Death penalty figures - The human rights group found that China carried out more executions than all other countries combined - at least 3,400.

Iran came second, with at least 159, followed by Vietnam. The US were fourth in the table with 59 executions in 2004.

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NeoCon Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 09:21 AM :
The US figure is way to low. More needs to be done to block the ACLU from helping mass murderers.

MrMan Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 09:30 AM :
It is one bad-ass country. Rape is a capital offense. My friend that studied in Tianjin said they parade the doomed around the city before their executions. The fate of criminals is in the hands of one man who acts as crime scene investigator and judge. (There are no juries). A personal vendetta by a judge would be a piece of cake.

In the US, our civil liberties, government checks and balances, and limits on the power of the administration protect us from the autocratic whims of a government like China. You "Radical Conservatives" (you know who you are) must not realize what kind of world you would end up with if you got your way.

MrMan Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 09:35 AM :
NeoCon - ACLU's goal is not to help mass murderers. That's idiotic. So... you just want to kill more people, huh? What does that make you?

sky Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 10:20 AM :
MrMan, Neo "hates" the ACLU because they fight so that people like him will have the right to say the stupid things they say. Yeah, it's very twisted logic, but that's NeoCon. I think Codewolf is right that Neo doesn't believe half the shit he posts, but just does it to yank people's chains. And you know what? That is a symptom of psychopathy. Interesting, don't you think?

MrMan Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 11:30 AM :
A psychopath among us? I don't believe it. I thought you had to get approved by the government before you could use the internet. That's what they told me, anyway, when they installed the cameras in my house. It's for the good of the country, so I'm happy to oblige.

MrMan Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 11:33 AM :
Yeah, Neo and his dream girl Coulter. Spew outrageous crap just to get noticed. More like pathetic neurosis than actual psychopathy. At least psychos can be entertaining on occasion.

NeoCon Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 12:55 AM :
MrMan, you are the pathetic one. Red Stater's are tired of Liberals running to the defense of these serial killers and cop killers. They are tired of Liberalism always favoring the criminal over the innocent victims.

Elite Liberal Snobbery Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 2:30 PM :
I can't understand why people don't get Yale vs, Harvard, don't understand Camelot. Why doesn't the Heartland understand the Village Voice. Why do we keep losing elections. They just don't understand the New York Times society section. The Red Stater's have never been to Long Island. That must be it.

DogFace_Nut Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 3:36 PM :
Well, go figure

MrMan Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 3:37 PM :
Right Neo. Liberals love murderers. That makes perfect sense. Thanks for clearing that up.

Juniper Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 3:39 PM :
SeaBass, are you volunteering to be the one to administer the fatal injection?

MrMan Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 5:15 PM :
Hey SeaBass,

In what part of the country do you hear the word "contumelious"? Rogetville?

That's real Compassionate Conservatism at work: "We even cremate the bodies after they are dead". Very civilized of you.

A LINK to a recent testimony by a Columbia Law Prof that effectively challenges death penalty as a deterrent, and concludes "To accept [research defending it] uncritically invites errors that have the most severe human costs."

If you say "well, it might deter some, but still..."

To "kill the fuckers" as revenge puts you on the same level as a muderer. To "make an example" of them is to show that it really is OK to kill somebody, as long as you think you are right. That is hypocrisy.

The worst part of it is that capital punishment of an innocent person is an uncorrectable wrong, and is really as heinous a crime as outright murder.

Greg K. Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 6:40 PM :
Mr. Man's response is a post that stands out for me as an example of a lack of moral clarity -- an inability to make valuable moral distinctions regarding behavior. Of course, we should all come to expect such a thing in a culture that is run through and through with relativistic thinking, and has a view of man that diminishes him to a mere machine.

Mr. Man wrote: "To "make an example" of them is to show that it really is OK to kill somebody, as long as you think you are right. That is hypocrisy."

Mr. man is equating the execution of murderers with the killing of an innocent human being. Apparently, he can't distinguish between guilt and innocence. There is a moral distinction. It isn't the same to kill an innocent person as it is for the state to properly execute someone who is guilty.

All of the arguments he offerred make a principle error. Before we resolve the question of how we ought to deal with human beings who do bad things, we have to ask the question, "What kind of being is man?" I realize this question may be too philosophical. But, in fact, we have already answered this question based on the kind of response any of us gives to the capital punishment question. Mr. Man's arguments tell me that his view of man is very mechanistic. In other words, he views human beings, by and large, as machines and not as moral agents. What happens when a machine goes bad? Do we punish the machine? Of course not. We fix the machine. If the machine can't be fixed, we discard it. Or, if in the case of an animal, we will remove the animal or kill the animal. Not because it is guilty and it ought to be punished because we don't hold them morally responsible since moral terms don't seem to really apply to animals. But we remove it from any position of being able to do harm to others in society. The underlying point of view or philosophy about the nature of man is what seems to form our decisions about capital punishment. That's why people use defenses against capital punishment like this one: "It doesn't do any good because, first of all, you can't reform a dead man and, secondly, it is not a deterrent for other people committing the crime in the future." You see, what this argument amounts to is a pre-commitment to the idea that any action the state should take with regards to a person committing a crime should be actions that fix the problem, repair the machine, or at least influence other machines not to go bad in the future. That's why we have the idea of reform at the heart of much of our penal system, at least philosophically. It doesn't work out that way a lot, but rehabilitation is the idea.

