The Death Penalty

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The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sat 30 Nov 2019 5:24 pm

Given the recent events on London Bridge where it is quite obvious that rehabilitation isn’t an option who would be in favour of the death penalty being re-introduced for murder and treason. I include treason because if someone is a citizen of a country and chooses to fight against that country then that qualifies as treason in my book. Be assured you will never be given a referendum on this subject as the people can’t be trusted to give the right answer.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby jofra » Sun 01 Dec 2019 12:33 am

Firstly, my "gut response" - a drunk driver/joy rider/drugged-up individual kills my wife/child/relative - that killer took a life and therefore forfeits their life - simple; an eye for an eye, and I openly admit that I would be satisfied (perhaps for always? I don't know, I might regret it...)
HOWEVER - treason - SPECIFY, DEFINE what EXACTLY should be classified/included as treason -
"Currently, the consensus among major Islamic schools is that apostasy (leaving Islam) is considered treason and that the penalty is death; this is supported not in the Quran but in hadith."
"In Algeria, treason is defined as the following:
attempts to change the regime or actions aimed at incitement..."
"In Bahrain, plotting to topple the regime, collaborating with a foreign hostile country and threatening the life of the Emir are defined as treason and punishable by death. The State Security Law of 1974 was used to crush dissent that could be seen as treasonous, which was criticised for permitting severe human rights violations in accordance with Article One...."
The current protests in Hong Kong - does the (mainland) Chinese government class these as "treason"? I suspect they would like to....
In Thailand, insults and derogatory comments against the royal family are (almost) treated as treason....
AND IN THE UK - poll tax riots? Some considered these to be attempts to overthrow the government - treason?
"The Treason Act 1351 has since been amended several times, and currently provides for four categories of treasonable offences, namely:

"when a man doth compass or imagine the death of our lord the King, or of our lady his Queen or of their eldest son and heir";
"if a man do violate the King's companion, or the King's eldest daughter unmarried, or the wife of the King's eldest son and heir";[28][29]
"if a man do levy war against our lord the King in his realm, or be adherent to the King's enemies in his realm, giving to them aid and comfort in the realm, or elsewhere"; and
"if a man slea the chancellor, treasurer, or the King's justices of the one bench or the other, justices in eyre, or justices of assise, and all other justices assigned to hear and determine, being in their places, doing their offices"........."

So perhaps "treason" is a touch of overkill - protesters for democracy and human rights are sometimes being accused of treason....

Murder? Act of war? Yes, I'll accept that, with a suitable punishment, but "treason" is too conveniently amorphous...
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby Groucho » Sun 01 Dec 2019 7:43 am

In the past too many people have been found guilty and subsequently been found to be innocent for the safe use of state sanctioned death sentences in all cases other than those such as we have just witnessed... in the case of terrorists like this, his release is the issue.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 10:14 am

Groucho wrote:In the past too many people have been found guilty and subsequently been found to be innocent for the safe use of state sanctioned death sentences in all cases other than those such as we have just witnessed.


When the death penalty was in force by no means was every person found guilty of murder hung. The jury could also plead for mercy which was generally followed, one of the few cases it wasn't was Derek Bentley. Bentley is a good example because this was not a case where he was subsequently found innocent, everyone at the time knew he should not have been executed and there was a huge outcry even before he hung.

But yes there have been mistakes in the past but DNA should certainly give us some guilty beyond reasonable doubt murderers. We could also introduce a step where there is an independent adjudicator who will examine ALL evidence impartially.
But there will still be mistakes made and they will rightly get massive publicity.
These are a few miscarriages that don't get much publicity
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-16638227

Be interesting to see whether there were 30 miscarriages of justice for murder in that period
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby Groucho » Sun 01 Dec 2019 10:22 am

EnjoyingTheSun wrote:
Groucho wrote:In the past too many people have been found guilty and subsequently been found to be innocent for the safe use of state sanctioned death sentences in all cases other than those such as we have just witnessed.


When the death penalty was in force by no means was every person found guilty of murder hung. The jury could also plead for mercy which was generally followed, one of the few cases it wasn't was Derek Bentley. Bentley is a good example because this was not a case where he was subsequently found innocent, everyone at the time knew he should not have been executed and there was a huge outcry even before he hung.

