Saturday, September 24, 2011

Troy Davis: "For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls."


This is a guest post by Zach Johnstone:

The last words of Troy Davis, executed in the early hours of Thursday morning, resonate with those who read them precisely because they remind us of the inveterate reality that miscarriages of justice can, and do, take place. Evidence that may at one time seem irrefutable can later be shown to be without foundation or, at the very least, insufficient to warrant the ending of a life. The circumstances surrounding the Davis trial were dubious, the testimonies questionable and the evidence insubstantial. In a fate reminiscent of the case of Teresa Lewis in late 2010 (and countless others), we have been made bluntly aware of the irremediable nature of a death sentence – there are no grey areas when it comes to such a punishment, and no opportunities for reconsideration.

Irrespective of the extent to which Davis was complicit in the murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in Georgia in 1989, the mere possibility of his innocence and the court’s subsequent response is reason enough for us to look closely at the implications of the reinstatement of the death penalty in the United Kingdom. The ambiguity surrounding Davis’ guilt - and the need to explore the case’s wider ethical repercussions - is particularly pertinent given that the two e-petitions seeking debate in Parliament on capital punishment have, at the time of writing, collectively attracted more than 50,000 signatures, a matter upon which His Grace has previously ruminated. But what if such cases were to arise in the UK? Are there incontrovertible benefits to be arrived at by way of sentencing criminals to death? Would it ever be permissible to tacitly consent to the occasional innocent death via wrongful conviction if the overall effect on society was positive?

Without doubt, the most commonly deployed argument from those in favour of capital punishment is its utility as a deterrent against heinous crimes such as rape and murder. On Thursday night’s edition of Question Time, the newly-elected Conservative MP Priti Patel propounded this theory, insisting that if capital punishment were in place a fall in crime would logically follow. She is far from alone; Charlie Wolf, the American broadcaster, wrote yesterday that “one only has to look at studies and statistics concerning murderers who have been let out to kill again to realise that the death penalty does work as a deterrent”. It is a view that is seemingly logically consistent at first glance, yet despite Mr Wolf’s appeal to ‘statistics’, he helpfully fails to offer anything in the way of quantitative data.

A little digging, however, soon reveals that the ‘deterrence’ argument is not as black and white as it is often presented; a study published in 1998 detailing murder rates in the world’s major cities revealed that the number of murders per 100,000 citizens in London stood at 2.1. In Philadelphia, where capital punishment is very much in operation, the figure stood at 27.4. These figures are not, of course, gospel – for one thing, any number of extenuating factors aside from capital punishment – be they social, economic or cultural - could account for such variations. What seems clear, however, is that the deterrence argument is not a trump card. In the face of the threat of death, experience from other countries demonstrates that murders will continue apace, with little evidence that criminals feel put off by the prospect of losing their life.

Yet what of those who readily acknowledge this reality and yet still advocate the reintroduction of capital punishment? The overriding sentiment here is seemingly one of revenge and reprisal borne out of contempt for the perpetrators of atrocious acts of violence. Justification of this viewpoint is in keeping with ‘an eye for an eye’; if you are prepared to end a life, it therefore follows that you must expect yours to end too. There is, I believe, cause to argue that this perspective holds some weight – whilst some may contend that this is no way in which to carry out justice in a civilised society, it is patently observable that those charged with murder thought little of civility when committing the most merciless crimes imaginable. The problem, however, arises when we delve deeper into the implications of a death sentence, given the propensity of legal systems in all countries to (quite frankly) get it wrong. To be placed on death row has, time and time again, proven not to be absolute evidence of guilt, and there is little to suggest that this would change in the United Kingdom.

To take the example of Philadelphia once more, it is interesting to note that between 1986 and 2005 six people were exonerated whilst awaiting execution on death row, narrowly avoiding paying the ultimate price for a crime that they did not commit. These are the (relatively) lucky few, however, and clearly do not represent all innocent people who find themselves erroneously charged with grievous deeds. Whether innocent or, as in the case of Troy Davis, where the evidence gradually dissipates and leaves the principle of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ in tatters, there is a need in any intelligent discussion of capital punishment to acknowledge the axiom that innocent people are, from time to time, on the receiving end of misappropriated death sentences. Where high-profile mass murderers such as Saddam Hussein are concerned, many of us instinctively and unreservedly support execution, however where there is reason to suspect innocence, cases such as that of Troy Davis have demonstrated (if it were needed) the utterly unparalleled consequences of sentencing individuals to death.

If we are to have a sensible debate surrounding the death penalty, there is a fundamental need to learn the lessons of other countries; to recognise the myriad failings of US states, most importantly their failure to categorically determine guilt or innocence in a multiplicity of cases, is essential. We must also dispense with the formulaic notion that capital punishment results in a decline in the number of murders, a notion that runs up against difficulties as soon as it is subjected to quantitative analysis. Evidence would have to be beyond doubt, and no stone left unturned. Ultimately, of course, there is rarely absolute certitude (save in the case of confessions) when it comes to cases of such severity. Whether or not we can abide the loss of the occasional innocent life in order to ensure that the overwhelmingly guilty majority receive a punishment befitting their crime is a pressing issue, and one to which there is no obvious answer. It is for individuals to delve into their consciences, to debate and discuss, and to ultimately arrive at their own moral conclusions. On balance, however, I find myself opposed to the reinstatement of capital punishment: the loss of even one innocent life in the name of retribution is, I believe, too great a price to pay.

(Addendum [by His Grace]: the sad case of Cameron Todd Willingham).

112 Comments:

Blogger whitespacebug said...

I think you're absolutely correct.

24 September 2011 at 09:14  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Just for once.
I agree completely.

The pssibilty of getting it wrong, and excuting innocent people is too great.

24 September 2011 at 09:30  
Blogger martin sewell said...

I respect your view, and would prefer not to have the death penalty, nevertheless I cannot ignore the growth of the murder rate over my lifetime, and since abolition, which has been accompanied by an increasing and relative triviality of sentence for this most grievous and devastating of crimes. Morality does not only consist of taking the emotionally satisfying or easy course of action. It is for this reason that I decided to support the petition for a review of capital punishment.

I truly desire to see the abolitionist argument win through contributions such as your own, evidence of successful alternatives, and statistical re-assurance. I cannot yet say that I have reached that epiphany, but I live in hope.

We shall not have a meaningful debate however unless it is honest, and my disquiet at the one sided approach of the BBC caused me to write on this subject this week.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/21/us-texas-execution-son-idUSTRE78K35B20110921 Please read the links to fully understand the argument.

If I may be critical - in the sense of intellectually curious - I remain concerned that your piece restates the doubt about the reliability of the conviction despite repeated comprehensive re-trials, without giving a substantial basis for that view.

My piece links to Ann Coulter, who, for all her aggressive satire, does seem to have undertaken a rather effective critique of those who too easily join the “ ( Fill criminal’s name in here) Is innocent!” brigade. The BBC is the principle recidivist in this kind of journalism, particularly where US Justice is concerned. I will gladly review any alleged miscarriage of justice, but it is incumbent on those who seek credibility, to present the case with completeness if they are to preserve integrity.

It is, of course, much more effective when compassion is sought by those more closely affected and the reaction of the victim’s son in the case of the other execution that day is powerful. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/21/us-texas-execution-son-idUSTRE78K35B20110921 I suspect that this response is likely to be faith based rather than liberal politics based.

The absence of celebrity anti-death campaigners for unrepentant racist Lawrence Russell Brewer speaks volumes. The BBC comprehensively covered the racist nature of the crime, but not the subsequent judicial impartiality in the execution of the sentence of the law after due process.

24 September 2011 at 10:01  
Blogger non mouse said...

It keeps going through my head: "Christie did it; Christie did it."

24 September 2011 at 10:02  
Blogger Just Wonderful said...

I agree with a great deal of this article, miscarriages of justice do have a finality that cannot be resolved "after the event" as they can in cases where people are wrongly imprisoned.

That aside though I admit that I do wonder why those who are against the death penalty in all circumstances weren't outside the prison protesting on Thrusday morning when Lawrence Russell Brewer was put to death.

If a group, or person claim to be against capital punishment in all situations then to only protest cases where there is a perceived miscarriage of justice detracts from their arguement somewhat.

Obviously I can see how it would be difficult to stand outside a prison and demand that a white supremacist racist not be executed, but I do think it would remove one line of arguement that pro death penalty groups like to use.

In cases like Troy Davis however things do become more difficult. He was found guilty, his case was heard by the Supreme Court and they agreed that the sentence should be carried out. At what point do we accept that the legal procedures that nations and states have put in place are satisfactory?

One very hard truth though is that while the death penalty may not be a deterrent for murder, just as longer sentences may not be a deterrent, it does stop re-offending.

24 September 2011 at 10:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The arguments in the article notwithstanding, the act itself on behalf of all of us is a barbaric and disgusting act. I want no part of it. Not in my name. Even for the most disgusting serial rapists and murderers.

24 September 2011 at 10:43  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Mr Cranmer said ...
"Whether or not we can abide the loss of the occasional innocent life in order to ensure that the overwhelmingly guilty majority receive a punishment befitting their crime is a pressing issue, and one to which there is no obvious answer."

There is an obvious answer and you have arrived at it. Well said, Sir.

24 September 2011 at 10:47  
Blogger ErisGuy said...

That's a fine standard: unless the government can assure to perfection that criminals are guilty that the governmental murder (e.g., the death penalty) can't be applied. I just don't see why it should be restricted to governmental murder.

Why can't it be applied to governmental kidnapping (imprisonment) and governmental theft (taxation). If anywhere at any time an innocent man was imprisoned, then prisons must be abolished (this disgusting practice must end--not in my name). If anywhere at any time one dollar was taken in error by tax authorities, then taxation must be abolished. Theft by government isn't better than theft by thugs.

