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  •  In a broad sense, no "punishment" works on (8+ / 0-)

    anybody, let alone the ultimate punishment. The reeducation and reclaiming of a perpetrator of any atrocity would be a much better example for the entire
    human race. If a human refused to stop the atrocities, perhaps a supervised exile might work.

    But do you notice in much science fiction in advanced societies there is no longer punishment but only rehabilitation? It shows true advancement.

    'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished in this society.  

    O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." --Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

    by Wildthumb on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 09:10:59 PM PST

    •  While I'd like to believe that rehabilitation (8+ / 0-)

      could be achieved in every case, I don't think it can be - certainly not at present. Given that, I think we have a duty to protect society from violent offenders, and from non-violent offenders who are repeat their crimes. That means incarceration. I don't think that that has to mean punishment, however, beyond the reasonable demands of security.

      I'd also like to see more research into performing rehabilitation and measuring the probable outcomes more accurately. More important than that, IMO, is eliminating to the extent possible to conditions which lead to crime in the first place, which means improved mental health care, reduction of poverty, and early identification of abusive parents/spouses, plus whatever other things I'm not aware of.

      If you wanted to talk me into supporting capital punishment (which would be difficult), I'd suggest starting with people whose criminal behavior involves crimes in pursuit of profits of several million dollars or more, persons responsible for significant environmental damage, as the BP spill, and war criminals. But I'd probably be just as happy if they were incarcerated for life.

      If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the administration.

      by badger on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 09:32:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rec'ced. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger, Heart of the Rockies, JesseCW

        If I could rec more I would.

        The death penalty is revenge performed by the police.

      •  There's a lot to say here, and I just dropped a (6+ / 0-)

        few lines.

        To really "pull the camera back" and look at society from scratch, a cooperative, and not competitive society would go a long way to eliminate crime (and poverty, and alienation, and lots of other negative
        things). When we all lived as clans and as tribes in ancient times, and had societies based on mutual survival, a person's negative behavior could be more intimately supervised and curbed organically. When we all started living in decentralized, and especially modern capitalistic societies, we all became essentially strangers. If even we talk or commune with our neighbors these days it's shockingly rare in many neighborhoods.

        O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." --Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

        by Wildthumb on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 09:40:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's an excellent point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blindyone

          I wish I would have posted it :)

          I think the same idea applies to a lot of the problems we face, not just crime.

          If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the administration.

          by badger on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 09:45:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Meteor Blades, badger, blindyone

            A cooperative, close society based on mutual interdependence, and not a society of strangers and competitors.

            I know it won't happen in our lifetime, but some small societies and communes have tried to duplicate these early "longhouse" societies. I think it would take generations though to break out of this alienated conditioning for most of the human race.

            But I think it is possible.

            O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." --Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

            by Wildthumb on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 09:50:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've been thinking about that a lot lately (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Meteor Blades, Wildthumb

              (actually I've thought about it on and off for about 40 years) and I think that building something loosely along those lines would be possible as a way of countering money in politics, the control of the media, unresponsive politicians in DC, or at lower levels, and winning elections. In a lot of places, it only takes a community of about 2% of the vote or less to swing an election, for example.

              Oddly enough, I've come to the conclusion that in political terms, that's some of how the old urban political machines in places, like NYC, Chicago, KC, Albany, Boston and other places operated to an extent. At least they drew on features that involved mutual aid and interdependence.

              You see some features of that even in things like the open source movement - I worked on software for years with people in the UK and Germany and the Netherlands that I've never met, spoken to, or even seen.

              And where I live now is a small community of very like-minded people about 10 miles outside a small town that has some of those features too.

              The revolution in communications makes approximations of co-operative, close societies possible, like this community does.

              But in the end, I think you still need the frequent face-to-face contact that real communities offer - I think we're wired for that.

              If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the administration.

              by badger on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 10:05:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think Meteor Blades started a real discussion (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                badger

                today. So much to say here.

                If I could add to this "ideal society," I'd add a psychological or therapetic dimension. A kind of
                mutual counseling, (or "co-counseling:) set-up where we could dump our daily distresses safely and without fear of censure or ridicule. Nobody would be paid for this: it would be simply peer self-help.

                O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." --Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

                by Wildthumb on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 10:30:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Maybe someday I'll diary some of this (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Wildthumb

                  and maybe you should too - I'd be interested to hear what you have to say, because my thoughts on it are still somewhat muddled, and you seem to have given it some thought.

                  A lot of people here, since the election, if not for other reasons, have been asking "What do we do next?" or "Where do we go from here?", and I think there are some answers in organizing groups or small communities and using them for outreach, helping people with local problems (which are things the old machines did) and building an electoral base.

                  Or it's just nice to build a community, do things for other people, and hopefully have people who'll be around to help you out too.

                  If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the administration.

                  by badger on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 11:17:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The old machines were corrupt. They only did (0+ / 0-)

                    things for people to get their votes and the power to steal from the public. Buy elections, take bribes to hire firms and individuals to build things.

                    It's like the Mafia.

                    It's the Supreme Court, Stupid (even in an off year election!)

                    by auapplemac on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:40:40 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And the difference now is ... (0+ / 0-)

                      that politicians still use their power to steal from the public - buy elections, take bribes (excuse me, campaign donations) to hire firms and individuals to build things, just like the Mafia - except they no longer do things for people to get their votes.

