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Dale Hodgins
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You knew it would come up one day.

This is always a fun topic, so I'm sure there will be a variety of opinions.

Have fun, and no name calling.
----------------------------------
The other day, I started one on abortion and today it's capital punishment. It has always fascinated me that people who are strongly in favor or against one type of killing, can have an opposite view of a different kind of killing.

I'm going to hold off on writing a small book until others have a chance to tackle the issue. My Money is on Landon or Matu going first. It's supposed to rain for a few days, so I'll be able to give this lots of attention.

This should be a topic that you can really sink your teeth into. I expect that by this time next week, the subject will be resolved once and for all.

You're welcome.
 
R Scott
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Dale Hodgins wrote: It has always fascinated me that people who are strongly in favor or against one type of killing, can have an opposite view of a different kind of killing.


It is interesting, isn't it.

I have personally wrestled that, as my worldview has changed drastically over the years and been on every combination of sides of both issues. I think I have found the morally consistent view.

 
John Polk
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It has always fascinated me that people who are strongly in favor or against one type of killing, can have an opposite view of a different kind of killing.


This is so predominate, that when I hear somebody express a strong view on one of these subjects, I ask how they feel on the other. From my experience, 80-90% of those who were opposed to abortion, readily supported capital punishment.

One of my concerns about doing away with capital punishment is that once a person is committed to confinement for life, the state then becomes responsible for that persons well being forever.

I remember debates regarding health care in the California penal system. At the time, there was a breakthrough in HIV medication, and the new medicines were costing over $200 per day. CA had several dozen inmates with HIV and they were afforded this medicine. The average Joe on the street that needed these medications was unable to afford them. Another case was another man serving a life sentence who had had several heart bypass surgeries, at huge costs to the tax payers. At what point do we need to draw the line? Is a 'ward of the government' entitled to medical treatment that a productive member of society could not afford for himself?

 
Landon Sunrich
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Well since you insist Dale, and in brief since it is not raining at the moment and I have some nettles to harvest and some rhizomes to transplant.

A person who pleads innocence should never be executed by the state. Period.

I don't care if they are found guilty in a court. Life in prison works just fine.

If the crime is heinous and the evidence particularly strong give them the smallest most boring cell and let them keep their shoe-laces.

In a case where the guilt is uncontested and the crime is truly horrifying . Ie some Norweigen who blows 77 people to hell with a battle rifle for shits and giggles - then I can see the death penalty being perhaps being discussed dependent on the society and its interpretation of societal norms and morality. I wouldn't extend this view to say a robbery gone wrong where 3 or 4 people where killed. The intent is vastly different. 30 years - perhaps life if a minor was slain - would be a maximum in my mind, again based on circumstances.

And I suppose, in such cases where the guilt is know and admitted to by all parties and the crime truly abhorrent and grossly against all societal norms for moral conduct, I could see a court and judge saying 'you know... our society really doesn't need people like you - so we're gonna get 15 guys with clubs to beat you to death while taking care not to damage your precious transplant-able organs'.

A firing squad may be more human to be sure. Or a beheading, or a good hanging.

Also for high crimes of state. Ie - treason. If you have gone out of you're way to swear an oath of trust and then gone out of your way to betray that oath and work against the people you where sworn to. That is the sort of thing that I feel warents hanging.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Dale Hodgins wrote:It has always fascinated me that people who are strongly in favor or against one type of "killing", can have an opposite view of a different kind of "killing".


John Polk wrote:This is so predominate, that when I hear somebody express a strong view on one of these subjects, I ask how they feel on the other. From my experience, 80-90% of those who were opposed to abortion, readily supported capital punishment.


R Scott wrote:I have personally wrestled that, as my worldview has changed drastically over the years and been on every combination of sides of both issues. I think I have found the morally consistent view.


Yeah - you almost can't help but notice that pattern. And I have always wondered about it. I will fully admit that I have NOT found the morally consistent view although sometimes I think I have. But upon deeper reflection, something always comes up that does not fit tidily into my construct like I want it to.
 
Matu Collins
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Ha! Just got around to reading this one. Dale, your way of presenting these topics is very hands off, and yet in-your-face. Titles in capital letters as if it's urgent, and then no question or idea, just an invitation to go to it as if the cider press is a boxing ring.

I do not get upset at people who think one thing about abortion and another about capital punishment. They are very different.I try not to get upset about other people's opinions in general. Hurtful behavior is more of a concern for me than opinions.

Is the question "should the law provide for executions and in which cases?" Or is it "is it wrong to kill people ?"

