View Poll Results: Do you support the Death Penalty

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  • I support the Death Penalty

    38 42.70%
  • I Oppose the Death Penalty due to Principle

    27 30.34%
  • I Oppose the Death Penalty due to Practicality

    17 19.10%
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Thread: Death Penalty in Theory

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    Death Penalty in Theory

    I used to be very pro-capital punishment. Lately though, I've been moving away from that position somewhat. In theory, I accept that the death penalty can be an appropriate punishment. If a mentally healthy person willfully takes the life of another, I see that as forfeiting their own right to life. However, in our practice I'm not sure I can support it. There is at the very least controversy over whether or not the cost of the capital case outweighs that of life in prison, with actual statistics being very hard to come by. There is also the trouble of exonerated death row inmates and wrongful executions. In my opinion the difference in punishment between death and life in prison is not worth the chance of wrongful execution, which seems to be significant. There is also the question of whether the death penalty is equally applied among everyone. Lastly, although I'm not sure I agree with this, some people have argued that the death penalty is not an equal response to murder, because death row inmates must spend years waiting and knowing that they are going to die. It is suggested this is a torture exceeding that which the convicted gave his or her victims. I think this is the weakest argument of them, but it may have some merit. In a perfect world where a 100% guilty person was immediately put to death, with the whole thing costing less than life in prison, I could easily support that, but in our real world I'm not sure anymore that capital punishment is practical.

    But I'm curious about how the people on DP feel about it. Especially to see if there are significant groups of people among those who oppose the death penalty who support the idea in theory, but not in reality and those who simply oppose the idea in principle.
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    Re: Death Penalty in Theory

    I don't support the death penalty except in the most extreme of extreme cases, I feel the risk of being wrong and the added cost of death penalty court preceeding aren't worth it 99% of the time.

    Also, the death penalty doesn't deter crime.

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    Re: Death Penalty in Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    I used to be very pro-capital punishment. Lately though, I've been moving away from that position somewhat. In theory, I accept that the death penalty can be an appropriate punishment. If a mentally healthy person willfully takes the life of another, I see that as forfeiting their own right to life. However, in our practice I'm not sure I can support it. There is at the very least controversy over whether or not the cost of the capital case outweighs that of life in prison, with actual statistics being very hard to come by. There is also the trouble of exonerated death row inmates and wrongful executions. In my opinion the difference in punishment between death and life in prison is not worth the chance of wrongful execution, which seems to be significant. There is also the question of whether the death penalty is equally applied among everyone. Lastly, although I'm not sure I agree with this, some people have argued that the death penalty is not an equal response to murder, because death row inmates must spend years waiting and knowing that they are going to die. It is suggested this is a torture exceeding that which the convicted gave his or her victims. I think this is the weakest argument of them, but it may have some merit. In a perfect world where a 100% guilty person was immediately put to death, with the whole thing costing less than life in prison, I could easily support that, but in our real world I'm not sure anymore that capital punishment is practical.

    But I'm curious about how the people on DP feel about it. Especially to see if there are significant groups of people among those who oppose the death penalty who support the idea in theory, but not in reality and those who simply oppose the idea in principle.
    The goal of the justice system is to protect society ... Not to Punish sins. No one has the right to take a life, and no one has the right to judge whether or not someone has a right to live, the point is to make sure society is protected.

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    Re: Death Penalty in Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseone View Post
    I don't support the death penalty except in the most extreme of extreme cases, I feel the risk of being wrong and the added cost of death penalty court preceeding aren't worth it 99% of the time.

    Also, the death penalty doesn't deter crime.
    Everyone thinkts it should be for the most extreme of extreme cases, even those that are pro death penatly, the question is what is extreme.

    I oppose it 100% in every case.

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    Re: Death Penalty in Theory

    As I don't believe in free will, I cannot support the death penalty. Retribution loses meaning in a 100% deterministic universe.

    That said, even if we did have perfect free will I would oppose the death penalty on the practical grounds the op mentioned

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    Re: Death Penalty in Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by RGacky3 View Post
    Everyone thinkts it should be for the most extreme of extreme cases, even those that are pro death penatly, the question is what is extreme.

    I oppose it 100% in every case.
    I mean for example MAJ Hassan, who shot all those people at Ft. Hood, or Sergeant Bales that killed 16 Afghan civilians. I would execute these two because their crime brings shame on the entire US military and United States in addition to the high body count, but if a man breaks into a house and ends up killing the guy living there I wouldn't support the death penalty simply because of costs. To go through the trails and appeals to put someone, and keep someone, on death row costs far more money than it would to just lock them up forever.

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    Re: Death Penalty in Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    I used to be very pro-capital punishment. Lately though, I've been moving away from that position somewhat. In theory, I accept that the death penalty can be an appropriate punishment. If a mentally healthy person willfully takes the life of another, I see that as forfeiting their own right to life. However, in our practice I'm not sure I can support it. There is at the very least controversy over whether or not the cost of the capital case outweighs that of life in prison, with actual statistics being very hard to come by. There is also the trouble of exonerated death row inmates and wrongful executions. In my opinion the difference in punishment between death and life in prison is not worth the chance of wrongful execution, which seems to be significant. There is also the question of whether the death penalty is equally applied among everyone. Lastly, although I'm not sure I agree with this, some people have argued that the death penalty is not an equal response to murder, because death row inmates must spend years waiting and knowing that they are going to die. It is suggested this is a torture exceeding that which the convicted gave his or her victims. I think this is the weakest argument of them, but it may have some merit. In a perfect world where a 100% guilty person was immediately put to death, with the whole thing costing less than life in prison, I could easily support that, but in our real world I'm not sure anymore that capital punishment is practical.

