Death penalty

Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in 1977, the first execution after the death penalty was reinstated.
His brother, Mikal Gilmore was born on February 9, 1951, in Portland, Oregon, to Frank and Bessie Gilmore.
In 1977, Mikal Gilmore’s brother Gary, a convicted murderer, was the first person executed after the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. Gary Gilmore was executed for shooting two young men, Max Jensen and Ben Bushnell, in cold blood. He was executed by firing squad in Utah. Mikal Gilmore’s 1995 memoir, Shot in the Heart, details his relationship with Gary and their often troubled family, starting with the original Mormon settlers and continuing through to Gary’s execution and its aftermath. Shot in the Heart received positive reviews, including a USA Today comment that states the book is
“one of the most beautifully written, moving nonfiction books published in the past five years.”
Mikal Gilmore’s book won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
The book was a book read by my book group. It is one of the best books I have ever read.
I recommend it highly to anyone who has not read it.
Lois

Thanks for the book recommendation Lois. I obviously havent read it yet but on the topic of the death penalty I was wondering if anyone here had opinions about the recent “execution gone wrong” (http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/30/us/oklahoma-botched-execution/) case in Oklahoma. Apparently the anesthetic was given and the prisoner was deemed unconscious. He was then given a lethal cocktail through the IV and prisoner was seen to arch up and open his eyes in spasms. He did eventually die but now there is a hold on executions and an outcry from death penalty opponents.
To balance the picture, this is an individual who was convicted of shooting a woman with a shotgun and then having her buried alive while she was bleeding to death.
I have mixed feelings about the death penalty. On the one hand I think the risk of executing even one innocent person is unacceptable. It also dehumanizes us to some degree On the other hand there are some cases where the evidence is completely incontrovertible and the act so heinous that I believe execution is justified and may be the only way to provide peace for the victims family.
In this case noted above, no matter how botched ( and I am not sure the effects on the prisoner were as bad as it appears externally) the execution was it was still far more humane than the execution he presided over himself.

Thanks for the book recommendation Lois. I obviously havent read it yet but on the topic of the death penalty I was wondering if anyone here had opinions about the recent "execution gone wrong" (http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/30/us/oklahoma-botched-execution/) case in Oklahoma. Apparently the anesthetic was given and the prisoner was deemed unconscious. He was then given a lethal cocktail through the IV and prisoner was seen to arch up and open his eyes in spasms. He did eventually die but now there is a hold on executions and an outcry from death penalty opponents. To balance the picture, this is an individual who was convicted of shooting a woman with a shotgun and then having her buried alive while she was bleeding to death. I have mixed feelings about the death penalty. On the one hand I think the risk of executing even one innocent person is unacceptable. It also dehumanizes us to some degree On the other hand there are some cases where the evidence is completely incontrovertible and the act so heinous that I believe execution is justified and may be the only way to provide peace for the victims family. In this case noted above, no matter how botched ( and I am not sure the effects on the prisoner were as bad as it appears externally) the execution was it was still far more humane than the execution he presided over himself.
I do not like the idea of the necessity of the death penalty but as long as we have humans acting out like rabid animals I think it's a necessary evil. There is no compassion in me for the murderer with the execution issues but I do have compassion for the viewers and the medical staff. I'm sorry they will suffer emotionally for having witnessed this. I do feel we elevate humans too high from the animal kingdom, mostly because of the religious idea of a soul (IMO), and this is why we have such a debate on death penalty issues. We are still animals and suffer from animal behaviors, some are socialized and can be expected to behave in a way beneficial to other humans and other species and some cannot. If you have a dangerous mad animal, you put it down, it's merciful not only to the mad inflicted beast but to the community on which it preys. I don't think because we are language speaking, self-aware animals that this mitigates our responsibility to cull the herd. JSYK, I also think euthanasia should be legal as well. Having full autonomy is what living as free, thinking individuals is about. Lee

I agree with Lee. Execution is not the part of our justice system that concerns me nearly as much as whether defendants really get fair trials. I think the system should have built in requirements for more factual evidence and not allow a conviction based largely on how persuasive a lawyer is. If there is little or no actual evidence, regardless how convincing the prosecutor is, the case should not even have been brought. I know everyone in America is very big on on one getting away with anything, but the cost of our incarseration system finacially, socially, and culturally is way over the top. Whole populations are decimated by it. Not to mention how many innocent people end up in the system because we hate thinking someone could get away with it.
We imprison more the double the number of our citizens per capita than other well developed country in the world.
We tend to pick politicians by how “tough” they are on crime and this has made our system get tougher and tougher while having no effect on overall crime.

I do not like the idea of the necessity of the death penalty but as long as we have humans acting out like rabid animals I think it's a necessary evil. Lee
Why don't you go into this a little bit more. Explain why it's necessary. In explaining why it's necessary, explain why the places(US States, nations, etc..) who do not have the death penalty are deficient or are following the wrong path in ignoring such a necessity. Next explain the concept of "necessary evil" please. Does this imply "no alternative", or does it imply that humans must act out evil to fulfill a need? Then if you would, go into more detail behind the idea of humans acting like "rabid animals". Are there other zoomorphic terms you have for other type criminals? For example, what animal would you ascribe a car thief to?
I have mixed feelings about the death penalty. On the one hand I think the risk of executing even one innocent person is unacceptable. It also dehumanizes us to some degree On the other hand there are some cases where the evidence is completely incontrovertible and the act so heinous that I believe execution is justified and may be the only way to provide peace for the victims family.
I question that. I may fulfil an immediate need for vengeance that some people mistake for justice, but in the end state sponsored murder dehumanizes us all.

