Won’t somebody think of the executioners?

So much of the liberal world is up in arms over the proposed execution of another likely innocent person in the southern US – temporarily and at-the-last-second delayed by the Supreme Court moments ago, but only on hold: Davis may well be killed in the next few hours anyway – as if they want the country to stop executing innocent people.

That’s just how anti-job the left is. What about the executioners and their families? What else are they supposed to do? If you’ve spent a career building up the expertise to hold someone down while someone else injects them with a poison, and then the state stops killing prisoners, what other jobs are you qualified for? Where do you put “dragging corpses out to the incinerator” on your resume? I suppose the left just wants these people on the dole, sucking down a government payment for doing NOTHING, instead of a government payment for killing people.

Why won’t somebody think of the executioners?

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57 responses to “Won’t somebody think of the executioners?

  1. He’s been executed.

    I once thought of the people in the US, in general, as more or less our cousins because of our shared ancestry. However, the longer I’m on the ‘Net and the more I ‘meet’ them, the less I like them. They really are a warlike and bloodthirsty nation. A Christian one? Hahahaha ….

    I certainly no longer have any interest in again visiting the US.

  2. This happens pretty frequently in the US, state sanctioned killing of the doubtfully guilty. From my reading of this and many similar cases I can only conclude that Americans really get a boner from killing people.

  3. jordanrastrick

    …stop executing innocent people.

    Say rather, people who are quite likely to be innocent. There’s no guarantee that this particular man was innocent, but it does seem at the absolutely least likely enough to generate more than reasonable doubt.

    Other than that, yes, its pretty sad and awful.

  4. Splatterbottom

    There is always another point of view.

  5. “Say rather, people who are quite likely to be innocent. There’s no guarantee that this particular man was innocent, but it does seem at the absolutely least likely enough to generate more than reasonable doubt.”

    Which is the definition of “innocent” in a legal sense.

  6. Coulter’s a shameless, hateful liar, SB. No innocent person executed, eh?

    How about this one?

  7. jordanrastrick

    While I don’t agree with Coulter on the principle of the death penalty, and its clearly vanishingly unlikely that not a single innocent person has been executed in 50 years, if she’s telling the truth about the facts of this particular case surely that weakens the plausibility that Mr Davis was innocent?

    Look at it this way. If it were a life imprisonment sentence, on the facts as presented, would you support an appeal for a mistrial, as a lawyer? Would you convict, as a juror?

  8. narcoticmusing

    Jeremy – isn’t this a little hypocritical from you?

    The irony that many here whine about the media misrepresenting sentencing etc in cases when people complain that the sentence was too harsh. Suddenly the sentence is as harsh as it can get and everyone here automatically assumes he was innocent. I doubt there was a conspiracy of the many courts this went to over the last 25 years (20 years of him in prison and 5 years of trial + appeals of the actual conviction). Just because the media says he is innocent doesn’t make it so any more than the media crying about a sentence being too short.

    I don’t personally agree with the death penalty, but assuming the courts were wrong and some lobby group who has managed to garner sympathy just because many agree death penalty is wrong doesn’t make their claim right; it doesn’t make him innocent. If there was truly credible evidence for reasonable doubt it would’ve ended up with at the least a retrial. And no, shitty articles claiming people recanted testimony is just as irrelevant as articles with victims claiming the perp didn’t get a big enough sentence.

  9. Martin Luther King wrote something about the cry of the condemned as they make their last pathetic walk to the electric chair. Their cry is that society will not forgive. Captital punishment, he said, is society’s final assertion that it will not forgive.

    Capital punishment degrades us all. Among its many horrors is that it is held out to the victims of crime as some sort of balm for their pain, as if only by taking a life might they have “closure.” Well we all know that you could slaughter a thousand psychopaths and it wouldn’t bring a single innocent victim back to life.

    Yet Americans, like the long-suffering family of the man allegedly murdered by Troy Davis, spend 20 years waiting for another man’s death. God, how sad.

