Pro The Death Penalty

Nov 7th, 2008, in Opinion, by

Treespotter looks at capital punishment around the world, and an argument in favour of it.

On Death Penalty

I personally support death penalty. As a working principle, it follows the logic that people that kill other people with ease (bombers and drug dealers come to mind), should have no problems about being killed in their chosen professions. Similarly, we forgive death in war zones, why can't the rule applies in civil environment?

I know many people who disagreed, most of the people commenting on this article in Global Voice are opposed to it.

Many of them are opposed to on moral reasons – scripture or otherwise. That is not the case as there is no religion that does not recognize some sort of capital punishment, including Christianity. Barron Clarke – a commenter on the said article – quoted the Judaic Christian saying of

an eye for an eye

in its modern interpretation to be understood as setting the limit of maximum execution and that I concur: capital punishment is the maximum punishment mentioned in the Christian doctrines, it should be exercised with caution and only as the very last recourse for the most severe of crimes. Various other parts of the Christian scriptures supported this view while maintaining to recognize death as a form of legal and legitimate form of punishment at the same time.

While Jesus didn't live long enough to ever fight war or condemned anyone to death, various different European churches in all the different flavors of Christianity went on in killing in the name of God and execute condemned heresies for many centuries afterwards. There is no way to argue that Christian scripture doesn't recognize capital punishment – the different churches change their views of capital punishment all across two millenias of Christian history, from applying it with zeal (eg. During the Inquisitions) or to not at all (when Christian churches no longer carry the authority to condemn and execute such punishment under secular governments).

Islam and Jews both recognize capital punishment as legit and legitimate. As a model for the Jew regime, Israel's view on capital punishment is somewhat, understandably biased due to their very unique history in the last century and all Islamic government in the world have death penalty laws on the book.

Interpretations, however, vary from the different Moslem countries: Somali's an anarchy-state and Saudi Arabia, a Wahabi-ancient kingdom state both maintain very orthodox and ancient interpretations of scriptures - including public beheadings, gender based capital discrimination and arbitrary moral sentencing in issuing deadly verdicts. Egypt and Jordan are more moderate include more consideration as well as more secular - and accountable - arbitration. The courts in these countries are also generally more accountable and open to outside influences when sentencing a person to death.

Indonesia – a country with large Moslem population and a secular government - is secular in state sanctioned capital punishments. The religious court does not have the power to condemn anyone to death and deals only with matrimony and dietary requirements. There is no reason to assume that the Indonesian court issued death sentences with religious bias (favoring any particular interpretation of scriptures). Capital punishment is only available on violent crimes or major drug-related cases and hardly ever issued for political views since Indonesia moved to a more peaceful democracy in the last decade.

The society is split and continued to grapple between its support and opposition of capital punishment. In a weird logic, the largest group opposing the execution of these particular three condemned men, is the single most vocal proponents of death penalty.

The public opinion on death penalties in all these countries are split the way it stirs passionate debates in the United States to this day. The Supreme Court ruled for each state to rule their own and some states, like Texas, prosecute death penalty aggressively in accordance to secular law, available and legitimate, under the protection of the Constitution of the United States.

Somalia and Taliban Afghanistan have no internationally recognized governments and death sentences are handed in arbitrary-summary condemnation performed by tribal court (often involving only a sole individual with a chief-like authority and nonnegotiable and opaque morals). The sentences vary wildly from one court to another within the same national borders. Death sentences are often times political in these courts (political oppositions face almost certain deaths under these governments), rather than moral (the world hears very little about it until they start killing young woman with kids).

Both countries have proven to be the most resilient to American attempt to change their political views – rather than religions.

Germany has museum of state-sanctioned murders, a holocaust that shatters the conscience of history to this very day. As a state policy, most of the modern western states abolished death penalties more influenced by the events in WW II rather than pre-war moral consideration.

The court in Nuremberg sentenced Nazi war criminals to death and executed quite a few. Those who were convicted were charged with state-sanction systematic murders were guilty in gross abuse of their political and executive powers, rather than their personal beliefs in regards to death penalty.

Indeed, in a perverse logic, a whole new set of laws were created to accommodate this new class of heinous crime and the resulting high court was set to deal with only the most extreme of crimes in the Hague. In a curious observation, it's interesting that Hermann Goering, Saddam Husein, Milosevic and Pinochet, four of the most famous defendants in crimes against humanity trials of the last 60 years, all died before the court had the chance to sentence their crimes. Maybe there is a higher justice in the power of nature.

