What is due to monsters?

If/when we find the person responsible for those bombs, what should be done to them?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

    They should be given a trial for murder and attempted murder (along with any other laws they may have broken), and if found guilty, given long prison sentences.

    We’re supposed to live in a civilized society, dammit, and we should act like it.

    • AmyC

      This. Now, can we please focus on the victims?

      • Jasper

        In what way? People are donating money, giving blood. The wounded are being treated.

        Are we not allowed to talk about anything else? What, exactly, is there to focus on? Continuously expressing empathy/sympathy robotically? Maybe we could start praying so that magic fixes their problems?

  • Randomfactor

    Jail, for life, after a fair trial. What, blood for blood and that crap? Screw that until the Christian god atones for HIS murders.

  • Glodson

    Not to be completely boring, but trial with all the trappings of due process, and this person should be treated like any other prisoner, and given life in prison. Killing them won’t bring anyone back, and we have enough problems with the death penalty. It adds nothing, and is pointless blood thirsty retribution.

    But I wouldn’t call the person that did this monsters. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of othering people who do evil. I don’t know what drives a person, or group, to such madness, but they aren’t all that different from anyone else. They are still human, and that’s the scary part. This wasn’t the act of a monster. It, like all evil done by man, is just the act of humans.

  • mythbri

    In our control, justice. The right to legal representation, a fair trial, and a lifelong prison sentence.

    Beyond our control, irredeemable remorse.

  • Adam Collins

    All 3 previous commenters are correct. What else SHOULD be done? Public hanging? That kind of thing only satisfies irrational bloodthirsty mobs.

  • http://smingleigh.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Fair trial. That this is even in question is an indictment of the entire system.

    • Glodson

      I understand the question. I understand the raw and visceral rage one must feel. Especially in light of losing a child. This act was sickening. The grief and rage some must feel can be overwhelming.

      So, in light of these feelings, a need for retribution, it is important to say the words. To say that we’ll be better, that we won’t succumb to this wanton bloodlust, however justified some might want to believe it is. We draw the line in the sand and say what is important. Holding onto due process and civil rights is easy at times when there’s little strife like this. But in the wake of tragedy like this, holding onto that is important.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I heard the president’s statement. A lot of the time, when people say justice it comes out sounding like revenge.

  • Anonymous

    Due process must, of course, be carried out. But I can tell you, as somebody who has watched the marathon for 20 years and ran it last year, the fact that there were only three deaths is a miracle. Whoever was planning this meant it to be a mass murder, and I don’t see many explanations besides this person being a sociopath (or if a group of people – at least the leader must be), and I don’t think it’s mindless retribution that makes me think they deserve the death penalty. Our prisons are already overflowing and costing more than we can pay – why does such a sick person(people) deserve a life funded by our tax dollars?

    • baal

      The prison overcrowding problems are due to republican ‘tough on crime’ mindset (esp. ‘three strikes’, the drug war, and harsh penalties on trivial crap policing) combined with democrat noodle spine and the prison industrial complex. It has nothing to do with us not killing the prison population fast enough.

    • Nate Frein

      They deserve life because our system cannot say beyond all doubt that they are guilty. Too many people so far have been exonerated for any one to feel comfortable making an irrevocable decision like the death penalty.

      Further, if they truly are sick, then do they deserve death for actions outside their rational control? Does the failure of our healthcare system to treat them before they caused harm their fault?

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      Well, for one, death penalty trials, appeals, and death row cost more than plain old life in prison. So from a purely economic point of view, we’d spend less taxpayer dollars keeping him/her/them alive than trying to kill him/her/them.

      Second, prison is not a nice place. It’s probably more of a punishment to keep people alive than it is to kill them, depending on the prison.

      Third, the death penalty is always unethical. We cannot be sure, without a shadow of a doubt, we got the right person/people. Further, the US death penalty system is broken. It is racially biased and class biased. Anything that supports the death penalty system ipso facto supports a system that perpetrates inequality in the US.

  • Bostonian

    Due process must, of course, be carried out. But I can tell you, as somebody who has watched the marathon for 20 years and ran it last year, the fact that there were only three deaths is a miracle. Whoever was planning this meant it to be a mass murder, and I don’t see many explanations besides this person being a sociopath (or if a group of people – at least the leader must be), and I don’t think it’s mindless retribution that makes me think they deserve the death penalty. Our prisons are already overflowing and costing more than we can pay – why does such a sick person(people) deserve a life funded by our tax dollars?