But yes there have been mistakes in the past but DNA should certainly give us some guilty beyond reasonable doubt murderers. We could also introduce a step where there is an independent adjudicator who will examine ALL evidence impartially.
But there will still be mistakes made and they will rightly get massive publicity.
These are a few miscarriages that don't get much publicity
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-16638227

Be interesting to see whether there were 30 miscarriages of justice for murder in that period


Even DNA can be circumstantial.... I person put to death who it turns out was innocent is 100% too many.

I say just imagine that person is your son or daughter.... then advocate the death penalty. I think not.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 10:30 am

jofra wrote:
AND IN THE UK - poll tax riots? Some considered these to be attempts to overthrow the government - treason?

So perhaps "treason" is a touch of overkill - protesters for democracy and human rights are sometimes being accused of treason....

Murder? Act of war? Yes, I'll accept that, with a suitable punishment, but "treason" is too conveniently amorphous...


You make some good points regarding treason but let's keep it simple, would you say ISIS are at war with Britain?
If someone acts against their own country or does harm to their fellow countrymen while assisting a foreign power would that not count as treason by pretty much any definition?

We have a problem with the likes of this person on London Bridge or the likes of Anjem Choudary, another who got his automatic parole without a grain of contrition. These people have declared war on Britain and the British people.

We can't lock them up for life for some reason. We seem to have some belief that de-radicalisation might work. I would imagine that is as unsuccessful as trying to de nonce a pedophile. You believe what you believe and you are wired up how you are wired up. Some are wired up to be evil.
We cannot deport these people because they are British citizens. We could strip them of British citizenship but that was done in the Begum case to much weeping by the do-gooders and only possible because she had dual citizenship. We can't practically keep the released terrorist under surveilance once he has been released.

So we are left with the current system. Someone plays an active part in a terrorist operation against their country. Maybe the operation was thwarted and no one was killed or this person's part in it was a small part so difficult to label them a murderer as such. So we can't lock them away forever and have to release them to be a danger to British citizens.

Hanging them for treason would be brutal but it's a war and war is brutal. Trust me they view any civilized behaviour or mercy as weakness
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 10:44 am

Groucho wrote:
Even DNA can be circumstantial.... I person put to death who it turns out was innocent is 100% too many.

I say just imagine that person is your son or daughter.... then advocate the death penalty. I think not.


Better a hundred guilty go free... is one of the greatest virtue signalling sound bites in history but not practical.

I say Just imagine someone of 25 has murdered a child. They get sentenced to life and get released after 30 years (14 is the average).
At 55 they are more than strong enough to overpower a child and they subsequently murder your grandson or granddaughter.
Whilst you would be devastated you could comfort yourself that this person had served their sentence, after all a life sentence is psychologically crushing for a person and they should be given the opportunity of rehabilitation.
So you would suffer a tragic loss but keep your moral integrity.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby Groucho » Sun 01 Dec 2019 10:55 am

EnjoyingTheSun wrote:
Groucho wrote:
Even DNA can be circumstantial.... I person put to death who it turns out was innocent is 100% too many.

I say just imagine that person is your son or daughter.... then advocate the death penalty. I think not.


Better a hundred guilty go free... is one of the greatest virtue signalling sound bites in history but not practical.

I say Just imagine someone of 25 has murdered a child. They get sentenced to life and get released after 30 years (14 is the average).
At 55 they are more than strong enough to overpower a child and they subsequently murder your grandson or granddaughter.
Whilst you would be devastated you could comfort yourself that this person had served their sentence, after all a life sentence is psychologically crushing for a person and they should be given the opportunity of rehabilitation.
So you would suffer a tragic loss but keep your moral integrity.


You are missing the point - what if the person originally found guilty is your son and he's innocent? Are you happy for him to be executed?
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 11:13 am

Groucho wrote:

You are missing the point - what if the person originally found guilty is your son and he's innocent? Are you happy for him to be executed?


No I got your point. No that would be a tragedy, one for the person hung and two because the real killer was still free. How many people do you think were wrongly convicted between 2001 and 2010? Thirty?
Would you be happy for a convicted murderer to be let out to murder again?
Bringing back the death penalty for murder pure and simple wouldn't be the answer but we do need that option.
In the case of death penalty cases a purely evidence based re-investigation that wasn't so adversarial as a murder trial would be needed as part of the process.
The day the guy got wrongly convicted for the Jill Dando murder I thought, seriously, you convicted him on that!
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby Groucho » Sun 01 Dec 2019 11:30 am

EnjoyingTheSun wrote:
Groucho wrote:

You are missing the point - what if the person originally found guilty is your son and he's innocent? Are you happy for him to be executed?