24 September 2011 at 11:03  
Blogger Preacher said...

IMO many innocent victims have died when the judicial system has been in error, but once the death penalty has been implemented, it's too late to appeal.
When the death penalty was law in Britain, it was often carried out within a short time of the trial, which left little time to reconsider any new evidence.
In the U.S.A the condemned often languishes in jail for twenty years or more. Giving ample time for new evidence but leaving the unfortunate person in a living hell in the shadow of death.
Our law often allows the guilty out to kill again in a relatively short time.
Law is important, but as long as fallible mankind seeks to administer it their will always be miscarriages of justice.
My belief is that life sentences should mean life, but reviewed if evidence contrary to the original establish the innocence of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

Scripture tells us "Thou shall not kill" & this could be translated as "Thou shall not MURDER" a huge difference. Murder is the taking of life in cold blood & with prior planning. Which must include execution by state decree.
The State has a duty to administer justice to protect its people. But not to exact revenge.

24 September 2011 at 11:22  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

I support the reintroduction of the death penalty.
There are many examples of truly evil people who should be executed. The penalty is a deterrent and the current punishments of imprisonment are not. Dead people don't go on to commit further murders. Dead people don't cost society anything, unlike those filling our prisons. I don't think my view is incompatible with being a Christian. Further, victims of crime are more important than the perpetrators.

24 September 2011 at 11:56  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

I'm afraid this piece is typical of those opposed to capital punishment, that is, pretty thought-free.

http://multimedia.savannahnow.com/media/pdfs/DavisRuling082410.pdf

Troy Davis was guilty. He was found guilty by a jury of his peers on all charges. He then had several appeals, all of which found his supposed new evidence to specious.

The supposed recantations (actually affidavits) were in many cases nothing of the kind, but rather a restatement of the evidence given. And when people bring up the figure 7 out of 9, it is worth reminding them that in this case that the state brought 34 witness against Davis. A year long review of the case found that Davis had not only not proved himself innocent as is required with such an appeal, but that the evidence would have failed any test, this despite a year long suspension to investigate the case. Davis even refused to call a key recanting witness, strongly suggesting that the affidavits were lawyer drafted and would not have held up under cross-examination.

The argument for capital punishment is that it is an application of retributive justice; the only punishment fitting a heinous crime (such as shooting a police officer, approaching him and shooting him a few more times to "finish the job") is execution. That this may be misapplied is, as ErisGuy demonstrates, vacuous, unless you're going to forbid imprisonment, as you cannot give people the time back that you've taken away from them. That its misapplication is rare to the point of virtually non-existent is also to be remembered.

I find using Scripture to oppose execution (viz. Preacher) particularly ironic, as God specifically COMMANDS the death penalty for certain crimes in the Pentateuch, and Paul in Romans 13 reaffirms the state's right to "bear the sword". The Jewish word referring to murder does not refer to execution by the state. You can tell that even without knowing Hebrew, simply by the fact that God commands execution, and the state, acting as an agent of God's justice, can carry it out.

24 September 2011 at 12:00  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

http://multimedia.savannahnow.com/media/pdfs/DavisRuling082410.pdf

Apologies for partial link.

24 September 2011 at 12:01  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, a few points. Firstly your communicant is in favour of the re-introduction of the death penalty. His principal reason for this position is that judicial murder is prefereable to summary execution. The almost unlimited trend towards violence in all Western societies has lead to an arms race between the police and violent criminals. As a consequence the police have become increasingly trigger happy, witness the Menendez case. Your communicant believes the police would be less likely to shoot first and ask questions later if they felt there was a chance of capital punishment being applied to convicted offenders. Conceding that this is a less than satisfactory argument, it should however protect the populace from their guardians.

On the other hand its all lies, damn lies and statistics. Zach Johnstone compares Philadelphia today with London in 1998. A case of chalk and cheese if ever there was one. In 1998 London had not achieved the Blairite goal of third world hell. However, even then it is likely that 85% of violent crime was committed by Blacks, as is the case today in London. Your communicant has not been to the city of Philadelphia for many years. He does recall however being shocked at the advice to drive through the red lights in the city centre. Yes, Philadelphia was and is racially segregated with the Blacks living mainly down-town and the Whites in 'burbs called Chestnut Hill and Germantown (is there a city in the US without a Chestnut Hill?). ZJ does not give the racial composition of those 27.4 murders per 100,000, but taking a wild stab one can guess that 90% of victims and assailants will be Black. As it happens, Philadelphia City is 45% White, 43% Black.

Where does this lead us? Well, if the violent crime trend in London is translated into executions it would appears that 85% of those who swing would be Black. Labour, the Lib-Dems and the Beeb will be offended by this lack of diversity.

Justice will be seen to be done, however.

24 September 2011 at 12:02  
Blogger bwims said...

All very emotive to talk about the possibility of an innocent life being lost if we had capital punishment.

I am old enough to remember when it was abolished and we were promised that a life sentence would take these people away from harming others.

I would be content with life meaning life, but apparently human rights cannot stop executions but can stop most indefinite life sentences.

40 years later and the bleeding heart liberals let the scum out to kill again.

So what about discussing the ratio of innocent lives lost to repeat murderers who are let out again as against the small number of innocent lives lost to the hangman?

I believe the balance of lost human lives would be smaller with capital punishment even if you disregard the deterrent/non-deterrent argument.

However, on the "precautionary principle" (with which we are destroying our industry on the basis that they may heat the world up by an immeasurable fraction of a degree) we should _assume_ a deterrent effect _will_ save lives.

The argument seems to boil down to the position that a judicial murder of an innocent man is somehow worse than the guilty murder of many more by criminals let out again.

I beg to disagree; on that basis we would disband the armed forces, since, apart from deaths by collateral damage, every soldier marching against us is an innocent man.

24 September 2011 at 12:38  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I would happily but a noose round the necks of Levi Belfield, Ian Huntley, Ian Brady and their ilk right now, and any one else who is clearly guilty of taking the life of an innocent victim. But there has to be varying degrees of responsibility attributed to the accused in causing the death of another or others.

What I am against is murderers being sentenced to life and being released on parole after 7 years. Agreed,the death penalty is irreversible and as such to any reasonable person it would be a deterrent, but it needs to be seen as more than that. If the death penalty was reintroduced tomorrow,coupled with a life sentence for carrying a gun or knife or similar, criminal attitudes to 'tooling up' would change.

Weapon carriers have a choice to make and should be fully aware that the 'Good Guy's' are not prepared to accept their decision to threaten the very fabric of society with impunity. We need to be drawing a line over which society will not tolerate transgression.

Not that all cases of murder are as a result of carrying a weapon but without doubt the public need to be protected and as has been pointed out, clear cut cases should not be allowed to go unpunished. Leniency that leaves the offender free to murder again either within or out of prison within a few years time serves to protect no one or deliver justice.

Victims families have to live with their loss, while the perpetrators of their 'life sentences' of grief go free to enjoy the human rights they denied to others.

The issue for me is of the quality and strength of the evidence brought to court. The failure of a jury to reach a unanimous verdict should automatically proscribe the DP but that should not necessarily imply a verdict decision of innocence. Life sentencing should mean all of natural life with no parole but with the option for the criminal to elect assisted suicide if they wish it at any time during their imprisonment, would be appropriate and humane.

I'm sick of hearing about the human rights of the criminals as being equal to that of the law abiding - they are not - we should rid ourselves of murdering scumbags without compassion or feelings of guilt, in the same measure they showed towards their victims and their families.

24 September 2011 at 13:23  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Reading DanJo's comment I cannot help by being reminded of the equal passion that liberal thinkers have for not executing clearly guilty murderers - such as Lawrence Russell Brewer, and their equal passion for ridding the world of children who might be born with cleft palates.

The contrast is, shall we say, puzzling.

24 September 2011 at 13:28  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Remember that much of the deterrent effect of capital punishment is vitiated by the long delay between sentencing and execution of sentence. Twenty years is an eternity for those with a short time horizon. Execute sentence within three months and you would see a much different reaction. The delay also has the effect of raising sympathy for the defendant because there is no fresh body bleeding on the street to explain that sentence in graphic terms. The victim has long since been embalmed and sealed away. Instead we watch the clock tick towards the appointed hour of a man's death without the emotional counterbalance provided by the immediacy of his crime.

Even so, deterrence is not the principle case that undergirds the death penalty. The case for the death penalty begins and ends with vicarious retribution. The state stands in the place of the victim and exacts and appropriate punishment for the crime. To exact death is to assert the value of the life destroyed. And yet I for one would be quite willing to forgo the death penalty, but in its place I would want its equivalent. I would want living death. I would want punishment without hope. That means much more than just a sentence of life without parole, for while there is life there is hope. It is not lost on me that those who would convert the sentence of the condemned to life without parole will afterwords quietly seek to remit the sentence of life without parole as well. If the murderer is to live then he must be sentenced to despair. He must be stripped of joy and diversion. He must live with nothing but the certainty of punishment that will never be requited. How do you do that? I don't know. I suspect many here would consider that more cruel than death.