    • Daniel Schealler

      They don’t.

      However, you (I am not an American) deserve not to have the government who represents you kill humans as the punishment for killing humans.

      Justice serves (at least) two very important functions:

      1) Punishment of wrongdoers
      2) Protecting the wronged from becoming wrongdoers themselves, which is what would inevitably happen should the desires for vengeance be acted upon without the restraints of due process

  • baal

    I’m heartened to see folks commenting that they need to be sent through the legal system. I agree fully. I (we) don’t have good data yet to speculate on the additional other changes (if any) that should happen.

  • Christopher Stephens

    Intellectually, I can agree wholeheartedly that the most moral course of action is a firmly impartial trial followed by exceedingly humane prison sentences upon conviction.

    Emotionally? I can’t be certain how I would feel in such a situation, but I strongly suspect that if a person that I deeply loved were injured or killed in such a way, I would not be remotely satisfied with genuine justice; I would want revenge. I can easily admit that this is, strictly speaking, an immoral desire, but I can also admit that this does seem like it would be my desire, wrong though it may be.

    If I want to go even more meta, I could even say that I recognize that I should feel badly about that desire, i.e., it should disturb me that I have an admittedly immoral desire (and I have certainly had immoral desires that I’ve been able to recognize as such, and I’ve been able to change my desire accordingly, with some effort). However, in this case, … I don’t feel disturbed by wanting something that I recognize, intellectually, is immoral. Not sure what that says about me.

    • http://smingleigh.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Hey, who’s perfect? Wanting “the wrong” thing is part of life. How you deal with it is the real test. Beating yourself up over natural impulses is the theistic way. The justice system was invented precisely because it is impossible to be rational in these situations. The alternative is an endless spiral of grief-fueled vendettas.

      • Andrew Kohler

        +1

        It is perfectly reasonable in situations like this to feel intense rage and hatred. Part of having compassion and empathy is being outraged when other people are hurt, let alone maimed and killed. I would almost say that it would be immoral not to have such a strong reaction. But, Zinc is quite correct in his characterization of the justice system and the result of acting unthinkingly on our emotions in cases like this. It is important to realize that it is not appropriate for the state to have a mechanism of revenge, rather than justice. When atrocities are committed, the awful truth is that there is no way to set things completely right, and no way to undo the suffering and destruction. For the state to attempt to do this is as futile as it is dangerous.

      • Daniel Schealler

        +1

  • Stephanie Hamar

    I immediately began thinking of creative methods of retaliation. I think it’s the wording of the question. It’s appropriate for current society to take it through the legal system, though I could endorse the old ways – where the affected parties chase down the bad guys and let them have it. That was effective in its time.

  • IslandBrewer

    First, they should be kicked out of the Republican party and stripped of their duties in the national GOP caucus.

    Ah, wait, that won’t happen.

    … Or how about excommunication from the Catholic church?

    Nah, he’d probably be cannonized.

  • invivoMark

    “What should happen to them” and “what our justice system should do about them” are two different questions.

    To the first question, the answer is death. Whoever did this is making the world a worse place to live in. They have no interest in improving the world, so they should just GTFO.

    To the second question… I am not so sure. Due process should go without saying, but life imprisonment seems like such a waste, of our resources and of their time. And I’m not sure I’m comfortable with a justice system that uses the death penalty as retribution.

    • Daniel Schealler

      To have killed a person, regardless of the justification, seems to me a heavy burden to bear.

      I am not an American. But if this had happened in New Zealand, I would very much prefer that my government – for whom I voted an who represents me as a citizen – not kill on my behalf out of a sense of justice.

      The resources spent on keeping the criminals alive aren’t spent for the good of the criminal. They are spent for the good of everyone else, by not having the many become, in some small way, killers of humans themselves on account of being part of a system that sanctions the killing of the condemned.

  • Anonymous

    I’m writing this anonymously because I know that a lot of people are going to try to pounce on me for saying this.