Post communist Russia make Stalin's gulag archipelago a tourist destination these days. From a monarchy to a communist state to a now crowdy democracy, the Russians remain a firm believer in capital punishment.

Singapore government prosecutes death penalty aggressively in drug cases but not on political dissidents. This is a government with a peculiar obsession in legislative social engineering and it has very effectively been a successful deterrent creating an almost drug free in Singapore (neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand all have thriving underground illicit substance industries and most probably consume more illegal drugs collectively than any other country on the planet).

In imperial Japan, one form of honorable traditional conduct – an acceptance of failure – is to murder yourself. Hara Kiri is probably the most impressive execution of all death sentences. The Philippines, a proto-democracy with Catholic and American influences, death penalty had been repealed and reintroduced and repealed again during the last twenty years. China executes more people than any other country on the planet and recognizes abortion as a form of population control.

As a belief held globally, by population headcount, opposition to death penalty almost certainly forms only a small minority – mainly only to include those who represent power rather those with more acceptable morals. This was true for the ancient Roman empire when murderers of Roman citizens were swiftly dealt with in the most severe manners, often including burning down entire villages of the offending groups and remains true on the protection awarded to the conduct of American soldiers overseas by not having them placed under international laws.

Death penalty is made available in societies and civilizations by necessity and interests rather than moral, imposed by the more powerful rather than the righteous. It has nothing to do with religion or morals.

If one were to argue that it is not far, let me say that I don't even believe in absolute, universal moral codes. While Life is a precious commodity across all civilizations in all of history, Death fluctuates in value. Stalin famously said that one person's death is a tragedy and one million deaths are statistics. For the less brute, George Orwell put society in more elegant manners where all animals are equal, but some more equal than others.

Some are worth more than others and that is a hard thing to deal with. Life is the only thing worth dying for, is my own, personal morbid fascination with Death. Capital punishment is an interesting subject and probably deserves a further discussion. For now, in accordance to the prevailing law, I think all execution should carried out as swiftly as possible. Death and taxes – you will always pay your dues, that's my personal beliefs.

I don't mention their names on principle because I don't want them turning up on Google searches.

That's my own, personal morbid fascination with Death and I intend to write more on Death as a subject in the future.


81 Comments on “Pro The Death Penalty”

  1. avatar Rama Treiz. says:

    Out of curiosity why are you so fascinated by death?

  2. avatar tirta says:

    I’d love to see your philosophical take on death (is death a bad thing? For whom? why?) before going on commenting on your pro capital punishment view.

  3. avatar Andy says:

    I generally don’t support it but make exceptions for cases like the Bali Bombers. I mean if a dog was to bite my leg most likely he / she would be put down even though they probably didn’t mean any harm to me. Yet these animals still smile and taunt the victims of this attack. And what is wrong with the Indonesian media when they keep giving these people a forum to vent this BS. Have they no respect for the victims either some of which are Indonesian and muslim?
    I don’t support the death penalty for drug cases as who knows if anyone at all will be killed by their actions or not. Add to this the fact that surely a responsible adult or even teenager should know they could die if they stick a needle in their arm or put the funny stuff up their nose. So they are not really killing anyone. What I find most amusing is in Indonesia the Bali nine are on death row after being caught in the departure area. SBY himself said they could kill innocent Indonesians. Hardly likely if they are on the way to Australia. Maybe they just have a macabre fascination with executing bules.

  4. avatar Janma says:

    I saw someone the other day on my way to work… he had on a jacket that was embroidered (the way they do) with the company name and slogan…. as follows:
    “Bali Nine. Creative Business Solutions.”

  5. avatar David says:

    I have no real objection to the death penalty, for some murders, but agree with Andy it’s not appropriate for drug mules. The very best argument I saw against the death penalty though was the Polish “A Short film about killing”, from around 1980, it was part of the “Decalogue” series, fine stuff, can be downloaded from torrent if torrent is your thing…

    I’m being interrepted here, continue later.

  6. avatar Ross says:

    Well, Pak Pohon, so we have a wee bit of common ground, at least.

    I could not agree more that the death penalty ought to be carried out as quickly as possible. The dithering in Cilacap is a disgrace – after five years, these delays are only explicable in terms of political manoeuvres, esp. the shameful demand that the anak2 setan be permitted a final sholat jumat.