There is the philosophy debate and there is the policy debate.
 
wayne stephen
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I firmly believe the State should not have the power to use coersion to take any human beings life except when under attack - whether from an invading military force or as in a shootout with the police. However , if society feels it must use this final punishment as revenge {most likely} or a deterent then bring back the public gallows . I cannot process emotionally or rationally the publics desire to use instruments of healing { IVs , painkillers , electrolytes} to murder someone . This month there was an execution and the state was criticized by the press witnesses because the restrained prisoner appeared to gasp agonally a few times . That execution was the first to use the two drug cocktail . Um , cocktail - sounds nice doesn't it ? I guess Americans feel that capital punishment is acceptable as long as it does not resemble the death penalty . I find this desire to numb ourselves to the reality of taking another humans life far more disturbing than witnessing public executions that utilize instruments of death . Seems to go hand in hand with our societies acceptance of "surgical" bombings of civilian populations and the anonimity of drone attacks . We do not have graphic video of our miltary activities on the evening news anymore for a reason . Same goes for executions. Can't have the peasants forming their own opinions now , can we ?
 
R Scott
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Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back.

--Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly

and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

--Jesus, the Bible


Those two tell me that you have the right, even the responsibility to defend your life. (Yes, my worldview is shaped by both the Bible and Josh Whedon.)

But that is only DEFENSE. Vengeance is the Lord's--because you can't handle it. Otherwise you escalate a personal grudge into a war (see WWI).

There are very few things the state should be giving ANY punishment. Rape, murder--yes with proof beyond a shadow of a doubt. An ounce bag or stealing money--no. Bernie Madhoff should be working as a butler for those that he stole from until he pays them back fourfold, his wife as well. Reparations, not retribution.

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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R Scott wrote: Bernie Madhoff should be working as a butler for those that he stole from until he pays them back fourfold, his wife as well. Reparations, not retribution.


I think the guys from Enron should join him!
 
Dale Hodgins
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Matu Collins wrote:Ha! Just got around to reading this one. Dale, your way of presenting these topics is very hands off, and yet in-your-face. Titles in capital letters as if it's urgent, and then no question or idea, just an invitation to go to it as if the cider press is a boxing ring.

I do not get upset at people who think one thing about abortion and another about capital punishment. They are very different.I try not to get upset about other people's opinions in general. Hurtful behavior is more of a concern for me than opinions.

Is the question "should the law provide for executions and in which cases?" Or is it "is it wrong to kill people ?"

There is the philosophy debate and there is the policy debate.


I get punished so often that I figured I'd trot it out and let others absorb the first barrage of cannon fire. It didn't work. I stand accused of advocating murder. I'm actually advocating in favor of expanding the list of capital ofences. An apple was lost. C'est la vie.

I meant for it to be a fur flying, policy debate. To me there is no question that it is needed. When and how to apply it are more important.
 
Cris Bessette
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I'll start out by saying I am a pacifist, I hate war, violence of all kinds, If I find a bug in the house, I pick it up and carry it outside.

To me, the whole point of having a justice system is to have consistency in laws and punishments.
Vigilantes and vengeance lead to random violence that could be worse than the original offense.

The justice system is not perfect, far from it, but still, its much more rational than heat-of-the-moment reactions.
How many people have been killed over misunderstandings or bad information?
"Hey, I bet that damn hippy looking guy over there did it, lets beat him up!"

So... capital punishment.

Being a pacifist, any kind of killing is immoral to me, but admittedly, in cases such as the mass murderer in Norway, it wouldn't bother me too much.
On the other hand, once you execute the bad guy, then he cannot be punished anymore.

I guess one consideration would be "Does the threat of execution reduce the amount of violent crime?"
When someone is considering doing some horrible crime, do they really sit and think, "maybe I shouldn't cause I might get caught and executed!"

The other consideration is that there are known cases of innocent people being executed for crimes they did not commit- you can't un-execute someone
if there is a mistake, you CAN let them out of a life prison sentence.



 
wayne stephen
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Personally , I think we can all express our opinions on controversial matters without flying fur or boxing matches . The fact that another person has polar opposite views on a subject does not get my undies in a bunch . As Thomas Jefferson said " It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg ". Dales views do not seem that shocking to me . Many people want to see the death penalty expanded , many want it abolished . This forum was created so we can have a place to voice our thoughts clearly and have a mature , healthy market place of ideas . Why is there any need for flying fur or to let someone else take the first blows ? Let's just voice our opinions and let others voice theirs . When it comes to abortion and the death penalty, there has been raging debate for so long - what's new under the sun ? I have been voicing my opinions on these topics for well over 40 years . Haven't lost any fur or obtained any black eyes yet .
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Dale, et al,

I will admit first to only scanning this post thread, as I find many like this started as a way to "start controversy," "create strife," and "stir-up issues" within any group...

Dale that may, or maynot be your goal but seldom, without intimate knowledge of your peers in such discussions as this, are they, "fruitful or productive," in the areas of "social justices," or in expanding the "human consciousness."

I did give Matu Collins first comment a big fat "apple," as the points made with it are my own in many ways and very germane.

As I have taken the time to right this much...I will add my views (for what little they are worth in the current condition of the "human species,"--that I plan never to come back to again when reincarnated until we learn to be more "animal," than "human," as the "animal," is more honest and noble than we have yet learned to be...)