    The Chriistian ideal of forgiveness needn’t be about the one you’re forgiving. Forget about them if you can. But what about you? Do you want to spend your life hating someone so much you just have to have them executed?

    Hate and kill, hate and kill, when will it ever end?

  10. And no, shitty articles claiming people recanted testimony is just as irrelevant as articles with victims claiming the perp didn’t get a big enough sentence.

    Not really, seeing as people actually did recant their testimony. Quite a lot of them. Maybe you should do some more reading about the case if you want to participate to an informed discussion about it.

  11. Justice is human and fallible. It can get things right and it can get things wrong. In the fullness of time, wrongs can be corrected. Victims of past judicial wrongs can be pardoned, issued with formal apologies, or compensated.

    The death penalty is a giant middle finger raised against the basic fact that justice is human and fallible. It declares that the matter is closed and it will never, ever, be revisited regardless of evidence or testimony that comes to light later.

    Just societies cannot have the death penalty. It is the very opposite of justice.

  12. participate in, even.

  13. Buns – recantations lack credibility in general and in this case there were over 35 witnesses and of the 9 recantations very few were recantations of his guilt, most merely re-stated some of the situation. So perhaps you should read up on it. It wasn’t convincing for the multiple courts that assessed it and it isn’t convincing now. It wasn’t a conspiracy against a black man – black people identified him (without recantation); his friends id’d him (without recantation); one of the victims was a black man (although he didn’t die). Two of the witnesses that recanted were not allowed by the D to testify because they lacked credibility. It is long documented that recanted testimoy is often due to guilt because of the conseqence – indeed, the death penalty is horrific so it is little wonder people don’t want this consequence – but that doesn’t make him innocent. This has been through more appeals and re-evaluations than ever possible in Australia and every single court found him guilty – it is only the media with their campaign that has said otherwise. A campaign that uses the emotive issue of capital punishment in order to sway opinion regarding his guilt.

    I completely agree with the sentiments of theinternetatemyblog – most people do, which is why they would support clemency; but that doesn’t make him innocent.

  14. It declares that the matter is closed and it will never, ever, be revisited regardless of evidence or testimony that comes to light later.

    Except that all the new evidence was presented to the courts and they found it utterly unconvincing…

    That being said, I completely agree that the death penalty should not exist. Although, I can’t say that, if it were my child, I wouldn’t want the guy dead, I certainly believe as a matter of principle, that the death penalty institutionalises killing and thus encourages violence as a means for an end. Ergo, it should be abolished. I think most of us agree to that much.

  15. I guess we can judge the US by the company it keeps on this issue:

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/teenager-hanged-for-murdering-irans-strongest-man-20110923-1knua.html

    And why not make the final hours even crueller because of the actions of one smartarse (although how could you eat any meal knowing death was hours away):

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/no-more-food-to-die-for-in-texas-prisons-20110923-1kog0.html

  16. Thanks, narcotic, but I don’t need to do more reading about this case, having read about it extensively.

    Nowhere have I suggested or implied that Davis was innocent. However, on any sensible view of the case, there is sufficient doubt about Davis’ guilt that the death penalty ought not to apply. When you consider affidavits sworn by witnesses in the case (extracted here: http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/affadavits.pdf) it is extremely difficult to conclude other than that there is some doubt as to guilt, in which case the death penalty should be stayed.

  17. narcoticmusing

    Buns – have you read the cases and the judgements? Ie the rationale of the judges/justices in the appelate courts as to why they felt that the new evidence did not shed sufficient doubt? This is what I am basing my conclusion on – the cases are a compelling read and the overwhelming evdience against him considered by the appellate justices is no doubt why it was not overturned. I cannot link to the cases as one has to subscribe to the databases I’m using – but if you go to the supreme court websites they might have extracts.

    If you only consider what a group that disagree with capital punishment put forward as evdience, then of course you will see doubt because their collection of the evidence is biased.

    I am not suggesting for a moment that capital punishment is ok. I don’t think it matters if he is guilty or not with regard to he shouldn’t have been killed.

  18. narcoticmusing

    And Buns – glad you’ve read up on it, but don’t assume that because someone disagrees with you they have not.