The purpose of punishment is to impose suffering. It is not to restore. It is not to redeem. It is not to correct. Those may be derivative outcomes but they are not the primary purpose. the state is not a father looking to raise his children. It is a judge seeking to impose the demands of justice. The sentence for a crime is intended to exact the suffering demanded by justice for the suffering imposed through the crime. We have lost that sense in the West. We seek first to ameliorate suffering because after all "It won't bring the victim back from the dead." And in the process we despise the very justice that we once sought to defend.

carl

24 September 2011 at 13:39  
Blogger IanCad said...

I believe, that under any rational interpretation of the Eighth Ammendment the execution of Troy Davis was an illegal act.
The penalty for a given crime should be a particular sentence. In the Davis case this was the penalty of death. Fair enough.
Mr. Davis has been in jail for twenty years; in effect a life sentence which is often applied in lieu of a death sentence.
Of course, the delay in implementing the penalty was due to the appeal process and some may dismiss this as irrelevant. I do not and consider two sentences for one crime to be in violation of the "Cruel and Unusual Punishment" clause.

YG, Thanks for remindining us of the Willingham case. It shines a bright light into the dark heart of Gov. Rick Perry.
Unfortunately, it may help him if he gets the republican nod, because, as in most democracies, the bloodthirsty outnumber the merciful.

24 September 2011 at 13:45  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

carl jacobs

"... and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;"


You have a cold and punitive understanding of the purpose of punishment and correction. There is a moral defence of capital punishment but it is not the one you offer.

24 September 2011 at 13:55  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The Way of the Dodo

The state does not pray such things, Dodo. It is an agent of justice that does not carry the sword in vain. As always in these conversations, people confuse the responsibilities of the state with the responsibilities of the individual. They are not the same. I am supposed to turn the other cheek. The Officer of the Law is not. Do you really not understand these things?

The man who is sent to Hell to face an eternity of God's wrath is not sent there to be redeemed. He is sent there to suffer for the sake of justice. Eternally. Is this also a cold and punitive understanding of the purpose of punishment?

carl

24 September 2011 at 14:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Sewer: "Reading DanJo's comment I cannot help by being reminded of the equal passion that liberal thinkers have for not executing clearly guilty murderers - such as Lawrence Russell Brewer, and their equal passion for ridding the world of children who might be born with cleft palates. The contrast is, shall we say, puzzling."

I don't advocate abortion of foetuses with cleft palates so there's a strawman there if you mean to apply that to me as a 'liberal'. I can't speak for other liberals - for 'liberals' you mean 'evil monsters because I disagree with them' I suppose - but the constrast is obvious. A foetus is not a person, at least until a certain stage of development. However, a murderer is a person and no question about it. In fact, a murderer was once a foetus too! Imagine that. Hope that helps. Again.

24 September 2011 at 14:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Zach Johnstone

An observation by the Inspector – When it comes to murder and the ‘do-gooders’ clamber on board the convicted felons case, it turns out it is never him !! All kinds of ‘buts’ ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ are employed to get him freed immediately. Doesn’t say a lot for justice or trial by jury does it ? Countless appeals, and the conviction still stands. Well, unfortunately, that’s all we have..

It’s not as if what’s going to happen to the condemned was not going to happen eventually. The state is merely advancing his date of date for the purposes of Punishment (Yes, remember that word from long ago, when life was a little safer out there), Retribution (the state is justified as tax payers money will have been used), Deterrence (of course, murder is often a spur of the moment reaction, but let’s keep this one in anyway), Cost (keeping a man banged up for the rest of his natural costs a small fortune). Compassion (surprising one this, but man was not meant to live confined to a cell for decades on end) and of course Natural Justice (another name for that is doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to be done).

The Inspector expects you gentle abolitionists will be in tears by now. Well dry your eyes if you live in the UK because thanks to you bleeding hearts of liberal compassion, it’s not coming back, more’s the pity. However, each time some released convicted murderer kills again – do take on your share of the guilt of the killer and pain the deceased family will be going through.

One final word from the Inspector- When Christ was on the cross, he didn’t complain about the Roman state taking his life. Do dwell upon this last point..

24 September 2011 at 14:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

I don't advocate abortion of foetuses with cleft palates so there's a strawman.

But then, you wouldn't condemn it, either. Since the 'fetus' is not a person, it has no rights. If a woman aborts to avoid dealing with a cleft palate or aborts to avoid dealing with stretch marks, it's all the same.

carl

24 September 2011 at 14:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "But then, you wouldn't condemn it, either. Since the 'fetus' is not a person, it has no rights. If a woman aborts to avoid dealing with a cleft palate or aborts to avoid dealing with stretch marks, it's all the same."

*shrug*

You can set up all the strawmen you like and knocking them down but there's no need to quote my text when you do. I don't need to be involved in all that. Thanks. It's the hay-fever you see. All those bits of flying straw.

24 September 2011 at 14:29  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

carl jacobs said...

"The man who is sent to Hell to face an eternity of God's wrath is not sent there to be redeemed. He is sent there to suffer for the sake of justice. Eternally. Is this also a cold and punitive understanding of the purpose of punishment?"

We as individuals or acting collectively as the State, are not God. Do you seriously think we are entitled to or capable of taking upon ourselves His final Judgement and administration of His Justice?

You no doubt take comfort from your Calvinist theology that the elect, predetermined before birth, will enter salvation and the damned can suffer their deserved fate here on earth and then in the fires of Hell.

24 September 2011 at 14:38  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Your use of the murder rates in Philadelphia and London is invalid because you are not comparing like with like.

● Wikipedia, quoting the Small Arms Survey 2007, gives gun ownership in the US as 88·8 per 100 residents. The figure for England and Wales is 6·2.
● 44 per cent of the Philadelphia population is Black. The figure for London is 12 per cent.

In comparing Philadelphia to London, you are comparing a country with 14 times the gun ownership and a city with nearly four times as many Blacks. Most gun crime is committed by Blacks; figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show that London’s Black population is responsible for 67 per cent of the gun crime. That the murder rate in Philadelphia is only 13 times higher than London could just as well be proof of the efficacy of capital punishment.

24 September 2011 at 14:45  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience." Romans 13:1-5. Yes Way of the Dodo, you may not think that the state has the right to act in dispensing God's justice, but Paul certainly seemed to think it did. In fact this passage follows one where we are exhorted not to take revenge, as it is God's to repay, and then Paul goes on to show here how the State is an "agent of [God's] wrath", mediating his justice to a limited degree here on Earth. Yes, the state is entitled to take on this role, because God has established it for this purpose. I don't quite understand your little dig at monergism, as I see no relevance to the current discussion, but just so we're clear, the idea of predestination unto salvation is very clearly biblical. For reference see Romans 8, or Ephesians 1.

24 September 2011 at 14:51  
Blogger English Viking said...

Both Troy Davis and Theresa lewis were, IMHO, guilty, and received the due reward of their deeds.

HG´s addendum is a different matter. Again, IMHO, there was not enough evidence to convict that man, let alone execute him.

The ´deterrent´argument is trotted out by antis, and it is illogical.

If the death penalty is not a deterrent, they claim that there is no point in having it as it does not prevent crime and (some) statistics show that (some) nations that have the DP have higher rates of murder than (some of) those that do not. If we extend the logic, we could say that imprisonment is not a deterrent, as people obviously continue to commit murder regardless of the risk, therefore life sentences are not a deterrent, therefore prison should not be an option when sentencing a killer. Utter nonsense.

It matters not one jot whether it (the DP) is a deterrent or not; it is a just punishment for one of the most terrible crimes a man is capable of. The re-offending rate is zero.

If we really want to reduce the killing of innocents to an absolute minimum, the DP would kill far less than the current system, which punishment is an average of 12 years incarceration. Almost 200 people have been killed by a person ALREADY convicted of murder and paroled from prison to kill again since the DP was abolished in the ´60s. For every innocent man hanged, of which there have been very, very few, there are at least 10 people dead, killed by an already convicted murderer.

You are far more likely to murdered by a convicted killer on license or parole than by the state, and comparisons with the loony Yank system are also fallacious.

In summary, I think the DP a very good thing, in theory. Having seen the utter corruptness of successive governments and the judges they appoint, I would not trust them with the power of life and death, which is a very sad thing; it means that more innocent people will die as result their filthy, wicked ineptitude and underhandedness.

In case you were wondering, I would be more than willing to be the hangman/marksman.

Blair would be top of the list, and a very long list it is, too.

24 September 2011 at 14:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

We as individuals or acting collectively as the State, are not God.

I didn't say that we were. I said the state is an agent of justice, and then referred to Romans 13 as definitive proof that this is so. The state has the authority under Scripture to put people to death. There is no dispute about that.

Do you seriously think we are entitled to or capable of taking upon ourselves His final Judgement and administration of His Justice?

No, but then I didn't say that we could or did. The state does not impose final justice when it executes a murderer. It imposes temporal justice. That is its charge as an authority established by God. You accused me of having a cold an punitive view of justice. I simply pointed out that your accusation is better made against God than me because the model of punishment I presented is God's model of punishment. He does not send people to Hell for their greater good. He does not use an eternity in Hell to chastise those whom He loves. It is not a punishment that seems unpleasant for a moment but later on works righteousness. It has no purpose but to satisfy the demands of justice.

carl

24 September 2011 at 14:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Zach Johnstone

Perhaps you are a product of ‘enlightened’ liberal parents from the leafy suburbs. You certainly weren’t around in the Inspector’s time growing up near a council estate (that was dense social housing, for the benefit of the young on this site). He doesn’t think you would have grown up then at all with a name like ‘Zach’ !

People can be unpleasant, very unpleasant, when they have that aforementioned start in life. The most unpleasant thing they can do is to murder you or your loved ones. You really do have to come down hard on them, or they will ‘take liberties’ so to speak.

The Inspector lives about a third of a mile away from where Fred and Rosemary West lived. Fred did us all a favour in Winson Green gaol, but Rosemary is still around. This disgraceful ball of fat is being housed fed and watered by us, at vast expense. Why ! Just so the liberals with their precious sensibilities can walk around feeling pretty damned righteous about themselves...