    However, the MUI now stands exposed, for anybody who hadn’t already sussed them, as apologists for murder. Their branch chairman’s tv drivel ‘as Muslims’ shows they sense solidarity only in sectarian terms and not in any human way, contemptible curs with no compassion for innocents, only those guilty of taking innocent life.

  7. avatar Chris says:

    I don’t have a problem with capital punishment on moral grounds, but I am concerned about two indirect consequences:

    – Miscarriages in justice can’t be overturned if you kill the accused.
    This can be an issue, especially in countries with a less than professional/independent judiciary.

    – Terrorists like the Bali bombers who want to become martyrs for their faith get what they want, rather than rot in prison for a long time.
    Having said that, Indonesia seems to be one of those places where celebrities don’t exactly rot in prison; just ask Tommy Soeharto.

    By the way, nice point about Singapore. They kill more criminals per capita than the following champions of human rights: North Korea, Iran, China.

  8. avatar treespotter says:

    Hi all,

    Many thanks for Patung to let me join the conversation here.

    @Rama – not sure. I’m writing a series on Death, i hope to find out why as i write 🙂

    @Andy/Patung – frankly, i know very little of the Bali Nine cases – so i am not making any comments specific to those cases here. However, like in the case of Singapore (and Malaysia to a lesser degree), it does seem obvious that death penalty works effectively as deterrent. I have very personal experience with drugs – i’m all for legalizing THC, and against most hard drugs – and i still support death penalty for major traffickers.

    Drug trafficking in Myanmar/Thailand/Afghanistan/Columbia/Mexico etc. are serious threats and i think death penalty should be made available as deterrent when dealing to threats of that size. I’ve written before about the drug rings stemming from Indonesian prisons, and lacking any other methods, i sincerely think it’s much better to send them to execution squad.

    @Ross/Righteous Dude: Actually, this specific cases of the three bali bombers, I am arguing for delaying the executions – exactly for the reasons as Righteous Dude there explained. I’m not sure if JP publishes the article, but you can find the previous posts on this here – where i attempted to explain that in this specific case of the execution against these three, then the ID gov’t is probably doing the right thing. Would love to hear your comments all about it :).

  9. avatar jaka says:

    @ Righteous Dude:
    I do not think it is martyrdom the Bali bombers want, considering attempts of delay they tried to. Letting them living longer only make them spreading more their misguided minds.

  10. avatar Geordie says:

    If we take the ‘eye for an eye’ argument in the way it was intended then we have a problem, there aren’t enough bombers to meet the ‘debt’ and, as regrettable as some will find it, those convicted can only be executed once. What then of the 199 unavenged souls?

    As for the comment about Imperial Japan, Sepuku (harakiri) was not the acceptance of failure but rather the act by which face could be restored and was only a remedy available to Samurai. Female Samurai commited suicide by driving a single edged dagger (tanto) into their throats. Each Samurai, upon being given permission to end his or her life, would be allowed to nominate a second who, at the appropriate time, would decapitate the suicide and it was considered a massive honour to be so nominated.

  11. avatar Fanglong says:

    I’m inconditionnally against death penalty precisely because “life is the only thing worth dying for” and legally giving death will not do anything for life : the victims will not rise from the dead and the criminals will live no more. There is no logics about life and death : if you give or take life logically, you are prone and ready for eugenism and all abuses of which Nazis have given us enough examples. I cannot excuse death in war zones : this is — as war is — unbearable and unacceptable, the same with death from malnutrition, lack of hygiene, economic exploitation, etc. in “peace zones”. Capital punishment is the maximum crime — cold blooded, tortuously justified, analogous to what it is supposed to punish, and a real lack of imagination : suppressing what is disturbing is just basic instinct. Death is not a bad thing inasmuch as it provides free space ; it might of course be “bad” for the dying and the dying’s dear ones — because of loosing one’s precious life and falling into the Unknown or Nothingness. But I agree with Ross : “The dithering in Cilacap is a disgrace” ; and with everything the Righteous Dude said. Thank you Treespotter for your article : if death penalty was a real deterrent, the overall criminality would have grown less, has it ?

  12. avatar treespotter says:

    @Tirta – No, i don’t think death is a moral clause. There’s nothing bad about death, it just happens: Death is a fact of life that one MUST accept, like it or not. It has no inherent moral value. Some deaths are useful, others totally pointless, ultimately the same: it happens.

