is a threat to society is removed from society in the name of safety. That can be accomplished by life in prison. It seems to me that all justifications for taking the aditional step of execution all have some form of self gratification (revenge being the most often one expressed) attached which in my opinion makes it abusive. That is why when we look around the world and throughout history the death penalty has so often been used abusively. Used to kill people based on sexual identity, race, religion, and etc. What people want vengance for or want to hurt someone for comes in nurmerous levels of emotional nuance. For the sake of this debate those who argue for the use of the death penalty are doing so from the position of optimal standards; person being put to death is without question guilty, convicted by an honest and unbias system, of a heinous crime like the rape and murder of children. However the history and use of the death penalty worldwide is not one of optimal situations. Far more people have been to to death for self gratifying reasons than for those of public safety.

Edited by Ten oz
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I tried to refine the scenario and in the process I spotted some problems. I came up with a capitalist version. The criminal is restrained from committing further offenses while being used for profitable labor (whereas death penalty disposes of a potentially productive person). Thus it does reform the offender in a sense, by placing the prisoner in circumstances where offending is impossible. Whereas most workers can change jobs, the prisoners can only get out through suicide, and it is hoped that the right to painless suicide keeps it from becoming torture. The prison doesn't want to lose workers to suicide, and yet they must leave the option of painless suicide on the table.

The overarching problem is that some people will refuse to commit suicide even under extreme duress, and it could become torture for these people if they are targeted with especially cruel treatment compared to the rest. Some such people might be religious people who fear damnation for the sin of killing oneself, and yet others may fear retribution after their death: not retribution against them but against their friends.

Edited by MonDie
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