    I really believe that (assuming they are fairly tried and found guilty) these people should get the strictest possible prison sentence physically possible. Which means, at the very least, death. Note that I said “at the very least”, because there are a lot of things worse than death.

    If we want to show people what happens when you brutally murder innocent people (some of which were children, for crying out loud), and injure so many others, causing so much grief throughout the community, then I cannot believe that these people deserve anything less than the death sentence. The idea of justice is fourfold (not including retribution, which I’ve never thought was that important anyways):
    -Retainment
    -Deterrence
    -Rehabilitation
    -Incapacitation

    Obviously, there’s no retaining the lives lost by these explosions.

    Throwing somebody in jail for a lifetime, I feel, is not as strong a deterrent as immediate death, or, if we want to go to extremes, torture. Many of the people that end up in jail simply end up in a cycle of recidivism, which I think would be a good justification of the fact that simply landing in jail is not a huge deterrent. However, experiencing death, or torture (which I doubt would happen, even if I and many others supported it- which I don’t, necessarily- mostly because of international law as well as certain human rights activists. Too tired to look up international law right now) is a completely separate issue. Pain and death are two major fears of the human body, which, from an evolutionary standpoint, makes sense. I truly think that either of these punishments would serve as a much better deterrent than a lifetime in prison, and, given the scale of these attacks, I think that a deterrent of this scale is justified.

    Rehabilitation… I cannot bring myself about to believe that a person with such a sick mind can be rehabilitated, or that, even if they theoretically could, that it would be rational to allow this person back into public ever again, due to cost vs benefit. Seeing a repeat attack by the same terrorist, when we had them in jail already, is just… Too much.

    Incapacitation… A lifetime in prison, a death penalty, or torture all have virtually the same incapacitation rates, so this isn’t so much of a concern.

    So, really, the idea here is to use penalties as a deterrent. I don’t want to live under a government that feels as if it were too weak to properly deter people from killing one another and injuring hundreds of others.

    Also… I’m sure that if the terrorists decided that innocent people were deserving of death, injury, and grief, that we can just as well use their judgement upon themselves, to make a point of what the nature of our perceptions of one another can inflict upon society.

    • Nate Frein

      And what do you say when new evidence exonerates the people you executed after a “fair trial”?

      • Anonymous

        I say that

        1. It wasn’t a fair trial in the first place, clearly.
        2. The idea is to introduce a deterrent to the people. As much as I’m probably going to hate myself for saying it… As long as society can believe that the person executed actually committed the crime, the deterrent will still be under effect. Even if they find out that that person wasn’t guilty, it shows the punishment that we will extend to anyone who we strongly believe committed terrorism.

        Also, you’re using extremes. I could just as easily ask… What if this person/people manages to break out prison with the help of an outside source?

        • Nate Frein

          1. It wasn’t a fair trial in the first place, clearly.

          Then we as a nation do not have the ability to grant our citizens fair trials. This whole argument is therefore worthless until we accomplish that monumental task.

          2. The idea is to introduce a deterrent to the people. As much as I’m probably going to hate myself for saying it… As long as society can believe that the person executed actually committed the crime, the deterrent will still be under effect. Even if they find out that that person wasn’t guilty, it shows the punishment that we will extend to anyone who we strongly believe committed terrorism.

          Really? You have evidence that supports the claim that the death penalty works as a deterrent?

          Also, you’re using extremes. I could just as easily ask… What if this person/people manages to break out prison with the help of an outside source?

          I wouldn’t call exoneration an extreme example.

          What do you find more important? That we “punish” as many deserving people as possible, even though we risk incarcerating or executing innocent people in the process? Or that we establish as many safeguards as possible to prevent accidentally convicting an innocent person, at the risk of “guilty” people going free?

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

          Ah, but post-trial exonerations happen far more often than prison break-outs. In fact, several states have put moratoriums on their death penalty because DNA testing has shown several convicted murderers on death row to be innocent. Texas, which has not, has executed at least two probably-innocent people in the past two years. That means there are serious, probably irreparable flaws in US death penalty trials.

          Also, death penalty trials are expensive. After accounting for the cost of the extra penalty-phase trial and the appeals, the death penalty actually costs more than life in prison. So if you want to save taxpayer dollars, you should be against the death penalty.