No I got your point. No that would be a tragedy, one for the person hung and two because the real killer was still free. How many people do you think were wrongly convicted between 2001 and 2010? Thirty?
Would you be happy for a convicted murderer to be let out to murder again?
Bringing back the death penalty for murder pure and simple wouldn't be the answer but we do need that option.
In the case of death penalty cases a purely evidence based re-investigation that wasn't so adversarial as a murder trial would be needed as part of the process.
The day the guy got wrongly convicted for the Jill Dando murder I thought, seriously, you convicted him on that!


There's the rub, who decides when the option should be invoked and are they always right? History tells us no.... so in an imperfect world do you accept collateral damage? I say no.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby erol » Sun 01 Dec 2019 11:31 am

EnjoyingTheSun wrote:If someone acts against their own country or does harm to their fellow countrymen while assisting a foreign power would that not count as treason by pretty much any definition?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tillyria

For me there is real danger in a mind set that seeks to apply simple binary 'solutions' on to a world / universe that just does not operate in such ways, that is literally infinite across and within pretty much all scales. In seeking to impose a binary nature on the universe that does and can not ever be properly understood in such terms. Such approaches for me can only lead to conclusions that are more fundamentally flawed than a different mind set could allow,
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 11:46 am

Groucho wrote:
There's the rub, who decides when the option should be invoked and are they always right? History tells us no.... so in an imperfect world do you accept collateral damage? I say no.


Statistics are sketchy on this, for obvious reasons I'd say but between 1900 and 1964 there were 19,664 homicides in the UK. Admitedly that figure includes manslaughter.
In the same period there were 827 executions. So however you slice and dice those figures it does prove that not every murderer got executed. Not by a long shot.

As well as DNA advances, science has caught up with a lot of the more creative police actions. Also I think the public are far less likely to believe a verbal report of a confession to the police than they were in the fifties. I'm not saying the police couldn't or wouldn't fit someone up still but I would say the opportunities are less and their evidence wouldn't be taken as read as it was back in the day,

As for injustices, yes they will still happen. But in cases such as Stefan Kiszko even though he didn't hang you might say it might have been more merciful had he have done so.

The problem we have now with no ultimate sanction is the lack of measured deterrents. Were 4 men to carry out an armed robbery they would get virtually as high a sentence for the robbery as they would for murder. So there is no deterrent for them shooting their way out or eliminating witnesses.
During the days of capital punishment there were still armed robberies but if there was a more volatile member of the gang the others would ensure his gun had no live rounds because as a joint venture if he panicked they all hung.

What is clear, is no matter how the figures are sliced, diced and spun no one can deny that the murder rate has nearly doubled since the abolition of capital punishment.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 11:53 am

erol wrote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tillyria

For me there is real danger in a mind set that seeks to apply simple binary 'solutions' on to a world / universe that just does not operate in such ways, that is literally infinite across and within pretty much all scales. In seeking to impose a binary nature on the universe that does and can not ever be properly understood in such terms. Such approaches for me can only lead to conclusions that are more fundamentally flawed than a different mind set could allow,


In English Erol ;)
I think a defense that the crime of treason could be corrupted by some fascist totalitarian government overlooks the point if you get a government like that and you oppose it, your getting executed no matter what crime they label it. So it's a bit of a moot point.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 12:03 pm

I am hoping that someone brings up the subject of creating martyrs if we execute terrorists :)
My set answer to that is 10 died during the 1981 IRA hunger strikes, apart from Bobby Sands name 2 others without googling them.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby erol » Sun 01 Dec 2019 12:06 pm

EnjoyingTheSun wrote:
erol wrote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tillyria

For me there is real danger in a mind set that seeks to apply simple binary 'solutions' on to a world / universe that just does not operate in such ways, that is literally infinite across and within pretty much all scales. In seeking to impose a binary nature on the universe that does and can not ever be properly understood in such terms. Such approaches for me can only lead to conclusions that are more fundamentally flawed than a different mind set could allow,


In English Erol ;)
I think a defense that the crime of treason could be corrupted by some fascist totalitarian government overlooks the point if you get a government like that and you oppose it, your getting executed no matter what crime they label it. So it's a bit of a moot point.