    @Fanglong – it’s interesting that you use my own quote 😀 (I quote it from a poster in my wall, so not original either, but yeah, i like that one).

    Just as above, whether one would want to excuse death – war or malnutrition – it happens. In your words, “Death is not a bad thing inasmuch as it provides free space.”

    Precisely in this regards, i view death penalty not as good vs evil thing (it is neither vengeance nor redemption). It is merely do to him as he had done unto others. It’s a claim of social justice = you are not allowed to take what does not belong to you, the way we deal with property ownership, society claim for the lives of its membbers.

    I never said death penalty is a deterrent. It works in Singapore – but as i also implicitly mentioned throughout, it doesn’t work anywhere, political death sentence never worked in the long run.

    As i said, i support death penalty, not on any particular ground, more that it is an acceptable (and necessary) instrument of social justice.

    @Ross, sorry to disappoint really, we might have a wee bit of common ground, but perhaps not on this point.

    @Geordie, thanks for the explanation, i need to learn more about those, japanese have very unique ways of seeing death really, very interesting.

  13. avatar Fanglong says:

    It is merely do to him as he had done unto others.

    Is it necessary ? Maybe there’s an interesting idea here about the three guys :

    Hence, going back to the main question: does execution work with terrorists and extremists who use Islam (or what I call in my last book emotional Islam)? The answer is clearly ‘no it does not’. Actually putting them to death means to follow their own discourse of symbols and provide them with the reassurance that they will be remembered as the ‘martyrs’ instead of the ‘felons’ they are. Memory can indeed easily become myth, and myths are very hard to deconstruct. Similarly to ghouls in a horror movie, the more they are killed, the more they will reproduce and the more they will believe to be divinely inspired warriors, new (untold) prophets of a future which, in their hands, could be only a nightmare. Indeed JI, like many other extremist violent organisations, is created to destroy rather than to build. They praise violence, killing and death. Indeed, they love death because in reality they fear life. So, let them live, let them pass their time within prisons and let them become old (and possibly repent for what they have done and feel rightly guilty): the torment of the grave (and prison is often nothing more than a grave) is stronger than the pain of death and surely, in this case, less honourable than a firing squad.

    Can see more in the-high-cost-of-three-bullets-how-to-create-martyrs.

  14. avatar Brett says:

    Great post. I oppose the death penalty, for a complex array of reasons that aren’t worth discussing here because, at the end of the day, they are emotional, subjective and probably flawed.

  15. avatar Rob says:

    It is interesting that the death penalty is viewed as a deterrent. The statistics on this would be mixed at best. The mere fact that people are still getting caught committing crimes that they know are subject to the death penalty suggests, at least in an anecdotal way, that it is not a deterrent.

    I am not going to argue that the doctrines and texts of many religions consider capital punishment for crimes and that this is an acceptable punishment. However, why is it that we cannot analyze these texts in the context of the time that they were where justice (or retribution) was more immediate and placing people into detention was not a primary consideration.

    My view is that State Sanctioned Killings are wrong on not only moral grounds but also because of the finality of the sentence. Perhaps it is true that it is better to let 50 guilty men (or women) go free than sentence and execute an innocent man (or woman).

    The whole eye for an eye rationale as Gandhi so eloquently pointed out ultimately leads to the whole world going blind. What is the point of that?

    I am against the death penalty. I am against it in all cases. I have often been asked during debates on this matter, “what if it was your sister or your mother who was raped and killed or one of your family members that was a victim of the Bali bombers?”

    I would want to see the perpetrators rot in jail for the term of their natural lives. I would want them to be given as much time as possible to reflect on their crimes. I would want to see that they were afforded no special privileges and the time they did was hard. I would be happy for them to be smashing rocks (rather than making number plates) for the next 20, 30, 40 years.

    That’s just me.