I am male ♂, so until the "youngling" can draw breath and crawl on its own, it has no regard to me other than what the female decides...period. (In other words...a woman's right to choose...no male voice allowed!!!)


As for the "murder penalty," I find it arkan and barbarak, yet believe that we need better psychological vetting of "law enforcement," and should support the use of "deadly force," in a much broader context than we do...

In other words, if we had the "law enforcement" we should have culturally (as my cultures had the "warrior caste" which was an honor to be in) offenders caught in the act of hanis crimes would only get (sometimes) one warning to "cease and desist, or would be "pursued with extreme prejudice with sanction imminent," for their acts against others. Our court systems would be less burdened, offenders would think twice about their crimes as "super optimism" that root element of the "criminal personality" and their mind suffers from would relate to this at a deeper cognitive level.)

If capture or surrender is conducted, it is our duty, obligation, and paramount to a civil society to care for them as long as "they choose" to live. (Suicide or "assisted suicide" should be legal) WE ARE OUR BROTHER AND SISTERS KEEPER...until they choose otherwise.

I have worked in the legal system, even with inmates on "Death Row," and the "criminally insane" of both adults and youth. No matter how incredibly vial and insidious an act maybe does not change the fact that they are a living being, they are not "mentally well or stable," and there for need the supervision of others to conduct themselves accordingly. In other words they have been born with either no, or an aberit "locus of control," within the social order. This is not a flaw that deserves death, but care, concern, and study.

As for our penal systems being a burden on society...than is our choice, not all are. Many (if not all) could be self sustaining by growing their own food, making there own clothing and essentials, etc (a few do this.) It was not until Big Business, Industry, and politics got involved that these systems became "parasitic" on society. Remove those three elements and the system would change dramatically for the better.

I step off my soap box...
 
Dale Hodgins
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For me, it's just as much about closure for the victims and their families as it is about what to do with a citizen who commits horrible crimes. I think their right to peace of mind is far more important than whether pacifists find the process upsetting. The TV drags out every execution. Imagine if those resources were put to some positive end.

I like to look at the money that is spent on prison for life, and compare it to the cost of education or other things that public money is spent on. Here in Canada about 10 people could have their tuition paid for what it costs to keep a lifer locked up. So, if the guy spends 20 years in prison, we've spent enough to educate 40 people. This could be done with medical procedures, child care, tree planting ... It just seems like such a waste.

The prison option assumes that they will remain there. With murderers, that sometimes happens. Rapists and arsonists are usually released at some point. I had a barn that was torched by a serial arsonist within a week of his release from custody. Three fires later they had him again. He had been locked up twice before. If he had been executed, my stuff wouldn't have burnt. I don't blame the crazy guy, I blame all of those who decided it was acceptable to allow him to start more fires. He's not going to stop.

I guess I should now state that I don't see insanity as a reasonable defense. Even if the guy is frothing at the mouth and trying to bite. To me, that's further evidence that this one is not fixable. Hang em high.

Hey, what about some sort of Roman Arena type stuff for the worst ones. This could help to fund the rest of the prison system. I'm thinking of running for office and need a running mate. Any takers ?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Edit --- The powers that be, would like me to tone it down. I will now leave this topic in your capable hands. But first an excerpt from a poem about the life and death struggle of WW1.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae --- Here's George. I just found out that he has many good ideas on how to accomplish this nasty business. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDO6HV6xTmI I'm not sure if he agrees with me, or I'm being made fun of. And I like him either way.
 
Cris Bessette
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Dale Hodgins wrote:For me, it's just as much about closure for the victims and their families as it is about what to do with a citizen who commits horrible crimes. I think their right to peace of mind is far more important than whether pacifists find the process upsetting. The TV drags out every execution. Imagine if those resources were put to some positive end.


Does revenge punishment really give people "peace of mind"? Eye for an eye seems so bronze age to me.

Dale Hodgins wrote:
I like to look at the money that is spent on prison for life, and compare it to the cost of education or other things that public money is spent on. Here in Canada about 10 people could have their tuition paid for what it costs to keep a lifer locked up. So, if the guy spends 20 years in prison, we've spent enough to educate 40 people. This could be done with medical procedures, child care, tree planting ... It just seems like such a waste.


That is a good point: Obviously, it will cost less to just kill someone than keep them in prison till they die. However, I think using execution as a cost saving method for prison systems seems barbaric.
Stop the drug war- educate people with that money.


Dale Hodgins wrote:
The prison option assumes that they will remain there. With murderers, that sometimes happens. Rapists and arsonists are usually released at some point. I had a barn that was torched by a serial arsonist within a week of his release from custody. Three fires later they had him again. He had been locked up twice before. If he had been executed, my stuff wouldn't have burnt. I don't blame the crazy guy, I blame all of those who decided it was acceptable to allow him to start more fires. He's not going to stop.