          Third, the death penalty isn’t a good deterrent if it’s applied rarely and inconsistently, which it is. You have to believe it could happen to you for it to be a deterrent, and frankly, the odds of that happening are extremely slim.

          Fourth, the death penalty in the US is extremely racially discriminatory. People who kill white people are more likely to get the death penalty than people who kill minorities. Blacks and Latinos are far more likely to get the death penalty than whites and Asians. Poor people are railroaded, while rich people get every advantage. I refuse to support any system that has such blatantly unfair outcomes. Granted, this is true for the justice system as a whole, but it’s even worse in the death penalty system. Your argument that executing the guilty an acceptable outcome is frankly horrifying. It is not, in any situation, acceptable. I firmly hold to the maxim that it is better that 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man be imprisoned. How much more true must that be for death, which we can’t release people from or recompense them for.

          Fifth, I consider the death penalty unethical even if it could be fairly administered. I do not want the state to kill people in my name. I wouldn’t kill them myself, so I won’t have them killed by proxy.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

            Eep, bad editing “Your argument that executing the guilty an acceptable outcome is frankly horrifying” should read “Your argument that executing the innocent is an acceptable outcome is frankly horrifying”.

          • Anonymous

            I’ll try to reply to this when I get the time, M.

        • Glodson

          1. It wasn’t a fair trial in the first place, clearly.

          We can stop right there. Trials are often not fair. If you are going to do the death penalty, you will kill innocent people. Period. We already have evidence of a number of trails that aren’t fair. We can look at the divide of imprisonment rates between races and even socioeconomic standings and gender lines. The trail can be unfair, the wrong person sentenced. And the sentencing itself can be unfair, unevenly handing out punishments as the person’s race, wealth and gender vary.

          2. The idea is to introduce a deterrent to the people. As much as I’m probably going to hate myself for saying it… As long as society can believe that the person executed actually committed the crime, the deterrent will still be under effect.

          What about the murder rates in the South being higher despite the number of executions? Source.

          It is the highest among the regions, much higher than the national average, with a higher rate of executions. Of the states in the top half concerning murder rates, four have no death penalty. In the bottom half? Eleven states have no death penalty. Six of the ten states with the lowest murder rates have no death penalty. Meanwhile, only 2 of the states in the top ten murder rates have the death penalty.

          This is not indicative of the death penalty being a deterrent. Some hold that is the surety of punishment that forms the deterrent. If the person doesn’t think they’ll be caught, they won’t care about the punishment.

          Given this information, how do you justify your claim that the death penalty is an effective deterrent? And what do we do about the unfair trials? What justification do you have a penalty that will kill innocent people and seems to have no effect on the murder rate?

          • Glodson

            Meanwhile, only 2 of the states in the top ten murder rates have the death penalty.

            That should read”don’t have the death penalty.”

            Sorry, my bad.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks for your reply Glodson. I’ll reply directly to your last paragraph, which basically summarizes you argument anyways.

            The issue with your statistic is that you establish a cause-effect relationship without using an experiment. For example, I could tell you that their is a very high correlation between TVs per capita in a nation and the average lifespan of people in that nation (they love longer). Does that mean that we should send TVs to Congo? Of course not. What you find is that both of these variables are in fact influenced by another variable- wealth.

            The sane goes for this; you try to claim that the death penalty isn’t a deterrent because crime rates are still high. Did you consider that crime rates could be higher w/o the penalty? That maybe, in the current time, culture will cause some governments to have both the death penalty and high crime rates? Perhaps gov’ts that have the death penalty tend to be poorer. They enforce the DP because it’s cheaper and safer for them then jailing prisoners. Because of the government being poor, we could also state that the people are poor and thus are more desperate to fulfill their needs, causing them to murder. The point is that you can’t simply take an observational study and use that to establish cause and effect relationships. This is something that I’ve seen happen multiple times on this site, sadly.

            Also, consider the facts: do you not believe that human fear of death provides a rational deterrent? And would you rather take a risk, knowing that you probably won’t be caught but if you are, that you’ll pay only a very simple price, or take that same risk with same probabilities, but with the possible punishment of death?

