byPJ Lifestyle Crime
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Most people suffer from unimaginative, out-of-sight-out-of-mind viewpoints.
Imagine you could go back in time and watch those murderers (the ones he mentions in the video [and if you didn't watch the video, please DO NOT post here!]) actually committing the act. Imagine you’re like Ebeneezer Scrooge watching the past: unable to touch or interact with it. Stand there and watch the mother and daughter raped while the husband/father lies bleeding on the floor. You can hear the giggles of criminals. Watch as the house is set on fire with the women inside.
Anyone who experienced that would be for executing the criminals. In fact, it would take everything within you to suggest that the execution be done in an orderly fashion!
But we are told of the crime second-hand; usually in calm tones by news-readers and defense lawyers. It enters our ears as a bland tale, and anti-DP people refuse to “make the movie of it” in their heads. They are given the script, but they reject it (or just option it and put it on a shelf).
You can only be against the death penalty if you live in denial; if you refuse to put yourself at the scene of the crime with your imagination.
Prager mentions one facet of this argument that has always frustrated me immensely. Death penalty opponents are always quick off the trigger to assert that it doesn’t deter other people from committing murder. Their logic is *always* specious in this instance, but the “fact” gets repeated endlessly, and so it becomes accepted.
For one thing, the argument usually starts with a survey. Someone goes to a prison, and asks *convicted murderers* whether the death penalty is a deterrent. The convicts know why the question is being asked, and they know the consequences of their answers: if enough of them say no, it’s not, the death penalty opponents have more ammunition, and they in turn might stop the penalty from being exacted on the convict who’s being questioned. And of course there’s the issue of asking someone a question, after he’s committed the crime anyway; it’s the fundamental equivalent of asking a car thief whether spending a year in jail is enough to stop him from stealing a car. The answer is obviously no, because he’s just been caught *stealing a car*.
But there’s another, better answer to the above argument, that the death penalty doesn’t deter murderers. After their execution, there are no recorded instances (outside of Stephen King novels, anyway) of convicted murderers killing more people. Back 20 or so years ago, I remember reading about a pair of guys who killed several people (I think this was in New Mexico) and then were caught and convicted of their crimes, and sentenced to life in prison. They then escaped and went on another crime spree, murdering everyone they came across (raping the women first of course) until they finally were cornered and surrendered. The one thing they were careful not to do was wander into Texas; they knew New Mexico would just put them back in prison, so they could try to escape again.
Executed murderers don’t kill anyone after they’re dead. Life in Prison murderers often do, even if the victims are guards or other inmates.
Someone goes to a prison, and asks *convicted murderers* whether the death penalty is a deterrent.
Kind of reminds me of Kinsey’s “research” on pedophilia: he asked pedophiles if the kids enjoyed it.
Left-wing “research” at it again.
We aren’t talking about “capital deterrence”; we’re talking about “capital punishment.” If we’re going to base opposition to the death penalty on the claim that it doesn’t deter everyone from committing murder, then to be consistent we’d need to do away with most other punishments because they don’t deter crime. For example, the penalties for bank robbery are pretty strict yet people still rob banks.
The fact is that we don’t know who is deterred from committing a crime due to fear of punishment. I’ll speculate that the majority of us are deterred; we don’t want to risk going to jail so we don’t commit crime. However, some people don’t fear going to jail so they won’t be deterred. Likewise, some people don’t fear the death penalty – likely because they don’t believe it’ll ever happen to them – so they aren’t deterred from committing murder.
Capital punishment is society’s most strict act. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, I know of cases where there is absolutely no doubt as to who committed the crime and they’re still waiting on death row 20 or more years after the fact. When it takes 10 or more years in most cases from conviction to execution, is there any wonder why some don’t fear the death penalty?
I have been pro death penalty for most of my adult life. 41 years since turning 21. However now I am troubled by the fact that many innocent men have been put on death row by DAs more interested in their careers than justice. I now believe there must be incontrovertible evidence to warrant the death penalty. Several eye witnesses and or DNA. Or a confession.