24 September 2011 at 15:00  
Blogger Penn's Woods, USA said...

Excuse me. You have your facts wrong. Troy Davis was accused of killing a policeman in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. After he shot the officer he walked over to the man and finding him not dead shot him again execution style in the head. There are were over 30 people who testified at the trial who saw him do this. At least four were off duty USA Air Force enlisted men eating at the restaurtant. The same day Davis was executed two others were executed in the USA. Both were white and one was a Texan White Supremist who killed a black man by dragging him along a country road tied to a truck. There were no protests against their executions by the same crowd who's selective moral outrage defended a convicted cop killer. Why does the execution of a black man who was found guilty of killing a white police officer offend the moral values of the anti death penalty crowd and the deaths of two white on the same day, for also killing people, completely ignored by the same people and the European media? Why the selective moral outrage? As your country collapses into anarchy and chaos I think you might consider bringing back the death penalty rather than point your holier than thou finger at the USA for executing criminals who execute policemen doing their job. After the recent riots in the UK and the chaos that ruled your cities for at least three days ask yourself if the death penalty might be needed someday in your country as it collapses and the criminals take over.

24 September 2011 at 15:04  
Blogger martin sewell said...

DanJ0
Your abuse is noted. It adds little to the quality of your argument.

"Not in my name" is a high-minded phrase. It sets the bar high in its suggestion that those who use it have a superior morality, one that is pure, absolute and accordingly distanced from the more utilitarian approaches that some others take to matters of life and death.

Some of us find that pure absolutism less easy to apply in the cases of the most plain cruel and heinous acts - such as that of of Mr Brewer - than in the case of the sinless life of the unborn.

Those who claim such pure absolutism ought, perhaps having seen that amazing images that modern technology have brought to us of babies in utero, ( images unavailable when the Abortion Act was passed) to have a little more sympathy with those of us who find it easier to say "not in my name" on your moral judgement, that a savagery that could not be visited on a sentient being post partum, can with an apparently clear conscience be visited upon just such a being in utero. To some of us, the intervening event - passage through the birth canal - seems a marginal and purely utilitarian distinction, and drawn for no very compelling moral purpose.

24 September 2011 at 15:20  
Blogger Serpents and Doves said...

The Catholic Church affirms the right of the state to punish criminals with appropriate penalties not excluding in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty.

The Church's position today is that the death penalty is unnecessary.

"The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is "to redress the disorder caused by the offence." Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfills the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.

It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.

Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.”
('The Gospel of Life' 1995)

24 September 2011 at 16:02  
Blogger martin sewell said...

PS Dan J0

My working definition of a modern liberal ( as opposed to the more gentlemanly JS Mill variety) is someone who struggles to sustain an intellectual debate for any length of time without early recourse to abuse. You qualify.

24 September 2011 at 16:03  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

@Serpents and Doves:

Rome's position on this matter is shown to be flawed by the last paragraph which you site; the death penalty is not primarily there to protect public order and the safety of persons, but to mete out retributive justice commensurate with the seriousness of the offence. Indeed, it is not death penalty advocates who here undervalue human life. We say life is so important that the only sufficient redress for the planned removal of a life is another life, and that anything else is insulting given the value of the human life that has been destroyed.

24 September 2011 at 16:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"My working definition of a modern liberal ( as opposed to the more gentlemanly JS Mill variety) is someone who struggles to sustain an intellectual debate for any length of time without early recourse to abuse. You qualify."

Excellent. I was going to reply to your earlier comment until I saw this. Why on earth did you bother typing it in then? What a numpty.

24 September 2011 at 16:08  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

*cite, not site. Apologies.

24 September 2011 at 16:08  
Blogger English Viking said...

Sewell,

Your definition of Liberal is faulty.

I think you are a tit.

See, an early recourse to abuse, but you surely are not going to call me a Liberal, are you?

24 September 2011 at 16:16  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Hmm my comment seems to have disappeared. Serpents and Doves, Rome's position here is flawed as demonstrated by the last paragraph that you cite. The purpose of capital punishment is not to defend public order, but rather to mete out retributive justice commensurate with the gravity of the offence committed. In this way we affirm our high regard for the value of human life, saying that the planned destruction of life is so severe that the only fitting punishment for it is the execution of the offender.

24 September 2011 at 16:27  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Mr Rottenborough

Your comment London’s Black population is responsible for 67 per cent of the gun crime...

...no doubt explains why the police were taking no chances with the armed half breed Duggan. Who knows how far away the next riots are thanks to these selfish and violent immigrants...

24 September 2011 at 16:29  
Blogger English Viking said...

What OoIG said.

PS I think he was a full-breed, but I am open to correction.

24 September 2011 at 16:56  
Blogger Serpents and Doves said...

Thomas Keningley

That is the utilitarian argument of John Mills, not a biblical one.

24 September 2011 at 17:07  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...

Whitespacebug and G. Tingey,

Thank you both, your words are appreciated.


Bluedog,

Your claim that I am comparing statistics from two different eras is erroneous, something you would have realised had you clicked the link provided. Both sets of statistics are from 1998. Further, I readily acknowledged that the statistics do not eviscerate the 'deterrence' argument; they merely serve to undermine its frequent use as a standalone argument in favour of capital punishment.


Office of Inspector General,

Your belief that I am the product of "‘enlightened’ liberal parents from the leafy suburbs" is wide of the mark. I think I'll leave it at that.


Eris Guy,

I see your point. However I think the examples to which you refer differ from capital punishment for one clear reason: should a miscarriage of justice take place, there is scope for rectification. In the case of the death penalty, sentences are final and justice is absolute. The issue I raise is that if we accept this to be the case, we are faced with a decision: do we accept that innocent people will die, or do we consider it too high a price to pay?


Martin Sewell,

Harking back to your initial comment, may I firstly thank you for your kind and constructive words.

In turning to your critique, you say that I fail to offer any "substantial basis" for my assertion that, often, convictions are unreliable. It was my hope that by referring to the commonplace exoneration of death row inmates, I was doing just this. I used the example of Philadelphia, but in reality I could have picked any US state currently employing capital punishment. I would be more than happy to provide you with additional data to substantiate the point, should you request it.

24 September 2011 at 17:13  
Blogger Oswin said...

I'm fully in favour of both corporal and capital punishment, whilst simultaneously being wholly against inept legal systems; whose prime aim often appears to be the aggrandizement of lawyers and their myriad lackys.

A few billion spent researching a method of determining truth/lies would seem to be the way forward; but you'd never get a lawyer to agree to it!

24 September 2011 at 17:35  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ OoIG (16:29)—It may be even worse. Katharine Birbalsingh, the black teacher who addressed the Tory conference last year, was told that ‘about 80 per cent of gun crime took place in the black community’ and that ‘on the whole the whites who were involved in these shootings tended to be from Eastern Europe.’

24 September 2011 at 17:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Zach Johnstone

The Inspector notes you only thanked the people who agreed with you !! It would have been polite to thank ALL who had contributed to your article. (Do get your OED out and look up the word ‘protocol’). The Inspector will put it down to your youth on this occasion.

More advice, do hold your beliefs and opinions by all means but always keep an open mind. Could it be that someday Zach Johnstone is wrong on an issue (God forbid !).

Incidentally, the Inspector only ‘suggested’ you were ‘...a product from the leafy suburbs’. He used the word ‘Perhaps’. You do need to get your facts right when posting replies. If you want to be taken seriously, that is...

24 September 2011 at 17:55  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...

Office of Inspector General,

I am grateful for all comments, whether they countenance what I am saying or not. Two of my comments were in response to those who agreed with me, and two were in response to those who didn't (yourself included).

I have all the time in the world for those who disagree with what I say, however the task of responding to those who seek to make spurious assumptions about my upbringing and the political viewpoints to which I have been subjected rather takes up my time...

I'm well aware that you said 'perhaps', but it was the basis of all your subsequent assumptions. Perhaps, regardless of the extent to which you agree or disagree with me, you might acknowledge that fact.

As for the idea that I may be wrong, I refer you to my clear and unambiguous assertion that on the issue of capital punishment I see:

"no obvious answer. It is for individuals to delve into their consciences, to debate and discuss, and to ultimately arrive at their own moral conclusions."

Far from shying away from those who disagree, I encourage it. On a matter of such importance, debate is crucial.


Oswin,

How would such a thing work in practice? Lie detection exists, though I am not sure whether or not its use in settling court cases has ever been discussed. I'd be interested to hear from anybody who knows more than I do on the matter, though.

24 September 2011 at 18:08  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Inspector, I think to be fair Zach thanked me - and I did not agree with him!

On this issue I think many of us need to hold our views provisionally. I was an abolitionist for many years. The present situation makes me re-think. I do not like the knee-jerk latent anti-Americanism of many who commentate on their justice system. Like many it has its imperfections but not everyone who claims injustice is not guilty.

Zach I would never suggest there are no miscarriages of justice, and I know that the quality of representation is extremely patchy. It is noticeable that few rich people end up on death row and that makes all of us uncomfortable even if we can see a case for capital punishment in the US context.

If you have seen Ann Coulter's article I would be particularly interested to see if you or anyone has addressed her specific points on the case we are considering.

Dan J0 - as the splendid Ann would say -don't be a cry baby when you meet serious opposition. It never bothers me when Mr Viking misses his anger management lessons.

24 September 2011 at 18:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Zach Johnstone

Young, brash, defiant !! The world truly belongs to you. But don’t be too hard on your correspondents, even if they are trying to wind you up. Don’t worry Zach, twas the naughty Inspector up to his old tricks again. But as you get older, you’ll learn how to deal with the likes of him, assuming you’re not executed for a murder you didn’t commit (happens daily, don’t you know...)

