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The Expansionist
Friday, January 28, 2011
 
Morality and Practicality in Capital Punishment. I was intrigued by an odd story ("End of Lethal Injection Drug in US Leaves Death Penalty in Flux") on AOL News on Tuesday about capital punishment being hampered by the artificial shortage of one drug used in lethal injections because the Government of Italy dares to forbid the export of that chemical if it would be used in lethal injections. It is not for Italy to tell U.S. governments how to use chemicals they buy in international trade, and the U.S. Government should tell Italy that if it insists on that extraterritorial arrogance, then we will end trade of all kinds with Italy, and put Italy on a State Department list of countries U.S. tourists should not go to because we will close all U.S. consulates in Italy, leaving only one embassy building, in one city, Rome.
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I read some of the 500 comments (at the time; the total ballooned to 1,517 since then) and was struck by some of the arguments — and by the awful rudeness of people to put up comments that made the same point as dozens of other comments. Some of the Radical Right nonsense that usually taints discussions on AOL was on display, blaming President Obama and American Liberals when the shortage in question was caused by a transnational company exporting jobs to Italy, and thereby feeling itself subjected to Italy's extraterritorial pretensions.
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Capital punishment is a subject that a lot of Americans don't understand very well, legally, due to confusion produced when the U.S. Supreme Court decades ago mandated a moratorium on executions until laws could be drawn to meet the Court's version of what the Framers of the Constitution meant by "cruel and unusual punishment". Never mind that the Framers expressly mention "a capital, or otherwise infamous crime" in the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which plainly indicates that they did not mean that capital punishment per se is banned by the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment".
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Some people feel that capital punishment is barbarous, but some of the same people have disingenuously argued that life imprisonment with no chance of parole is, if anything, even worse a punishment than death! The anti-capital-punishment crowd has tried to make their cause compulsory upon everyone who would consider himself a Liberal (or the noxious euphemism "Progressive"), but there is nothing at all illiberal about protecting the innocent by killing the savage guilty.
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I present below my comments scattered thru the early discussion of that article, addressing various issues in that particular capital-punishment debate in 46 comments comprising a bit less than 2,200 words.

