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What's your stance on the death penalty?

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Uncivilised. Belongs in theocracies and banana republics. In my country of birth, this filth was abolished but it still has many who'd like to see it brought back. They usually say "string them up, I say" and then fold their arms with a tough looking frown.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Outdated and not fit for modern days.

Like Jimizo my country abolished it and we are better for it.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Barbaric.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

I'm against it but I can't count the number of readers who post here on Japan Today, calling for it in the stories in the Crime section, so I assume it has a lot of support among people from supposedly "civilized" countries.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Just looked at the list of the most enthusiastic executioners around the world. I should have added dictatorships to theocracies and banana republics in my first post.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Only for cases where it is positive the person did something heinous. Also, only if it is swift. Being on death row for many years is cruel. If there isn't 100% proof (forget reasonable doubt, 100% proof), then they get life.

Premeditated murder of multiple people - kill them. If someone intentionally kills my child or wife then they deserve to die. I'll sleep better that way.

Never for political reasons. Any leader who can't take voices of the opposition don't deserve to be leaders.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Barbaric, cruel, unnecessary, pointless. State sanctioned murder is a rubbish deterrent anyway. Civilised countries do not execute it's residents.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

It only takes one innocent person to be wrongly executed and every argument condoning capital punishment is blown out of the water.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Capital punishment totally undermines the sanctity of life.

The latter must be absolute, not conditional.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The guilty ones never offend again its there as a deterrent but it appears those that are murdered by habitual criminals have no rights left when dead

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

I'll bite on this. I am not opposed to the death penalty, and don't think the act itself is barbaric, uncivilized or what have you. This is why:

Until the unlawful killing of innocent people can be stopped, there is no real reason for the lawful killing of the guilty to be done away with. It is no more than an equal reaction to a crime, and often (especially in the case one individual who kills many) it is much, much less than an equal reaction.

People argue that the taking of life by the state is no better than the initial killing, but I would say that that is pretty convoluted thinking. Once a person crosses the line and takes the life of an innocent person, the former's life loses its value to society. It, in effect, becomes tainted, and is worth much less than that of an innocent person. After all, which is of more benefit to society, an innocent person or a person who takes innocent lives?

To punish a killer by anything less than death is to value innocent life less than guilty life. Society is basically saying that they care less about victims than victimizers.

Caveat: This is my philosophical stance, not my practical one. There are many case (accidents, dictatorships etc) where I believe exceptions should be made.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Isn't abortion a death penalty? We don't own other humans do we?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

100% proof and it's OK? Tell that to Derek Bentley and Timothy Evans (who died for murders they didn't commit), Stefan Kiszko, the Bridgewater Four, Birmingham Six, Gulidford Four etc etc etc (who would've died had there been capital punishment). All were convicted on "100% proof", and in some cases so-called police making up evidence, against them. These are just some of the cases from the UK.....what about the US?? Europe? "It's OK, but make sure it's 100%"..........yeah, right......

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The Death Penalty is NOT a deterent, if it were murder, etc numbers would be way lower.

Also the EU countries would have seen a steep rise in the numbers after abolishing the Death Penalty. Which didn't occur.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I'm not for or against capital punishment. It's a matter that should be decided by the prescribed processes of civil law. In other words capital punishment is an appropriate penalty for murder, but that penalty is proper only after the offender has been found guilty in a lawful public trial by constitutionally authorized civil authorities.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

novenchama-

"..In other words capital punishment is an appropriate penalty for murder, but that penalty is proper only after the offender has been found guilty in a lawful public trial by constitutionally authorized civil authorities",

and it is well known that constitutionally civil authorities are capable of mistakes - oops, we just killed the innocent.

sourpuss -

".. It is no more than an equal reaction to a crime..." is in itself quite open to questioning. Are you suggesting crimes should be retaliated against equal to their nature? Sounds like an eye for an eye to me, but then maybe that's what you support.

However, many believe Killing Killers lowers the sensibilities of a society, lowering a sense of decency (or lack of) to the level of the criminals.

