Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

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Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:53 am

I was having a discussion with a friend over this: I am an advocate for capital punishment, administered by the governing authorities, for those who are TRULY guilty of murder. People are free to disagree with me on this. My friend who I was chatting with is against it; his idea is that it is unethical and there is too much room for someone being falsely accused of murder, and then being executed as an innocent person. I acknowledge this has happened and it is tragic. My position is that if someone is definitely proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have murdered others; ie, intentionally taken the life of another human being in a pre-meditated way, then they should be arrested and receive the death sentence administered by the government. My friend believes that at the very most they should receive life in prison without the possibility of parole, if they are proven to have committed murder.

What are your views on this? For example: Is the death penalty if properly administered without error and without abuse a deterrant to future potential killers? I believe so. I mean, it makes logical sense: Unless they are absolutely mentally irrational, what person in their right mind would want to murder another human being, knowing that they themselves would be captured and executed? I know some disagree on this.

Also, if such capital punishment is to be carried out, which method is the best and most consistent, and best for the ruling authorities to use? Old time hanging and firing squad, electric chair ("Old Sparky"), lethal injection, guillotine, or others?

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby awa54 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:32 am

How many people who carefully premeditate a murder are not mentally ill in some sense? How many people who commit murder in the heat of the moment are thinking about the future repercussions?

100% without error is a very difficult goal to reach in the legal system.

That said, I do believe that certain individuals are truly irredeemable and it is both less costly to society and more humane to end their lives.

Correctly administered lethal injection or "gas" *should* be the most humane methods.
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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby wrdwrght » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:39 am

Evidently not, but it is very Old Testament.

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby The Deacon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:13 pm

It's definitely a deterrent to recidivism. Show me one case where someone who was executed for a crime has gone on to commit another.

As for quick and certain, although I'm not sure most of who commit capital crimes deserve either, strap 'em in a chair with a 12 gauge shotgun behind it aimed at the base of their skull and a solenoid to pull the trigger. Have if fired on a timer, six people flip switches, a few seconds later the gun goes off. Nobody knows whose switch, or switches, actually triggered the shot.
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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby Midnightrider » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:47 pm

I agree with the first paragraph of Deacon's post and he said it so well all I have to do is say yeah, what he said.
Last edited by Midnightrider on Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby demoncase » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:47 pm

Guys, is this in keeping with 'shiny footprints' and the spirit of the forum rules regarding politics?....

I'm am not a mod or an admin, but I think subjects like this are best left alone online- but doubly so on the haven of calm that is the Spyderco boards

If I'm being overly sensitive then feel free to say "There, there princess- dry yer eyes" ;)
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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby Midnightrider » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:48 pm

It's off topic so by definition it belongs here :D
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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby ChrisinHove » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:00 pm

Cannot the death penalty create an even deadlier "nothing less to lose" mentality in those already inclined to extreme violence?

On the other hand, it it isn't considered a deterrent, why is it still carried out by some western jurisdictions. Cost saving?

I understand the desire of the victim/relatives of the victim for vengeance via the death penalty, and would most definitely share it, but until that time I am uncomfortable with it for various reasons.

1. Risk of miscarriage of justice. Just getting it wrong, or mischievous accusations getting out of hand.
2. I don't believe a society can ban life-taking whilst instigating it, whilst fully retaining it's own integrity.
3. It's always down to one person who either pulls the trigger, flips the switch, signs the warrant, casts the deciding vote, or declines the last appeal. I have no right to ask that.
4. Risk of inappropriate use #1. Corrupt politicians, police, judiciary? Never happens, does it? Put a few of them together....
5. Risk of inappropriate use #2. A person can be a terrorist, a freedom fighter, a patriot, a criminal, a threat to a state and a beacon of hope, all at the same time. In such a case, any verdict is political. History also has a habit of making useful statesmen out of "terrorists".

I recognise that I am fortunate enough to live in a very safe and unarmed society. YMMV.

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby TheRaven » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:25 am

The Deacon wrote:It's definitely a deterrent to recidivism. Show me one case where someone who was executed for a crime has gone on to commit another.
LOL. I agree 100% with this!

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby Tdog » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:43 am

For me, those convicted of capital, or first degree murder should pay the ultimate price, and the punishment should be carried out swiftly. I am also in favor of public floggings and long term prison sentences of politicians regardless of party (many) who fail to follow, or break the oath of office (Support and defend the Constitution) to which they have sworn.

My son is in law enforcement and all too often sees criminals set free or given a slap on the wrist by liberal judges who fail to impose just sentences. If you do the crime, you should to the time! No more early "outs for good behavior." People aren't imprisoned for "good behavior". All sentences should be time plus a day. Needless to say, I'm not much on the criminal element. :rolleyes:

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:56 pm

To me it's become a very complex issue. Because idealistically I think the death penalty should apply to several heinous crimes. There was a time in our legal history where even treason carried the death penalty. Since Ethyl and Julius Rosenberg I don't remember anyone who has committed treason who has gotten the death penalty.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s there were two guys who were literally satanic butchers in every sense of the word>> I'm speaking of Kansas City's own Bob Berdella and Milwaukee's own Jeffrey Dahmer. Both were satanists and both were canibals and both were so demented that some of the crimes weren't even revealed to the general public. But both of them skirted the death penalty by making deals with the prosecutors. Both were ultimately killed by prison inmates who even found them utterly disgusting but neither got the death penalties that I feel both richly deserved :(

My point in that brief dialogue of two of the worst serial killers in our nation's history is that the death penalty is selective at a best and there's little or no proof that it does anything to deter crime unfortunately. Now please understand that I personally used to be very pro-death penalty all the way until I started looking at all the problems surrounding it. The costs are unbelievable compared to just locking someone up for life due to appeals and so forth.

