If You Can’t Beat Em, Kill Em: Weekend Poll

By: wheatmeister
August 30, 2013

How do you feel about the death penalty?  For or against?  In all cases?

How do you feel about the death penalty? (choose the answer that most closely fits)

  • The death penalty should only be used when there is no doubt of guilt and no chance of rehabilitation. (45%, 36 Votes)
  • The death penalty is never right. Mistakes can be made, and the focus should be on rehabilitating criminals. (33%, 26 Votes)
  • The death penalty is a necessary deterrent to violent crime. (13%, 10 Votes)
  • The death penalty is necessary to provide closure to the victims of crimes. (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Other (specify in the comments) (4%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 80

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Discuss.

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33 Responses to If You Can’t Beat Em, Kill Em: Weekend Poll

  1. Will on August 30, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    The death penalty is for sure a deterrent as the person that committed the crime will never do it again. The focus should not be all the excuses or defenses, including and especially mental illness, the focus should be: 1) did they commit the crime? 2) Is it likely they will commit the crime again? If an affirmative answer can be provided for both; then they should be executed. The sooner the better

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  2. Phil on August 30, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Some crimes are so heinous that you derserve to lose your franchise on life.

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  3. Casey on August 30, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    I don’t see much broad deterrent value in the death penalty unless we’re willing to return to gruesome public executions, and even then violent crime was higher in the past when such spectacles were more common. A life prison sentence is just as effective preventing further crime from the worst individuals in all but the most extreme circumstances. Long prison sentences can also be reversed if new evidence comes out, which can and does happen. Death, not so much. Incidentally, I’m amazed at how many people who claim to detest government put absolute, unblinking trust in it when it comes to law enforcement (yes, I’m looking at #1 as I type that).

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  4. aice on August 30, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    The death penalty is wrong for the same reason that committing murder or any other violent crime is wrong. When the state performs an execution there is probably nothing more cold blooded and pre-meditated on the planet. It’s chilling. It’s inhumane. It’s done on our authority and it hurts me terribly every time I’m involuntarily implicated in it.

    A person has a life because Heavenly Father gave it. It is up to Him and not us to take it.

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  5. Lorian on August 30, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    The death penalty cheapens and degrades the value of life, just as much as any other deliberate act of killing. A society which, as a whole, values human life is likely to be a less violent society, in general. Murder rates in states without the death penalty are consistently lower than in states which enact the death penalty.

    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/deterrence-states-without-death-penalty-have-had-consistently-lower-murder-rates#stateswithvwithout

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  6. nate on August 30, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I believe in the death penalty as Brigham Young understood it: a religious ritual sacrifice that aids the soul in it’s immortal journey. Brigham Young believed the death penalty was an act of love, of redemption, atonement. It’s not about revenge or a deterent. It’s a ritual of poetic justice for the greatest of crimes. If I murdered, I would want to be executed by firing squad, as I can think of no more appropriate way to begin to clean the slate and right the wrong.

    However, this only works in a theocratic society with a collective understanding of the true purpose of blood atonement. In a diverse, democratic society like ours, there is no collective understanding of the soul’s immortality, so execution is seen, and rightfully so, as cruel and unusual punishment. In our society, it is metted out to satisfy the blood lust and revenge of victim’s families, and others who hate people who commit murder.

    So I oppose the death penalty, unless it is requested by a murderer in his right mind. Particularly in our legal system, the death penatly is enormously expensive, and should be eliminated for that reason only. We can’t afford it. It doesn’t deter crime. We are morally ambivilent about it. It should be outlawed, unless specifically requested by the criminal, who believes in it for religious reasons.

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  7. wreddyornot on August 30, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    I’m for life; not death. If anything thwarts agency it’s death. Those who champion death champion necessity.

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  8. Sandy Liscom Emmons on August 30, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    If the person has done something really heinous and they know for sure they have the right person I say execute. It costs us as taxpayers millions to keep those criminals locked up for life. I don’t feel they are worth the money spent. Save those taxpayer dollars for someone who can be rehabilitated.