I do not believe that man is a machine. I think that human beings are free moral agents. They can make choices and they ought to be held responsible for the moral choices they make. This means two things. First, if people make good choices and make a worthwhile, virtuous contribution to the world, then that means we ought to praise them. And praise we do, oftentimes.

But these same people who make bad choices ought not to be praised, but rather punished. Keep in mind the praise is not just so other people will do good things in the future. We are praising them as a good example to cause other people to act in a certain way. We hope that will happen. We hold up other individuals who are noble and virtuous as role models. But the praise is an end in itself because we think it is valuable to praise the individual for the good that he has done.

Secondly, if that is true, then on the other side of the coin that person who was worthy of praise for its own sake when doing something good is also worthy of blame, and therefore punishment, when he does bad. Not merely reform, but punishment for what he did wrong. And the punishment should fit the crime. We are not just to be concerned with rehabilitation, fixing the machine and influencing other people not to do bad in the future. So when somebody commits a capital crime, we are actually making a statement about the high level of value of human individuals who were made in the image of God, but nonetheless have the capability of choosing good and evil. We are acknowledging the meaningfulness of that individual's choice when we praise them for good things but also when we punish them for bad things.

In real life, many people are straddling these two views - Is man a machine or a free moral agent? They want to treat man like he's worthy of praise then treat him like a machine when it comes to the issue of punishment, saying we shouldn't punish people because it's revenge. Well, yeah, that's right. It is social revenge. No apologies. Justice is a kind of revenge. It is getting back, but it is an appropriate getting back when executed by the appropriate authorities. In this case, the state. What most people want to do, though, is object to the punishment thing and say man is not responsible for his actions because there are extenuating circumstances. It was these extenuating circumstances that were the deciding factors that caused someone to do bad when they could not have done otherwise. Since something else caused them, something else is responsible, so we ought not punish them in this way. Of course, the argument breaks down because when the time comes around for praise, then the rules change. Then all of a sudden people are responsible for their behavior. It seems to me people either are responsible or they are not. If they are responsible, then both praise and punishment make sense. If they are not responsible, then let's get rid of punishment but let's get rid of praise, too.

If this is the case then we ought not be praised nor should we be punished. We should just be manipulated as machines so that we work better for the good of all. Of course, then you've got a problem of defining what this word "good" means in a mechanistic environment. My view is that man is not a machine. That is why it doesn't matter whether someone is reformed or not. If they are properly punished then the goal of punishment is fulfilled. Retribution. I think that it's noble in cases where there can be some reform and moral training to make someone a better person. But I don't want the tail to wag the dog. That's secondary to the question of punishment.

Your thoughts?

MrMan Wrote the following on 04/06/2005 11:31 PM :
Someone, you are coward hiding behind anonymous posts. The only response you deserve is what briefly came to mind after I saw your blurt. "Fuckstain". Although that concept might a little too adult for you, maybe "Wankstain" is more fitting.

Greg K. I appreciate your effort, but I think you assumed a lot of things I didn't say. I don't see any "moral relativism" in viewing the death penalty as immoral on the basis that killing is wrong. In stating my opinion that killing is an absolute wrong, I am not equating the murderer and the victim as you say I am. That's an absurd idea, along the lines of Neo saying that Liberalism favors the criminal over the victim. You guys take a statement from somebody you don't agree with, filter it through your own simplistic view until it fits some drivel you've heard from Rush or Ann Coulter, then attribute some bone-headed remark to the guy with whom you disagree. Well here is some news: We liberals spend a lot of time thinking, as the basis of liberalism is to be open to the ideas of others. Solutions are not simple things that fit on bumper stickers, so we talk a lot to figure things out. In doing so, we will concede points and adapt our view of the world to incorporate what we have learned. Maybe this is what you call "relitavistic thinking", but to us, it is facing up to reality. Liberals are not immoral, as the Right-wing screechers try to frame us. We work from a strong sense of morality, such as in this case, that killing is wrong.

My point, that you have twisted far from its original intent (maybe my fault for not being clear) is that thsi is the message we get from the state that enacts the death penalty: Killing is wrong. The state says that killing is wrong. But since the state kills, they must not really mean that killing is wrong.