Again, killing people vs keeping in (or getting them mental healthcare) seems barbaric in comparison. That arsonist needs to be locked up in a mental hospital, not a prison that does nothing to "fix" them.


Dale Hodgins wrote:
I guess I should now state that I don't see insanity as a reasonable defense. Even if the guy is frothing at the mouth and trying to bite. To me, that's further evidence that this one is not fixable. Hang em high.
Hey, what about some sort of Roman Arena type stuff for the worst ones. This could help to fund the rest of the prison system. I'm thinking of running for office and need a running mate. Any takers ?


Killing the mentally ill is one step from eugenics. I'd like to think we've evolved beyond the Nazis.

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Dale Hodgins wrote:For me, it's just as much about closure for the victims and their families as it is about what to do with a citizen who commits horrible crimes. I think their right to peace of mind is far more important than whether pacifists find the process upsetting. The TV drags out every execution. Imagine if those resources were put to some positive end.


"Closure" and "revenge" are "buzz words," of the media...

Work with some actual victims and ask them if there is ever any "closure." Seldom if ever is there...just a gaping hole where the violence removed something precious from them. Killing a human, a dog, a bear, or destroying even a knife because it "cut you," is a primitive response to an a'act of change." "Change" happens...sometimes peacefully with balance and grace...sometimes with extreme violence and ferocity...how we respond afterwords reflects the being we are, or are trying to become...

The taking of life of a perpetrator of violence (rape, murder, etc.) - during and act- should not be done because it is the "right thing to do," or "for the purpose of revenge" (in some primitive mindset) it is done to stop them from the current act, from ever doing it again, and to cease the cycle of violence they and the victim are trapped in. However, this does not happen "lightly," nor should a civil society ever condone "premeditated murder," after the fact.

Dale Hodgins wrote:I like to look at the money that is spent on prison for life, and compare it to the cost of education or other things that public money is spent on. Here in Canada about 10 people could have their tuition paid for what it costs to keep a lifer locked up. So, if the guy spends 20 years in prison, we've spent enough to educate 40 people. This could be done with medical procedures, child care, tree planting ... It just seems like such a waste.


Again, "money" is a non-issue, and created by us. If we want the penal system to change...then we are the ones to change it. They are the burden we make and let them be on us. They do not have to be. They could even be productive...if we let them. Remove "politics," and "money making schemes out of the system," and it would become homeostatic.

Dale Hodgins wrote:The prison option assumes that they will remain there. With murderers, that sometimes happens. Rapists and arsonists are usually released at some point. I had a barn that was torched by a serial arsonist within a week of his release from custody. Three fires later they had him again. He had been locked up twice before. If he had been executed, my stuff wouldn't have burnt. I don't blame the crazy guy, I blame all of those who decided it was acceptable to allow him to start more fires. He's not going to stop.


Really Dale

A barn, and "stuff" or even a thousand barns and a thousand different things is not worth a life...human or otherwise. I would burn a barn down (they are my livelyhood) before even killing a dog. I can make a barn (and stuff) I can't make either a dog or a human come back to this life. Make them pay for their crimes, make them productive, help them or keep them locked up...killing them is not the solution...or ethical.

Dale Hodgins wrote:I guess I should now state that I don't see insanity as a reasonable defense. Even if the guy is frothing at the mouth and trying to bite. To me, that's further evidence that this one is not fixable. Hang em high.
Hey, what about some sort of Roman Arena type stuff for the worst ones. This could help to fund the rest of the prison system. I'm thinking of running for office and need a running mate. Any takers ?


Dale, I am simply disgusted by that comment. I do hope in time you can find a more inlightened and peacfuly path to follow. I would very much second Cris Bessette comments:


Cris Bessette wrote:Killing the mentally ill is one step from eugenics. I'd like to think we've evolved beyond the Nazis.


 
R Scott
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A barn, and "stuff" or even a thousand barns and a thousand different things is not worth a life...human or otherwise.


True. One could argue that eventually that behavior WILL kill someone and probably be right. This is the slippery slope towards pre-crime and thought crime. Unclean thoughts might be a sin (depending on your religion), but in no place should they be a crime.

Work with some actual victims and ask them if there is ever any "closure." Seldom if ever is there...


Unfortunately, true as well. The hole that needs closure is in the victim's soul, and external actions can't do that.

 
Landon Sunrich
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:
In other words, if we had the "law enforcement" we should have culturally (as my cultures had the "warrior caste" which was an honor to be in) offenders caught in the act of hanis crimes would only get (sometimes) one warning to "cease and desist, or would be "pursued with extreme prejudice with sanction imminent," for their acts against others. Our court systems would be less burdened, offenders would think twice about their crimes as "super optimism" that root element of the "criminal personality" and their mind suffers from would relate to this at a deeper cognitive level.)

