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Wandering around the net, I happened to come across this disturbing op-ed in the Denver Post, demanding that the State of Colorado impose the death penalty on a convicted killer by the name of Nathan Dunlap. The author, Rich Tosches, "supposes" he is a liberal, but is nevertheless quite zealous about wanting Nathan Dunlap to die. Let's have a look at this piece, because it's not every day that an allegedly liberal writer argues, with this kind of fervor, that his state should execute a fellow citizen.

Some background: Nathan Dunlap is scheduled to be put to death sometime in August for murdering four people in the process of robbing a Chuck E. Cheese in 1993. Governor Hickenlooper may or may not grant clemency, but if he doesn't, it will be just the second execution in Colorado since the state reinstituted the death penalty in 1975 (the other was Gary Lee Davis in 1997). The case has renewed the debate over the death penalty in Colorado.

Tosches begins his piece by establishing his liberal cred, informing us that he magnanimously "forgave" Ted Kennedy, dutifully voted for Obama, and apparently agrees with some sort of vague conception of gun control.

He then gets right into his sermon on how glorious this execution is sure to be. In fact, Tosches appears to be so excited by the thought of his state killing Dunlap, he can barely control himself:

So today we face another long go-round about the morality of the death penalty and whether Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap deserves to be given an injection of drugs and sent to the big sleep. Here now, my two cents: When Dunlap is dead and that silly smirk fades from his face, hand me the shovel and let me dig the hole.
This liberal writer, then, does not just support the death penalty - abandoned by virtually every democratic society on Earth - but is positively gleeful about it, to the point of fantasizing about personally participating in the process.

Then comes a truly remarkable passage, in which Tosches acknowledges, explicitly, that the death penalty is ethically and intellectually indefensible, but asserts that his quest for blood will not be deterred by things like "facts" or "logic":
For years, I've read and listened to the arguments from those who oppose capital punishment. Former ABC News correspondent Greg Dobbs of Evergreen summed it up nicely in the Post's editorial pages earlier this year. 

"It is inhumane," he wrote. "It is inequitably applied; it doesn't deter murderers; it is outlawed in a growing number of states; it leaves Colorado in a league with distastefully barbarous nations like Iran and North Korea; and, maybe most appalling, it has surely led innocent people to their deaths in other states, if not Colorado." 

Then he wrote: "But I'm for it anyway."

Me, too.

It's one thing to understand and acknowledge the gravity of the death penalty but nevertheless solemnly support it because of a sincere belief that society's most heinous criminals should face the ultimate punishment. It's quite another to be a professional columnist and openly discard rational thought in analyzing such a serious matter of public policy, relying instead on nothing more than straight-up bloodlust.

After recounting Dunlap's crimes, Tosche continues:
Then, because he had a really lousy childhood, Dunlap stuffed his pockets with Chuck E. Cheese giveaway key chains, game tokens and about $1,500 in cash and walked away, leaving five people in gigantic, growing pools of blood.
In one sentence, this "liberal" both mocks the very serious physical abuse Dunlap suffered as a child, and summarily dismisses decades of scientific evidence indicating that people who are abused as children are significantly more likely to commit violent crimes as adults.

This left me floored. Did Tosche follow this case at all? If so, he must know that Dunlap was thrown down a flight of stairs as a child, and that he witnessed his sister being sexually assaulted by the man he then believed was his father. How can any morally serious person mock this? And how can someone who is evidently unaware of the universally accepted link between childhood abuse and adult behavior be allowed to write about these matters for a major newspaper? The people who run the Denver Post should be embarrassed. This is the person they have chosen to write about something as serious as the death penalty?

The rest of the column is spent hurling mindless schoolyard insults at Dunlap about his lack of intelligence ("not exactly Einstein") and physical appearance ("goofy"), and fantasizing, again, about the execution itself. Seemingly determined to cement this column's place among the worst to ever appear in print, Tosche ends with a cliché that is so stupid and trite that other clichés take offense at being included in its company:
I hope the door to hell hits him in the rear end on his way in.
And I hope the Denver Post fires Rich Tosche for this amazing display of idiocy. I think we'll both be disappointed.