I know this doesn't mean squat to a murderer, who doesn't even think about the death penalty when he kills. But it is our job as members of society to behave morally, and killing is simply immoral.

You spent a lot of space writing about my supposed position that men are machines. I have no idea where you got this notion from, but it is utterly untrue. I never said anything of the sort.

Nor did I ever say that criminals should not be punished. Of course the threat of prison or fines is what keeps a lot of people from commiting crimes. You'll never hear me argue against punishment.

But this "coddling of criminals" bullshit has never been promoted by any liberal. You will only hear it from some reactionary who thinks that rehabilitation is impossible, or that the criminal doesn't deserve training to re-enter society. If all you do is lock somebody up and inflict the mental toture that Seabass proposes, the guy will get out with no skills or desire to do good. He will have a giant grudge against society and authority and do what he can to cause more trouble. I'm not just speaking from theory, but from experience with ex-cons. Both those who got out with training and had a chance for a productive life, and those who just busted rocks in the sun and wanted to do nothing but get back at The Man. From a purely economic standpoint, guess which one gives a better "bottom line" for society?

MrMan Wrote the following on 04/07/2005 00:59 AM :
Greg K. - Since you are defending revenge as a reason for capital punishment, maybe you could read this page, which offers a counter-view. It clearly states what I failed to in my earlier post.

Reparation, Retribution, and Revenge: Key Distinctions

Greg K. Wrote the following on 04/07/2005 12:20 AM :
Mr. Man, you've missed the point of my comments. But I appreciate your effort in further research. Again, my view is that man is not a machine. That is why it doesn't matter whether someone is reformed or not. If they are properly punished then the goal of punishment is fulfilled.

Your post, raises an interesting question for me: how do you avoid making the moral distinction between killing and murder?

sky Wrote the following on 04/07/2005 12:50 AM :
I will login to Codewolf. I will, I will, I will.

Greg K. Wrote the following on 04/07/2005 2:34 PM :
"I would much rather see our criminal justice system operate from a basis of rehabilitating criminals, since states that focus on rehabilitation instead of punishmnet, have much lower recitivism rates."

Please clarify this statement. What states focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment?

What do you mean by rehabilitation? The availability of mental health programs? Faith based counseling?

What do you mean by "much lower recitivism rates"? Please give me an example. Does much lower mean over 50%?

SeaBass Wrote the following on 04/07/2005 3:32 PM :
By the way, Mr.Man, I said that word because it is in my lexicon and it fit perfectly in the situation. Don't get pissed at me if you don't know it. Also, where the hell is Rogetville anyways?

alice Wrote the following on 04/07/2005 3:33 PM :
I'm almost with you on that one, SeaBass. However, solitary might not be the best idea. It tends to do some psychological damage that would have the ill prepared for the world on the outside. They would need some kind of interaction, but not with other convicts. Perhaps with volunteer groups. I'm not sure. But the bit about those in for life is a terrific idea.

Juniper Wrote the following on 04/07/2005 3:39 PM :
Coward! Making fun of people because you can't win the argument... Silly Someone!

MrMan Wrote the following on 04/07/2005 5:24 PM :
Hey Seabass,

I'm sorry I ragged on your word. I really am. It just struck me funny, and I Googled it just to see how people use it. Almost every hit was from one dictionary or another, some ancient thing by Thomas Aquinus, or a couple of legal obfuscations. Sorry you didn't get the joke, but "Rogetville" would be the Land O' Roget's Thesaurus which is where I assumed you went to get some 50 cent word to chide that guy who made the contumelious post. (huh? Who said that?) I'm not ashamed of going to the dictionary several times a day, and I'm certainly not pissed at you for not knowing what your word meant.

I did, however, think your post was callous and a simplistic view of what it takes to maintain an orderly society. People go all nuts when someone defends the rights of criminals to a fair trial (yes, criminals do have rights), to be assumed innocent until proven guilty (yes, they may actually be innocent) and so on. In trying to protect us from a fascist government, these rights have to extend also to loathsome people who we think deserve nothing. Someday you might be in their place through some accident or coincidence and you will certainly want those rights to be in place then.

Three years alone in the dark for petty theft? You make it hard to take you seriously.

I know a lot of children here don't give a hoot what I think, and they haven't hesitated to say so. (Hey, I love kids). I'm all for Life Without Parole, but I think the death penalty is immoral, and the fact that it is irrevocable makes it unjustifiable in a justice system that too often is found in error.

Nony Wrote the following on 04/08/2005 01:44 AM :
'the death penalty is immoral, and the fact that it is irrevocable makes it unjustifiable in a justice system that too often is found in error' The whole issue in a nutshell! Thanks MrMan.

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