If capture or surrender is conducted, it is our duty, obligation, and paramount to a civil society to care for them as long as "they choose" to live. (Suicide or "assisted suicide" should be legal) WE ARE OUR BROTHER AND SISTERS KEEPER...until they choose otherwise.



Jay, I have read through all of your opinions on this an find them to be respectable and by no means am looking to pick a fight with your view. BUT the idea of a 'warrior class' for law enforcement kinda scares the hell out of me and here's why:

We already have what amounts to an institutionalized warrior class of law enforcement. In fact they get more warlike by the day it seems like - nastier cars, bigger guns, blacker uniforms, and more body armor. So they are already a warrior class. They also (like many insular 'classes' or groups) self protect. To my mind a PEACE OFFICER (ie not a soldier in wartime) should be held to standards as high as if not much higher than the average civilian.

I don't know which state you live in - but many states - mine included, have pretty week self defense laws. I can be tried and jailed for defending myself - especially if it can be construed that I had the ability to retreat. Yet an officer (or two or five) can shoot a homeless woodcarver with a penknife in a public park and get off scott free. This is a warrior class run wild.

This worries me for a number of reasons. Here are two personal examples.

First - a friend of mine recently called me very upset. See an old friend of theirs who had never quite made it out of societies rut had just been shot to death. He was in his mid 20s and had been stealing checks from his parents and using them to feed an addiction to prescription pills. The parents got tired of it and where having a hard time dealing with their son who was in a very emotional, confused, probably drugged state. They called the police to get their son out of their home since he was being belligerent and hope maybe to get him a little help. Five armed and armored police came while the parent were away and banged on the door demanding to enter. The occupant refused. The police kicked down the door. The occupant picked up a kitchen knife. The FIVE ARMED AND ARMORED PEACE OFFICERS shot him to death with over 17 bullets in his body in his parents home. I bet they wish they never picked up the phone. This to me, is so totally FUCKED.

And it brings me to my second concern.

See I'm fundamentally a pacifist too. I have a first do no harm sort of Philosophy. It's how I've lived my life. This is not the same thing as not believing in the right of self defense. At least from my point of view.

In 3 week a bank which I had never heard of before 2009 is going to foreclose and auction the only home I've ever know. I live and work here and have never been party to any debt. I thus do not acknowledge that they have any right to do this. I'm not going anywhere. This is my home.

Now fast forward a couple of months. You know what I'm going to have staring me down? A bunch of warrior class Police knocking at the door demanding I surrender my life and my liberty to pursue happiness within the circumstances I was born too. Now I will be posting all manor of niceties on the door - no trespassing, the US bill of rights, the UN declaration of human rights, a personal statement, some choice quotes from the architects of our nation. But I'm fairly certain these mighty servant warriors are just going to go ahead and kick down the door anyway. And when they do my dog - who is a warrior with perfect honor by nature - will go for them. And if anyone, uniformed or not breaks into my lifelong home and brings harm to the property and occurrence within - I will defend myself, my property, and the other lives which are my dependence.

So I see real danger in this idea of a professional warrior class based on how I see it used in our society on a day to day basis.

And Dale, I would totally be into the idea of Arena combat - sometime when I'm not busy taking the moral high ground and doing my best to non-violently resist an oppressive destructive society I start thinking that I was made for bloodsport. To bad I'm a United Statesian. I tell you what, once we annihilate the currency for good and all, adopt Spanish as a second official national language and start functioning as a N.A.U I'll totally think about running for office with you. :p

Alright I'm off to do some touch up work and barrow a video camera. This philosophizing is exhausting and I'm feeling like actions not words are in order. I'll try and get some video up tonight.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Landon, they'll kill your dog and maybe you. If there's an unpaid mortgage, they will successfully seize it. I can't see how fighting this will serve you in any way. Pick a winable battle.
 
Matu Collins
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I am a big advocate for both life and for freedom. There are two sides of each in this case. The life of the person doing the crime and the life of the victim/victims, and the freedom to act and the freedom from the criminal activities of others. All of these things are important and I don't have all the policy answers.

Prison as it is practiced here seems like a bad answer. A place where people could be rehabilitated would be ideal but there are so many complications on the path to acheiving that.

I find it hard to accept the idea that killing a person against their will is morally acceptable. I don't feel vengeance like that. I'm not casting judgement on people who think differently from me, just saying how I feel.

Here is a video that is an illustration of ideas similar to mine about power and vengeance


Here is a metaphor that illustrates my thoughts about capital punishment and punishment in general:
I have been growing fruit trees for about twelve years. At first I had a terrible aversion to pruning. I felt like the trees didn't want me to cut their branches. I felt like I was hurting the trees. I read a bunch of mainstream and organic-y books about trees and they all advocated pruning. I asked all the farmers and experts I could find about how they pruned, asked to watch asked a bunch of silly questions. I started to feel good about a little pruning. I began to see good places to prune, like when two branches rub each other in the wind and reopen their wounds together in every storm, and how to create an open form that air can flow through. Long cold snaps in February began to please me much more. I learned that good pruning is an art and a science.

