Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Cake or Death?

I have asked this question and been unable to get a straight answer. I have been involved in many a debate on this topic, always ending at a dead end.

How can a person be against abortion but support the death penalty? How does a person say that they value human life so much that they think even birth control pills and IUDs are wrong because they may cause harm to a fertilized embryo and then in the next breathe say it is okay to send volts of electricity through a person or inject them with poison until they die?

I have read a lot on the topic of the death penalty. It doesn't work. It does not deter criminals, at least it does not deter the kind of criminals who commit the crimes that carry a death penalty sentence. There is a lot of information out there, one can find people using the Bible to support the death penalty and then one can find people using the Bible to support abolishing the death penalty. And so it goes, round and round, as religion tends to do. Spinning and spinning and never getting anywhere.

I have asked a person, in internet land, to explain to me this conflicting belief, thinking she would be able to. In the past she has always been very opinionated on such topics, particularly religion, God, and all that jazz. I thought maybe she might be able to explain things in a way that might possibly make a tiny bit of sense to me (although I will never change my mind), make it possible for me to say, "okay, I don't agree but I can see why you think that". So far she has put me off, claiming she will answer when she feels like it. And then she went on to say I was hounding her, harassing her, and being uncivil. What the fuck? I ask an honest question because I want to know and suddenly I am being uncivil. Uh huh.

Maybe if I had the blind faith and the belief that Jesus was the son of God, I would get it. Maybe once you are part of that, the light goes on. Or maybe it doesn't.

For me, I am guided by what I know to be right and wrong. I listen, to my own heart and to what I think is God. The Bible does nothing for me and never has, it only serves to confuse. With so many ways of interpreting the words, a person could justify just about anything.

From where I sit, it isn't any man or woman's right to judge the value of another person's life, whether they should live or die. Despite what horrific crimes they have committed, I do not believe man is worthy of deciding to take another man's life. That decision should be left to those who have the capacity to decide.

Let he who is free from sin cast the first stone.


At 4:42 PM, Blogger O Learned One said...

The difference, simply put, is that a child is an innocent - a convicted murderer/child molester/rapist/etc. is not. I don't believe that the death penalty is 'playing God'. It is what it is - a means to rid the world of evil people, and a way to make the world a tiny bit safer.

You argue that the death penalty is not a deterrent. Prison certainly isn't. Rehabilitation programs only help the ones who want to be helped, not the ones who find pleasure in harming others. So where does that leave us?

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Smoov said...

But it is not our job to judge who is evil. It is not our right to take another life, and since the death penalty does not work anyway, why not keep them in prison for life? Death is such an easy way out for them anyway.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger cackmandu said...

Very deep! I will weigh in on this after I put some thought into it. I am always up for a great debate...

At 1:12 PM, Blogger O Learned One said...

Why pay to keep them alive, when that doesn't work either? Why give them even the most remote chance that they will ever walk the streets again? I personally do not want a convicted murderer/etc walking the streets with me or my loved ones. I am not saying "fry everyone convicted of murder - muah hahahaha!" But repeat offenders, serial killers, child molesters... we as a society are better off without them, and without the expense thier upkeep will incur. And while it may not mine, nor your, job to judge evil, there are those appointed to do just that. We *have* to judge some people evil, or learn to live with such violent people in our midst. I am very much in favor of the former.

And why in the world would you think death is an easy way out? It is by far the worst punishment. Your very life is ended! You have no second chance. You do not get to go to plan B. You no longer have any options. Which is perfect, considering they took someone else's options away.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Smoov said...

We are not omnipotent and not worthy of judging whether another man lives or dies, that is my belief. We are flawed, in character and judgement.

Death is the easy way out because it is over, life in confinement, in my opinion, would be worse than death. A lifetime to think about the things one has done.

Why don't you sign your name next time?

At 3:23 PM, Blogger O Learned One said...

I have signed my name everytime. It shows up the same as yours.

So losing your freedom, your life is easier than being kept in confinement? And once again, why should I have to pay to care for a bunch of criminals who only want to harm others? If we are not to judge others, to condemn them to death, then why is it you believe that we *are* allowed to condemn them to a fate you consider worse than death?