  19. My assumption wasn’t based on you disagreeing with me, but rather on your reference to “shitty articles claiming people recanted testimony“, which implied you weren’t aware that people actually had recanted their testimony.

  20. Actually Buns – considering there was no mention of the recanting in Jeremy’s post, my mention of it should suggest I had read up on it… and I was mere preempting links like the one you gave, from a biased group, regarding the recantations.

  21. Hi Jeremy – I’ve just written a post criticising Julia Gillard and explaining poor strategy being a result of her legal background.

    Would you like to defend your profession? Provide a voice of reason and enlightenment?

  22. Brendon @ theinternetatemyblog, thanks for that note of compassion and sanity.

    If you didn’t see Rick Perry at the GOP debate where the crowd cheered at the number of executions during his time as governor then you missed some ugly telly. Most of those fuckheads would probably call themselves “pro lifers” too.

    And regardless of this case, studies have consistently shown that race is a factor, and that black people are more likely to be executed in the US whereas when white people, like the cop who shot a homeless indigenous man in Seattle a little over a year ago, kill people they tend to have less severe sanctions against them. In that prick of a cop’s case he basically got off scott free.

    Maybe this guy was actually guilty. Who knows – you basically can’t trust the justice system in the US anyway. And its not just about race, its about the white Christian conservative power base and their brutal totalitarian attitude to difference. While a police killing that is “drug related” rarely needs investigation, and usually the targets are Latino or Black, there are also cases like the West Memphis Three. So you don’t just have to black, you can wear black and dislike MOR top 40 music and still have the same cultural loathing ruin and try to end your life. The USA is a barbaric state at its heart.

    As far as the death penalty goes tho, if you aren’t prepared to kill someone yourself don’t ask the state to do it for you. Its just the worst form of gutless scumfuckery.

    (Especially here where you’re doing it in my name too.)

  23. “pro lifers”

    It’s interesting how being a “pro-lifer” and supporter of the death penalty often go together.

  24. Splatterbottom

    Some people prefer to save the lives of innocents rather than the heinously guilty. Others prefer the reverse.

  25. Funny how the innocents the so-called pro-lifers are protecting stop being innocent the moment they are born. Force the woman to bring the innocent to term? Check. Help pay for health care, child care, education, etc to help the woman raise the child? Hell no! That’s socialism.

    The pro-choice community is truly more supportive of life because it recognizes that the woman is a life too, with perhaps good reasons to not want a child right now. And the father. And the crazy uncle who shoots a cop. And, and, and … The so-called pro-life community doesn’t care at all for those lives because their idea of life begins at conception and ends at birth. Of course they support the death penalty – born, fallen, sinful humans deserve to die – only the innocent are entitled to life – until they fall at birth.

  26. narcoticmusing

    Jules – I don’t think there is a conspiracy in the courts here (at the very least in this case) – note that a white supremacist guilty of a brutal murder was also executed last week.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/white-supremacist-gang-member-executed/story-e6frf7jx-1226143409536

  27. narcoticmusing

    SB – your oversimplification implying that pro-choice advocates prefer to kill innocents and protect guilty is disingenuous to the extreme

  28. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic I was merely musing on Ronson’s comment: “It’s interesting how being a “pro-lifer” and supporter of the death penalty often go together.”

  29. Nm – its not a conspiracy in the courts, its a problem with American culture generally. The US justice system is a joke, the worst of all Western systems imo, its institutionally racist, insanely violent and dominated by rabidly viscious people who call themselves Christians but only cos they are addicted to the death porn of the Old Testament. You can imagine them clambering over each other to cast the first stone, and many would fit into the Sanhedrin that (allegedly) condemned Jesus Christ without a problem.

    Tho the conservative Xtian Warrior Jeezuz establishment and the Sandhedrin of Jesus’ time are basically the same thing, similar enough anyway in their hypocrisy and worship of power that neither would be out of place if they swapped places. So its no surprise.

    I dunno if the Sanhedrin were as shit scared of difference tho.

