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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: Executing the innocent (267 comments)

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  •  What exactly is "justice"? (1+ / 0-)
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    dharmafarmer

    I'm not asking to be snarky or anything, but I'd really like to have the process by which a person doing bad things makes their well-being less important explained on a logical, rather than emotional, level. Specifically, how them doing bad things turns their suffering or death from a bad thing into a good thing.

    •  Justice is kind of a nebulous term (0+ / 0-)

      but what i'm talking about could be described thusly, from the dictionary:

      the administering of deserved punishment or reward.

      the principle that punishment should be proportionate to the offence

      therefore, logically, I would argue that the proportionate and deserved response to taking a life is to have their life taken as well. That's an idea as old as civilization itself... Hammurabi's Code, eye-for-an-eye and all that.

      Furthermore, I would argue, logically, that capital punishment removes any chance that this disturbed individual (and under my system, capital punishment would be reserved for disturbed individuals) could repeat offend, either by escaping or harming corrections officers or other prisoners.

      Conversely, what is the cold hard logic behind allowing a violent sociopath to live? If they must be removed from society for the rest of their lives, why prolong the inevitable? Isn't a life sentence without parole just capital punishment that uses time instead of chemicals or a noose? What's morally superior about that?

      •  "What's morally superior about that?" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zbbrox, Joe Hills Ghost, drnononono

        It doesn't replicate the crime for which the incarceration was imposed - killing. Morally and logically, it makes no sense to say, "you killed and killing is wrong, so we are going to kill you."

        As far as incarceration for life not being considered a proportionate punishment, I suppose that depends on how much (or little) one values freedom.

        What you believe determines what you can observe. Einstein

        by dharmafarmer on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 06:33:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have trouble with the word "deserve". (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dharmafarmer

        This again gets to the question of why someone doing wrong suddenly makes their suffering or death a good thing.

        As to proportion--proportion is when many points in one data set share the same relationship as many points in another data set. It doesn't mean any one of those points must be equal To have punishment proportional to the crime, we must simply agree that worse crimes get worse punishments, not that we have to institute the lex talionis and beat up people convicted of assault and sodomize rapists and execute murderers.

        The logic behind allowing a violent sociopath to live is simple: The person in question needs to be prevented from harming society, but in the absences of other evidence I see no reason their life simply becomes value-less and subject to being taken from them because of their crimes. If we had no other means to protect society, perhaps--but we do.

        And a life sentence without parole is subject to review upon new evidence and also allows people who are capable of it the chance to do something productive (see: Stanley Tookie Williams). It also keeps the state from killing its own citizens.

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