Frankly I don't wish to be equated with such contempt for life.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's NOT a deterrent. It's impossible to undo when mistakes are realized. It's barbaric and only performed by backward uncivilized nations.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@ browny1

The fact is being wrongfully charged, indicted, convicted, and imprisoned can happen to anybody. The ways this can happen are countless, and despite the system's best efforts, there are just too many ways the system can possibly get it wrong. Unfortunately ours is a world in which justice is accidental, and innocence no protection.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If the crime is one so great that there can be no other punishment, then there needs to be 100 percent proof, and it should not be left to a jury to decide.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Society should vote on it ( death penalty ) every third election.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I am vehemently against the death penalty and believe it should be abolished everywhere. I am also endlessly irritated with people who argue that the problem with the death penalty is that 'killing people to prove killing is wrong' is contradictory. This is a very weak moral position and easily argued against, as demonstrated eloquently by sourpuss above.

If you are against the death penalty, do yourself a favor and avoid arguing that "People argue that the taking of life by the state is no better than the initial killing" as, since sourpuss says, this is a philosophical untenable position. In saying that executing a criminal is the same as murder your are saying that killing and innocent person is the same as killing a guilty person. Now, as a fellow liberal, I understand that what people are trying to say is that 'all life is sacred' and that 'killing someone does not affect the fundamental right to life', but in arguing this one becomes dangerously close to saying that, if an 'innocent life' is a 'guilty life', then there is no difference between being innocent and being guilty, and we have done away with the concept of justice altogether. Now that may not be what you mean, but that is what your opponents will hear.

So strategically, if you are against the death penalty, arguing that judicial execution is exactly the same as murder is quite idiotic. You will not convince anyone who opposes your point of view.

So leaving aside the philosophical argument, which you are destined to lose, what should you focus on if you want to convince people that the death penalty is should be abolished?

Surely, the most solid arguments against the death penalty are its irreversibility, the brutalization of those who carry it out (particularly in a society like Japan where people's tasks in a large organization are frequently allocated to them irrespective of personal preference), and finally, its political nature.

This politicization issues includes both the potential for disposing of political opponents and moral grandstanding by pushing through death penalties to win votes. In either case, the poor, disenfranchised and unconnected are always more likely to die than the rich and powerful. This is constant throughout history. So saying I support the death penalty but it should 'never be for political reasons' is a little naive. The possibility for political misuse can never be eliminated. This, and the irreversibility issue, are the strongest reasons to condemn the ultimate punishment (and, in the case of Japan, there is of course the separate issue of the years spent not knowing when the sentence will be carried out; the waking up each morning not knowing, which results in most of the condemned in Japan being executed in a state of mental illness and detachment from reality).

A further possible argument to explore is the emotional punishment of family members of the accused (who are not guilty of anything), since this violates the precept of international law that innocent people should not be punished. Many of course might reject this argument saying that imprisonment also punishes family members, so if we go down that line of reasoning you can't punish anyone, but given that it is a question of balance between punishing the guilty and avoiding punishing the innocent, I believe this is a valid debate to be had.

So focus on the wrongful convictions, focus on the lack of certainty, focus on the brutalization of prison staff, focus on the potential for misuse, focus on the disproportionate executions of the poor, the mentally unstable, the disenfranchised. It will get know nowhere to argue that executing someone who has no mental issues, plans their killing in cold blood, and was caught in the act is exactly equivalent to their original crime.

Accept that an individual in this latter case probably deserves to die but that if we leave the death penalty on the books for those few cases where it is all cut and dried (and they are few) we cannot eliminate the other issues described above. As a society, we can't afford to take the risk, so the death penalty has got to go.

Executing is murder, murder is executing. All lives are equivalent etc. etc. You are not convincing anyone with that argument. So stop and think smarter.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

jpn-guy - an interesting ramble - thanks.

I believe you yourself are on a little "shaky" ground when postulating how "we" should think and feel re institutionalized killing.

You are simply assuming all follow your sketchy guideline of what constitutes a philisophical argument - an argument you contend is idiotic and destined to lose. All blinkers down the straight.

For example I posted earlier, "....many believe Killing Killers lowers the sensibilities of a society, lowering a sense of decency (or lack of) to the level of the criminals...."