24 September 2011 at 18:17  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...

Martin Sewell,

I will familiarise myself with Ann Coulter's article, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

24 September 2011 at 18:27  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Mr Rottenborough

Your clips and statistics are again invaluable. For example, after the riots, the Inspector wondered how big a black population has to become before civilisation and law and order start to disintegrate in parts of a city. The answer is apparently 12% {GULP !}

The Inspector was also wondering where our East European criminal friends fitted in. So, that makes up the near 100% for serious gun crime.

Incidentally, on the subject of East European thugs, the Inspector recommends the ‘Siege of Sydney Street’ in Wiki. The amount of sheer violence those men employed is remarkable. Not at all British !!

Zach Johnstone, still there ?? Do pay attention. We may have to start putting a rope round these peoples necks if it gets any worse, for all our innocent sakes. I'm sure Mr Sewell will agree...

24 September 2011 at 18:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Zach Johnstone

The problem, however, arises when we delve deeper into the implications of a death sentence, given the propensity of legal systems in all countries to (quite frankly) get it wrong

May I presume that you are a Christian since you have been given the privilege of making a Guest post on this weblog? If so, then I would ask you this question. If the propensity of 'legal systems in all countries to get it wrong' is dispositive, then why did Paul give the practice of capital punishment Scriptural warrant instead of condemning it outright? Nations today are far better equipped to establish guilt than was the legal system of Rome. If you are correct in your assessment, wouldn't Paul agree with you?

carl

24 September 2011 at 18:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

sewer: "Dan J0 - as the splendid Ann would say -don't be a cry baby when you meet serious opposition. It never bothers me when Mr Viking misses his anger management lessons."

I'll bear that in mind should I actually meet some. Thanks.

24 September 2011 at 18:42  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

the sad case of Cameron Todd Willingham).

A tough read YG.

A truly awful decision against the accused. Circumstantial evidence, conjecture, flawed science, gossip and innuendo and an inept defence - he didn't get a fair trial. There seemed to be no proven motive for a sane man to deliberately murder his three children and by fire of all means. The prospect of few thousand dollars life insurance payable to the grandfather is hardly a convincing motive. This does not sound like a case proven beyond all reasonable doubt, by any stretch of the imagination.

However, to me it says more about legal procedures and judicial integrity in the State of Texas (or indeed anywhere else for that matter where similarities may be applied). I don't read it as an argument against the DP in principle, but certainly against its application in cases based on purely circumstantial evidence. If the accused had been a man of wealth he would most certainly have been able to be represented by a defence of a higher caliber that that which the State provided for this poor sod.

24 September 2011 at 18:59  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Carl jacobs

St Paul affirmed the right of the state to use the death penalty. Beyond this he offered no criteria for its use or commented on its effectiveness.

The death penalty is unnecessary today.

As cited above 'The Gospel of Life', written in 1995, gives a more detailed moral framework.

"The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is "to redress the disorder caused by the offence." Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom.

In this way authority also fulfills the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.

It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.

Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.”

24 September 2011 at 20:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Zach Johnstone @ 17.13, thank you for pointing out the link, overlooked.

Fortunately Mr Johnny Rottenborough @ 14.45 expanded on the points this communicant was trying to make.

As pointed out by Mr Martin Sewell, the anti-Americanism of a number of Left-liberal posters may preclude their objective analysis.

The commentary by Penn's Woods @ 15.05 should be compulsory reading for all those of a Left-liberal inclination.

24 September 2011 at 21:45  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

St Paul affirmed the right of the state to use the death penalty. Beyond this he offered no criteria for its use or commented on its effectiveness.

Paul affirms considerably more than the right of the state to execute criminals. He flat out asserts that the state acts as a servant of God to visit God's wrath on the wrongdoer as punishment. There is nothing in Romans 13 about public order. There is nothing in Romans 13 about rehabilitation. The text is entirely about the punishment visited upon the criminal in order to satisfy justice. According to the text, a man stands under governing authorities that act as servants of God when they impose sentence. Those governing authorities have a divine charge to punish wrongdoing. That charge includes the authority to put criminals to death. Is death the appropriate punishment for the crime? Then according to Romans 13, the state has a responsibility to execute that sentence.

Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom.

If the appropriate punishment is death or incarceration for life, then there is no condition which will allow the offender to regain his freedom. If you put someone to death, or of you seal them away for life, you are not offering any chance at rehabilitation. You are imposing permanent punishment. Some crimes warrant permanent punishment, and permanent punishment by definition precludes rehabilitation. Why is this important? Because it establishes that punishment is independent of the possibility of rehabilitation. The judge weighs the scales and says "For the suffering imposed you must suffer this punishment." It will be imposed whether the man is penitent or not. It will be imposed even if the man is no longer reasonably considered a threat to public order.

If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means

Again the document asserts the error that punishment is first and foremost about public safety. It's not. There is nothing in Romans 13 to warrant this conclusion other than wishful thinking. The governing authorities act as agents of God to visit God's wrath upon individual acts of wrongdoing. If the crime warrants death, then the state is justified in executing sentence. It does not need to establish external criteria to justify its action. The crime justifies its action. That is why men should fear the state as agents of God.

carl

24 September 2011 at 21:52  
Blogger English Viking said...

Dodo,

`We must redress the disorder caused by the offense´.

I could not have put it better myself.

24 September 2011 at 22:37  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

however, I find myself opposed to the reinstatement of capital punishment: the loss of even one innocent life in the name of retribution is, I believe, too great a price to pay.

So do I; however this is a perfectly lousy reason to oppose the death penalty, and I hope I am about to explain why it is.

What if there is no reasonable doubt, but no doubt whatsoever?

Is the death penalty in these circumstances still too great a price to pay.

For surely we can all imagine certain circumstances where there is most clearly no possible doubt at all. However we do not need to imagine, because there exists many known, modern examples.

What if the murderer confesses to their crime?

What if the murderer not only confesses, but asks, nay begs for the death penalty of his choice, rather then suffering a life sentence?

Do you believe, as I DO, that there exists no possible circumstances where the death penalty is morally justified?

YES, or NO.

I see a time, indeed that time has already arrived, when technology could make the determination of guilt a simple matter of looking at a computer screen.

If the entire population where MICRO-CHIPPED at birth, tracked by satellite, and also there thoughts, words and precise actions monitored 24/7 by a giant data base, courts themselves could, and therefore would become a thing of the past.

If in the future your government announced that such a system already existed which would at a stroke eradicate all crime, would you welcome it, therefore agree to have everyone MICRO-CHIPPED?

YES, or NO.

These questions are very serious ones, because this is precisely what will happen at some time during most of our lifetimes, of that you can be safely assured.

Can I also add that the technology already exists to carry out the death penalty without the need for even an executioner, never mind a court, or arresting officer.

The powers that be are just waiting for the right time to introduce this technology. That time is clearly not as yet, however that time is drawing closer every day that passes.

I also warn you all that this technology is not intended to be restricted to just the serious crimes of murder, kidnapping, or murderous terrorism, but ALL crimes both large, as well as tiny.

Dropping litter in the streets, offending any one on religious, sexual, or political grounds, or using 'unsuitable' words or phrases in certain selective places, or times for example.

This system will also contain access to all of an individuals personal records, as well as banking, and credit accounts, and therefore could very easily act as police detective, detaining officer, judge, juror, and on the spot fine collector in no more then a few micro-seconds.

The only question is not IF, but WHEN this system will be introduced.

As well as how are our owners going to tell their chums in the prison, legal and judicial systems that they are also destined to become as utterly redundant as the rest of surviving common humanity?

24 September 2011 at 23:21  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

carl

St Paul says the State is there for our good. What do you think he meant?

The passage is not all about retribution. The sword is a symbol of State authority used to exact retribution against crime.

I understand the passage as meaning it is used for the good of individuals, the good of society as well as exacting retribution.

"... it is there to serve God for you and for your good. But if you do wrong, then you may well be afraid; because it is not for nothing that the symbol of authority is the sword: it is there to serve God, too, as his avenger, to bring retribution to wrongdoers."

Based on St Paul, the State is also perfectly entitled not to execute for the crime of murder if it deems it unnecessary.

Your post at 13:39 is extreme and allows for nothing but 'vicarious retribution' and the exacting of retribution. To forgo the death penalty you would want a living death of despair and no hope in its place, with the convicted person stripped of joy. A hell on earth presumably foreshadowing hell death. Except God allows for repentance, for rehabilitation. You appear not to.

Where in the New Testament can you possibly justify this position of undiluted vengence? I recallJesus had something to say about 'an eye for an eye'.

24 September 2011 at 23:24  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Oswin said 24 September 2011 17:35

I'm fully in favour of both corporal and capital punishment, whilst simultaneously being wholly against inept legal systems; whose prime aim often appears to be the aggrandizement of lawyers and their myriad lackys.
You express Ernst's position and concerns brilliantly.

A few billion spent researching a method of determining truth/lies would seem to be the way forward; but you'd never get a lawyer to agree to it (Bit like turkeys plucking their feathers, then rubbing butter and herbs vigorously on themselves just in time for Christmas. It just ain't gonna happen)!
Good Lord, they just might have to get a real job`

Ernst, my fine fellow.

25 September 2011 at 00:17  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

While all you navel contemplators are considering the welfare of the hard done by convicted murderer, do spare some thought for the victim. And tomorrows victim. And, well you get the point...

25 September 2011 at 00:18  
Blogger English Viking said...

OoIG,

Your point is indeed gotten, Sir.

25 September 2011 at 00:41  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

Continuing from above.

Do you think I am making this up?

Do you think that this could never happen?

