Town Square

Death penalty debate

Original post made by Tim Hunt, Castlewood, on Oct 23, 2012

Proposition 34 that proposes eliminating the death penalty in California arouses mixed emotions and thoughts for me.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 23, 2012 at 9:19 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I have had many questions about the purpose and efficacy of the death penalty. If it is meant to be a deterrent, it doesn't appear to work if there are 725 people on death row. As a taxpayer, of course the cost of endless appeals appears to be a waste of money--but if you are innocent, no cost seems too high to save that life. Life without parole seemingly cuts costs and protects potentially innocent people. Life without parole isn't likely going to be more or less of a deterrent to a real criminal than the death penalty is.

As for abortion, the juxtapositions occur precisely because religion and politics take a stance either from on high or through legislation. On the one hand, if a mother (and perhaps the father) make a decision knowing the interpretations of what their God expects, then they will face judgement by their maker. On the other hand, how does a government, particularly the adamant religious right, deem they should determine the issue on this side of heaven or hell? And that, I suppose, takes us back to the death penalty question.

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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

"Liberals tend to hate the death penalty, but welcome aborting unborn babies with no restrictions. On the other hand, conservatives will protect the babies, but be absolutely Babylonian in demanding an eye for an eye or a life for a life."
The statement above is an accurate representation of the stances that many try to uphold in this arguement. The underlying premise that was not higlighted is that innocent life deserves protection. There is nothing innocent or worthy of protection when it comes to capital criminals.

Kathleen, the 725 on death row are either stupid, mentally defective or don't care about their lives, as well as the lives of others. To turn your arguement around, thousands of others chose not to commit capital crimes in fear of being put to death....prove it's not true.

"Life without parole seemingly cuts costs and protects potentially innocent people." How so? You're saying that a 25 year old murderer who lives to be 90, with life long health and mental issues is less of a burden on society than executing the convicted criminal? Without metrics to support all these assumptions, this is all theoretical and is not supported in the real world (or even the utopian's view of Calif.)

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 24, 2012 at 10:59 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I would like to believe that "thousands of others [and I would hope millions] chose not to commit capital crimes" because it just would not occur to them to do so, not because there is a death penalty.

I'm saying we'd be better off not paying for years of court battles (remember there is at least one guy still appealing his sentence since 1978) and parking the guilty permanently in some dark corner. If it saves a person wrongly convicted, that's a benefit.

This is not an easy argument for me. I think prisons should not be luxury hotels with high walls, libraries, work out facilities, and armed guards. I cannot put in writing what I think should really happen to anyone who does anything to a child--but trust me, an eye for an eye would look mild by comparison. I also think we should switch budgets for prisons and education. Getting a cell and three squares (Alcatraz-like) might be more of a deterrent; who knows. Spending more on education for all children, but particularly for disadvantaged families (where the lowest scores seem to always occur) might also at least turn the tide on the cycle of crimes. The assumption is, of course, that smarter people have better opportunities to improve their lives.