            As for fair trials, you do make a fair point. My thumb is hurting from typing on my phone right now, but I’ll leave you with one piece of information before I leave. That would be that a lot of exonerations have occurred only due to the very recent development of DNA testing. Also, a lot of the flaws you pointed out are flaws in the US justice system, not in the death penalty. Perhaps until our justice system becomes less outdated, you’re right, but that doesn’t make the death penalty in and of itself an immoral action. I know this is a theoretical vs practical issue, and I’ll deal with that once I get the time, thanks.

          • Glodson

            You made the claim of deterrence. I rejected that claim, and added a reason to why I reject that claim. These aren’t isolated incidents. I have no evidence that the Death Penalty is a deterrent, and as M pointed out, as it is applied unevenly, people considering murder wouldn’t be deterred by a penalty so rarely used.

            So, what is your evidence for it being a deterrent?

            The issue with your statistic is that you establish a cause-effect relationship without using an experiment. For example, I could tell you that their is a very high correlation between TVs per capita in a nation and the average lifespan of people in that nation (they love longer). Does that mean that we should send TVs to Congo? Of course not. What you find is that both of these variables are in fact influenced by another variable- wealth.

            That’s not the only factor. This makes it worse for you, as even in areas with the death penalty, it is always the poorest at the greatest risk. You made the claim that the death penalty was a deterrent. That is your contention. I looked at the numbers. I am asking you for your evidence to back up the claim.

            The sane goes for this; you try to claim that the death penalty isn’t a deterrent because crime rates are still high. Did you consider that crime rates could be higher w/o the penalty? That maybe, in the current time, culture will cause some governments to have both the death penalty and high crime rates? Perhaps gov’ts that have the death penalty tend to be poorer. They enforce the DP because it’s cheaper and safer for them then jailing prisoners. Because of the government being poor, we could also state that the people are poor and thus are more desperate to fulfill their needs, causing them to murder. The point is that you can’t simply take an observational study and use that to establish cause and effect relationships. This is something that I’ve seen happen multiple times on this site, sadly.

            I know how this works. If there’s an effect, we should see it. Even in neighboring states with a death penalty and without it, there’s no real difference. Same region, similar wealth. No difference.

            So, we have a higher murder rate in some states. No differences in states with similar wealth and culture. Both are points against the death penalty being a deterrent. Evidence on your end is lacking.

            Also, why should the failure of the state to properly deal with prisoners justify state-sanctioned murder? How does that make sense?

            Also, consider the facts: do you not believe that human fear of death provides a rational deterrent? And would you rather take a risk, knowing that you probably won’t be caught but if you are, that you’ll pay only a very simple price, or take that same risk with same probabilities, but with the possible punishment of death?

            If one is looking at the death penalty or life in prison for the act, what makes you think one will stop when the other wouldn’t? Of course people fear death. But in an act like murder, one is either planning to not get caught or doesn’t care if they get caught. Planned or an act of passion. No punishment threat stops the latter, it is an act done in a moment. The planned act, well, the person isn’t counting on the punishment. What matters is the danger of being caught. It is the rate at which people are punished that can deter behavior, not just the severity. One plans a murder for a benefit, typically. The death penalty can prevent that benefit from justifying the murder. But so can life in prison.

            One is humane, one is cheaper, one doesn’t risk our government murdering an innocent. The other is the death penalty.

            That would be that a lot of exonerations have occurred only due to the very recent development of DNA testing.

            Yes. How many cases go to trail even now without any DNA evidence? It is more than you think. Many people are still convicted based on confessions, which can be false confessions as there is a multitude of studies about that phenomenon, eye witness accounts which can be flatly wrong, and examples of police focusing in on one suspect with a prosecutor looking for the easy conviction.

            No matter how you slice it, any system we will use will convict the wrong person.

            At what rate can the state murder innocent people before to you consider the death penalty bad? How many innocent people killed for crimes they didn’t comment is acceptable? If you are going to support the death penalty, you must be able to answer that question.

            This isn’t theory, this is reality. We have an act, murder, done in retribution by the state. Why don’t you consider that immoral?

          • Anonymous

            You state that you added a “reason”, Glodson, but recall that your reason was based upon a logical fallacy which I successfully rebutted. You keep telling me that you’re “looking at the numbers”, and while that may be true, did you consider that you aren’t analyzing them correctly? As I said beforehand, just taking an observational study and using it to establish a C&E relationship is fallacious. Instead, you have to use an experiment; you have to change a single variable while keeping everything else constant, and thereby determine the change in your response variable.