* * * * *

In Colorado, the governor has the sole authority to grant clemency in death penalty cases. If you're a resident of Colorado and you share with me a revulsion at the barbaric notion of the state executing one of its citizens for no reason other than to quest some primitive thirst for vengeance, please contact Governor Hickenlooper's office and say so (a letter is the most effective method). Here is the contact information:

Gov. John Hickenlooper
Office of Governor John Hickenlooper
136 State Capitol
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303 866-2471
Fax: 303-866-2003

(Originally posted at www.justindoolittle.net)

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Comment Preferences

  •  'I'm a liberal but..." (16+ / 0-)

    It's one of my least favorite genres. He acknowledges that the death penalty is inhumane but supports it anyway. Tell me again: what makes him "a liberal?"

    It'll be interesting to see whether the death penalty makes a return to presidential politics. I can foresee a moment when Hillary Clinton hits Martin O'Malley for opposing the death penalty, with the Boston bombing case as background.

    •  Yup. Sadly we've got the death penalty still in (9+ / 0-)

      Ohio, and so there's a push for the death penalty for that guy in Cleveland.  Not because he kidnapped and raped 3 girls over ten years, but because he abused them to cause miscarriages, or 'murdered their babies' as it's being put.

      And with the collective horror of the list of his acts, the blood lust is high to put him to death, despite the fact that doing so will do nothing to undo any of his acts, nor will it do anything to protect society from him any more than simply throwing him in jail until he dies.

      •  In all fairness (9+ / 0-)

        I think that the miscarriage thing is the technicality that many want to use to get him executed. For once I don't think that this is actually about abortion.

        For the record I am anti death penalty in all cases including this one.

      •  I think you misread the intent there (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        True North, SilentBrook, erush1345

        They would like to to impose the death penalty for the abductions, rapes and torture; but those aren't death penalty offenses. Using their laws as a workaround, they can cite the miscarriages as justification. We haven't heard much more in the investigation, but they may not need to do that. Remember, there were reports of one or more other women, so it may be they will find other grounds to bring a murder charge.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:31:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  McGinty is a Democrat (0+ / 0-)

        McGinty may very well give the Supremes the opportunity to overturn Roe vs. Wade when the abortion part comes to the Supreme Court (along with the Philadelphia case) by upholding the convictions and issuing an anti-abortion majority opinion.  What a traitor!

        Anti-Abortion and Pro-Death Penalty?  He is definitely a Republican (a DINO) who calls himself a (blue-dog, DLC) Democrat to secure the election in Northeast Ohio.

        Metricating removes gas-guzzlers from the road. Good for the economy and the environment! U.S. Metric Association www.metric.org

        by movingforward on Mon May 13, 2013 at 02:22:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He's a Fox News liberal. (14+ / 0-)

      It's easy to tell the type: Their liberal bona fides always happen to be things that conservatives obsessively believe all liberals think, rather than things that actually matter to liberals. I mean, who here, if asked to name three things that best defined them as liberals, would mention Ted Kennedy? Especially if they're not from Massachusetts?

      A similar entry in this genre from the last week or so was someone (I don't remember who or why) who mentioned how much they love regulations. Definitely another trope of the liberal bogeyman in conservatives' mind: Since conservatives hate regulations (likewise, big government), liberals must love regulations (and big government), not as a means to an end but out of unerring faith.

      So yeah. Someone who establishes they're a liberal by name-dropping Ted Kennedy or fetishizing regulation is not actually a liberal, they're just playing a character, reciting their opening lines in a conservative pageant. “I am a liberal! Behold my regulatory zeal, my lust for big government! Yet even I think” blah blah conservative bullshit blah.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:51:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a liberal and I support the death penalty (0+ / 0-)

      is certain circumstances.  I don't think that undermines my liberal cred.  I resent the implication that it does.  

  •  Death penalty opposition isn't really... (5+ / 0-)

    ...a "liberal" issue except for the vaguest sense of the word (i.e. that the death penalty used for be far more common)

    Liberals break about even on the issue in polling.

    •  Taking the link you provide the very headers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ginny in CO, Nailbanger
      U.S. Death Penalty Support Stable at 63%
      Decade-long decline in support after 2001 seen mostly among Democrats
      Pretty much says it is, actually.

      The general populace is quite a bit more in favor, with support dropping the farther left you head.

    •  That's true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345

      Good point. But I think liberal elites - writers, intellectuals, pundits, etc. - are overwhelmingly opposed.

    •  Actually it is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann

      unless the liberal in question is of the cherry-picking variety.

    •  I'd say it's a (5+ / 0-)

      quintessential "liberal" issue, bringing together support for individual freedom, human rights, protections against government abuse, racial justice, economic justice, compassion...