And then! I read permaculture texts about how if a tree is never pruned and trained properly, its pruning needs through its life are very minimal! Unpruned trees don't grow all that new little growth all the time that needs to be pruned...ah! So my tiny trees and future trees will be a different story, no pruning necessary unless something goes wrong. I have the care of a number of trees that have been improperly pruned for decades, so I will continue to learn and gain skills, but I have seen the hope of a better way.

Maybe in a world where punishment happens early and often to most people, they will continue to need punishment. Maybe people can grow so stunted and crooked that they can bear no fruit and we are better off cutting them down. I feel an aversion to this idea in the same deep core of myself that recoiled long ago at the feel of pruning a healthy branch because it wasn't in the right place. It turns out there may be a better way with trees and I think that there is hope for a better way with people.

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Landon,

I read your post, and thought twice about responding, as you did not understand (or even quote me properly) from my first...yet for the benefit of other readers and to illustrate some contradictions in you comments I think I must...

I said "warrior caste," within the context of, "my culture," (Kiowa Comanche.) I did not say "warrior class," which has a completely different context and meaning among "Anglo culture" today. If you do not know anything about "warrior castes" of Native People, you do not have any bearing, or understanding to take the position you did, or make many of the assumptions you have made about me or my remarks. Get your facts strait, no well about the references you make, and think through properly the foundations you layout about the positions of others (and yourself? as you do not sound much like a pacifist in any way.)

BUT the idea of a 'warrior class' for law enforcement kinda scares the hell out of me and here's why:


If they (law enforcement) are (and they should be) well vetted and trained, a law abiding citizens should worry little of them except if we counter the statutes of law we have agreed to live by within society. Act outside the parameters of the law (I have in my youth) accept the consequences of those actions with dignity and honesty about them (I did within the confines of civil - yet unlawful- protest.)

We already have what amounts to an institutionalized warrior class of law enforcement. In fact they get more warlike by the day it seems like - nastier cars, bigger guns, blacker uniforms, and more body armor.


Not even remotely close...go to a place like Syria, or Uzbekistan, and see a little more of the world and its different "police states," before you spend to much time "ragging" on what flaws we have here (which we (you?) can change if you play an active role in challenging them, and not simply complaining.)


To my mind a PEACE OFFICER (ie not a soldier in wartime) should be held to standards as high as if not much higher than the average civilian.


Absolutely, and most are if you take the time to know them, interact with them, or better yet serve in some capacity to be part of this service to your community. Law enforcement, and other civil care organizations have all levels of participation for those that would care to be, "part of solutions," and not just complain about why everything is broken and not to their liking.


I don't know which state you live in...



Really...

That demonstrates just how active an observer you are trying to be, and whether you are actually "open channel" to other points of view, and perspectives. I live in Thetford, Vermont which is well published right under my name, and all over my profiles, both here on Permies and on the web.

but many states - mine included, have pretty week self defense laws. I can be tried and jailed for defending myself -


Only as weak as you allow them to become, and only as dysfunctional as you allow yourself to understand them as they are. There is not a state in all 50 that within the proper parameters of an act of violence against me or another citizen I could not take "extreme measures" and not only be within my rights, but would also get support from law enforcement to do so. Yet "I do" take the time to know and understand what those parameters are, how they function, and what law enforcement would expect of me during such an event. Running away is the first thing any smart (human or animal) tries to do in conflict...seek a place of safety to regroup and evaluate the next step. (That is also what a pacifist is always suppose to do...and you said you are one of those...right?)

I live in Vermont for one of the primary reasons of its extremely liberal and welcoming open laws from same sex marriage (which can improve) to gun laws (not that I ever carry or need to carry one)...more so than even a state like Texas. Yet oddly you never see guns like you do in Texas, nor here folks ranting about them (we are a free concealment state from Grandmother to anyone over 21 years of age willing to go through training and a background check...and many Grandmothers and others do carry!) We are one of the most passive, kind, and loving states in the all of the United States, with very liberal laws for recognizing the rights of others, care for others, yet this is the last state you would want to cross the average person in the "wrong way," as you are very likely to be shot, and/or arrested by a simple citizen before "law enforcement" even got on scene.

... especially if it can be construed that I had the ability to retreat. Yet an officer (or two or five) can shoot a homeless woodcarver with a penknife in a public park and get off scott free... This is a warrior class run wild.


That is just silly...

Are there horrible mistakes made by law enforcement, absolutely, and the media has a field day with those events, often blowing them way out of proportion.

Your first story was a very sad one, yet totally understandable (and justifiable) from a law enforcement point of view. You do not have to like it...most of them (law enforcement) don't even like it (it is very hard for most normal people and they are normal people, to take a human life)...yet that is exactly what is expected of law enforcement as they are the ones I want to go home at night to see there families...not the person trying to work "the system," there way around the laws, or threatening others because they broke the law.