            As for my evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent…

            Paul H. Rubin, PhD:
            “Recent research on the relationship between capital punishment and homicide has created a consensus among most economists who have studied the issue that capital punishment deters murder. Early studies from the 1970s and 1980s reached conflicting results. However, recent studies have exploited better data and more sophisticated statistical techniques. The modern refereed studies have consistently shown that capital punishment has a strong deterrent effect, with each execution deterring between 3 and 18 murders…

            The literature is easy to summarize: almost all modern studies and all the refereed studies find a significant deterrent effect of capital punishment. Only one study questions these results. To an economist, this is not surprising: we expect criminals and potential criminals to respond to sanctions, and execution is the most severe sanction available…”

            Which took a grand total of less than five minutes. I’m sure you could look up hundreds of other reasons why the death penalty is a deterrent for would-be criminals.

            Now, until you decide to give me actual evidence that doesn’t rely on observational studies to establish faulty C&D relationships, I find it near pointless to debate this fact.

            As for life in prison vs death… I’m not saying that one stops crime while the other doesn’t. Where did I ever say that? What I’m saying is that death is a much more effective deterrent. You also establish two possibilities for a person committing a crime: knowing that they won’t get caught and not caring if they did. However, you provide no evidence for this being the case in reality. You haven’t seemed to consider that, perhaps, instead of having one arbitrary view or the other, that perhaps people look at the costs versus the benefits before committing rational actions. Because I can sure tell you- a third grader might steal a cookie from his teacher’s desk if his teacher won’t care if she finds out, but that same third grader might not be tempted to do the same, even if he thinks he won’t be caught, after the teacher grabbed the last person to steal a cookie off of her desk and made a demonstration out of him by eating him alive in front of the entire class.

            To address your last piece, this is a murder trial that will result in the death penalty if the person is found guilty. It’s also, quite possibly, a terrorist attack, making proper identification even more important. So, to me, saying that the trial will probably go without DNA testing is a bit… Inaccurate.

            Eyewitness accounts… For this case, I don’t think that there will be any eyewitness accounts, or any particularly needed ones, anyhow.

            We can jump around the various complexities of the issue, but the truth is that you’re just trying to make this appear as corrupt a trial as physically possible. Which I would like direct evidence for, particularly given the scale at which this crime occurred. We’re talking about a very serious trial with a lot of lives and futures on the line, and if you think that that will cause courts to aim for a lazy, easy conviction… You’re talking about some pretty serious stuff there.

            Your comment that [quote]any system we will use will convict the wrong person.[/quote] is just… weird. Are you telling me that we shouldn’t have a criminal justice system at all, because all systems will convict the wrong person? Because that’s a very serious allegation.

            It depends on how many lives are saved. If more innocent lives are saved than are destroyed, then I fully support the death penalty.

            Lol what- are you telling me that theory doesn’t describe reality? This is as bad as the “it’s just a theory” tactic used by creationists. It’s hilarious, really. Either way, you don’t seem to have ever been a LD debater- that, or we just use very different terms. The “theory vs practicality” issue is the idea that an action might be moral, but the sum of the actions required to pursue that action will result in a net immoral outcome. It could be summarized, to some extent, like communism; while great in moral theory (utilitarianism, for example), in practical use, it breeds corruption and death. That’s just the nature of the beast.

            I don’t consider deaths sanctioned by the state (in this particular regard) immoral because they save more innocent lives than they destroy.

          • Glodson

            You state that you added a “reason”, Glodson, but recall that your reason was based upon a logical fallacy which I successfully rebutted.

            What fallacy? Correlation equals causation? Never said that. I said one would expect, if the death penalty was a deterrent, to see a lower than average for the nation murder rate in states with the death penalty. We don’t. Based on that, I have reason to question the result of your quoted expert. I have a few of my own.