The barbaric practice is awarding "life" (imprisonment) to murderers.
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How does a criminal's next-of-kin share in the criminal's guilt? That concept was abolished (specifically for treason) by the Framers of the Constitution, when they outlawed "corruption of blood".
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It's generally the other way around: all but one member of the firing squad shoots a real bullet; the last gets a blank, so multiple bullets ensure a quick death but each member can choose to believe he did NOT kill -- tho everyone can choose to believe they did fire the fatal bullet if that better suits their conscience in executing someone whose crime they detest.
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Public hangings brutalize the witnesses. They also give the criminal too much stature.
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You'd have to remove the skin so the [zoo] animals [to whom criminals might be fed] do not develop a taste for people they detect by smell.
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If this "...kid..." is older than 15, he needs professional help. Acts bear consequences. Life is temporary. If we don't kill a criminal, s/he will still die eventually. We are just punishing the gravest crimes, in a way that makes a huge impression upon infantile people who think that life is a right no matter what you do to forfeit that right.
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Punishing crime is not a game, and turning soldiers into vicious killers hunting down people would render them unfit ever to return to society.
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No, people convicted of capital crimes should have the same right of appeal -- one appeal -- as those convicted of every other crime. And why should a noose cost $100 each time. Rope is almost infinitely reusable.
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The bullets would have to be collected and recycled. Rope is infinitely reusable, and biodegradable when it fails.
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Where does the article say the President wants to release people from death row? You're just making that up. As for lawyers, if it weren't for lawyers, there wouldn't be any justice for anybody, in civil or criminal matters.
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It's only one bullet in China. I don't think anyone wants COMMUNIST China's legal system -- or much of anything else. We can go thru a reasonable appeal process, once, before executing the worst criminals. And protecting criminals is NOT a Liberal issue. Liberals want justice, and that sometimes means that people who commit gruesome crimes pay the ultimate penalty.
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No, that would destroy organs that might be transplanted to decent people. Such a punishment -- premature cremation -- would be fitting only for criminals so old, damaged, or toxic that their organs could not be used in other people even after a period of detoxification. Chopping heinous criminals up for parts would actually help some such criminals to feel that they will make up, in some measure, for their crime, by contributing vital organs to decent people after death. Win-win.
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People who committed really brutal murders or committed many crimes against many people should be killed not by a gallows hanging but by a rope tossed over a sturdy tree limb or lite stanchion, then hauled up a few inches to dance their way to hell. Ideally, tho, the punishment should fit the crime, and that means that if someone beat someone to death, he should be beaten to death; stabbed someone to death, stabbed to death; etc. That way they get to appreciate the absolute propriety of the punishment, and get a chance to identify with their victim -- what would be a growth experience if it weren't fatal.
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In my state, New Jersey, the people were something like 65% in favor of the death penalty when the Legislature and Governor abolished it. So much for democracy. I'd favor killing all those legislators and ex-Governor, one by one, each time a New Jerseyan was murdered.
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Different states should have the right to different laws, but if the will of the great majorty of the people of each state is that there be capital punishment, then there should be capital punishment in each state.
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That [the appropriateness of a proposed cruel punishment] depends on the crime. One size does NOT fit all.
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Not all people convicted of capital crimes committed GRUESOME crimes. The punishment should fit the crime, and that punishment [which I will not repeat here] would fit NO crime I've ever heard of.
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Too much transportation cost [in reply to proposal that convicts be dropped into the middle of the ocean].
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Stop blaming Liberals. Liberals believe in justice and merely want to be certain that someone really committed the crime. When that is certain, we have no problem with saving money wasted on evil people, to be redirected to helping good people.
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Stop repeating posts, and stop blaming lawyers, without whom there would be no monetary awards for people who have been wronged by corporations, drunk drivers, etc., and innocent people would automatically be convicted. You may need a lawyer someday yourself. You'd better hope s/he never connects your comments with your person.
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Oh? How many murders have there been in OK? How many executions? [In reply to assertion that "The death penalty is working just fine in OK." (Oklahoma)]
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Wrongful convictions in capital cases are rare, and usually happen to bad people who have been guilty of many crimes before, or not arrested for bad things they do. This "if one person" crap makes absolutely no sense. By that reasoning, we could never punish ANYONE for ANYTHING, because it might all be a mistake. Should we just abolish trials and prisons and even trying to do justice? The chances of a decent person being railroaded to the death chamber are about one MILLIONTH the chance of being killed by a criminal. Those are good odds. Perfect, no. But you could slip on ice on the sidewalk, crack your skull open, and die in the cold before an ambulance can get to you. Nothing is perfect.
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Cut the crap. If it weren't for Liberals, there wouldn't be a United States, a Bill of Rights, child labor laws, worker protections from hazardous waste and 80-hour workweeks, and on, and on.
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What is this madness about killing a child molester? Molestation and rape don't kill, so the punishment does not fit the crime. This country has got to grow up about sex. Murder and habitual criminality are appropriately punished by death. Not many other things, unless a crime is repeated many times.
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What kind of craziness is that, to unload criminals on other countries' innocent populations? Fidel Castro did that in the Mariel Boatlift, and we didn't like it one bit.
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There are a lot of people who care deeply about the murdered unborn. That's something we could fix with a death penalty for the "mothers" and "doctors" and "nurses" responsible.
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You are plainly insane to defend Tookie Williams. Too bad his gang didn't pay you a visit when you offended them.
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Better: send them to replace decent people in such anti-IED activities. Let them live as long as they continue to destroy IEDs, and if they get blown up -- so sad.
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If you make a punishment standard and impose it regularly, it is no longer "cruel AND unusual".
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One rope could hoist all 3,279 [people on death rows; one at a time per length used].
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And the ax, sword, or guillotine is infinitely reusable. Just sharpen it every now and then.
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Only fools equate things that are nothing alike. And doing justice has nothing to do with your perverted "quiver in the loins" slander [that people who favor the death penalty are asserted to enjoy when someone is executed]. YOU may not know the difference between murder and execution, but all sane and sensible people DO.
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Italy has no authority to interfere with U.S. executions. That's pretty high hypocrisy for Mussolini-land.
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But we don't want a splash [of blood] onto the executioner doing society's work. Is it Jack Kevorkian who suggested putting the convict on an operating table and removing all reusable organs while the bastard is under anesthesia? Organs removed, problem solved. Win-win.
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Murder and rape, of anyone, are not the same. Grow up.
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We can build all the guillotines we want. We don't need to worsen our trade deficit for guillotines.
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[In answer to the suggestion that 'the lawyers on both sides' of capital-punishment cases are 'laughing all the way to the bank:] The lawyers on the people's side are public employees and do not make extraordinary amounts of money.
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Justice requires that punishment fit the crime. How else to punish murder than death?
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Only a lunatic would think death a fitting punishment for child molestation. Besides, the insane emotions around child molestation have produced MANY wrongful convictions.
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Silliness. There are no habitable planets anywhere near, and the cost to taxpayers would be insanely high. Let's kill the criminals here, use transplantable tissues for decent people, burn the rest, and use the ashes as fertilizer in national or state forests.
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Viewing death traumatizes people, and can push some people to gruesome crimes of their own. Keep executions secret except perhaps to selective audiences of actual criminals [not high-school kids, as was suggested].
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You apparently missed the reference to INJECTING cyanide, a different matter entirely from a gas chamber.
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You made that up. China does no such thing [as "drain their blood while they are awake"].
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The Supreme Court's (illegal) moratorium on executions expired a long time ago. It is California's own government that refuses to kill murderers.
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Stop your slanderous crap. A CAPITALIST company decided to move its operations to Italy, and Italy's government, not American Liberals, dared to impose restrictions on the use of products made in Italy but exported. Why would we accept Italian jurisdiction over the United States? Tell Italy to mind its own business. As for what the majority of the country is, I would remind you that President Obama, when thought a Liberal (which, alas, he is not), won election as President by nearly 10 MILLION VOTES.
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[Answering an irrelevancy intruded into the discussion:] Try reading the Wikipedia article on NAFTA and you will discover that it was negotiated by President George H.W. Bush. Then apologize for your misrepesentations. Besides, Mexico is not the enemy; Communist China is.
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[And, finally,] I wish people would read comments before repeating something that scores of other people have already said.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,436 — for Israel.)



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