    Considering what an amazingly diverse culture the US has, not just racially, but in every way, its a bit odd that so much fear of difference is there now. Maybe its still a hang over from sept 11?

    And despite the call here recently for elected judges etc, its pretty clear thats a stupid way to go. In the US it becomes just another path to electoral politics, whereas in Australia there seems to be some recognition that a career in the judiciary puts someone firmly into a particular set of separated power, to me it seems that once lawyers go down the judicial route they are far less likely to go into party politics. Not a hard and fast rule but a strong trend. (Tho I could be wrong about that. IT does appear that wa to me tho – I’m happy to be corrected.)

  30. I was mere preempting links like the one you gave, from a biased group, regarding the recantations.

    The link I gave merely set out quotes from affidavits, without saying anything about them. In what way is that biased?

  31. Because it doesn’t provide the context of the overwhelming testimony that said he was guilty, nor the remaining parts of the affidavits which even the recanters generally implicated him. Ergo, selective quotes can create bias.

  32. Oh, please. It was a pdf setting out the most crucial parts of the affidavits of those who had changed their evidence. That doesn’t of itself deny the fact that other witnesses hadn’t recanted. The reasons the non-recanted evidence wasn’t in these is because this was a document outlining in one place the relevant parts of the recanted evidence.

  33. narcoticmusing

    We’ll have to agree to disagree – it was a site aimed at trying to show this man’s innocence and had an agenda (albeit a noble one) against capital punishment. So it only showed the side of the story relevant to its goal. It is a sad day when right wing nut jobs have a more balanced write up of it (despite the over aggressiveness and some factual inaccuracies).

  34. With respect, it is a sad day when anyone intelligent relies on the extremist serial liar Ann Coulter’s account of anything, particularly if they purport at the exact same time to object to biased, agenda-driven reporting. And that’s before we get to the inaccuracies in her write-up. There’s nothing whatsoever balanced about her report of it.

  35. What makes you think I relied on Ann Coulter? I had already said I relied upon the ACTUAL CASES ie the reasoning of the judges. This was my rationale for believing his guilt and why I thought the media was innacurrate here. What you have done is a good example of the problem I was talking about. Picking out the tiny part of something out of context that confirms your view (such as just the recantations or just a part of my post out of context without the rest of the post nor anything else I’d said on the topic in this thread) – this is what is wrong with not presenting both sides. I only pointed out that some right wing reports (I suppose Coutler may have been one of them, I wouldn’t know as I didn’t read her response to this issue as I normally find her far too irritating and self righteous) had detailed both the amount of recantations and the amount of testimony of guilt – ie both sides.

  36. Whatever. Just because someone talks about and quotes from statements in which witnesses have recanted evidence without also mentioning that other witnesses haven’t recanted, doesn’t mean they are denying the existence of that other, non-recanted evidence. That’s where we part company. You apparently think it’s some kind of fraud not to mention the rest of it, when it’s well known and not in dispute by anyone that other witnesses didn’t recant.

    The claims that 7 out of 9 witnesses recanted seems to be referencing the eye witnesses only. Some conservative sources seem to be trying to make mileage out of the fact that there were in fact 34 witnesses, without mentioning that a large majority of them apparently weren’t eye witnesses.

  37. Come on Buns – Narc’s got you.

    Narc’s claim that the extracts you linked to are biased is borne out by the fact that those extracts quote selectively from within the witness statements and by the fact that they are hosted on a site with a clear agenda. These are hardly controversial accusations – surely it is just mundane observation to note that the anti-death penalty lobby is capable of distorting the facts in order to suit its agenda?

    You support the goal of the anti-death penalty lobby (as I sometimes do) but that’s no reason to assume that their tactics will always be as pure as the driven snow.

  38. Sorry, no. I don’t agree that narcotic has “got” me. I’m willing to accept that we have a difference of opinion about something, which isn’t likely to change with further discussion about it. I can live with that, as I expect narcotic can also.