            Our survey indicates that the vast majority of the world’s top criminologists believe that the empirical research has revealed the deterrence hypothesis for a myth… 88.2% of polled criminologists do not believe that the death penalty is a deterrent… 9.2% answered that the statement ‘[t]he death penalty significantly reduces the number of homicides’ was accurate… Overall, it is clear that however measured, fewer than 10% of the polled experts believe the deterrence effect of the death penalty is stronger than that of long-term imprisonment… Recent econometric studies, which posit that the death penalty has a marginal deterrent effect beyond that of long-term imprisonment, are so limited or flawed that they have failed to undermine consensus.

            In short, the consensus among criminologists is that the death penalty does not add any significant deterrent effect above that of long-term imprisonment.” – Michael L. Radelet in his 2009 article “Do Executions Lower Homicide Rates?: The Views of Leading Criminologists” in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

            “…[I]f there were a substantial net deterrent effect from capital punishment under modern U.S. conditions, the studies we have surveyed should clearly reveal it. They do not…

            If executions protected innocent lives through deterrence, that would weigh in the balance against capital punishment’s heavy social costs. But despite years of trying, this benefit has not been proven to exist; the only certain effects of capital punishment are its liabilities.” -John Lamperti wrote his Mar. 2010 paper “Does Capital Punishment Deter Murder? A Brief Look at the Evidence.”

            As I found in a short search myself.

            Let’s go thorough your “rebuttal.” You just asked a bunch of questions. I explained that even when we look interregionally, there was reason to doubt the claim that the death penalty is a deterrent.

            Don’t like that. How about a paper from the National Research Council as well? Read the brief. Basically, it is what I said. I see no evidence that the Death Penalty is a deterrent. If you are making this claim, it is up to you to prove it.

            As for life in prison vs death… I’m not saying that one stops crime while the other doesn’t. Where did I ever say that? What I’m saying is that death is a much more effective deterrent.

            Like this statement. Prove it. Don’t quote an economist’s opinion piece at me. I can quote pieces back at you. Further, if you are saying the death penalty is a deterrent but isn’t a substainally more effect deterrent than non-lethal punishments, why have it? If it is more effective, prove it. That’s the crux of the argument. That the death penalty is somehow more effect than long term imprisonment. Again, I have numerous reasons to doubt this. I also have a few facts. Let me dispel a few things you got wrong.

            It’s also, quite possibly, a terrorist attack, making proper identification even more important. So, to me, saying that the trial will probably go without DNA testing is a bit… Inaccurate.

            No. It is entirely accurate.

            A mere 13.5 percent of the murder cases reviewed actually had physical evidence that linked the suspect to the crime scene or victim. The conviction rate in those cases was only slightly higher than the rate among all other cases in the sample. And for the most part, the hard, scientific evidence celebrated by crime dramas simply did not surface. According to the research, investigators found some kind of biological evidence 38 percent of the time, latent fingerprints 28 percent of the time, and DNA in just 4.5 percent of homicides.

            Source: http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2010/11/07/the_case_against_evidence/

            This is all forensic evidence. Those police procedural shows are nice, but they don’t reflect the reality of our criminal justice system. People get convicted without DNA, fingerprints, fiber matching, blood splatter analysis all the time. Often. A majority of the time. Even in murder cases. Even in death penalty cases.

            Read the article. This is reality. This is what a defendant faces.

            See also: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5802523_dna-murder-cases.html

            “[DNA evidence] appears to play a role in a significant minority of murder cases and is rarely employed otherwise.” Source- http://www.denverda.org/DNA_Documents/Use%20of%20Forensic%20DNA%20in%20Prosecutors%27%20Offices.pdf

            See? Most cases, no DNA evidence is presented. Or even available. So, your statement that what I said was “inaccurate” was flatly wrong.

            Eyewitness accounts… For this case, I don’t think that there will be any eyewitness accounts, or any particularly needed ones, anyhow.

            Why are you talking about this specific case? I am arguing against all death penalty measures. Are you making a special pleading? This is not germane to the effectiveness or morality of the death penalty. In other cases, there will be. They will be a large part of the testimony.

            We can jump around the various complexities of the issue, but the truth is that you’re just trying to make this appear as corrupt a trial as physically possible. Which I would like direct evidence for, particularly given the scale at which this crime occurred. We’re talking about a very serious trial with a lot of lives and futures on the line, and if you think that that will cause courts to aim for a lazy, easy conviction… You’re talking about some pretty serious stuff there.