If I have a knife and there are, as you put it, "FIVE ARMED AND ARMORED PEACE OFFICERS," and I was in a "criminal rage" of some fashion, one of them is guaranteed dead before they even take their first shot. Does every citizen have that type of training and skill set? Of course not, but they are expected to act as if anyone with a weapon is very able, meaning to cause harm with it, and has the skills to do it. It is the only prudent thing for them to do, that is if they expect to stay alive with the many "demented, and warped minds" that are out there they are expected to subdue, and control for the sake of the rest of us. That is why, logically and simply, you may have a 17 year old that "only had a knife" with more than 5 bullet wounds after an altercation. No knife...no weapon...compliance (a for of retreat) and seldom do you get shot.

See I'm fundamentally a pacifist too...I have a first do no harm sort of Philosophy...It's how I've lived my life.


Really? You are? Then how do you justify these comments of yours that came very closely behind the above?

And when they do my dog - who is a warrior with perfect honor by nature - will go for them...And if anyone, uniformed or not breaks into my lifelong home and brings harm to the property and occurrence within - I will defend myself, my property, and the other lives which are my dependence...

And Dale, I would totally be into the idea of Arena combat... I start thinking that I was made for bloodsport...


Talk about mixed signals? If you let your dog attack anyone, then you are anything but a pacifist...especially a police officer trying to do there job.

I was raised in my native culture, but also within the teachings of "the Tao" and the philosophies of Buddhism. They are "true" pacifist, and I try my best to have always lived that way since I was a child, when working with the Amish in my youth, to fulfilling obligation to Buddhist Monks, and yes even when I served my country as a United States Marine, I kept a "passive heart," and as my Taoist teacher taught me in 1968:

" always be humble, and carry kindness and compassion in your heart...even when you must be the opposite of that..."


I am sorry you may be losing your home to a bank...I just lost mine after spending ten years building it, teaching others how to build theirs, all my retirement funds and any other money I could make that I put into it...again to a "disgusting bank" and a very broken capitalist system. That would never give me the right, legally, ethically, or morally to take a violent act (or the act of my dog) out on a local Sheriff, or other law enforcement official just trying to do their job...that is a criminal act, separate from what the bank has done to both of us...
 
David Livingston
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I just want to make a couple of points not covered so far .
One of the problems I have with the issue of capital punishment is what happens when a mistake is made ? You cannot go back and give someone their life back.
I also agree with JC the issue of healthcare for prisoners is a red herring . In my opinion healthcare should be a right for all like breathing . Its a simple as that, there is no morality in a devil take the hindmost position .

David
 
Landon Sunrich
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Jay,

I'm sorry I misinterpreted your words and what you meant by warrior class. Certainly there is a vast difference between a culture like the one we have in the united states and a tribal culture such as in the hills and valleys of central asia. I have never been to any of those places. I have been to countries with a very large very present para-military police force and system. Several of them. Egypt and Turkey being two of note. Generally these countries are stable but not free. I have seen these mechanisms used against peaceful protest with my own eyes. I have, just in my lifetime, seen my country come more into line with this model and it is not a model I am entirely comfortable with. I also have to disagree with you about the imbalanced use of force often used by those who are sanctioned to use it. Prison guards are confronted with maniacs with makeshift weapons all the time - there are no guns allowed in the cell blocks and so they deal with these situations in a way which does not require them.

I see that you live in Vermont - I suppose I should have said more along the lines of "I have no idea of the interpretation and implementation of the law where you live"

Yes- I absolutely consider myself a pacifist and I take personal responsibility to try to deescalate any dangerous situation I find myself in. The alternative is often far too costly. However I believe for the state to bring violence and discord into a situation which is otherwise peaceful and harmonious is an abuse of power. My dog is genetically programed to defend against attacks, I can not teach him to distinguish between a stranger with a gun come to use force and do harm and one with a badge and uniform. If I where to invite this person into my house he would behave - if they decide to kick down a locked door he will react. This is his nature.

Now I know just about every officer in my community. I grew up. They know me. I've never had any sort of criminal history or done violence to another person or living being. I even personally like most of the officers in this community feeling that they are good moral people of sound judgement. I can not see a justification for using force in a situation such as mine where I am a peaceful productive member of the community. Most people in my community are over 65. They all know who they can call when they need something heavy moved, or christmas lights strung, or whatever. I do it and I take what they can afford to pay me. And its defiantly not enough to pay a mortgage or buy a piece of land of my own.

What it boils down to for me is that any lawful officer should be charged with keeping the peace, not disrupting it. I can have a calm conversation from behind a locked door - as soon as anyone (especially someone who is armed - I am not) starts kicking it down though I no longer feel secure in my person. Which I have a right to be.

Just my perspective.
 