Do you think your owners really give a sod what we think, or indeed want?

OK yes, they do care somewhat as to what we collectively think, after all we out number these people by a ratio of several millions to one, however they very largely already control what you think, and therefore what you think you want, whether you are aware that they do or not.

If you wish to understand where your owners are coming from, one of the best places to start is as far back as the 17th century with the various works of Sir Francis Bacon.

He not only envisaged a time when this form of control over the thoughts and actions of mankind would be possible, he genuinely believed that at some distant time in the past it had already happened.

The time was thought to be between 4-20 thousand years ago, and the place named Atlantis.

Whether or not this place existed, either on this planet or another, is a distinctively separate question.

What is more pressingly important for us infinitely more common folk, is that the powers that be, have been desperately trying to recreate a later day Atlantis ever since they become aware of its possible existence. Which was a mighty long time before Sir Francis Bacon wrote anything on the subject.

Hitler, of course was a firm believer in the past existence of Atlantis, and modeled his futuristic socialist Utopia upon Atlantian precepts.

Serious crime is many things, many of them unforgivably evil, however we must also understand that by hopefully just a small minority choosing to perform evil, man in general expresses his own God given FREE WILL, not to do so.

If there is no sin, for what can we be forgiven?

If there is NO FREE WILL, against what are we to be JUDGED?

We simply can't. Which is why the aforementioned form of complete control further removes man from the will of his divine creator, as well as the theists understanding as to the ultimate purpose of his own existence.

Thus demoting man still further to no better then a mindless Zombie like slave, all but worthlessly inedible slaughter-house bound live-stock, or utterly redundant beast of burden.

If you are pleased to hope that your owners intend to ultimately permit the great mass of the 'under evolved gene pool' to survive to see the coming of their much awaited New Atlantis; then please think again.

25 September 2011 at 01:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Atlas

It’s not that bad, being alive; you really should get out more...

25 September 2011 at 01:38  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

Office of Inspector General said...

While all you navel contemplators are considering the welfare of the hard done by convicted murderer, do spare some thought for the victim. And tomorrows victim. And, well you get the point...

We are all victims of the murderer whether we personally smelled the cyanide, took the assassins bullet, or felt the muggers knife.

We all feel the victims pain, sooner or later, as I do yours every time I read one of your at best two dimensional comments.

As I have already alluded to, crime is still permitted, if not also deliberately and purposefully encouraged, for several reasons, most of them extremely bad ones.

It is surely the case that many measures of either a technological or dictatorial nature could have been enacted many years ago to all but completely eradicate crime of all kinds.

Corporate Fraud is one of the easiest crimes to detect these days, yet it is not in the vast majority of cases, much because the greatest corporate fraudster of all time, are our owners.

The importation and production of dangerous drugs and weapons are crimes which are also pathetically easy to detect these days, yet they are not hardly ever, simply because the greatest importers and distributors of dangerous drugs, and weapons are our owners.

The crime of State sponsored Murder, most especially mass murder is more easier to detect then both of the above, it is not stopped much because the greatest users and promoters of state sponsored mass murder ever recorded, are our owners.

We must therefore ask ourselves why they have not already enacted a system of full control? Also, do we really want this type of control to ever be enacted?

Have we fully explored all of the issues involved. Does indeed the end justify the means? Can the end ever be justified, or ever become ultimately desirable?

Is the punishment of your creator, not punishment enough? Is the reward or your creator not reward enough?

Do you only do righteous things because you are scared half to death of not doing so?

Have we not all, or at least almost all of us, possessed from the moment of our conception, the innate ability to know, or quickly learn, right from wrong, good from evil, as well as act accordingly, whether or not The Plod, or Big Brother was watching over us 24/7, or very selectively executing some of the poorest of us?

Is it not better that we are given a choice in the matter, all the same?

It is of course essential that those who have proven themselves to be a serious danger to others, are kept permanently apart from the rest of society. This is simply pure common sense.

Our owners know only too well who the real psychopaths in society are, where they are, and virtually every truly psychopathic thing they have ever got up to, since they first micro-waved their first school hamster. Some of these most dangerous psychopaths they find simply by looking in the mirror.

However ask yourself, why do our owners clearly wish for us to exist in an almost constant state of ever more expensively created FEAR?

This when they already have the technological means to protect us all, all of the time, and at a fraction of the present cost of deliberately not doing so.

Could it be that they have a master plan up their magicians sleeve?

I believe, as well as seen much evidence that strongly suggests that they have precisely such a plan to hit us with the full Monty relatively all at once.

Yes I agree living is not bad, as long as you can successfully ensure that you can carry on doing so.

I can not do this alone, and neither can you. Survival requires an individual as well as a collective will, and means to do so.

If you have required sufficient evidence that suggests that you can trust those who reside many levels above you with the continuation of your particular gene pool then good for you. I on the other hand have not, and therefore do not.

25 September 2011 at 02:49  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

As for getting out more.

I have a 3 week study trip to Egypt planned, my own corporation to run, and a young wife and 5 young children to keep me occupied. I think that is enough for even super-man to deal with, never mind my little old self also desperately trying to sort out the entire problems of the entire universe from a single PC.

Don't feel in anyway sorry for myself, for I never do. I positively enjoy the act of THINKING, and always have done.

It is a mystery to behold, not how much we know, but quite how much we do not, but only believe that we do, and have no way of ever knowing for sure. At least not, while dwelling in this particular lowly domain.

25 September 2011 at 03:06  
Blogger non mouse said...

Atlas @ 03.06: It is a mystery to behold, not how much we know, but quite how much we do not, but only believe that we do, and have no way of ever knowing for sure. Yes.

25 September 2011 at 04:44  
Blogger C.Law said...

There have been many valid points made on both sides of this argument.

Overall, I am morally in favour of the death penalty - there are some crimes so awful that no lesser punishment is appropriate. However, this must be taken in the context of the justice systems within which the decisions are made and these have been found to be fallible too often. On a practical basis therefore, I agree with HG and am against the imposition of the death penalty.

I do consider, nevertheless, that life imprisonment for such heinous crimes should be just that - life, with no possibility for parole.

The deterrance argument is something of a red herring (with the exception of the obvious point that it prevents repetion of the crime by the same individual). The history of the death penalty in the UK, which for centuries executed people for a wide variety of offences - many of then relatively trivial - shows clearly that it was never a deterrant to the commission of crime. Even when only murder is considered, it is still the case that the majority of murders are commited by people known to the victim for personal, emotional reasons, or by unhinged personalities. These kind of killings will not be prevented by the threat of the death penalty, they are committed without any cosideration for the likely consequences.

Carl Jacobs: Thomas Keningley quoted the passage to which I think you are referring, :

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience." Romans 13:1-5

Does this mean that all governments, even those such as the National Socialst government of Germany in the 1930's and 40's, the Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and China and the Islamic theocracy in Iran are or were established by God?

Further, does that also mean that one should not strive to overturn such governments, no matter how repugmant they may be?

For those of a sensitive nature, please note that this is not a dig, these are serious questions. It does not seem reasonable that the Christian God would appoint such regimes or that they should be acting under His authority.

25 September 2011 at 06:03  
Blogger Ivan said...

John Paul II made some concessionary noises on the death penalty in 1995, in the hope that that liberals would then concede on a matter of much more urgent import, viz the death-dealing industry of abortion. This was of a piece with the "seamless garment" argument - that life should be defended from conception to natural death - that Catholics hoped would appeal to the broader masses. The modern liberals (obvioulsy not of the J S Mill or Bertrand Russell variety) simply laughed and kicked sand at his face.

Ivan

25 September 2011 at 07:40  
Blogger len said...

One must ask the question what is the point of a legal system ?.
To punish the lawbreaker or to act as a deterrent to prevent crime?.Possibly both?.
Because in either case the system is obviously failing.
Due to the total failure of our legal system (aided and abetted by liberalism)we have a rising tide of lawlessness which has to be dealt with and the death penalty (if it must be used ) should only be used when absolute certainty of guilt is proven.

25 September 2011 at 08:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "One must ask the question what is the point of a legal system ? To punish the lawbreaker or to act as a deterrent to prevent crime?.Possibly both?."

The explanation of the purpose of a sentence (which is actually what you are asking I think) is in the Stones Justice Manual if you can find a copy to look at. There's a list (retribution, deterrence, showing society's disgust, rehabilitation, etc) at the front, at least there was when I last looked.

25 September 2011 at 09:16  
Blogger Preacher said...

A couple of points to consider:
Paul most certainly wrote that the State had the power to execute the convicted felon.
The State executed Paul & Peter plus many more, if not all the Apostles.
God does not wait to exact revenge by throwing transgressors of His laws into Hell. Those that face this terrible fate have chosen it themselves, by rejecting God's offer of mercy by the death of Jesus. They have declined His offer of Mercy & chosen to reject Him.
Paul also wrote "All have sinned & come short of the glory of God" so all are guilty before the only judge that never gives a wrong verdict.
When we stand in that court on the day of judgement ladies & gentlemen, remember please the justice you demanded for others & pray that He is more merciful. Christ died by state execution & many christians still do. Pray that you that take the name of Christ are not among them.

25 September 2011 at 09:18  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

Is it not strange that administrations of western europe,whilst declaring the imorallity of socially imposed death sentences in"uman rights legislation"do retain the right,on the occasion of "riot and upheaval"to indiscriminately shoot ordinarily law abiding people down in the streets,as expressed in the latest eussr treaty?A man who harms another must not be harmed,but it is open season on those who demand thier democratic freedoms.

25 September 2011 at 09:43  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well said, Mr Englishman @ 09.43. That's my point too. We need the death penalty to protect us from summary execution. Curious logic indeed.