The point I was trying to make was to suggest that your idea that there is a universal simple binary definition of what is or is not 'treason' along the lines you suggested of 'If someone acts against their own country or does harm to their fellow countrymen while assisting a foreign power' is fundamentally flawed. There is no binary reality as to what is or is not treason. Thus for me an approach that seeks 'solutions' that are premised on a belief that such a binary reality actually exits when it does not, is to 'start' from a limited and limiting world view that reduces our ability to find 'solutions' or 'better solutions'.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 12:14 pm

erol wrote:
someone acts against their own country or does harm to their fellow countrymen while assisting a foreign power' is fundamentally flawed. There is no binary reality as to what is or is not treason.


OK, it's a war, someone gives information to the enemy that causes countless deaths of their fellow citizens.
I accept that they may be convinced that they are serving a greater good but what sanction should the government carry out on that person?

Personally I think a prison sentence doesn't quite cut it.

Also you need a deterrent for others.
If someone is convinced the other side is right and is going to win then they will go to prison confident that they will be subsequently released and lionised when 'their' side has won
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby erol » Sun 01 Dec 2019 1:00 pm

EnjoyingTheSun wrote:
erol wrote:
someone acts against their own country or does harm to their fellow countrymen while assisting a foreign power' is fundamentally flawed. There is no binary reality as to what is or is not treason.


OK, it's a war, someone gives information to the enemy that causes countless deaths of their fellow citizens.
I accept that they may be convinced that they are serving a greater good but what sanction should the government carry out on that person?

Personally I think a prison sentence doesn't quite cut it.

Also you need a deterrent for others.
If someone is convinced the other side is right and is going to win then they will go to prison confident that they will be subsequently released and lionised when 'their' side has won


One of the few 'binaries' that is a reflection of an underlying reality of the universe is life or death. Deciding who should live or die based on binary definitions that are themselves not a reflection of how the universe works but a reflection of our limited ability to understand how it works. seems to me flawed.

Usman Khan was convicted for plotting terrorist attacks. My understanding is your position is his sentence should have been execution and that if that had of been the sentence, then the subsequent attack he carried out would not have happened.

What you have failed to answer so far in my view is where is the line to be drawn. What about an individual with a long history of criticism of the UK's foreign policy actions, who is then found to have downloaded the 'anarchist cookbook' from the internet. Should such a person be executed for this in your view ? Again it comes back to this attempt to force a binary reality on a universe that will not have such imposed on it. There is no such reality of just two binary states of 'terrorist' or 'not terrorist', of 'threat' or 'not a threat'. There is only degrees of such. Yet you advocate the application of the ultimate (from a human perspective) form of binary outcome that exists in the universe, that of life and death, based on binary definitions, that are not a reflection of an underlying reality but are in fact a denial of the actual reality which is there are only degrees of such definitions. That seems a flawed approach to me.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 1:16 pm

erol wrote:
Usman Khan was convicted for plotting terrorist attacks. My understanding is your position is his sentence should have been execution and that if that had of been the sentence, then the subsequent attack he carried out would not have happened.


Pretty much but also if the upper punishment is death then it gives you a lot more leeway on crimes below death. For example if you only have someone serve 14 years for murder how could you give them the same for rape.

erol wrote:What about an individual with a long history of criticism of the UK's foreign policy actions, who is then found to have downloaded the 'anarchist cookbook' from the internet. Should such a person be executed for this in your view ?


Total and utter false equivalence as you well know. EG Hitler was a known supporter of Green policies ergo Green policies are fascist.

BTW is binary the Guardian word of the week? Never heard you use it before but every post today has at minimum of 6 binaries?
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby erol » Sun 01 Dec 2019 3:06 pm

EnjoyingTheSun wrote:
erol wrote:
Usman Khan was convicted for plotting terrorist attacks. My understanding is your position is his sentence should have been execution and that if that had of been the sentence, then the subsequent attack he carried out would not have happened.


Pretty much but also if the upper punishment is death then it gives you a lot more leeway on crimes below death. For example if you only have someone serve 14 years for murder how could you give them the same for rape.


Having a range of sanctions from nothing through to spending the rest of your natural life incarcerated provides a scale of sanction. The idea that without the death penalty as an ultimate sanction beyond incarceration for the rest of your natural life, you somehow have significantly less leeway to be able to impose degrees of sanction relevant to degree of severity of crime seems to me, on the face of it, just nonsense.

As similarly flawed to me is this idea that there is a simple straight line relation ship with degree of sanction and degree of deterrent. No where is this flaw more starkly shown than in the cases like this recent one. It seems pretty clear to me that someone that carries out such an act wearing a fake suicide vest does not see their own potential death as sufficient deterrent to stop them taking such actions at all.