      The author admits the death penalty is inhumane. There's no one definition of liberalism, of course, but you could do worse than: opposition to cruel policies.

      What self-identified liberals support is all but irrelevant.

      •  You're absolutely right, (6+ / 0-)

        but there's something just weird in the American zeitgeist that keeps people from seeing this. Possibly it's the dehumanization of criminals — if he's not a human, he's an animal who killed people, it's much easier for normally compassionate people to compartmentalize things.

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:54:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Code Monkey, SilentBrook

          as you know, the abolitionist movement has been making strides in recent years, with several states banning banning it. The acr of justice and all that. I will, say, though that the ongoing economic problems, there's likely to be an increase in violent crime; the trend could move in the opposite direction.

          •  Where have these abolitionists been? (0+ / 0-)

            Dems have been so passive against human rights issues while Republicans and their accomplices in the "Churches" have been successful sowing the seeds of the "Culture of Death" and destroying the moral compass of our once great country.

            The true Culture of Life lies not with the Anti-Abortion movement, but with the REAL Pro-Life movement: anti-death penalty, anti-torture, etc.--all things Republican "pro-lifers" oppose.

            The only reason that states have been banned it is because there is a shred of Catholic influence among the legislatures and populace left over from the Social Justice movement of the 1960s that the conservative anti-Vatican II hierarchy has been recently extinguishing.

            I definitely did not see them here in Texas shaming the Cardinal (in whose archdiocese the chamber is located in) and his bishops into submission.

            Metricating removes gas-guzzlers from the road. Good for the economy and the environment! U.S. Metric Association www.metric.org

            by movingforward on Mon May 13, 2013 at 02:31:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'd argue it is not. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan

        (Though perhaps I tipped my hand with the original post.)

        quintessential "liberal" issue, bringing together support for individual freedom, human rights, protections against government abuse, racial justice, economic justice, compassion...
        Almost all these arguments fall into general criticisms of the justice system.

        One can argue to rehabilitative justice, a system in which the death penalty would be out of place (although perhaps not totally... can all be rehabilitated?) However, once again that's a larger critique of the justice system.

        In what way is the death penalty a bigger offense to freedom, government abuse and compassion than locking someone in prison for the rest of their life?

        The difference is simply that in one, the prisoner dies in prison from direct government action, rather than simply being left there until nature delivers the same verdict.

        •  Well turn your question around (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SilentBrook, samddobermann

          In what way is support for death penalty liberal?

          As for this:

          In what way is the death penalty a bigger offense to freedom, government abuse and compassion than locking someone in prison for the rest of their life?
          For one thing, it allows for those government abuses to be corrected.

          And it's not just a matter of government abuse. There is a moral difference, clearly, between locking someone up and killing someone, and a huge political and philosophical difference between giving the state the power to lock you up and giving it the power to kill you. The latter is to give the government total control. Killing is violent. Killing deprives that person of the chance to redeem himself and change and think and, for that matter, do anything. I think incarceration, including life without parole, is morally problematic and is used too much, but it's categorically different that a system of killing.

          •  It's not really reversible. (0+ / 0-)
            In what way is the death penalty a bigger offense to freedom, government abuse and compassion than locking someone in prison for the rest of their life?
            All you are "refunding" by freeing someone on a life sentence is what remains of their natural lifespan.  If anything, less than that, since they're unlikely to have much of a life after years of imprisonment.
            There is a moral difference, clearly, between locking someone up and killing someone, and a huge political and philosophical difference between giving the state the power to lock you up and giving it the power to kill you.
            I'd argue there is not.  The state ends your life, one way or another.  It just does it immediately in one case.  You have plenty of time to suffer in the other.
            The latter is to give the government total control. Killing is violent. Killing deprives that person of the chance to redeem himself and change and think and, for that matter, do anything.
            Oh?  And does redeeming yourself in prison get you released?  It does not.

            I'd argue the government has a moral obligation to carry out the death penalty both quickly and when merited.  Vast amounts of government resources (which come from the people and could otherwise be used to help citizens) are invested in imprisoning people only out of some misguided moral intention to not have their blood on our hands.

            Criminals have already robbed society twice, once through their direct damage to people and property in crime, and a second, indirect time by refusing to usefully participate in society.  Refusing to institute the death penalty allows them to rob society a third time, in requiring us to maintain them as wards of state.

            Banning the death penalty is no bulwark against tyranny.  Any nation that falls victim to the impulse to put political adversaries to death will hardly be blocked by prior law.