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  9. KT on August 31, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    I think it would be more of a deterrent IF it were more public and if people didn’t have chances at appeals that drag out years. That being said, innocent people have been put to death and that’s not justice. I like rehabilitation, but in some cases (some sex crimes), people don’t have that ability, so what then? The tax payers should have to spend their money on locking other deviant people away?

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  10. Jack Hughes on August 31, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    #6-
    Blood atonement? Really? Should we bring back public crucifixion of criminals? Turn serial killers into martyrs and false Christs?

    The idea behind blood atonement (I think) is that an offender can receive some sort of eternal redemption if he willingly dies an agonizing death. I’m not certain, since the “doctrine” supporting it is shaky at best, abhorrent at worst. Probably not a good idea to go down that road again.

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  11. Jack Hughes on August 31, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    Does anyone know if execution actually gives closure/comfort to the victim’s families? Does it promote emotional healing? Any more or less than the conviction?

    I would suppose not, since any satisfaction derived from watching someone’s death–whether or not it is deserved–is carnal, not spiritual.

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  12. Angela C on August 31, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    I know (from watching Law & Order: SVU) that pedophiles and some other sex criminal cannot be rehabilitated, or at least we don’t know how to do so now, but I’m not clear whether this is just a limitation of current scientific knowledge. What if they could be rehabilitated later? But I do agree that we have a lot of people incarcerated in the US in particular, probably far too many.

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  13. NewlyHousewife on August 31, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Case by case basis. There are people so twisted, so ill, I cannot imagine them within my privilege experience. What I cannot imagine, I can see being supporting of someone’s death. I guess if it’s a “case by jury” I would say no. Simply because jurors have cultural bias and as history shows are more likely to suggest the death penalty for a black person than a caucasian person. Not to say judges cannot have the same bias, but I would like to think on a legal level they’re less likely to.

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  14. Lorian on August 31, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    It is actually *more* expensive to execute a criminal than to incarcerate him/her for life, mostly due to the lengthy appeals process. But the appeals process is absolutely *necessary* if we are going to impose the death penalty to ensure to the greatest degree possible that innocents are not subjected to execution and that, when we *do* execute, every opportunity has been given for the individual to demonstrate his/her innocence. To do away with the appeals process and still impose the death penalty would be far more problematic, ethically speaking, than the death penalty, itself.

    If we want to save money on the prison system, we need to entirely revamp the way we go about it. We need to create prisons which are highly efficient agricultural entities, and which are essentially self-sustaining in the provision of both occupation and food for the prisoners they house. We need to give prisoners a healthy diet of vegetarian foods produced primarily through their own labors, with excess produce being sold on the open market to provide the income stream necessary to maintain the operation of the prison.

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  15. Phil on August 31, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Jack Hughes it can give closure in the fact that ther person cannot terrorize anyone ever again

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  16. Phil on August 31, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    The person

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  17. Hawkgrrrl on August 31, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    There are many executions annually in Singapore. There is no trial by jury, just by judge, and there is no lengthy appeals process. Trials are speedy as is punishment. I’m not saying that’s a better process, just that a lengthy appeals process and the expense of trials are not inherent in all systems.

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  18. MH on September 1, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    It is unfortunate that blacks are executed at a higher rate than whites or women. Execution is not applied uniformly, and mistakes are made. In a case where facts are not in dispute (such as the Fort Hood shooter), execution seems like a great remedy. However, execution is not without its problems.

    Sandy, I have been told that it is cheaper to house a prisoner for life than to pay for the appeals for an execution.

    (I voted “other”. I didn’t like any of the options.)

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  19. katie88 on September 1, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    I am opposed to the death penalty for several reasons:
    1. Too many innocent people have been executed. Because the judicial system is fallible, we cannot as a society assume that every death row inmate is guilty.
    2. The Savior fulfilled the law of Moses, which promoted “and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” His higher law is a law of mercy and justice, that values human life. When the Pharisees sought to stone the adulterous woman, the Savior told them, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” On the cross, he forgave the soldiers who killed him. Although we must hold murderers accountable for their crime, this does not presuppose that as a culture, we must kill them. Each conviction deserves the careful consideration of a judge. Remember, Moses was killed an Egyptian and certainly deserved redemption. Paul assisted in the murder of Christians. We cannot say that everyone who participates in a murder cannot be forgiven or redeemed.