            My state has executed two men exonerated by evidence in recent memory. With a third on death row before he was exonerated. One was a case of a fire where the man’s family died. Bad science was employed. It wasn’t even reviewed because Governor Perry disbanded the review board before they examined this. That’s just the ones I know about.

            This is the reality. It isn’t that the system is corrupt. It is flawed. Many people in prison did, in fact, break the laws they were accused of breaking. However, there are enough people in prison who are innocent to make this worrisome. They also tend to black and latino and poorer. This is a major problem. If you are going to justify the state executing people, shouldn’t you also want a better system?

            Your comment that [quote]any system we will use will convict the wrong person.[/quote] is just… weird. Are you telling me that we shouldn’t have a criminal justice system at all, because all systems will convict the wrong person? Because that’s a very serious allegation.

            Here’s where I am getting pissed. This is a fucking strawman. My point is that if we are going to let the state murder, we are going to murder innocent people. Period. All systems will convict the wrong person. However, if we don’t murder the person, we can actually make amends. We don’t have to murder an innocent person in cold blood, let them go to the grave thinking people will remember them as a monster. Not force them to suffer through a murder for something they didn’t do.

            It depends on how many lives are saved. If more innocent lives are saved than are destroyed, then I fully support the death penalty.

            You have yet to make your case. If life in prison can do the same thing, then the death penalty doesn’t save lives. Further, if it kills an innocent person, the murderer got away. That’s a major problem. So, how many murders does the death penalty prevent? You made the claim, now back it up. How many? And how many innocent people have been executed?

            I know that since 1976, 142 people have been exonerated while on Death Row. And of those 142, in only 18 did DNA play a significant role.

            Lol what- are you telling me that theory doesn’t describe reality? This is as bad as the “it’s just a theory” tactic used by creationists. It’s hilarious, really. Either way, you don’t seem to have ever been a LD debater- that, or we just use very different terms. The “theory vs practicality” issue is the idea that an action might be moral, but the sum of the actions required to pursue that action will result in a net immoral outcome. It could be summarized, to some extent, like communism; while great in moral theory (utilitarianism, for example), in practical use, it breeds corruption and death. That’s just the nature of the beast.

            Oh, jesus fucking Christ. Since we weren’t talking about hard science, I used the colloquial term for theory. Because you’ve not presented anything resembling any science, social or hard. You want to make this into some thought experiment and forget the real suffering this penalty causes. We don’t know how many innocent people have been executed. There’s no proof that the death penalty is better than the alternative, which is long term imprisonment, and there’s no data to suggest we should reject the null hypothesis.

            I don’t consider deaths sanctioned by the state (in this particular regard) immoral because they save more innocent lives than they destroy.

            [Citation needed]

            There was one citation you provided. Which I found counters for. You’ve not proven your case, and you dismiss the state sanctioned murders of innocent people as nothing to be concerned with if this prevents more deaths. Unless you can show that it is the death penalty that does this, then you have no point. The fact that you can be so blase about people being murdered by the state because you assert it is for the greater good is troubling. Especially when you look at our current legal system.

    • Nate Frein

      I do also have to ask you, if these people are truly “sick”, then why do they deserve to be punished for their actions?

      Even if we can’t cure them, we can at least keep them in a hospital and perhaps try to figure out what got miswired in their heads, so that the healthcare system that obviously failed them can perhaps catch the next one before people get hurt. Why are you so quick to say “kill them”?

      • Anonymous

        Funny. Guess you didn’t read my four reasons for criminal punishment.

        More rebuttals tomorrow, I need sleep.

        • Nate Frein

          I did read your four reasons. I thought you dealt poorly with the idea of “sick” individuals. I wanted you to better explain your justification for killing someone not responsible for their actions.

          • Anonymous

            Oh, I see. No, you misunderstood my use of “sick”. I meant “sick” as in “vile and disgusting”, not “mentally ill”. If the person is mentally ill, I would support putting them in a mental health care hospital for the rest of their lives, found innocent but in need of mental help. Because my original post stated “assuming we find the person guilty”, however, the issue of mental illness is outside of the intended scope of my original response.

  • John Horstman

    We’ve already answered that question; we have criminal codes and a court system to make that call.


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