I take it you are against abortion as well? We have gotten off that subject entirely. Are you against all abortions, just third trimester abortions.... ?

At 7:09 PM, Blogger Smoov said...

Dear O,

Being confined for life IS losing your freedom.

It is more expensive to have someone on death row than it is to confine them for a life sentence, due to the costs of all the appeals that go along with a death sentence. The data is out there, have a look.

The laws of the land have to have authority to do something with criminals, they should not be allowed to roam free. A life sentence with no parole option, in my opinion, is more ethical than a death sentence. Particularly since innocent people have been sentenced and executed.

I am against abortions. I have not always felt this way, about abortins and the death penalty. As I have aged and read more, my opinions have changed. I hope in time other people will change their opinions too.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger cackmandu said...

Hmm, I still have nothing to say that will make me ven come close to sounding like I have a half a brain of either of you. So here I go! My opinion of course won't matter much here.

First off, who gives a fuck? I overall agree with Smoov but also agree on SOME things with O.

Abortion isn't about an innocent life being taken and a a convicted murderer/child molester/rapist/etc being removed from our society.
I agree with O in that we appoint people to make the judgment of who is bad and whos good. A sick Santa Claus if you will. Someone has to be judged! The way it's always been and will remain Checks and balances.

I think that we all know that prison and the death penalty is a mere slap on the wrist for some of these people. Our society is becoming more disgusting and barbaric as the days go on. I am not sure that for example, the man that kept the logs of the children and acts he commited, feels any remorse and time in a cell will do nothing for him. We will pay for him to be in jail and eventually die. Meanwhile, I am just trying top keep my head above water with health care and all the strains that come with having a family. Meanwhile sick ass gets a roof over his head and 3 meals a day?

I do agree with Smoov in death being an eay way out. You even pointe dit out to us. "And why in the world would you think death is an easy way out? It is by far the worst punishment. Your very life is ended! You have no second chance. You do not get to go to plan B. You no longer have any options. Which is perfect, considering they took someone else's options away." Death is probably welcomed by the bastards. The point is that THEY took someones options away. So why is it that we give them options? Why give these cocksuckers an appeals process?

Now as far as abortions go why even debate it? It's like a religion, nobody will ever see eye to eye on this topic. I am pro-choice for the right reasons. They typical rapes and incest cases. I hate the thought of abortion being used as a birth control.

So as we all like to disagree on red hot issues, can we agree to disagree. You both have good points and bad points. I of course have no firm stance on any of these topics. I am sure that I am a dumbass and will be pointed out to me several times but so is life.

Life in jail is too easy. Abortion, not a great thing but may ease some pain.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger O Learned One said...

Sure, being confined for life *is* losing your freedom. But very few out of the masses actually stay there for life. Take this fellow who kidnapped the two kids, Dylan and Shasta. He brutally murdered thier whole family, repeatedly molested the two children, and it is almost certain he killed the boy, Dylan, as well. I will bet you a million dollars that I don't have that he will not get life in prison, no parole. He WON'T. That disgusting pig will be out someday, maybe 30 years from now, but he will be out. They have written proof that he *wanted* to commit horrible crimes against humanity, over and over and over, and he has no remorse. While I am glad that I do not live in that state and my tax dollars won't go to keep him alive for the next X years, I am quite aware that my tax dollars are keeping some equally disgusting worm alive in my own state. He deserves to die. Period. He took that girl's family away from her. He stole her innocence. She deserves to live her life knowing that he paid the ultimate price.

I want to ask you one thing again. If we are not to judge others, to condemn them to death, then why is it you believe that we *are* allowed to condemn them to a fate you consider worse than death? How is living in prison any more humane? And how is it fair? Yes, they do lose *most* of thier freedom, but not nearly enough. They get food, shelter, companionship, cable, internet and email access, visits from family and friends, and even the occasional conjugal visit. That is not justice. The older I get, the more I see that in instances like this, society's rights count more than an individual's.

I am well aware of the costs of keeping a person on death row. I am arguing the principle of the thing. I would rather help pay to rid the world of such depraved individuals than to keep them alive, knowing that the majority are going to be right back on the street.