            Even Norway reinstituted the death penalty for treason, then eliminated it after they were done.

            •  It costs more to execute someone (0+ / 0-)

              than it does to imprison them for life. They are allowed numerous appeals, much procedure lets a long time to pass until the execution date during which the incarceration on death row is ultra expensive since they have to be in isolation and a single cell.

              This man has been held for about 20 years. Almost anyone else executed has been held similarly long times (except in Texas)— during which some have been freed when new evidence is uncovered. Then it usually costs the state additional millions.

              Your one cite undermines your point.

              When the occupation of Norway ended in May 1945, several thousand Norwegians and foreign citizens were tried and convicted for various acts that the occupying powers sanctioned. The scope, legal basis, and fairness of these trials has since been a matter of some debate. …

              snip

              To this day, there is great sensitivity on this subject in Norwegian society.
               

              When we were traveling in Scandinavia in the 80s we were warned never, ever use German when in Norway. They will not react well.

              I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

              by samddobermann on Mon May 13, 2013 at 04:09:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Polling is tricky on this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan, SilentBrook

      because people make distinctions that polling doesn't.

      My impression is that support of the death penalty for common crimes- the horrible things poor and deranged average people do, usually to each other- is continuing to drop, albeit slowly.  

      But attitudes don't seem to be changing on people who commit multiple murders on rationales claimed to be political- assassins, aka "terrorists" in an overbroad sense these days.  Or those who are sociopathically deranged to an extreme, e.g. school shooters.  The latter rarely survive their sprees, so that's sort of moot.

      I've long thought that the wisest game to play in abolition is to get states to abolish the death penalty for so-called common crimes.  The political variety of murder is rightly deferred to the federal level, the act being nationwide in intents and effects, and the federal death penalty slowly diminished.

  •  It can be very easy or very difficult to stand by (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nailbanger, Apost8, samddobermann

    your beliefs:

    easy, if you're comfortable knocking the outliers off the table, difficult, when you have to accept that there are always going to be outliers.

    My anti-death penalty beliefs (which I have held since I was 10 years old) have never been so put to the test in regards to a recent conviction in a crime so disgusting, I refuse to even mention it here.

    I am not an apologist for any of the circumstances that surround death penalty cases by any means, I simply believe that the system is fundamentally flawed and that it is simply the state taking revenge which undermines the basic tenet of a dispassionate legal system.

    I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

    by wretchedhive on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:40:05 AM PDT

  •  There are plenty of Liberals (4+ / 0-)

    who support the death penalty. Right here on this blog.
    Not something I would support, but I did a long time ago.
    I'd rather see them rot in prison the rest of their life, so we don't have state sanctioned murder.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:41:36 AM PDT

  •  Welcome to Colorado. (9+ / 0-)

    More specifically, welcome to the Denver Post, where all the liberal columnists are secretly named "Alan Colmes", and all suffer from Stockholm syndrome...

  •  Sometimes when reading about a piece like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justin Doolittle, SilentBrook

    this, I have to wonder what kind of abuse the writer experienced. More likely neglect, which can twist the mind as much as outright abuse.  

    Thanks for covering it. Unfortunately Dunlap has clearly been pretty much in the 'kind that the death penalty is perfect for' light ever since I moved here in '94.

    Frackenlooper is likely not to commute. John drives enough liberals to vote green he has to suck up to independents and moderate GOP. (Yeah, we even had a group of old timers that was trying to figure out if they could get the party back on track. Think it was ~ '06.)

    I have some other letters to get off too... My senate rep would also be supporting this.

    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

    by Ginny in CO on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:42:40 AM PDT

  •  Umm, the Denver Post fired its last liberal, (5+ / 0-)

    a guy named Mike Littwin, about a year ago.  

    There are none left.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:43:48 AM PDT

    •  I think the last one died shortly after (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, carver, SilentBrook

      Mike got canned. 6/1/12

      Denver Post columnist Ed Quillen dies at age 61 in his Salida home  

      Conservatives called his work everything from outhouse material to slander. Liberals delighted in his skewering of conservative establishment types and his exposing of the inanities that are part and parcel of politics.

      ...

      His fictional foil in many columns was Ananias Ziegler, "media relations coordinator for the Committee That Really Runs America." Ziegler would spout whatever canned comments were coming from politicians that week, and Quillen would shut him down with his sharp-eyed observations.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:10:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ed was a real (3+ / 0-)

        treasure.  He was a columnist I always looked forward to reading - he had keen insights and a great sense of humor.