EnjoyingTheSun wrote:
erol wrote:What about an individual with a long history of criticism of the UK's foreign policy actions, who is then found to have downloaded the 'anarchist cookbook' from the internet. Should such a person be executed for this in your view ?


Total and utter false equivalence as you well know. EG Hitler was a known supporter of Green policies ergo Green policies are fascist.


It is not about equivalence. It is about your inability, in my view and from my perspective, to be able to define where the line would be that should warrant death or not. You appear to me to make out this line, where it should be drawn, is simple and clear and understandable for all. Yet when attempts are made to 'zoom in' on the specific detail of where this line should be, you appear to me to swerve that issue, as if in a decision that is literally about life and death, this is some kind of nit picking detail.

erol wrote:BTW is binary the Guardian word of the week? Never heard you use it before but every post today has at minimum of 6 binaries?


And this is, as far as I can predict my own future actions, where I will step away from such this discussion with you here in this place. In many ways, on many levels and to a significant degree, this notion that I do not and can not think for myself unless and until I am told how to do so by the Guardian is deeply and fundamentally condescending and insulting to me as an individual. For me your tendency to do this kind of thing to an atypical degree only highlights to me the limits that you place on your own ability to think and understand clearly by starting from a point of imposing on the universe a simple 'binary' or 'tribal' view or model of the universe that is in fact detached from the underlying reality of the universe and in this case of me as an individual.

For the record these 'notions' and the clarity of them in my head of how so much conflict comes not from 'disagreement' itself but actually from the 'process' we all use to understand the world and our own individuality within it, this dividing the world up in to binary tribes and camps and then assigning every one to one of these binary tribes, regardless of anything a given individual might actually say or do as an individual, regardless of the fact that such a model does not and can not reflect underlying reality in any substantive way, are for me relatively new. However not that new. When I said on the forum a while back I was going to go away and write a book, it is on exactly these kinds of notions that I imagined writing a book about. I cold show early rough efforts to start this that go back several months to 'prove' you assertion that it is something the Guardian has told me to do in the last few days but that would be to to give a degree of credence to your assertion beyond what it merits or deserves imo.
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Re: The Death Penalty

Postby EnjoyingTheSun » Sun 01 Dec 2019 5:02 pm

erol wrote:
Having a range of sanctions from nothing through to spending the rest of your natural life incarcerated provides a scale of sanction.

As similarly flawed to me is this idea that there is a simple straight line relation ship with degree of sanction and degree of deterrent. No where is this flaw more starkly shown than in the cases like this recent one. It seems pretty clear to me that someone that carries out such an act wearing a fake suicide vest does not see their own potential death as sufficient deterrent to stop them taking such actions at all.


Spending the rest of your natural life in prison is the exception rather than the rule, the amount of prisoners for whom life means life is so small that there is a list. As for sanction and deterrent, it is a fundamental of economics that incentives and disincentives work. I agree that a fanatic may hold their life in forfeit and as with psychopaths you cant really legislate for them but I do think you can discourage the camp followers/accessories with the ultimate sanction. If you start to attack the support network of the suicide bomber you will make their life much more difficult. Make no mistake this is a war and you don't win a war by being virtuous. Be assured the people we have to protect ourselves against view being virtuous and 'civilised' as weakness.

erol wrote:
Yet when attempts are made to 'zoom in' on the specific detail of where this line should be, you appear to me to swerve that issue, as if in a decision that is literally about life and death, this is some kind of nit picking detail.


Not at all, efforts to link somebody protesting say the poll tax and conspiring with others to cause death to your fellow citizens is as different as night and day. I can see that a fascist totalitarian government could stretch the meaning of treason but despite the propaganda we do not have such a government and wont get one. Our only chance of getting such a government is when ordinary people think enough of this liberal clap trap how much worse could it be with such a party?

erol wrote:
I do not and can not think for myself unless and until I am told how to do so by the Guardian is deeply and fundamentally condescending and insulting to me as an individual. For me your tendency to do this kind of thing to an atypical degree only highlights to me the limits that you place on your own ability to think and understand clearly by starting from a point of imposing on the universe a simple 'binary' or 'tribal' view or model of the universe that is in fact detached from the underlying reality of the universe and in this case of me as an individual.


I just pointed out that binary was a recent addition to your vocabulary and I speculated why. It reminded me of when I was at work and people would start using the word tangible in every sentence when they hadn't used the word in 15 years. It was always a sign they had recently been on a HR course.
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