No mention of such nonsense as "...if an 'innocent life' is a 'guilty life', then there is no difference between being innocent and being guilty..."

I simply believe a society basing it's ultimate revenge / justice call on the death penalty, actually lowers the bar of human civility by approaching the actions of the Killers, which in turn de-bases our society.

I re-iterate - Killing Killers - you know strangling them and /or breaking their necks, making them twitch, convulse and gurgle in their last moments so they recal the horrors they enacted upon others - does naught to make me a better person, my family and friends and all citizens better people.

Simply - I don't want institutions Killing people in my name - as a member of society.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Necessary. It's a good thing. There are a very few people who deserve this, but to be sure, they deserve it. Not barbaric, not immoral, it's the right thing to do. Those who have what's coming to them deserve no pity

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Those who have what's coming to them deserve no pity

Such analytical rigour.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Absolutely necessary. Especially, people who killed someone must be sentenced for capital punishment equally suffering from what victims experienced then. Otherwise, murderers don't truly understand what they did. Additionally, a variety of ways of execution, which are according to how victimes were killed, are needed to make criminals realize the same agony. However, there are countless reasons lead to commit a crime by killing someone or a certain person, I can understand. I think that even you might sometime can't stand what someone's behaviors or other terribly unpleasant words and then, your anger well in. But you aren't born to revenge someone, and if you do, you are going to be of evil murderer. Therefore you must not kill someone regardless of any reasons.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I'm not in favour of the death penalty. There have been too many occasions where innocent people were executed.

A jury deciding whether or not someone is should die shouldn't be left to human assumptions and putting two and two together. As I said above, there must be zero doubt... absolute zero, and humans are incapable of that degree of certainty.

To be honest, in the heat of anger or remorse I would want the perp killed... but what would that achieve? Public safety through terror?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I will only agree to support the death penalty when the judicial system is foolproof and can make no errors, but as we humans and all we create are fallible and prone to error it is not acceptable. If you imprison the wrong person, while you can never give back the time they spent in side you can apologise and seek to compensate them insofar as is practicable.

Standing at their grave shouting sorry is not a lot of consolation to a corpse.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The death penalty needs to be abolished. :) :)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There is one fundamental ground against capital punishment: for whatever reason a society deems it necessary to take the life of an individual member of the same society, that same function becomes a potential threat against the life of every other member of the same society.

End of discussion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@browny1

Frankly I don't wish to be equated with such contempt for life.

By holding the lives of murderers as more worthy of protection than those of innocent victims, you are doing exactly that. The mistake you make is that you hold all life to be equal. If a convicted murderer and a person who were both drowning in a river, who would you save first? It seems like a silly question, but whether you refuse to answer it or not, you can understand that one life is more valuable to society than the other.

I simply believe a society basing it's ultimate revenge / justice call on the death penalty, actually lowers the bar of human civility by approaching the actions of the Killers, which in turn de-bases our society.

What is human civility? If you mean the presence or absence of state involvement in death, then what is a military for? What is euthanasia or abortion? These are all choices in favor of some kind of state-sponsored killing. And I support all of them, including the death penalty.

Once you deny the option of the death penalty for people like Anders Breivik, you start down the slippery slope of treating him like a "normal" member of society, which, demonstrably, he is not. You must make sure all of his human rights are protected. Does he have a warm bed? Does he have enough nutritious food? Does he have access to exercise facilities? The internet? an education? A Sony PlayStation? Is he safe from physical or mental harm? Does he have a chance to start a new life all over again?

Where does it end? And why didn't his victims get the same guarantees when they were alive?

In opposing the death penalty, you are basically saying that one mass-murderer's rights are more important than those of all of his victims put together. He could, one day, be sitting next to you on a plane to Hawaii to enjoy is retirement, all in the name of the Norwegian government, telling you about his good ol' days of death and destruction. What are you going to do? Laugh along with him? This is not some imaginary "what if" scenario, this is real. And if this isn't the debasement of society, then I'm not sure what is.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

sourpuss - thank you for your comments.

Nowhere did I say I hold the lives of murderers as more worthy of protection than innocent victims. You inferred that - not me. As you also did when you stated I made a "mistake" by holding all life to be equal.