  16. avatar Andy says:

    In our country and country’s where the rule of law is respected and followed Rob that is true but have you seen the treatment of the Bali Bombers lately? They get time with their families, time out to pray, good food during Lebaran etc. Not to mention the photo shoots and TV appearances. They seem to get on telly more than Agnes Monica. They have not been doing hard time from what I can see. There have been other cases where terrorists (who didn’t receive the death penalty) have been given remissions of six months. Now when that happens each and every Lebaran they end up with a vastly reduced sentence. Ironic that Schapelle Corby, who was caught with a bit of grass, has received far lesser remissions during Christmas etc. If the Bali Bombers came from any other part of the world I too would probably say let them rot in jail. But not in a blantantly biased country with a dubious legal system

  17. avatar lomboksurfer says:

    This topic is so personal to me that none of you can even imagine how it feels to be a family member of a victim unless you really are just that? If you want to know the truth I hate it that I feel compelled to do so, but I am qualified, so I will give my opinion.

    Killing the killer sometimes feels so justified and if only they can let you pull the switch or fire the shot or do whatever else they do to execute these murdering bastards! But how long will that satisfaction last? Will my loved one be ever able to rise again and join us at a family gathering? My brother was a brilliant lawyer and a dedicated prosecutor who argued vehemently against the death penalty, while alive, because of the permanency of the sentence. He always felt that it may deny the killer his chance at redemption if his or her life was cut short. Time changes people and therfore life sentences better serve us all as it takes the killers off the streets and protects us (society) from the things that Rob said in his previous post! Nice job by the way Rob!

  18. avatar Rob says:

    Andy…

    I mention special privileges and the fact that these murderers should not be entitled to such. The point, and one that I have made consistently, is that doing a natural life term needs to be hard time. In light of the crime and the confession and the continued pride in the murders of innocents then these privileges should be restricted. The chance of rehabilitation for these three is somewhere between zero and none. However, this does not justify killing them.

    Read what lomboksurfer says on satisfaction. This is something I have heard often. The idea that some would avail themselves of the opportunity to flip the switch or pull the trigger may bring a degree of closure but it does not bring a loved one back. Lomboksurfer, by the way, thanks.

    A life sentence is just that. There are no remissions.

    The idea that remissions is wrong is misplaced and highlights a misunderstanding of how they work. Just because you are a terrorist does not mean you are not entitled to a remission. Murderers, rapists, corruptors, one and all get remissions. The Indonesian way is to hand down a sentence and then knock parts of the sentence off for good behaviour and the like. The Australian equivalent is to set a head sentence and a non-parole period. The convict would be eligible for parole at a certain point in the sentence. Assuming they have shown remorse, been well-behaved, and whatever else the parole authorities want to consider then the convict is paroled. So, they would not have done their full time either.

    So, it is the same result done in a different way — remissions and non-parole periods.

    Andy with all due respect, this is not about Schapelle Corby and weed. I might have a few other things to say if they were granted clemency. But, I do not see that happening.

  19. avatar treespotter says:

    @Fanglong:

    I read your post – an interesting take – but i’m not too crazy about wasting anymore breaths in talking about these three men.

    The law applied equally to all regardless of his/her own personal beliefs – to reason that these three deserve special treatment because of what they hold as personal beliefs, sounds a lot like you are lowering yourself to their rotten minds?

    @Rob, @Andy @Brett and @Lomboksurfer: with all due respect to your opinions (and personal experiences, we all have those).
    As i have said before, I don’t see death penalty as an instrument to exact vengeance or seek retribution (or indeed, solace of any kind). It is exactly like property stolen: The state IS not reclaiming your stolen property (in both criminal/civil suit) but more reaffirming your rights in property ownership, and to exercise its powers (as mandated by society) to exercise whatever instruments available in the book of laws. Whereas death penalty is available, it is in my opinion that it should be used.

    It is not the point of the law – in most civilized society – to make sure that one suffer as much as possible in prison. In most developed countries, it is reaching an almost perverse drive to create as ‘humane’ as possible environments for convicts – and ended up with an almost comfortable prison system (i spent time in the cells in the UK, it was very nice).

    I don’t think i would ever want to see anyone suffer. I think it’s morally questionable to say that we would want to see someone suffer, tho indeed, from personal experience, i have been known to cause excessive damages to those that caused me pain.

    The law stands precisely to stop citizens from these subjective biases and perform social control using whatever instruments available in each culture and environment, to ensure that some sort of acceptable social order is available to all. Death works as deterrent in some but not others.

    With no disrespect intended to Gandhi, but the old wiseman was incorrect in his observation: an eye for an eye – the world will NOT be blind. There will be at least one last person standing. Social justice – in the way that it is not absolute – but it is the balance between the subjective bias of individual and the demand for equality in society.