    You support the goal of the anti-death penalty lobby (as I sometimes do) but that’s no reason to assume that their tactics will always be as pure as the driven snow.

    Right, except I don’t assume that, and never have done.

  39. narcoticmusing

    Indeed I support the anti-death penalty lobby. That doesn’t mean I don’t discern bias just because is supports a cause I agree with. Critical literacy is not about only spotting faults where you disagree. Both sides of politics and debate often play without clean hands.

    There are many instances where witholding information (purposeful omission) is fraud because it is so intentionally misleading. That doesn’t place a duty on that site to undermine their case by being balanced, but it does mean I can call them out for not being balanced. I don’t care what side of politics someone is on.

  40. narcoticmusing

    Btw – happy to agree to disagree Buns :)

  41. Splatterbottom

    Buns, sadly you always take sides. You are not dispassionate enough to discern when your ‘side’ is stretching the truth to fit its argument. The arguments against the death penalty are not helped by OTT claims in support of that position.

  42. Buns, sadly you always take sides.

    Yes, if only I was more like you, SB. You never take sides. No, sir. You’re special.

  43. Buns, as you well know I consider matters issue by issue. I am not a rusted on ideologue for any ‘side’. I hate irrational arguments and will happily criticise them no matter what proposition they support.

    In this case your views on the death penalty so colour your views that you are capable only of a highly selective reading of the Davis case.

    It is much better to be a creature of balance and reason like myself, Mondo and Narcotic.

  44. I’m not remotely interested in your opinion of me and I have no use for your unsolicited personal advice. Thanks.

  45. Splatterbottom

    Whatever, Buns.

  46. This comes down to the appropriate punishment for a crime – from reading the reports of the crime it seems that Troy Davis did in fact murder someone in the process of committing another crime.

    Would he have received the death penalty if the person he murdered had not been an off duty cop working a second job as a security guard – that’s the problem. In this situation it seems that the status of the person murdered during the execution of the crime defined the outcome – some lives are more important than others it seems.

    Personally I am against the death penalty under any circumstances – apart from the fact that innocent people may be killed with all good intentions there is always the concern that we reduce ourselves to the same level of those that kill but wrap it in a veneer of social justice.

    Yes, if someone performed some of the atrocities described for other death penalty subjects on my sister, wife, friend or family member I would want them dead as well. This just makes me human, it doesn’t make me right.

  47. Ghostg: “This just makes me human, it doesn’t make me right.”

    My feelings exactly. In moments of dispassionate reflection I oppose the death penalty, but it only takes another gruesome crime to get me doubting that view.

  48. narcoticmusing

    In moments of dispassionate reflection I oppose the death penalty, but it only takes another gruesome crime to get me doubting that view.
    A very human and honest reaction, I’d say. And the closer to home that gruesome crime, the more one doubts the view. I have always been anti-capital punishment but I too have doubted it, particularly in cases where the crime is so horrific as to question the humanity of the perpetrator, or in cases where the perpetrator admits freely and openly they will do it again (as occurred in an awful rape case this year – where it was actually him being sentenced for the EXACT same crime for the 2nd time). It makes you doubt the value of keeping him alive.

    To be utterly controversial, the expense aspect is relevant (disregarding the overly expensive death row system in the US). Not only will the person be in prison for life (very expensive), but they will also not contribute to the economy and has likely taken a life (a life, btw, according to COAG, is worth around $4m – you don’t get more dispassionate than that). And for what? I remind myself that it is because we are better than him (or her), that we as a society had mercy when they did not. It is tough to take if it is your daughter who was the victim though…

    Nevertheless, the punishment for the crime was open to the Court (and not the only option – so the jury could have gone with another but thought this appropriate) due to the ruthlessness of it (he shot the guy point blank in a public area with no regard for the direct victim nor the impact on the many witnesses – who also submitted the US equivalent of victim impact statements re the emotional distress of being subject to such a murder). It did not appear to be due to who the victim was per se …although on a side note here I think there is always some measure of who was killed taken into account – consider a murdered drug dealer vs a murdered nurse volunteering at the homeless shelter – I think we all make value judgments regardless of how dispassionate we try to pretend we are. We are, after all, human. Even the legislature has stepped in to protect good samaratins (and so it should).