Let me tell you what my mother and father told me when I was very, very young: “You have to be good all the time, because if you are always doing bad things – even SMALL bad things – and if you hang out with the wrong crowd, some day something very bad will happen and you might be accused of it just because no one trusts you.”
Why can’t everyone tell that to their kids?
So, no, I don’t lose any sleep over it. Some guy may not have committed the murder, but he was a suspect because he was a violent scumbag who stole a few dozen cars and robbed a few dozen houses. Karma. His Maker wants a word with him.
You’re going to have to find me a boy scout with a Captain America comic book collection who’s been executed before I’m going to miss a moment’s sleep.
Could you direct me to the incontrovertible proof that innocent people were executed? I have honestly never read of one and would like to get up to speed.
Also, something I never see addressed are the subsequent murders/crimes committed by criminals who have been released back into society. Somehow all those real, murdered, innocent people don’t seem to matter as much as a hypothetical innocent receiving the death penalty. Why is that?
In most cases it is immoral not to apply the death penalty.
I always imagine telling my kids “That bad man can’t hurt anyone anymore ever again.”
Capital punishment is society’s ultimate protection from the depraved. He cannot escape, he cannot be paroled. He cannot harm anyone ever again.
There are two principles involved, only one of which Prager touched. I will take up the two as it is possible to enrich Prager’s insight.
1) In the Bible we read “An eye for an eye”. This equation is usually seen as too harsh and perhaps it is. But a principle of bi-directional justice is established. First direction: The offense should be paid for with equality or equivalence by the offender. Note, an eye for an eye, not your whole family, clan, nation for the taken eye. “Equivalence” is demanded as a formal principle of justice and, as such, applies to lesser crimes. At this point I have only considered the human worth, both materially and formally, of the offended person. The offended person is formally qua being a person of precious worth. The offense constitutes a material damaging, indeed, the ultimate damaging of the bearer of worth. Prager’s argument shows that the justice owed to the person offended has been faulted on if the offense of murder is not granted the equivalence of the death penalty. Certainly, premeditated murder (whether so vile and violent as described in the video or not) finds its equivalence in the loss of the right to further live of the guilty person.
2) Second direction: Formally every human being is endowed by his Creator with inalienable rights. This endowment grants each human being with value and worth by the mere FORMAL fact of being human, no matter materially what a person makes out of his intrinsic worth. The murderer too is formally a person enbodying worth and value. As such, the offender, if his value is to be respected, must be able to render justice unto the person whom he offended. By affirming the punishment equivalence of his offense, the offender fulfils the dignity of his person and restores said dignity. If one denies the offender this “inalienable right”, then one has denied the offender his human worth given by God. The offending murderer cannot restitute the life he has taken, but he can accept and, indeed, demand that he be allowed to pay the equation of equivalence demanded by justice. In other words, an offender, for the sake of his own inalienable worth, is demeaned if he is not granted the chance to realize punishment in equivalence to the offense. So, the denial of capital punishment is a demeanment not only of the victim, but also of the victimizer.
Final note: The example given by Prager is horrible, though there are worse. I define murder as the consciously chosen taking of the life of an innocent human. Consequentlly, the Nazis at Nürnburg were in the first level “murders” and 16 were hanged as punishment and others given prision sentences. None of the hanged made use of their opportunity to accept the justice of their punishment and thereby failed the final chance to render material worth to their humanity. The principled opponent to capital punishment must, to be consequential, condemn the execution of Nazi mass, mass murders as a moral offense, in principle equal to the murders realized by the Nazis.
I should like to note one further point. Does capital punishment deter further crime? I think so, but am not sure. However, the argument I have presented is valid (or not) totally in independence from any deterent power of capital punishment. Indeed, placing people in confinement for the purpose of deterence and nothing more is in my opinion a major offense against the inalienable worth of the guilty victimizer, viz., criminal. To deter criminality or even to reform the criminal is morally lacking if the right of the victimizing criminal to receive punishment as an equivalence of justice is denied. The really reformed criminal knows and accepts himself as an offender justly earning punishment. Both deterernce and reform alone do not respect human dignity, i.e., the right to offend and to affirm one’s punishment therefor.
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