    Following that logic, if any one member of society that recognizes death penalty deemed it suitable to use murders and violence to pursue their cause, then i have no qualms whatsoever to do exactly just as he does to others. Indeed, i feel compelled that we use the same standard.

  20. avatar treespotter says:

    Rob, i read your 2nd comment last.

    It sounds a bit scary that you want them to suffer?? Surely, that’s not what you mean??

    Better them suffer than dead?

    Where as to take caution prior to execution, i have made my case on the other posts – in ALL capital cases – including the specific considerations for these three bombers, I DO NOT think that they should be executed so quick. (that’s here)

  21. avatar Rob says:

    Tree…

    Mate, subjective interpretation on your part, I guess.

    I did not mention suffer. I mentioned doing hard time and restriction of privileges. The whole point of jail is for the guilty party to be punished for their crimes. I am happy for jail to do this. If someone has to bust rocks for 40 or 50 years for killing more than 200 innocent people and that is classed as suffering, so be it.

    If Imam Samudra gets caught with a laptop or a mobile phone and he is doing a life sentence then this should result in the suspension of any privileges that he might enjoy as a convict, whether that be an hour in the exercise yard or a weekly phone call.

    Once again, if you think what I have written is advocating for suffering, then so be it.

  22. avatar Ross says:

    After watching the news this morning, I wonder why the Attorney General doesn’t just take his Cabinet colleagues down to Kuta and urinate en masse on the Ground Zero Monument. They have demonstrated how much they care for justice, but that would be an even more graphic illustration. Their shilly-shallying makes me want to vomit.

  23. avatar treespotter says:

    Rob, pardon my words – i know what it sounds, not what i meant. I meant in context – as in one would argue for dubious courts, one prison better than another, federal prison in the US varies greatly, Brasil, etc. One would be using a very subjective measure to say “is it punishing enough?” – is what i meant. Where they should be incarcerated and not free, and prolly significantly less comfortable, i totally agree.

    Ross, i take my words. We do NOT have any wee bit in common. I’ve no idea what your background is, but even with some drunken jest, i can not take your illustration for good taste whatsoever. 200 people died. To joke or to illustrate in whatever Neanderthal humour you might conceive, it ain’t funny.

    There’s an ongoing judicial process and where human lives at stake, they should take whatever their time and things they want to do. the AG is a f*cked up idiot that i would gladly shove my rotten socks into his mouth with my own hands, much as i’d like to do that into yours for making that sort of comment.

  24. avatar treespotter says:

    just in case it gets even more confusing later: I fully support death penalty. I fully support death penalty on these three people. I will pull the trigger myself.

  25. avatar Adrian Vickers says:

    there is no religion that does not recognize some sort of capital punishment

    Look, I’m not exactly a practising Christian, but I do know enough to know that ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ is one of the basic tenets of Christianity, and that the whole message of the New Testament was a repudiation of the Judaic Law of the Old Testament, including the ‘eye for an eye’ stuff. I never ceased to be amazed at the hypocrisy of the American Right, who oppose abortion because it is killing, but justify the death penalty and invasion of Iraq!

    If a state commits murder, whatever the legal processes, then it reduces itself to the same level as the murderers it is executing.

  26. avatar treespotter says:

    Rob, on your points about remission: my point before remains:

    – to put them in prison WITHOUT any chance of parole or remission, is cruel and unusual. I oppose that on moral grounds. Like i said, i don’t believe in Death as universal value, but i do believe that LIFE is.

    – to claim their life is the chosen method because that is what they do. People steal things, we impose the same on them.

    – why spent time, money and resources in feeding them while you have so many others more deserving to deal with?

    Adrian Vickers:

    I support woman’s right to choose as well as death penalty, so i won’t speak in the behalf of American Right.

    When it comes to tenets of Christianity, as i stated earlier in my post, 2000 years of history shows the Christian church, generally, accepts Capital Punishment as a form of legit and legal instrument of law. Indeed, where and when the Church was given judicial mandate by the society, it executed this authority on arbitrary moral grounds. In the American Right (largely driven by the Christian right), the church openly support capital punishment. I fail to see a good example where Christian Church stood against capital punishment in principle as a doctrine interpretation. Maybe you’ve some examples?

    Whereas the argument of the state committing murder, one is tempted to ask, When, where and how do the state claim to have a moral high ground over its citizen? Nation state execute and implement capital punishment precisely because the individuals within its borders do. It’s human.