        The death penalty is, in the largest sense, about revenge.  Killing the"offender" does not bring back the dead nor does it make society safer.  And the specter that an innocent person might be executed, because of poor legal representation, sloppy police work or political motivated rush to judgement is reason enough to ban the death penalty.  Project Innocence has shown how common wrongful deaths have occurred.

        "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. Isaac Asimov (8.25 / -5.64}

        by carver on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:05:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The revenge piece really bothers me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justin Doolittle, carver

          when the stats and specifics of how abused these perps were as children. Long friend and former SO limits his Oakland practice to CA death row inmates - 20 years. His simple point 'the one thing they all have in common is layers of abuse, like an onion.' Great link Justin put in with this

          In one sentence, this "liberal" both mocks the very serious physical abuse Dunlap suffered as a child, and summarily dismisses decades of scientific evidence indicating that people who are abused as children are significantly more likely to commit violent crimes as adults.
          This applies to Castro, and his brothers - who just did the alcohol numbing.

          My personal concern on this goes with the idea that it is ludicrous to claim killing is a heinous crime and punish the person by killing them. Not only is it a stupid concept, the people who have to DO the killing - tie down, get an IV in, do all the other prep, then be one of the people who injects either a drug or saline - can have the same PTSD issues that soldiers, cops and people who kill in self defense do. I want jurors who vote on a DP case to answer the question 'Would you be willing to volunteer to execute for a (different) DP case?" It should be separate from the decision, not released or ever used, just to challenge their belief that it is the right thing to do.

          There was supposed to be a study of the Texas 'tie down team' over a decade ago. I was amazed it got proposed, approved and funded. No surprise the results never came out. "Who could have predicted that?"

          Bob also points out that most family members are often not in favor of the DP. They have lost that person and have a new insight into the sorrow families go through.

          Ed was a gem. I miss him every time I go to DP online or see a paper. Closest writer to Royko I've ever come across. Sad to find out from that column he really wasn't aware of how much people admired his work. Made me glad I defended him in a couple of blogs posts and wrote him an email about one column, acknowledging how much of a fan I was.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:37:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Of course consevatives (0+ / 0-)
            In one sentence, this "liberal" both mocks the very serious physical abuse Dunlap suffered as a child, and summarily dismisses decades of scientific evidence indicating that people who are abused as children are significantly more likely to commit violent crimes as adults.
            are such vocal advocates for the abused, the mentally ill, the intellectually challenged....phtttttt !!

            "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. Isaac Asimov (8.25 / -5.64}

            by carver on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:48:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  That's the problem with the death penalty, (11+ / 0-)

    right there.

    This idea that we deserve personal satisfaction out of someone we detest being killed.

    I understand family members feeling that way, but the fact that so many Americans feel they have a right to take part in someone's death is gruesome. Cheerleading for it as if this person personally destroyed their own lives.

    That's the true entitlement that needs to be reformed.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:55:32 AM PDT

    •  Personally, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nailbanger, SilentBrook

      I have no problem with the concept that some people deserve to die -- that the world will be improved for their removal from it.

      Where I have a problem is that the power to decide whether someone deserves to die is not a power with which I trust anyone, including the government.

      And of course I certainly don't like the concept of people salivating over and cheering someone's death, even a monster like Tim McVeigh or John Wayne Gacy.

      We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

      by raptavio on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:14:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meh, that's all just sorta metaphysical BS in (4+ / 0-)

        my opinion.

        The people on death row have essentially already been removed from this world. Once they're killed, there is no improvement that can be measured anywhere except in the psyches of those who wish to believe there is cosmic justice.

        I don't believe in such a thing. When someone is dead, they're just dead. To me, even though I oppose the death penalty, I think living life in prison would be worse than death.

        Others wish to believe that something worse will happen to someone once they take their last breath, so they support the death penalty.

        Makes zero sense to me, but then there's not a lot about our culture that does.

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:26:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  His "you might be a redneck if..." version (8+ / 0-)

    of "supposing" he is a liberal is just precious.

    What an asshole.

    I oppose the death penalty because, if you get it wrong, and there is a lot of evidence that the most blood-thirsty of our 50 states have and put innocent people to death, you can't undo it. The damage is done.

    I believe that kind of thing damages the soul of a nation. That is is a corrupting malignant thing to allow to go on.