Sam Barber
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http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty/us-death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-cost
A 2003 legislative audit in Kansas found that the estimated cost of a death penalty case was 70% more than the cost of a comparable non-death penalty case. Death penalty case costs were counted through to execution (median cost $1.26 million). Non-death penalty case costs were counted through to the end of incarceration (median cost $740,000).
(December 2003 Survey by the Kansas Legislative Post Audit)
In Tennessee, death penalty trials cost an average of 48% more than the average cost of trials in which prosecutors seek life imprisonment.
(2004 Report from Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Office of Research)
In Maryland death penalty cases cost 3 times more than non-death penalty cases, or $3 million for a single case.
(Urban Institute, The Cost of the Death Penalty in Maryland, March 200
In California the current sytem costs $137 million per year; it would cost $11.5 million for a system without the death penalty.
(California Commission for the Fair Administration of Justice, July 200


I wanted to make an argument on two different flanks the moral flank and the financial flank as you can see from the above data, which is also reflected by most death penalty pricing, convicting and housing a prison for life in a murder case is almost always two or three times cheaper then convicting someone and putting them to death in a similar non death penalty case. So that being said I would say that the death penalty is not a useful tool for punishing convicted murderers.

"Convicted" that is what you have to be before you can be sentenced to death. As of right now there is no 100% infallible way for the court system to decide whether or not you committed a crime or didn't commit a crime. Short of murdering someone in public with dozens of witness watching you as well as video showing you do it and you and or you admitting guilty to said crime, There will always be the possibility that you the person who was convicted didn't do it! Since the 1970's there have been over 300 people who were convicted of a murder and later proven innocent by new evidence and DNA testing. http://www.innocenceproject.org/
Humans are not perfect creatures and I think that groups of humans aren't perfect either. I don't think that anyone's death should be dependent on several lawyers, a judge, and twelve "peers" . I also think that it is not right for a government to have the power to take human life unless it is necessary to protect human life at that particular moment. I also don't think it is right for the government to do alot of things but that is for a different thread...

I think that being, arrested, put on trial, imprisoned, and then executed for a crime you knew nothing about is something that every one should think about when they talk about the death penalty. I think that would be one of the worst things that could happen to you!
So yes I oppose the death penalty!
-Sam
 
Matu Collins
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That is why my state, Rhode Island doesn't have the death penalty. The last time we executed someone it was the wrong guy.
 
Sam Barber
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Matu Collins wrote:That is why my state, Rhode Island doesn't have the death penalty. The last time we executed someone it was the wrong guy.

that is one of the reason michigan doesn't have it.
 
Landon Sunrich
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I have been thinking on this one of late as I recently had a rousing discussion on the judicial system as a whole. And, since congress seems all in vogue to to make 'law' the issue occupy the news cycle for a couple weeks along sides midterm elections, I thought I would try a sally on that tact.

Supreme Law of the United States of America
(since most engaged in this thread, though not the OP, are United States citizens, and as we additionally do like ourselves as 'the shinning example' in such matters.

Bill of Rights: Article 8,
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


So first. We can all agree being sentenced to die is a a punishment, yes?

Cool.

So let's sink into those other two words for a second cruel and unusual.

Wikipedia defines Cruel as "An indifference to suffering"
Websters is similar
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cruel

Somewhat subjective perhaps, this "Cruelty"
I would suggest that any death, purposefully inflicted, that is longer or more painful than absolutely necessary given the situation could be considered to be cruel.

But Unusual ?
Websters:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unusual

"Not usual. Not usually occurring"

That one can be backed up by statistics!

Completely tangentially wouldn't anyone who had sworn an oath of office (congressmen, senators, judges) who had knowingly violated this Article by voting for a bill, upholding a decision in court, et cetera, be in Violation of their oaths to "protect uphold and defend" these traditional provisions? Certainly this could include at least one president and vice president, as well as dozens of seated Senators and Congressfolk et all.

I have a thread going which may be more appropriate to such musings;

http://www.permies.com/t/35190/Politics/constitution-interpretation




Edit: And... I'm tired... Less fleshed out than intended but perhaps fuel for conversation non-the-less

Edit 2: Some content added. I guess I'm just exhausted not tired.
 
Dave Burton
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I think the purpose of a penitentiary is to quarantine risky individuals and rehabilitate them into properly functioning and productive citizens. In my view, disorder is a symptom of hidden and/or unspoken societal, governmental, and cultural problems that have not been resolved in a manner begetting mutual respect and benefits for all parties involved.

Also, in my perspective, it would be cheaper and more economical to make use of the labour forces in penitentiaries rather than letting them sit around and get killed. Killing costs money, prisons cost money; why not make money off of them? Growing up in Louisiana, after storms and hurricanes, our state government put our volunteers and prisoners on the streets to cleanup and repair the cities. As an aside note, when the toilets would not flush in some schools, they got a lot of prisoners to go to the schools with buckets to flush the toilets.
 
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