  49. “Yes, if someone performed some of the atrocities described for other death penalty subjects on my sister, wife, friend or family member I would want them dead as well. This just makes me human, it doesn’t make me right.” – ghostsg

    “My feelings exactly. In moments of dispassionate reflection I oppose the death penalty, but it only takes another gruesome crime to get me doubting that view.” – sb

    If thats the case, and Goddess forbid that situation ever occurs, then kill the perps yourself and don’t involve the rest of us in your quest for vengeance. I’m not saying its wrong that you both would feel that way. I I would/have too in some circumstancs. But the state shouldn’t be a de facto tool for vengeance (should it?)

    I understand that grief and pain can make people desire revenge, and I wouldn’t want to judge either, but that isn’t the role of the state. Its sposed to civilise us, not enable our bloodlust.

  50. narcoticmusing

    I am inspiried by the Iranian woman who had the option of eye for eye after having acid splashed on her face, she turned down such revenge. I believe I too would do that and be able to show mercy. However, I cannot predict how I would respond if it were someone I love.

    Jules – while revenge kilings are (rightfully) illegal, there is no capacity for the individual to take on this burden without the state sanctioning it. And as it was enabled by the legislature, it is, by proxy (democracy) the will of the people. Don’t think for a moment that the people don’t want the death penalty in a lot (dare I suggest most) states (in the US at least) where it is a legal “remedy”.

  51. Narc, I personally feel there is no place for a state to sanction revenge. I also feel revenge killings let the perp off too lightly. Its all over for them them. A lifetime locked in a cage is a far better punishment imo.

    Once the state sanctions a death penalty that killing is done in everyone’s name, even the people who don’t want someone killed. Thats why we should never have the death penalty in Australia. Cos if I’m going to have a death on my conscience I’ll kill the fucker myself. And face the legal sanctions that will come with it. I wouldn’t expect people I have never known to wear that guilt with me.

    If someone else wants me to share the guilt of their bloodlust they can go jump. That is selfish, and cowardly and beneath contempt imo. If they want the responsibility for someone else’s death then they should wear that responsibility on their own.

    The state is made up of all of us, and to make everyone else responsible for a death is beyond uncivilised imo.

    Killing someone is the worst thing you can do to them. You’re taking everything they could ever have in the future. You want someone dead for their crime. Kill them yourself and face the consequences. Thats why I have so much contempt for those murderous gutless freaks in the US who have such a hard on for the death penalty.

    I understand that grief and pain canb drive people to extremes, but that doesn’t make those extremes right.

    I also agree with what you said about that Iranian woman and her ability to forgive. I hope my heart can be that big/open and honourable before I die. FWIW narc, I tyhink you probably could show that sort of mercy, you seem to have the heart (judging by your writings.)

  52. narcoticmusing

    There is no need to debate the merits of the death penalty – I’ve already stated I am against it.

    Nevertheless, if democracy implements it then is it not the people implementing it? Should we take that attitude with anything remotely controversial? Consider if I were to put another democratically implemented action in your paragraph:

    Once the state sanctions a free health care that cost is paid in everyone’s name, even the people who don’t want someone else to pay. Thats why we should never have the free health care in Australia. Cos if I’m going to have a debt on my conscience I’ll acquire the debt myself.

    Absurd no? But I believe in free health care despite a lot of others not believing in it. I believe in public schools but there are many who’d like to see more and more funding to private schools.

    If you consider, for example, the people that were the subject of ‘do not release’ reccomendations in NSW – now the NSW legislature wanted to be able to make it harder for them to get a minimum sentence then those who didn’t have such a recommendation (all of them had life sentences as a max term). They appealed, stating they should have the same access to a minimum sentence as anyone else serving a life sentence. Sounds reasonable? Go look at their crimes. It is hard to look in the face of our such horror and say, hey lets not give the 5 blokes that gang raped that nurse with barbed wire until she died a heavy hand, lets give them the same opportunity for release. Or perhaps we should look at the very constituiontally famous case of Kable (shit legislation, but you get why when you look at the guy’s history). Or perhaps in our own back yard, a certain long term prisoner and vexatious litgant responsible for the worst massacre in Victorian history – wanting special treatment.