    One innocent person getting murdered by the State is too many. Avoiding that is worth letting a monster, a truly evil person, even the worst cartoon stereotype from a bad made-for-tv movie of a human fiend, with no remorse for his or her crimes and obviously guilty beyond all doubt, spend the rest of their lives in a cage without the possibility of parole.

    I just wish that these blood-thirsty revenge pornites would just consider, for a moment, that four or five or six or more decades in a maximum security prison is a pretty dire punishment to be endured by a guilty man or woman.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:06:00 AM PDT

    •  To clarify (7+ / 0-)

      I used to believe in the Death Penalty.

      I was wrong.

      I used to believe that revenge was a legit reason to support the Death Penalty.

      I was wrong.

      I have come to believe, very strongly, that at some point you have to be better than those who have done the most grievous of wrongs. For your own humanities sake.

      There will always be monsters.

      But that is not an excuse to be one.

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:09:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How many innocent people is too many? (4+ / 0-)

      A recent Diane Rehm show on the death penalty included these statements from one of the panelists. It is breathtaking how he so easily blows by the notion that innocent people likely have been executed, but in such small numbers that it doesn't really affect the discussion.

      Joshua Marquis, a district attorney in Astoria, Ore
      And as I think almost everybody probably will agree that one of the driving forces in the debate about capital punishment is -- are, in fact, innocent people on death row and are they at death row at a rate that is alarming.  As a long-time capital prosecutor who is also a capital defense attorney once upon a time, I can tell you that death sentences are very rare in the United States. About one in 1,000 murderers actually gets the death penalty. But the standard -- I was a journalist before I was a lawyer. Many of the people listed is exonerated -- and I'm not talking about Mr. Steidl or Mr. Bloodsworth who are clearly among a relatively small group of about 30 to 35 people who are actually legally totally innocent.
      I would never claim that there have never been innocent people on death row. There have been. And if the argument is, if there's ever anybody on death row who's been innocent, then we can't have it, then the conversation is over rather quickly.
      http://thedianerehmshow.org/...

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:49:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why are you dictating what views (5+ / 0-)

    people should have? If you think that liberals can't support death penalty, it's your business. However, polls show that a lot of people who self-identify as liberals do. Who gave you the power to claim that these people are not liberals?

  •  My opposition to it is the cost. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    There's a cost in dollars for every death penalty verdict just as there's a cost to the state for the convicted to remain in prison with their base needs (food, clothing, shelter and healthcare) covered for the rest of their lives.  I believe the numbers are one-sided that it costs more to push through an execution than to just convict and house the person for their life.  I'm not going to try quantifying the non-dollar cost to society for doing this or the cost for getting this wrong.

    Dunlap, imho, is someone for whom the death penalty is appropriate, given Colorado's laws.  I don't think the jury got that wrong.  His lawyers have argued all manner of extenuating circumstances, from his childhood upbringing through various "undiagnosed" medical conditions.  All of this has cost a great deal of money and that's been spent, no matter whether he's executed or the governor changes it to life in prison without parole, though at this point the life sentence on top of all the rest of the expenses paid already would be the highest cost alternative.  

    My wife and I disagree - she doesn't want to have to keep paying for their prison.  I don't want the possibility the wrong person may be executed for a crime.  That's not the case with Dunlap, nor do I believe the authorities have the wrong person in jail for the Aurora movie shooting (Holmes).  I am willing to allow prisoners - heck anyone - the option of committing suicide if they make a fully informed choice and they're not under any medication or disease that makes suicidal tendencies become the preferred choice.  I think physician assisted suicide is entirely appropriate though I also think it should be expanded to allow for anyone to turn into Soylent Green.

    Apparently Holmes' lawyers said they would agree to a guilty plea if the sentence would be life without parole.  I understand that the death penalty exists, but it will be more expensive to run through the process of the trial (since he's now pleading not-guilty because of insanity because the death penalty is still an option) than it would be to just lock the door and throw away the key on him.  I know some people (including the Post's writer) are probably lusting for Holmes' blood and their desire only got stronger when Holmes asked for life w/o parole because they want to prevent his continued life when he took it away from several other people.

    Colorado has had some high profile releases of people convicted of murders and I think the fellow from Fort Collins was on track for execution when new evidence came to light that the prosecution ignored evidence in focusing on this exonerated man.  The evidence only came out some fifteen years after the conviction, so Colorado knows that the wrong person may be convicted.  Yet we still proceed.

    How about options of Life without the possibility of parole or death - the convicted person's choice?

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