Simply what I've said is that I believe states that Kill in the name of justice / punishment are adding to the bloodshed. They are acting with willfull intent to Kill as the heinous Killer did. And yes we could discuss for eons - as has been done - what constitutes civility, but by doing so in this discussion, digresses from my basic point.

And I've never suggested an "easy" life behind bars. Again that's your mirroring. What would make you think that I support your slippery slope theory and enjoy a beer with Charles Manson??? Talk about off on tangents.

My position is that I believe Killing Killers shouldn't be condoned, especially I don't want a state to embark on it's Killing Killer program in the name of justice or whatever. And please don't drag military, abortion, euthanasia into the debate because they are all distractions to the topic and what I'm saying.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If a convicted murderer and a person who were both drowning in a river, who would you save first?

If you see two people drowning in a river, you don't hold interviews with them before deciding which one is worth jumping in after. You save the one you might have a chance of saving.

If you really want to equate the 'drowning in a river' scenario with a murder case, what you have is not two people equally in danger of drowning and with an equal chance of being saved; what you have is one person already floating face-down in the middle of the river, and another person standing near the riverbank. Could be the person standing on the bank is the one who pushed the other person in the water, but unless you saw it with your own eyes you can never be sure. What would you do, push that person in the water just in case?

It seems like a silly question

Yes, incredibly silly.

In opposing the death penalty, you are basically saying that one mass-murderer's rights are more important than those of all of his victims put together.

More incredible silliness. Saying that it's wrong to kill is not saying that a mass-murderer's rights are more important than those of all his victims. It's simply saying that you do not have the right to take another life, and that the morals of society as a whole are more valid than the morals of a murderer.

The details of how any particular country chooses to treat the people it incarcerates, while not totally unrelated, is a separate question.

And that question is not, 'How can we wreak revenge on this evil person?'. The question is, 'Now that we have this evil person safely in custody, how should we treat him so as to ensure that (1) he is never again a danger to the pubic and (2) in our treatment of him we do not drag ourselves down to his morally bankrupt level.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Barbaric, is it cleo? Be interesting to see what tune you start singing when someone offs your nearest & dearest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, incredibly silly.

So you did exactly as I expected, and avoided answering the question entirely. I guess death

The details of how any particular country chooses to treat the people it incarcerates, while not totally unrelated, is a separate question.

Again, you avoid addressing the issue. This is a real case in the real world, not fantasy. Perhaps you'll be having tea with Breivik on your next flight. I guess that's justice in your way of thinking. Not mine.

It's simply saying that you do not have the right to take another life, and that the morals of society as a whole are more valid than the morals of a murderer.

If the values of society are giving murderers everything that they haven't given to victims, then you can enjoy not truly addressing the pain and loss of life of innocent people. I mean, you do realize that convicted murderers are eligible for parole in most so-called "advanced" societies. The murderer gets a second chance for life that the victim will never have. Sounds like a pretty "morally bankrupt" argument to me.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I have to disagree with you sourpuss. The reason most people oppose the death penalty is because they believe in the sanctity of human life. They think taking a life can never be morally justified (except perhaps to save another life in urgent circumstances). It's a very principled and unwavering position. However, you are saying that killing is sometimes justified under the right circumstances (ie. the death penalty for mass murderers). You also bring up the interesting case of Anders Breivik.

So here is my question to you: What exactly is it about Anders Breivik's actions that you find to be morally blameworthy? Yes, he killed people but as you have just argued, sometimes killing people can be morally justified. Anders Breivik was certainly convinced that he was entirely justified in killing all the people he did. I think according to him, white people were under some existential threat and this was his last resort to save them (or something like that). With that in mind, do you think Anders Breivik's moral blameworthiness stems from the fact that he took the lives of so many people, or is he only blameworthy because he misread the situation and mistakenly thought he was justified to do what he did when he objectively wasn't? Your argument seems to suggest it's only the latter. Both you and Breivik think killing is sometimes completely justified, but you just haven't yet agreed on when exactly that is. This is the true slippery slope in my opinion. It can never be a well defined and principled position.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A necessarily evil in many countries. In a country that loves to force confessions like Japan, no way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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