    I have added some interpretation in there in order to express the views of what I think would be reasonable human responses.

  53. All the things that you mentioned – be it a life sentence, a health care debt or whatever else – all those things can be remedied in the future. Those murderous scum might be capable of redemption in 40 years, and the victims family might agree.

    Execute them now and that option is gone.

    Once someone is dead you can’t bring them back. No one gets the power to put that sanction on someone in my name except me. Cos it is the extreme. Its the worst thing you can do to someone.

    I feel the state only exists with my say so (I’m like everyone else in that regard. Without our good will – hey presto wevowooshun.). I don’t exist because of it. I was born, but the state had nothing to do with my gestation or conception. Its something I tolerate cos it works at the moment. (And in Australia the state ie the federal and state governments are barely legitimate. They only exist cos the HC can’t overrule its own validity,).

    But only cos the state as we know it is reasonably just and its powers are (in theory) limited. And as such it provides a good basis for infrastructure and a fair and reasonable society. I reserve the right to try and burn it to the ground if I feel its no longer worthy of my support.

  54. narcoticmusing

    So that is what you see the state as (Locke would be proud) however, not everyone agrees nor should they have to. Democracy isn’t about what you want from the State, it is about the ‘we’.

    Some would say that when you murder another, by doing an act you can’t take back, you have invalidated your right to demand other rights because your breach of the social contract is so heinous.

  55. Inalienable human rights come before the state be it a democracy or a dictatorship. AS do human beings. We can exist without the state. It can’t exist without us. It was only created to serve, intiallly just the powerful, but, after years of sacrifice that was expanded so the state exists to serve everyone.

    “Some would say that when you murder another, by doing an act you can’t take back, you have invalidated your right to demand other rights because your breach of the social contract is so heinous.”

    Maybe they have a point too. In which case a revenge killing wouldn’t be as heinous would it?

    The death penalty tho … the only way I can see it being remotely acceptable to me is if … the murderer is killed by a member of the victims family after that member applies for some exemption from the law to the court or even parliament. Then that killing is one the head of the person who did it. And the state has withdrawn its monopoly on violence in a specific judicially or parliament approved circumstance.

    Well even then its not really acceptable to me but cos its not being done in my name, its being done by a private citizen in their own name, with .. not so much approval as the removal of sanction.

    But even then, as I said its not really acceptable. Just less unacceptable. And its not being done in my name. Which is fairly important. Cos the death penalty is a killing in our names. And thats all it is. Even war, which involves killing in our names is about more than just the killing. I don’t feel I have the right to ask someone else to share the burden of guilt for me if I chose to take a life. I certainly don’t want someone else’s guilt on my shoulders either.

    I also don’t think people should call for the death penalty unless they are prepared to be the executioner themselves.

  56. I dare say believers of the death penalty would see it as far greater as just killing in our names, just as you point to war as being more than killing. For them it is about a very specific deterrence against that offender (incapacitating their capacity to re-offend) and a general deterrent to the population stating in the strongest terms “We as a society, will not tolerate a member breaching the social contract in that way.”

    I think it is naive to suggest that people that call for the death penalty should be prepared to be the executioner – there are a lot of tough jobs that need to exist that many people couldn’t do. I believe in nurses for palliative care, but would I be prepared to do it? Hell no (although I’d be willing to sacrifice more of my income in order to support it).

    I suppose it is academic here anyway, I’m only really playing devil’s advocate here as I of course agree with you and am against the death penalty. I do however comprehend why people are for it; it is quite understandable the closer you get to the crime. I certainly know of examples where I fully understood the aggrieved party wanting the scumbag dead.

  57. FWIW, when my dad was a young man he was a witness at executions. I guess thats had an influence on how I see things.

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