Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What if the other guy is a really bad criminal too?

Should people get off the hook because they're not as smart as the rest of us?

If a state has the death penalty for murder, should some killers not be exposed to that possibility because they are stupid? Or whatever word you want to use. Disadvantaged. Mentally deficient. Intellectually impaired.

Which is more important: demonstrating that society values the lives of victims by putting their murderer/rapist/torturer to death? Or not executing him because he "may" not fully understand what is happening to him and why?

Read example story here.

Or is no killer THAT dumb?

If a vicious lion comes into the village and acquires a taste for human flesh and keeps coming back, dragging off another meal each night, what do you do? Shoot it. WAIT! What if it doesn't fully comprehend WHY you are shooting him?


  1. You have posted another great topic, although you have talked about the death penalty before. In theory I would say no as your Lion example illustrates. Once a lion has developed a taste for humans the only solution is to destroy it. However what is the purpose of the death penalty for humans: justice or deterrence?

    Are there circumstances that would have justified the killing? I don’t know much about prison life and the article doesn’t give details other than the brutal method used to kill his cellmate. Maybe he had been abused. Maybe he had been threatened. So is there really a “justice” reason to seek the death penalty?

    Does it mean less because it was another inmate? He is already serving a life sentence. I don’t know the basis of the estimates but typically death penalty cases cost the state way than housing the inmate for a life sentence.

    I know I may sound draconian but why spend the extra money. He is already behind bars and unless more details are given that he is a threat to prison officials then leave him there.

    Having read the book from the “Innocence Project” I am against the death penalty not only from the moral perspective but from the how often our criminal system is wrong and how exceedingly expensive it is. (Now to rant on why blood-suckers are so popular in fiction when they exist in real life- the excess amount of litigation and lawyers in America. Our legal system is not just broken. It is often repeated how the United States leads the world in prison population (both total and per capita), but we also lead the world in per capita lawyers (I am not sure about total number). So much of our society if now driven by the legal system and the lawyer profession garners a lot of power since most politicians have law background. Could the system really operate with less lawyers? I believe it could. You could actually argue that there is an optimal per capita of lawyers- so I am not saying all lawyers are bad.

    What purpose should the death penalty serve? How effective is it?

    1. Hi Frank. Yeah, I've done this subject before. I don't have all the answers. Maybe that's why I keep posting about this subject. Most of my readers don't believe in capital punishment, for any person for any reason.

      My own reasons for believing we should have it are a bit different, as I've said before. First I don't believe in executing anyone who hasn't done his crime in front of eyewitness, in public. I don't believe in executing someone with only circumstantial evidence. There must be no doubt the person is guilty of murder.

      I don't believe capital punishment deters murder. I don't believe, necessarily, in revenge or vengeance. I don't believe the cost of execution or the cost of incarceration should even be considered.

      No, the reason I believe in capital punishment, as I have said before, is because the life of the victim is worth something. I believe every time society exacts the ultimate penalty, they affirm the value of the lives of it's citizens. Revenge is negative. Retribution is negative. Affirmation of the worth of the individual is positive. If you don't do it, there is an empty hole left where that person used to live. Everyone is worth less. society is worth less.

      You hate to do it. You never get used to it. You never start to like it. But you MUST do it or else, paradoxically, life is demeaned. Living honestly is demeaned. Believing and practicing moral values is demeaned.

      I know most of the people who read this blog believe there is a better way. I don't.

    2. "If you don't do it, there is an empty hole left where that person used to live".

      If you do do it, there's still the same hole.

      Nevertheless, I'm in broad agreement with you. If you deliberately kill another person, "with malice aforethought', as the British law says, then it seems to me that you forfeit your own rights.

      There are of course, nuances, would I seek your death if you'd killed a person who had over the years, abused you? Maybe not. Nor if you kill a person who you believe is trying to kill you... (other than in a judicially sanctioned manner).

      But generally speaking, if you murder someone, I think your life should be forfeit. The argument as to cost is spurious. It should cost no more to keep a person on death row than any other dangerous prisoner. And that cost should be for one year, during which time the convict's lawyers can seek to explain any exonerating circumstance. After a year, goodbye. And good riddance.

      It's simple. Don't commit crimes, don't carry a gun or knife, don't strangle, poison, or otherwise abuse anyone, and your chances of ever seeing the inside of a prison cell are minimal.
      Or choose to kill, and expect to die.

    3. I'm with Soubriquet on this one.

      (I'd agree with you, RM, but you argue with me when I do that. Not sure why.)

    4. Frank, I'm still not buying the premise that a lot of innocent people get executed and that is a reason to stop it. I do agree there are a lot of innocent people in prison for the crimes they were convicted of. But how many of THOSE don't deserve to be in prison, because of all the stuff they did and didn't get caught? Having trouble feeling sorry. I know I am wrong, but I can't help it.

  2. Hmmm he's black, so he hangs used to be the Georgia way.....

  3. And having read the case you linked, my thumb is down. Finish him off, I say.

    Retarded? He was capable of shooting his girlfriend 17 times. Did he know what he was doing? I suspect so.
    And then he beat a sleeping man to death with a spiked board.
    If he lives, then will he kill again? Who knows? But if he is executed by lethal injection, I think we can be fairly sure he won't kill again.

    The argument is that with an i.q. of 70, he is of low intelligence.
    Oh. So are a lot of people, who don't kill.
    And he had difficulty learning to read and write? ditto.

    Are we saying that those people with an i.q. of 70 and under should get a free pass when they commit homicide? If it's unreasonable to execute them, because they might not have understood the consequences, well, by the same argument it should be unreasonable to jail them. Hell, let all the idiots express themselves, and if there's a bloodbath, never mind, it's not their fault.

    Oh no. Shoot the lion. And any other predator who tries to kill.

    1. This post sort of ties in with my studies recently on eugenics. Sort of, in that he is a criminal and, supposedly, of low intelligence. These are both factors that the eugenics people wanted to breed out of the population by sterilization. I suppose execution serves the same purpose, eugenics-wise, though we don't know how many offspring Mr. Hill is leaving behind.

      I'm glad you read the link so that you know this post was also about criminals who are supposedly mentally deficient. I didn't choose to transcribe the entire story over into the blog post, so I understand why not many commented on the mental factor.

      I would say that Mr. Hill would not have been convicted for his first murder, let alone this one, had the jury or judge in either case believed he was unable to understand that his actions were bad or that there would be consequences for his actions. Therefore, I don't think he is of such low intelligence to not be executed. People who commit murder and are truly not aware of what they are doing or it's consequences don't end up in prison. Hopefully. They end up in a secure mental hospital - usually before there is even a trial. No, Mr. Hill does not meet those requirements, despite what his attorney says.

      What is going on is dead serious and there is certainly nothing funny about it, but I still had to laugh at one comment on the other blog that opined the state should let Mr. Hill live - just keep furnishing him new cell-mates.

      I see in the current news where France is appealing to Georgia (as is their recent wont to do in all executions in this barbarian nation, at least since they stopped lopping off French heads, just to show their own superior humanity) to spare this guy's life. No mention in the news article whether France also offered to let him come and live there.

      Some news articles say the execution is scheduled for Monday, some say today. Dunno. Hope they don't do it twice.

  4. I'm a supporter of capital punishment because it's the only way I can assure that a person who's committed a heinous crime won't hurt anyone again.

    No more. No less. Not revenge. Not closure. Just making sure there won't be any more body bags or suffering because this particularly dirtbag (we've caught) managed to escape be parolled, whatever.

    1. What of the countless innocents executed? Where is your compassion? How can you say these things? I'm shocked. I tell you.



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