    3. Some criminals want the death penalty because they that consider it assisted suicide. A lifetime spent reflecting on one’s crime can be a more painful penalty than death.

    4. The death penalty is biased against those who are poor, who are unable to afford excellent legal representation, and is racially disproportionate.

    5. Clearly, some murderers cannot be rehabilitated and need to remain incarcerated for their lifetime for the protection of society. However, even if they cannot be rehabilitated, this does not give society the right to murder them. We, then, participate in the same act which we condemn.

    5.

    4. One of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not kill.”

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  20. Phil on September 1, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Katie there are some extremely evil people in this world. It’s better to remove from them permanently their capability to harm or terrorize anyone ever again

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  21. Will on September 1, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Hawkgirl is right, most sexual criminals cannot be fixed and are a continual treat to society WHEN they are released. Kill them. Is it more humane for them to be raped and beaten daily in prison? Is it humane to the victims that WILL be damaged by these sub humans when they are released. Do both sides a favor and execute them.

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  22. JaJay on September 1, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Lorian #5: Is it possible that states with higher murder rates feel the need to have the death penalty whereas states with lower murder rates don’t? (In other words, which is the cause and which is the effect?)

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  23. nate on September 1, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Jake Hughes, I think you mischarechterized the doctrine of blood atonement, which is more than just some outrageous statements by Brigham Young, cobbled into a misguided doctrine.

    When someone commits murder or another similar crime, there are enormous consequences: spiritual and physical. These consequences run deep and last for generations. “I will curse them to the 7th generation.” It’s not a matter of simply repenting and accepting the atonement of Christ and easily lifting the curse. The weight of the curse of the sin is born by the victims, by the family and posterity of the victims, by the purputrator and the family and posterity of the purputrator, sometimes for generations.

    Yes the atonement of Christ can heal, but sometimes healing takes time, even generations. Inasmuch as a purputrator understands the nature of his eternal journey, and the weight of the curse of his sin upon himself and others, he can assist the healing process by joining Christ in death, and atoning in part, for his sin. Not by crucifixion, but through the shedding of blood, as a voluntary sacrifice and symbol of his desire to participate with Christ in the healing process.

    This of course sounds abominable to anyone without an eternal perspective, and it is for them, so I would never advocate it. But the principle is true.

    Indeed, even on death row in the US today, there is a ritualistic and sacrificial element to the death penalty. It is moving to see some of the last words of the executed. You can see that many of them DO sense the atoning nature of what they are about to experience, and the execution becomes almost sacred:
    http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/photogallery/last_words.html

    I sense this even in the beautiful film A Place In The Sun, wherein the process of execution leads to honesty and understanding. Whereas in Dead Man Walking, the potential transformative and healing nature of the execution is completely overlooked by those obsessed with seeing the execution as immoral.

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  24. Lorian on September 1, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    JaJay #22 – The stats speak directly to the lack of deterrent effect of the death penalty upon violent crime. If it were true that enforcing the death penalty serves as a deterrent to violent crime, then murder rates in states where the death penalty is in effect should clearly show this effect. They do not.

    If, as you suggest, some states simply have higher rates of violent crime to begin with, and these states are compelled to execute their prisoners as a result, presumably, of their innately more violent populations, why IS it that their populations are, by your model, innately more violent?

    I think the consistent correlation between death penalty and murder rates is sufficient to at the very least *strongly* support cause and effect.

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  25. Lorian on September 1, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Hawkgrrrl #17 – Singapore hardly constitutes a shining example of human rights and civil liberties. Iran conducts many highly public executions after very little in the way of fair trials and appeals, too. Should we look to them as a means of determining how best to treat our citizens?

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  26. hawkgrrrl on September 2, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Lorian, my comment was solely on response to the comment about the expensive trial and appeals process in the US being a justification for executions. I do not consider Singapore a viable model for the US for several reasons, although perhaps Texas would disagree.

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  27. Douglas on September 2, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    The death penalty is appropriate for murder and/or treason. Since the Lord has prescribed its use, that alone is reason to employ it.