    But I'm curious about how the people on DP feel about it. Especially to see if there are significant groups of people among those who oppose the death penalty who support the idea in theory, but not in reality and those who simply oppose the idea in principle.
    The argument that it is not equally applied to all people is invalid - that some who may deserve the death penalty do not get it is not an argument against giving it to others that do, any more than the fact that some murderers do not get caught invalidates the law against murder.

    Similarly, the waiting period and cost arguments are invalid - they are not a function of the death penalty itself, but rather of a backed up judicial system and government penal bureaucracy.

    The idea that the death penalty does not deter crime I find mostly invalid - the death penalty is not structured in such a way as to deter crime. Deterring crime requires that a punishment be swift, sure, and public. The death penalty as it is currently structured is none of these things. It could be, which means that the lack of deterrence falls (as does the cost and time period) on workings of the government, not the death penalty itself.


    Like you, I was formerly strongly death penalty, and am since moving away from it.

    The strongest arguments I find in favor is that it could theoretically be restructured to provide deterence to crime in a manner that is not cost-prohibitive nor lengthy, and that victims and their families deserve closure. There are people who deserve to die, and there are killings that are not wrong.

    The strongest arguments I find against is that we are all sinners, and deserve more than we probably get, and are in desperate need of a chance at redemption. If one who hates his brother is a murderer, do not all murderers need the same forgiveness and redemption that those who have hated a brother have access to? It is hard to find pity for some people. But that is precisely what I am called by Christ to do (He's got you coming and going, that guy does) - love even your enemy, He says. The other argument I find compelling is the one you mention - that while the process is infallible, the execution of it is final; it is a putting of total power into a fallible structure when doing so is not necessary (as it can often be in self-defense, crime fighting, or war).

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    Re: Death Penalty in Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    The argument that it is not equally applied to all people is invalid - that some who may deserve the death penalty do not get it is not an argument against giving it to others that do, any more than the fact that some murderers do not get caught invalidates the law against murder.
    This is another thing I don't disagree with in theory. However, for a multitude of reasons I don't think it is prudent for our government to be handing out punishments unequally. It can end up causing more problems.

    Similarly, the waiting period and cost arguments are invalid - they are not a function of the death penalty itself, but rather of a backed up judicial system and government penal bureaucracy.
    I did not consider altering the way that the death penalty be applied, because I don't think our judicial system or bureaucracy is likely to be significantly altered. It is possible for capital punishment to exist in a way that invalidates those arguments, but I don't think it could happen in the United States without extremely unlikely dramatic change. Since I was arguing against it because of practicality, I think it is valid to consider the likelihood of the death penalty's waiting period and extreme cost going away.

    The idea that the death penalty does not deter crime I find mostly invalid - the death penalty is not structured in such a way as to deter crime. Deterring crime requires that a punishment be swift, sure, and public. The death penalty as it is currently structured is none of these things. It could be, which means that the lack of deterrence falls (as does the cost and time period) on workings of the government, not the death penalty itself.


    Like you, I was formerly strongly death penalty, and am since moving away from it.

    The strongest arguments I find in favor is that it could theoretically be restructured to provide deterence to crime in a manner that is not cost-prohibitive nor lengthy, and that victims and their families deserve closure. There are people who deserve to die, and there are killings that are not wrong.

    The strongest arguments I find against is that we are all sinners, and deserve more than we probably get, and are in desperate need of a chance at redemption. If one who hates his brother is a murderer, do not all murderers need the same forgiveness and redemption that those who have hated a brother have access to? It is hard to find pity for some people. But that is precisely what I am called by Christ to do (He's got you coming and going, that guy does) - love even your enemy, He says. The other argument I find compelling is the one you mention - that while the process is infallible, the execution of it is final; it is a putting of total power into a fallible structure when doing so is not necessary (as it can often be in self-defense, crime fighting, or war).
    I think the rest of your post is very thought provoking. I liked the deterrence argument, but you even said that it would have to be theoretically restructured in a way that I'm not sure is really possible without dramatically altering our justice system.

    I also enjoyed reading your perspective about us all being sinners and deserving a chance at redemption.
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    Re: Death Penalty in Theory

    I oppose the death penalty for both principle and practicality reasons.

    Pretty much as everyone else here as stated, risk of executing an innocent, is it really an eye for an eye...etc.

    However, I would also like to address how it is not a deterrent. This is because most murders are committed under 1 of 2 circumstances. The first being passion(guy comes home to find wife in bed with another dude type stuff), in which there is no deterrent because the murderer is not thinking clearly, and the other being the belief of not being caught. That one is self explanatory, if you truly believe you won't get caught the consequences don't matter.

    I also believe that sitting a jail cell the rest of your life is a worse punishment than death, and allows us to go back on a decision made and release the wrongly convicted. There is no going back on an execution.

    Aside from all of that, and this probably applies to crime and punishment in general, I believe the prison system should be for rehabilitation rather than punishment.
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    Re: Death Penalty in Theory

    I do not believe in the death penalty. I do not believe in it at all except maybe, very maybe for war crimes like the nazi's perpetrated.

    The odds of people getting convicted to death who are innocent, the racial inequality, the financial inequality, the cost of the death penalty and it also does not deter IMHO.
    Former military man (and now babysitter of Donald Trump) John Kelly, is a big loud lying empty barrel!

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