And it seems like at best the government just goes through a " Pick & Choose" method of who they feel should really get put to death. As totally corrupt as our justice system has become I'm really not trusting of them to carry out such a dire punishment with some people being able to cut deals and snitch on someone else just to be able to get out of it.

But this is a very interesting discussion for sure and I respect everyone's opinion so far.

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby arnold ziffle » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:58 pm

having worked at san quentin for the last 22 years, and now retired, i had a small part in 11 executions. six hours before the execution i opened the tube door to let the escort detail out from the last visit to the long walk to the chamber. also working with condemned inmates i have a bit of insight into the process and their mindset.

in california it takes more than 20 years or pass sentence and with many appeals any doubt is worked out.

any questions or curiosity feel free to ask.

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby holeshot » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:53 pm

in california it takes more than 20 years or pass sentence and with many appeals any doubt is worked out.
I live in California and don't have a problem with the death penalty. Problem for me is that it cost more to execute an inmate than to keep them in prison for life. So, I'll vote with my wallet.
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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby shunsui » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:38 pm

The impression I'm getting from this discussion is we, as a country, have a much bigger problem in the criminal justice system than the issue of capital punishment. And just like global warming we might be beyond the tipping point.

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby Doc Dan » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:33 pm

At one time we had public executions. I know that was gruesome, but it might have saved a life or two because execution for murder no longer was just something that seemed remote and unreal, but was an abject reality. I am not advocating public executions but people were more aware of the cost of committing murder and rape in America at that time, at the very least.

We have a prison over crowding problem and I will tell you with a certainty what would stop a lot of the crimes people are imprisoned for: caning. If you have ever seen one of these, or heard people talk who were punished thus, you realize that not many would dare go round two on such punishment.
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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby Evil D » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:35 am

It's a tough subject. Ghandi said "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" and that's absolutely the truth. Taking a life just because they took a life, in a way, makes you no different. We call it justice but it really is one life for another. I almost feel like when the crime is murder or other horrific crimes, the punishment actually needs to be less humane. I'm not gonna get you into that because this really isn't the place for it, but often times the people who commit the crime have so little compassion for themselves and their own lives that killing them in return is the easiest way out. When it all boils down, dying is a lot easier than you may think, especially when it's (properly executed) lethal injection...anyone who has been through surgery has experienced what they (should) feel, and in that case I've experienced it 4 times now.

So, I dunno if outright medieval torture is the solution, I feel as a society we've come a long way since those times. But, you can also look back on society in those days and it was a lot less violent and people truly feared the punishment they'd receive for the crime. I honestly just don't think death is the worst punishment someone can get.
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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby The Mastiff » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:32 am

Problem for me is that it cost more to execute an inmate than to keep them in prison for life. So, I'll vote with my wallet.
The reason for that is because they get unlimited legal representation to the tune of tens of millions of dollars by groups opposed to the death penalty who do this just to make it easier to not execute people who often do deserve it. Teams of lawyers and legal assistants, unlimited budgets for PI's, and access to judges placed in the court system just to throw a wrench into the system.

Those same folks won't help the honest citizens who truly need legal representation. Imagine spending 35 million helping an admitted multiple rapist murder stay alive to continue his depredations in the prison system so he has more opportunity to kill and rape. Wait! Prison rape is funny, right? We even laugh about it in cartoons and late night comedy shows so that is fine and dandy. No problem there.

BTW, I'm all for death penalty and hard labor. 10 years hard labor no parole for voter fraud. Death for treason or spying ( not talking about protestors but actual spies and traitors John A. Walker, John Pollard, etc.)

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby bearfacedkiller » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:31 pm

Statistically lethal injection has proven to be an unreliable and inhumane method. It has failed to be either quick or painless multiple times. A well placed bullet has proven to be both quick and reliable.

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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby Doc Dan » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:50 am

We have the technology so that a "firing squad" could be done by a robot or computerized. That way, no person would have to feel the guilt of taking someone's life. I do believe this would be better than drugs or electricity, if not as clean. But even the blood could be contained.
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Re: Death Penalty/Capital Punishment: Does it work as a deterrant to violent crime and murder?

Postby ChrisinHove » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:11 am

arnold ziffle wrote:having worked at san quentin for the last 22 years, and now retired, i had a small part in 11 executions. six hours before the execution i opened the tube door to let the escort detail out from the last visit to the long walk to the chamber. also working with condemned inmates i have a bit of insight into the process and their mindset.

in california it takes more than 20 years or pass sentence and with many appeals any doubt is worked out.

any questions or curiosity feel free to ask.
Going back to the original question ... did you conclude whether or not the death penalty is ever a deterrent?

I wonder whether that if a villain goes out armed, in an armed society, they must know they could face getting shot (possibly dead) anyway.


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