25 September 2011 at 11:04  
Blogger Albert said...

This appeal to Romans 13 is more difficult that it appears. Certainly, Romans 13 shows the state executes God's wrath on the wrong doer. But it cannot so easily be used as if it is advising the ruler to execute people on the assumption that if he does, he is doing God's will.

Sometimes, as the Bible makes clear God does not execute his wrath, nor extract the full demands of justice:

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

and again,

If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

Therefore, we cannot say in advance whether God would wish to show mercy or not.

Moreover, God sometimes permits the iniquities of the nations in order to punish the people of Israel, but that does not make the iniquities of the nations into righteousness.

Consequently, I don't think Romans 13 is a particularly useful text in relation to the death penalty, because it isn't addressed to the state, but to the believer who recognizes that God has all in his hands, including sinful political leaders - God can even use their sins to his purposes.

25 September 2011 at 13:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len (25 September 2011 08:39)

Due to the total failure of our legal system (aided and abetted by liberalism)we have a rising tide of lawlessness which has to be dealt with and the death penalty (if it must be used ) should only be used when absolute certainty of guilt is proven.

The Inspector General wishes to point out, in his ‘two dimensional’ way (...He’ll attend to you later, ‘Atlas - Prince of Gloom’...) that Len has made a sound point. It is as if our justice system not merely can’t but won’t get involved with punishment. And if you don’t have punishment, you have nothing to beat the criminal with. The apparent wish to cap prison places at it’s current level is astonishing.

The Inspector suggests the idea of penal colonies in the Outer Hebrides, where the lawless, the cruel, the murderous, the evil can live their days out. The staff to be ex-military.
Twenty one year old graduates in sociology not required.

25 September 2011 at 13:28  
Blogger Albert said...

One thing about which there does seem to be quite wide agreement here is that justice seems to have become a dirty word in our society. Our society is not better for that. I suspect that it comes from the decline in belief in goodness, truth and absolute morality - a decline which is the very stuff of secularism.

25 September 2011 at 13:32  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

Whilst I agree with your sentiment, do leave Scotland alone please! There are enough problems up here without importing more. Surely there is a deserted little island somewhere else?

My son has just come back from a tour of duty in the Antartic and there are some uninhabitated islands down there. Mind you, would the Human Rights Act regard the freezing conditions as "cruel and unnatural" treatment?

Authority does seem to be a dirty word these days. I blame readical feminism for undermining the properly understood concept of male authority. A couple of years ago there was a bill before the Scottish Parliament wanting to outlaw parents smacking their children! What next? No raising of one's voice? Jean-Jacques Rousseau has a lot to answer for.

25 September 2011 at 14:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo (25 September 2011 14:15)

I blame radical feminism for undermining the properly understood concept of male authority.

And thus you have modern society’s ills in a nutshell. Women are nurturing creatures – let them loose in the justice and punishment system and well, here we are.

They’ve managed to undermine 1900 years of common sense comparatively quickly...

25 September 2011 at 14:45  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

It's all about a balance between the God given qualities of women and men.

'EQUAL BUT DIFFERENT' as Catholic theology says in discussions about the role of women in socciety and in the Church.

25 September 2011 at 16:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo

Most true enlightened bird – but if you say that to modern woman she looks at you suspiciously...

25 September 2011 at 16:38  
Blogger English Viking said...

YG,

I know I've said bad things.

I'm sorry.


Will you take my confession?


I'll be gone soon,

Please, really.

25 September 2011 at 18:53  
Blogger Preacher said...

EV.
Don't be daft man. Even if at times we don't agree, without you Dr Cranmer's blog would be a bland & tastless repast.

25 September 2011 at 19:06  
Blogger Cary said...

Oops, hit the send button too quickly last time. Apologies.

The evidence for the effectiveness of the death penalty was set out by Tim Stanley in a Telegraph blog on 5 August 2011 (the main body of which is pasted below).

From 2001 to 2007, 12 academic studies were carried out in the US that examined the impact of the death penalty on local crime rates. They explored the hypothesis that as the potential cost of an action increases, so people are deterred from doing it. Nine out of twelve of the studies concluded that the death penalty saves lives. Some of their findings are stunning. Professors at Emory University determined that each execution deters an average of 18 murders. Another Emory study found that speeding up executions strengthens deterrence: for every 2.75 years cut from an inmate’s stay on death row, one murder would be prevented. Illinois has just voted to stop executions across the state. According to a University of Houston study, that could be a fatal mistake. It discovered that an earlier Illinois moratorium in 2000 encouraged 150 additional homicides in four years.

Opponents will point out that the death penalty is practiced in the states with the highest murder rates. This is true, but it doesn’t mean that executions don’t work – it just means that they take place where they are needed most. The states without the death penalty historically have lower than average levels of crime. When the death penalty was suspended nationwide from 1968 to 1976, murder rates went through the roof – except in those states. When the ban was lifted, the states that reintroduced the death penalty saw an astonishing 38 per cent fall in their murder rate over twenty years. Indeed, there is a statistical relationship between the growth in executions and the decline in murder. According to John Lott, author of Freedomnomics, “between 1991 and 2000, there were 9,114 fewer murders per year, while the number of executions per year rose by 71.” In his own studies, the only exception to this rule proved to be multiple victim public shootings, like the Virginia Tech Massacre. The reason is obvious: the perpetrators expect to die while carrying out their crime and invariably do.

There are many failings in the US justice system; the use of the death penalty can be symptomatic of them, but it is not a cause. For example, it is incredibly costly to execute a criminal. According to one anti-death penalty group, “The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life. Taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each of the state’s executions.” But the reason for the decades criminals spend waiting for their execution is simple: money-hungry lawyers and sympathetic liberals keep on appealing their sentences. Another complaint is that the death penalty is biased toward black defendants. Tragically, this is true: 42 per cent of death row inmates are black. However, this reflects appalling indices of poverty, social dysfunction and racism. It is not necessarily a comment upon the appropriateness of the sentence. Many states have taken the decision that, on balance, justice should not be suspended altogether just because it is applied unevenly. That’s tough and needs addressing, but law and order trumps abstract notions of equality in the minds of most voters.

But for anyone who wallows in the superiority of the UK justice system, with its human rights legislation and touchy-feely approach to child murderers, it is worth bearing in mind that our rate of violent crime is actually far higher than that of the United States. According to a 2009 study, there were 2,034 offences per 100,000 people that year in the UK, putting Britain at the top of the international league table. America recorded just 466. The US seems to be getting something right: executing cold-blooded killers might be part of it.

25 September 2011 at 19:14  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

English Viking

I agreee with Preacher.

Just send 'Mr Cranmer' a private email if you feel you must. No need to bear your soul on here. Do remember he is not a man of the cloth but, one suspects, a political lobbyist and occassional author.

KBO - if you go too far Mr Cranmer will let you know as will your friends on here.

25 September 2011 at 19:54  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

25 September 2011 at 20:22  
Blogger non mouse said...

Dear Mr. OiG! And thus you have modern society’s ills in a nutshell. Women are nurturing creatures – let them loose in the justice and punishment system and well, here we are. ... They’ve managed to undermine 1900 years of common sense comparatively quickly. Though neither feminist nor frogophile, I'm hard pressed to withhold the cliche chauvinism, when labelling this accusation!!!

So I'll rise to the bait on my own terms, and observe that perhaps you amuse yourself instead of building a serious case against the true assassin: euro-communism. For the heart of evil beats within marxism, which deploys feminism in its arsenal of -isms . . . the arsenal by which it destroys all previous politico-religious structures.

euSSRists have indeed targeted Justice and Law, along with the Educational System that fed them. To illustrate my thesis, may I refer you to The Belles of St. Trinian's, particularly to the original series (195? to 1980)?

cont'd...

25 September 2011 at 20:40  
Blogger non mouse said...

cont'd....
There, you will have already recognised the technique of sublimity by which British humour draws its audience towards consideration of a serious issue - the effects of war and economics on all facets of society, not merely on the education of women (see esp. Millicent Fritton). You've probably also unravelled the ensuing allegory: by considering the relationship between Justice and Law (the Establishment and Sammy), and Wisdom (Ruby Gates). As with all our institutions, the series depicts these two as already flawed and, sadly, they never actually marry: Sammy eventually strands Ruby at the altar. Perhaps consequently - Communism moves in to take over education (Pure Hell). I like that the cleaning lady is less than impressed by this development and note how, subsequently, the poor little lad nurtured by corrupted womanhood (Flash Harry), becomes a captain of industry.


Given this tradition of literary brilliance (I'm including Searle with Conrad, Huxley, Orwell), we were well and truly warned. Do we still have the wit to turn the allegories to their highest level? Can we make of them parables: from which we derive the path to salvation? Or is it more amusing to keep on playing the 'blame game' provided by Our Masters' Videos? Is it too much trouble to unite and face down The Enemy? To crush the Serpent's head under our heel? To give birth, once more, to Wisdom Armed - like Athene from the head of Zeus? Have we spiralled that far out of control?

25 September 2011 at 20:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

non mouse

Be not swift to condemn, my furry creature friend, as the Inspector is so old fashioned that he truly believes in the indestructability of the ‘couple’ as our God intended. Man and woman united and with the children, what a powerful unit ! Also known as the ‘family’. The Inspector was / is privileged to belong to such a unit.

Sadly, the educating of women, and placing them in positions beyond their abilities, have resulted in an erosion of said family. The Inspector has seen it first hand the struggles some men have in persuading their woman to have more than one child, or any children at all. Make no mistake, women can be incredibly selfish...

You mention Huxley. The Inspector remembers seeing ‘Brave New World’ dramatized on TV, more than 30 years ago. Non vociferous birth is, he suspects, the ultimate feminist dream.