                      That's progress, I guess.

                      If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the administration.

                      by badger on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:01:03 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I keep thinking about writing diaries here but (0+ / 0-)

                    always manage to avoid it. It's a great topic, though, and again, it's always empowering to think about a society that could be nurturing and humane vis-a-vis the ones we have now.

                    Hey, you write the diary and I'll post lots of stuff!

                    O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." --Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

                    by Wildthumb on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:21:27 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  except when we killed the other clans/tribes (0+ / 0-)

          I think we're just flawed as a species.  There never was a golden age, never will be.  We are the scourge.  Bach notwithstanding.

          We come well armed with... tempeh.

          by VeganMilitia on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 09:53:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't believe that evolution (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wildthumb, JesseCW, zbbrox

            equals determinism. I'm not a Trekkie, but I've always liked this quote:

            Kirk: [War] is instinctive. But the instinct can be fought. We're human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands! But we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill - today!

            Of course later in the episode, or at least by the following week, the Enterprise probably fired some phasors and blew an enemy starship to smithereens.

            I think we could build a society that didn't value killing or war - but it's a very large part of this culture, and most others. I doubt I'll see it happen.

            If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the administration.

            by badger on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 10:16:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Flawed as a species" I utterly reject. (0+ / 0-)

            I argue always that if human beings can get out from under the lasting effects of painful emotions accumulated from childhood on, that we could really progress cooperatively with ourselves and the planet.

            But the exposition that I would need to flesh this out I'm not willing to post this morning. Too much.
            Suffice it to say I don't believe in human nature as being defective or "tending towards evil."

            O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." --Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

            by Wildthumb on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:28:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Flawed? (0+ / 0-)

              Is a cat "flawed" because it catches, kills, and eats a mouse? Is a dolphin "flawed" because it kills young dolphins or porpoises but doesn't derive nutrition by eating them? Is a male lion who takes over a pride and kills his predecessor's cubs "flawed"? I think not. Not at the individual level, not at the community level, and not at the species level. They are all displaying behaviors that make it more likely that their species will be successful (or not, in which case the species may become extinct). None of these behaviors are "evil" unless somehow their community defines them as such.

              As much as humans seem to want to think of themselves as "special" in some way, it seems to me that we are merely another species forged by the mindless and merciless hammer of evolution. It's true that we, at least by our measures, seem to have the possibly good fortune of being the most advanced intellectual species on this planet, but we remain the product of our evolutionary background. This process favored, at least to some extent, those who had a propensity towards greed and violence (to name just two "undesirable" factors) common to many species.

              With a combination of education, training, prosperity, force, coercion and the like, society can somewhat suppress the expression of traits it finds "undesirable", but this is a fragile and unstable state. Ultimately it seems most likely that humans will become extinct long before these "undesirable" traits have evolved out of our genetic makeup.

        •  So, the Aztecs did not put criminals to death? (0+ / 0-)

          Or other ancient tribes or even those tribes that today live well off the beaten track?

          I think you have a very idyllic view of clans and tribes. Look at the clans and tribes in Afghanistan. They have their own laws that lead to stoning, beheading, etc.

          Murder, stealing, etc. have little to do with the society one lives in. It has to do with the code of conduct each devises and they are more similar than not.

          It's the Supreme Court, Stupid (even in an off year election!)

          by auapplemac on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:36:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  A well-run penal colony isn't an insane idea. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, quotemstr

      Let people build new lives somewhere else. We don't need to punish them, but real crimes (embezzlement, fraud, goverment corruption, prosecutorial and police misconduct...) against society mean, to me, that you don't deserve all that society has created.

      •  Doesn't the U.S. own a whole slew of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger

        South Pacific islands from which escape would be virtually impossible, especially if the surrounding waters were heavily patrolled?  Sounds very Lord of the Flies, but I'd be willing to give it a try for a few hundred years.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 10:44:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like This? (0+ / 0-)

          If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the administration.

          by badger on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 11:32:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  They would kill each other if put on an island. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WillR, third Party please

          These for the most part are angry undisciplined people. Some psychopathic and definitely anti-social.

          Just look at the guy who tortured and killed the Doctor's family in New England. What would you do with him and his still to be tried partner?

          There are some people who are incorrigible and twisted. We do not have the tools to change them. Would a lobotomy work? Most here would be up in arms at that idea.

          It's the Supreme Court, Stupid (even in an off year election!)

          by auapplemac on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:47:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, when there is no doubt about (0+ / 0-)

            the guilt of perpetrators of horrific murders, it's hard to say that they shouldn't be executed.

            That these monsters tortured and killed the doctor's wife and daughters AFTER they were given $15,000 is unimaginable.

            As long as they never walk the streets again is punishment enough.

            "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." ~ Thomas Paine

            by third Party please on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:14:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not saying an entirely unsupervised situation (0+ / 0-)

            Could give them a very small plot of land with high walls.

    •  Ummmmm (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      auapplemac, third Party please

      Don't mean to be uncivil or anything but you stated

      But do you notice in much science fiction in advanced societies there is no longer punishment but only rehabilitation? It shows true advancement.

      isn't fiction the operative word?

      It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

      by AKA potsi on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 10:20:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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