  27. avatar Patrick says:

    Here is what I an American said a few months ago a very similar thread so Adrian Vickers please don’t generalize. Thank you!

    Patrick Says:

    July 29th, 2008 at 12:26 pm
    Why make these killers heroes or their actions seem heroic by publicly executing them? The late great Sam Cooke wrote a song years ago that best describes how to incarcerate these guys. Now if only Indonesia could hire some down-home Southern style rednecks to run the prison system? Can’t think of a better deterrent than a chain gang for terrorist wannabes!

    Chain Gang Lyrics
    “(Well, don’t you know)
    That’s the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang
    That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang

    All day long they’re singin’
    (hooh! aah!) (hooh! aah!)
    (hooh! aah!) (hooh! aah!)

    (Well, don’t you know)
    That’s the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang
    That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang

    All day long they work so hard
    Till the sun is goin’ down
    Working on the highways and byways
    And wearing, wearing a frown
    You hear them moanin’ their lives away”…

  28. avatar Rob says:

    Tree…

    Let’s say that aside from punishment, prisons are designed to rehabilitate and prepare the convicted person for re-entry to life on the outside. What happens if the convict does not rehabilitate? Do we incarcerate them indefinitely?

    Depriving someone of there liberty is a serious thing and must be done so with consideration. Locking away people and throwing away the key could be subject to arguments that it is cruel and unusual, but ypur arguments for the death penalty were very much based on “you do the crime you do the time” in that the death penalty is an option on the statute books so it should be used.

    Life in prison is on the statute books too. I see no redeeming features, for example, in killing 202 innocent people, that would warrant a release from jail.

    The economic rationalist argument of a couple of bullets is cheaper than a life time of free meals and board is interesting as it suggests we can put a price on a life.

    Patrick…

    Chain gangs doing public service type work like picking up trash on the tollways and stuff. I wonder would anyone deliberately run them over? They might be safer in jail.

  29. avatar tirta says:

    @t/s: i think there’s something missing in your social justice logic.

    let’s say i killed your loved ones. your social justice logic dictates capital punishment for me because i have taken lives that didn’t belong to me. but the problem is your loved ones aren’t around anymore, so they couldn’t know that their lives have been taken. it’s you who know this, and therefore suffer.

    so to uphold social justice, since death is never bad (it’s not a moral clause, it just ‘happens’, in your own words), what you should do is kill my loved ones. only then we’re socially even.

    what do you think?

  30. avatar treespotter says:

    Adrian: People get the government they deserve. Patrick there is a case in point.

    Rob: that’s a morality argument. I don’t buy that. I don’t believe prison for rehab – they can get better or worse or rot. the point being they’re in there.

    My thoughts go like this, if we were going to throw away the key, then why even keeping him there at all? Put two in his head and do away with it. Why give anyone false hope and memories of sunrise? that’s cruel and unusual. If there was no parole, putting him in a small cage for the rest of his life is cruel and unusual. What would be the humane treatment of such person? How many sunrises would he be allowed to see in a week? or a month? or indeed, in the rest of his cursed life?

    Life without parole is EXTREMELY unusual and particularly unique as an instrument of justice, much more so than capital punishment, in a sense that it is the only punishment without ANY clear definition – it lasts while it lasts.

    Death put closure to all: family of victims, convicts and the state is freed from the obligation of looking into it. It saves legal troubles etc.

    Tirta: i’m not sure if you’re joking or not. I have made it very, very clear, at least four times above, that there’s no moral value in death sentences: there’s no retribution element. Social justice isn’t about retribution. it’s not between me and him.

    Society recognize rights of property as a matter of individual rights – you have a claim of your persons. Society uphold property rights as a matter of principle to maintain peace. Like freedom of religions, freedom of travel, freedom of expression, property is a right recognized in most modern society, and form the basis of most of modern law, also recognized in all the religions i mentioned above.

    Society does not award death sentences to make me – or anyone feel better. it is our agreement to do so. In scripture, it’s about delivering divine justice.

    nothing to do about being even.
    nothing to do with retribution.
    nothing to do with the dead people.
    Social = you + me + dead people + everybody else. it’s the definition of the word. it’s not exclusive to killers and victims.

    i’m not sure how i could make it more clear in the retribution explanation 🙁

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