Feminism needs to be suppressed. the inspector is so convinced of that, that he believes it is God’s wish...

25 September 2011 at 21:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

English Viking

We’ll need chaps like you when the UK Islamic uprising comes. Keep yourself in good order, and await orders. Stand down for now....

25 September 2011 at 21:30  
Blogger The Good Seed said...

There is no secular reason for having a moral objection to capital punishment. Any meaningful objection can only be based on a spiritual one.

Likewise, the issue as to whether capital punishment deters or prevents crime is a misnomer. Capital punishment should be simply a punishment, to rid ourselves of a heinous and vile person.

If a man mugs an old woman and receives a prison sentence for 2 years...does it help the woman in any way? Does it deter? No. Why then do we do it. We do it as a punishment. The full cells are better evidence of the need for a spiritual basis for law and order than any crime strategy.

Rationally, there can be no more objection to capital punishment than to any other punishment.

25 September 2011 at 22:05  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...



The Good Seed
What say you to the 'The Gospel of Life', written by Blessed John Paul in 1995?

"The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is "to redress the disorder caused by the offence." Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom.

In this way authority also fulfills the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.

It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.

Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.”


To liberal an interpretation of the moral imperative to preserve the dignity of life even for those who have forfeited this?

25 September 2011 at 22:17  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Good Seed

The Inspector is at one with you. While society cries over the welfare of the murderer, no one care’s if the victim’s loved ones even end up in a mental institution. A most curious state of affairs, and an offence against logic...

25 September 2011 at 22:37  
Blogger A S Grey said...

A wonderfully sensible post with which I, in the most part, agree. When the deterrent argument is explored, as you have so skilfully done, it crumbles, and for me the loss of even one innocent life is reason enough to avoid capital punishment.

When this is accepted, then, what the death penalty is really about is satisfying the human desire to see blood for blood. Unfortunately, however, that isn't good enough for a civilised society. You rightly note that "those charged with murder thought little of civility when committing the most merciless crimes imaginable" - however, one mark of a civilised society is surely that it will not stoop to the level of those who commit such heinous crimes?

For a far less articulate, far more brief and less nuanced rant which nonetheless summarises arguments against death penalty, see http://asgrey89.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/is-capital-punishment-a-good-idea/.

25 September 2011 at 23:00  
Blogger non mouse said...

Oh dear, oh dear. Mr. OiG @ 2100: Barefoot and pregnant is a woman's place. Otherwise - turn the guns on 'em, because they're all misandrists!

As a feak and weeble woman who is, by your definition, brainless, I'm not sure why I bother to reply. Though you needn't tell the product of girls' grammar schools how nasty girls can be; I'd even add that female capacities vary as widely as those in the A-D streams of boys' schools. [As to the secondary moderns... ]

On the home front, and until Huxley's baby labs take over, I like to remember that boys have mothers - who provide for them models of womanhood; and fathers provide the opposite for girls. I'd warn, also, that particularly bright sisters can have negative effects on sensitive and lazy brothers who then decide not to develop their IQs at all, rather than to do it at their slower pace. On the other hand, I'm no fan of Virginia Woolf, but her brothers demonstrated what can happen when masculine brawn imposes its values on feminine brain.

So I say that, for the benefit of all the children, the family as a whole needs Wisdom at its helm. And while Logos contains that quality, I have already pointed out the tradition of portraying it as a female derivation from the male: from Eve to Athene - and now I'd add Sofia. When this system breaks down, we produce a society of bestial murderers, so I'd extend the principle to the state.

My argument is therefore that we must first suppress the euSSR. To accomplish and maintain that, we need to nurture brainpower and moral courage in both men and women. To retain our gains, we'd need to value those qualities in all our children. Furthermore, if some (according to their lights) must fight to defend the family landholdings - those who remain at home must have the capacity to run and maintain them: as most women always did.

Oh.. and btw: I see both boys and girls as works in a progress which sometimes gets arrested (hence misogynists, misandrists, rapists and murderers). We're texts (weaves), like the inanimate artefacts men and women produce. That's why it pays to re-view texts first seen ---say 30 years ago.

25 September 2011 at 23:04  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

non mouse

You seemed to have homed in on the Inspector for agreeing with comments I posted.

"I blame radical feminism for undermining the properly understood concept of male authority."

"It's all about a balance between the God given qualities of women and men.

'EQUAL BUT DIFFERENT' as Catholic theology says in discussions about the role of women in socciety and in the Church."


It's not about more or less intelligence or about more or less worth.

What goes on the home between a husband and wife and their children is far more powerful than any other prevailing ideology. This is why Marxism in Russia and China attempted without success to replace the family unit with communal, state institutions.

25 September 2011 at 23:47  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...

asgrey89,

Thank you for your kind words. I have commented on your article, which I found to be a highly interesting and well-written piece. It looks like we are broadly on the same page on this!

26 September 2011 at 11:56  
Blogger Oswin said...

non mouse @ 23:04 : Bravo yet again! One for the girls; the Empire would have been proud of one such as you. Not only protecting the ''family landholdings'' but loading the muskets/rifles, and firing more than a few shots themselves!

Love the ''texts/weaves'' analogy.

26 September 2011 at 15:03  
Blogger A S Grey said...

Zach Johnstone,

Thank you very much to you too. It does indeed appear that we are on the same page - something which, I must admit, surprises me greatly. It's not often that I visit His Grace's blog and find myself fully in agreement with the post I read. :)

Thanks for visiting my blog and your equally kind comment.

26 September 2011 at 15:28  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr AS Gray, Mr Zach Johnstone,

His Grace is delighted that you have both discovered friendship and mutuality. The world is such a fractious and fractured place; long may your fellowship continue.

Mr Grey,

His Grace accepts guest posts, and hereby extends to you the same courtesy. Perhaps a theological defence of 'gay marriage'? His Grace's blog is at your disposal. You will then be able to log in and discover two posts with which you agree (assuming, of course that you will agree with what you write).

He can hardly wait.

26 September 2011 at 16:37  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

non mouse (25 September 2011 23:04)

The Inspector notes an attempt to chew through your cage to get at him. Allow him to elucidate…

He has long been impressed by the family ideal. A man and women working together to form the only worthwhile unit for bringing up children. Men are rather simple animals when it comes to relationships. Everybody knows it’s the woman who calls the shots. So what went wrong ? Bring on people like Greer who urged women to ‘find fulfilment’, ’free themselves’, that kind of nonsense. Greer has now retracted much of what she was on about, but the poison is still out there, the harm done.

Postscript. “The bird made me do it” See post 25 September 2011 23:47…

26 September 2011 at 18:40  
Blogger non mouse said...

ty, Oswin :)

Mr. OiG -- Couldn't agree more about Greer. Though she linked 'feminists' and 'eunuchs,' and so chose a title that could be easily turned against her! My point is that Communists deploy her poison.

Please rest assured that members of my species are not yet caged - traditional rule of law, justice, and education, has kept us free. Vis a vis the strand, we also believe that Vengeance, should any deem it warranted, belongs to none but the Lord.

I merely remember that Communists, so as to impose neu 'knowledge' of good and evil, exacerbate conflict between men and women. The reichrats are then as gods, who can exact death duties.

PS: Clever, that -- about the byrd :)

And now: "Work to do, [etc...]" (Kipling).

26 September 2011 at 20:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

non mouse

We are one again. The Inspector is pleased at that, you furry temptress. Be seeing you...

26 September 2011 at 21:09  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

Are you flirting with non mouse?

26 September 2011 at 22:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo

The Inspector admits a certain arousal. He is an unattached bachelor, don’t you know...

26 September 2011 at 23:09  
Blogger The Worker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 September 2011 at 23:33  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

Self control, there's a good chap. She's happily married and you wouldn't want to tempt her with your charm.

26 September 2011 at 23:36  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

AS Gray said

for me the loss of even one innocent life is reason enough to avoid capital punishment.

And what of the innocent victim, murdered by someone back in the community after serving time for murdering previously - another spell in prison?

27 September 2011 at 09:02  
Blogger DRC said...

In many places this post implies or states the circumstances of Troy Davis' guilt were questionable (..."miscarriages of justice can, and do, take place," "The circumstances surrounding the Davis trial were dubious..." "The ambiguity surrounding Davis' guilt..." etc). With respect to Mr. Johnstone and Your Grace, Troy Davis was guilty. The evidence supports that he was guilty. There is no reasonable doubt, except that which certain sympathetic news outlets have created by disingenuously distorting the circumstances of a few witnesses' post-trial "recantations." I realize she is a divisive figure, but Anne Coulter has written a good overview of the facts surrounding the issue. If you are still convinced Troy Davis may have been innocent after reading the essay, I'm afraid we must agree to disagree at that point, as I will have nothing further to offer except the trial transcript itself, which would be onerous to read.

27 September 2011 at 19:18  
Blogger A S Grey said...

Your Grace,

Thank you so much. I shall give it some thought.

Dreadnaught,

Opposing capital punishment doesn't necessarily mean that I endorse releasing murderers from prison. I just don't think we should end their lives.

27 September 2011 at 23:52  
Blogger Graham Combs said...

Of course the real test of opposition to the death penalty was not the case of Troy Davis, but the Texas execution that took place the same day. For the torturer, murderer, and then desecrator of James Byrd. Why no protesters outside of that prison? I have a terrible feeling that those who urged the death penalty be rescinded for a black prisoner who murdered a policeman could not or would not protest same for the white torturer and murderer of a black man. Do hard cases make bad law or merely hypocrisy? Graham Combs/Royal Oak, Michigan, USA

28 September 2011 at 03:20  

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