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Nice article. Good read. Let's break it down by the bullet points.
Here's a fun fact: Up until the 1960s, and the American civil rights movement, prisoners were legally defined as "slaves of the state". It's an apt description: these people were proved to have done wrong to the state and its people, and are forced into confinement and servitude to pay for their wrongdoings. The state's going to try to rehabilitate most of its prisoners and return them to society. Unfortunately, it's not always possible.
Capital punishment is cruel and unusual.
Here's another fun fact: The vast majority of murders are emotional crimes, commited by someone on somebody close to them due to some familiar reason. However, the nine fine human beings noted above not only killed their victims (random people in eight of the nine cases), but killed either in the course of another crime (Hernandez, Baker, Dunn, Martinez, and Beazley), or killed multiple times (Hernandez and Moore), or killed in a truely cruel and bizarre fasion (Moore, Davis, and especially Styron).
Opposing the death penalty does not mean sympathy with convicted murderers. On the contrary, murder demonstrates a lack of respect for human life...
They were properly arrested. They were tried. They were given every opportunity to defend themselves during the trial. They were convicted. They were sentenced. They were given every opportunity to defend themselves during the sentencing. They were given the death penalty by a dozen of their peers. If the due process of law had been violated at any point, they would have walked free. That's the way the adversarial system of justice used in the United States works. And if they are exonorated after their execution, realize that no system is absolutely airtight and they just happened to roll the triple zero on the 3d10. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people.
Capital punishment denies due process of law.
See above. Also realize the disproportional representation of minorities is a symptom of a greater social issue and not a knock specifically against the death penalty. And it's not the poor's fault if their court-appointed defense attorney is fresh out of law school while the rich can afford Johnny Cochran to protect them from justice.
The death penalty violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.
Of course. The death penalty is a very taboo subject in the states. Lawmakers are afraid to touch it because people are apt to scream "ethics" and "morals" and other such things. Same way with drugs, prostitution, and drugs. I rather like the British take on this sort of thing, where they do away with the arbitrary moral aspect and focus on what will protect the greater society whilst satisfying and helping those who are wont to do illegal things anyway. But I'm on a tangent.
Changes in death sentencing have proved to be largely cosmetic.
Compared to putting cops on the street, no. That's because cops are far more visible than the death chamber ever will be. Note that, if there are more cops on the street, there will be more arrests: it's a direct, algebraic relationship between cops and arrests. "Cutting down on drug use" is more a goal for police, while "putting more cops on the street" is an immediate action. Also note that surveys can be terribly biased, as I suspect the one the ACLU gave the chiefs of police was. Research design, the creation of a reasonable and accurate study, is its own major topic, and a subject I'd like to study while I'm in college.
The death penalty is not a viable form of crime control.
Of course. Protecting the rights of the accused, and affording them their due process of law, is a time- and money-consuming proposition. The two arguements are directly related, and the main way to try to improve one would be to make the other one worse.
Capital punishment wastes resources.
I want you to do something for me. Take a good look around you. Read a newspaper, flip through a couple television channels, browse a few internet news sites. Then tell me, with a straight face, that our modern society is one that respects life.
A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings.
Maybe if we changed society, and its priorities and values, and weren't any sort of hypocrite about them, we could have a better world. Maybe people like the nine gentlemen listed above wouldn't need to, or wouldn't want, to, commit their crimes, or would feel bad enough about them that the death penalty would not be necessary. But the way things are in the world right now, there are times when drastic measures would be appropriate or could not be avoided. And moralizing about it doesn't help anybody.
So many theories.
So many prophesies.
What we need now is a change of ideas.
BTW, xooz, thank you for helping me study for my Comparitive Criminal Justice final exam. A good, honest debate helps get the blood flowing through my brain. Cheers.
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