Ach, I keep reading back over this, and I realize that it sounds so much like an attack on your personal beliefs, smoov, and that is not what I intended. Take my comments with a teaspoon of sugar, because I only intended all of this as an exchange of ideas/opinions/etc. I LOVE discussions like this, moreso with someone who disagrees with me... :)

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Smoov said...

We ARE to judge others, morally and ethically. In my opinion, we have to have laws and ways of handling criminals. Like I said, I certainly do not think that they should be free. And if a life sentence with no parole were given, then the person would be incarcerated for life. I find that punishment fitting. I simply do not think it is our right to decide who should die and who should live. Those decisions should be left for God, and God alone. And like I have already pointed out, innocent people have been put to death by the government, are those innocent lives worth it to you, in order to have the death penalty?

When my 9 year old daughter asked me about the death penalty, she said, "So, it is not okay for us to kill people but it is okay for our government to kill people? And they kill people to teach them that killing people is wrong?" Yeah....a child's mind can be so refreshingly simple at times.

I don't feel as if I am worthy of deciding who "deserves" to die and who does not. And I absolutely do not feel our justice system is worthy of that decision either. Taking a life is serious, no matter whose life it is. The death penalty only serves as blood vengance, it does not solve any problems.

And for the record, I don't feel attacked. I also enjoy debates like this! I am trying to find peace with myself, with the world and with God. I am not a Christian, even though I was raised in the Bible-belt south. I have spent the last few years really searching for what is right for me, doing a lot of reading and thinking. I don't think we have it right yet, I think we have a long way to go. Sentencing someone to death for crimes they may have committed does not erase those crimes or bring back the dead. It doesn't help and I would not want that blood on my hands.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger O Learned One said...

I simply believe in "an eye for an eye". I am not quoting the Bible, nor do I want to bring religion into the discussion. I am religious, but my belief in this case comes simply from the fact that I honestly think that if you intentionally kill another human, you should suffer the same fate. I don't see it as blood on my hands either.

Can you honestly say that if someone came along and kidnapped, molested, and then killed your children, someone who then not only showed no remorse but said he would do it all again... you think that life in prison is enough? Or some punk who shoots your husband because he wants his shoes... or someone kills you because you look at him the wrong way (this happened last night near my hometown - a man was killed because he made the unfortunate mistake of making eye contact with some random guy in the parking lot)... all of these people ultimately judged you or yours unimportant enough to murder, and then appointed him/herself your/thier executioner. If it can be proven, and I mean *really* proven (DNA, eyewitnesses, etc), prison is not enough. The kind of person who would deliberately do something like this, 99 times out of 100 he will not be rehabilitated by sitting in prison. And most of them eventually do get out.

You are right, sentencing someone to death does not erase thier crime, and it does not bring the person back. But it does guarantee that that person will never be able to do such a thing again. People do kill other people in prison as well. What do you do with someone who kills again while incarcerated? He obviously isn't learning his lesson by being there, and he certainly isn't changing his behaviour. Why keep this person alive? Because it isn't our right? I say it is. It *is* our right to protect our fellow man, and sometimes putting a man to death is the only way to accomplish that.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger Smoov said...

It is hard to say exactly what you might feel in a hypothetical situation. I am sure the loss of my child would be devastating, but I still don't think I would feel any better knowing the murderer was dead vs. confined in a 6x9 cell. I have read many accounts from families of victims who do not support the death penalty, and what they have to say makes sense to me.

The death penalty is also racist and applied randomly. There is a lot of data out there to support this and I urge you to spend some time reading material about abolishing the death penalty.

On keeping religion out of this....well, I find it very difficult to separate my spirtuality from this issue. This is life we are talking about, the ulitmate blessing. I don't believe that any of us have the right to take another life.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger O Learned One said...

I still believe that because life *is* such a blessing, that when you take a life, you deserve to have yours taken. It really is just that simple to me.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Smoov said...

And I don't believe we are beings capable of deciding who deserves to live and who deserves to die.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger O Learned One said...

so we agree to disagree.


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