    Still, there are practical problems that have all but eliminated capital punishment in the US. Even in states that more readily employ it (Florida, Texas, Arizona), a minority of those charged with first degree murder even face the death penalty in the first place. Prosecutors have to allocate resources towards those cases they can readily win. If the alleged perp is indigent, the State still has to pay for a first-class attorney to defend him. It’s not unusual for a death penalty case to run in the neighborhood of five million just for the initial trial. So the real fault is with the dysfunctional system that seems almost designed to suck up taxypayer dollars. It’s sad that typically a convicted murderer is highly unlikely to ever be executed.

    As much as I favor little Government intervention in private affairs, public safety is, if nothing else, it’s raison d’etre. And it’s falling down on that duty.

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  28. mark on September 2, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    I’m ambivalent. I’m not opposed to executions if we can guarantee that innocents are not executed. But with the possibility of mistakes I’m more in favor of life with out parole. In my opinion it is a more harsh punishment anyways. Though it comes with a drawback. Someone on death row gets a lot help trying to prove their innocence etc. A lifer on the other hand doesn’t get near the help, so many innocents likely are spending the rest of their life in jail, with a lessor chance of being proven innocent. (In essence a death penalty, with the means of execution being “natural causes”.)

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  29. hawkgrrrl on September 2, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    I tend to think we should only do life without parole, not death penalty. But I also believe we have very full jails. We need a re-evaluation of the whole system.

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  30. Douglas on September 3, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    Devil’s Island keeps looking better. How much would it cost to purchase it from France? Probably far less that what California spends on murder cases alone.

    It boils down to the state of sinfulness and dysfunctionality wherein evil is called good and vice versa. The same ninnies that think nothing of slaying an innocent unborn child in its mother’s womb for the capital offence of being inconvenient get themselves in an apoplectic fit over the destiny of a heinous, unrepentant murderer.

    Those that argue that the State makes mistakes so how can we trust it to ensure justice in the matter of capital crimes are yet willing to give heavily (or better yet, cause others to be taxed heavily, measuring their generosity therein) of monies and freedoms in our daily lives to the ever-increasing bureaucracy. Any institution run by members of the “hew-mon” race will be fallible. But said fallibility is but a pathetic excuse to fail to do what’s right. I decry that at times police officers kill someone in the line of duty by honest mistake, but I’d rather run that risk that it might be myself or my loved ones next than the certainty that unarmed policemen would be utterly ineffectual. This ain’t nineteenth-century London, where the pickpocket, upon being caught by the Bobby, went quietly.
    Collateral damage, though regrettable, is an inevitable result of deployment force, and training and oversight can reduce it to hopeful insignificance, but can never guarantee that it won’t ever occur.

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  31. Nick Literski on September 3, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    I’m strongly opposed to capital punishment, for a variety of reasons others have stated above. In addition, we seem entirely incapable of administering capital punishment in anything resembling a “just” manner. I recall during my undergraduate work in Sociology, learning that all other things being equal, convicted African American men are several times more likely (12 times comes to mind, but my memory isn’t perfect on that) to be sentenced to death than convicted Caucasian men. That’s with comparable past records, comparable current charges, etc. We simply haven’t reached a point where our justice system is free from prejudice in terms of race, gender, or poverty.

    That said, my opposition isn’t necessarily 100%. I have to admit there’s been one time when I fully agreed that a convicted man merited execution. That individual was Timothy McVeigh.

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  32. Nick Literski on September 3, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    One more thing: If we’re really interested, as a society, in making convicted criminals “pay for their crimes,” I see a life sentence without opportunity for parole as FAR more punitive than execution. If I ever committed a crime of that seriousness, I’d much rather be executed than spend the rest of my life incarcerated. I’d be all for sentencing our most serious offenders to life in solitary confinement without chance of parole, but that would probably be challenged as “cruel and unusual” punishment (not to mention the deterioration of the prisoner’s mental health, which could pose a greater threat to guards, etc.).

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  33. Roger on September 4, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    I have no quarrel with the notion that certain crimes deserve death. However, I am very disturbed at the arbitrary and capricious manner in which prosecutors decide to pursue the death penalty. Jurisdictions with budgetary constraints seem much more willing to pursue a life plea depending on the lack of high profile of the murder victim. It just galls me.

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