When looked at rationally there are acts being committed constantly at a very high level in governments and businesses that do vast amounts of damage at a personal level that are rarely addressed. Think of Bernie Madoff ripping off billions of dollars over several decades, Dick Cheney working so aggressively to start a war that personally benefited himself and those close to him and the ongoing vast fraud of climate change denial that puts not just the lives of people but our future as a species at risk, most of this with little or no attempt at real justice.
Then explain how killing a person for killing another is going to make any real difference in such a toxic socio-economic environment. It’s mostly poor and or minority people ending up on death row which raises serious questions of a clear bias in the application of the death penalty. It’s the appearance of justice while the real bastards keep creating vast damage.

I do not like the idea of the necessity of the death penalty but as long as we have humans acting out like rabid animals I think it's a necessary evil. Lee
Why don't you go into this a little bit more. Explain why it's necessary. In explaining why it's necessary, explain why the places(US States, nations, etc..) who do not have the death penalty are deficient or are following the wrong path in ignoring such a necessity. Next explain the concept of "necessary evil" please. Does this imply "no alternative", or does it imply that humans must act out evil to fulfill a need? Then if you would, go into more detail behind the idea of humans acting like "rabid animals". Are there other zoomorphic terms you have for other type criminals? For example, what animal would you ascribe a car thief to? This: "Next explain the concept of "necessary evil" please." It is a turn of phrase meaning something that necessary regardless that it is unpleasant or unfortunate. I do not believe in evil because that presupposes a directing force or being controlling the actions outside of the individual. Humans are responsible for human and inhuman behavior. The rest of your questions are just trolling game provocations of which I have no interest in playing now. Thanks, maybe later.
The rest of your questions are just trolling game provocations of which I have no interest in playing now. Thanks, maybe later.
:lol:

Yes, we have ethics and morality as a major basis for our species, however, if we examine our behavior from a purely biological approach, it makes perfect sense to eliminate those members who are severely damaging to many others of us and clearly unable to be rehabilitated.
From the first aspect we can deplore executions. If we consider the second approach, serial killers, those who are obviously not going to stop killing, and other severely harmful humans, it would be more efficient to exterminate them, thus making sure their probably defective genes don’t continue.
And I say that being against capital punishment. :slight_smile:
Occam

...killing, and other severely harmful humans, it would be more efficient to exterminate them, thus making sure their probably defective genes don't continue. And I say that being against capital punishment. :) Occam
So I guess we should hunt down their already existing progeny and kill them too, according to your logic.

Only if we can identify the damaging DNA and show they have it. :lol:
Occam

Only if we can identify the damaging DNA and show they have it. :lol: Occam
I hope others can interpret your sarcasm as well as I do. That being said, I get so goddamned mad at all the strollers who come through here and take full advantage of Article 5 of the CFI Forum Rules. It's a Humanist Site, not a Mall of America for every charismatic Atheist who likes to spew forth dross. Peace out!
Thanks for the book recommendation Lois. I obviously havent read it yet but on the topic of the death penalty I was wondering if anyone here had opinions about the recent "execution gone wrong" (http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/30/us/oklahoma-botched-execution/) case in Oklahoma. Apparently the anesthetic was given and the prisoner was deemed unconscious. He was then given a lethal cocktail through the IV and prisoner was seen to arch up and open his eyes in spasms. He did eventually die but now there is a hold on executions and an outcry from death penalty opponents. To balance the picture, this is an individual who was convicted of shooting a woman with a shotgun and then having her buried alive while she was bleeding to death. I have mixed feelings about the death penalty. On the one hand I think the risk of executing even one innocent person is unacceptable. It also dehumanizes us to some degree On the other hand there are some cases where the evidence is completely incontrovertible and the act so heinous that I believe execution is justified and may be the only way to provide peace for the victims family. In this case noted above, no matter how botched ( and I am not sure the effects on the prisoner were as bad as it appears externally) the execution was it was still far more humane than the execution he presided over himself.
Not the point, though. The point is whether any government should have the power to kill people in cold blood, no matter what their crime. It's a barbaric practice, IMO. Civilized countries seem able to manage without a death penalty, why shouldn't the US? Many states manage to operate without the death penalty. Why can't they all? Besides the moral factor, it costs us many times more to keep the death penalty than to end it. Killing in cold blood is always torture and cruel punishment, whether there is a problem as there was in this case or not. Shouldn't Americans be above that? What message are we sending? That killing another human being is OK as long as the killer thinks it's justified? Why does the United States always have to be trailing so far behind whenever it comes to social common sense? Maybe that's one reason we have such a high homicide rate in this country. Nobody displays any common sense, including the government. Nobody is better off having a killer dead than locked up in prison, certainly not the victim's loved ones. Killing a killer simply puts him out of his misery, quickly and relatively efficiently. He is let off of his punishment and the US looks like the barbaric country it is. Check out the lovely company we keep with other countries that still have the death penalty. Lois
Not the point, though. The point is whether any government should have the power to kill people in cold blood, no matter what their crime. It's a barbaric practice, IMO. Civilized countries seem able to manage without a death penalty, why shouldn't the US? Many states manage to operate without the death penalty. Why can't they all? Besides the moral factor, it costs us many times more to keep the death penalty than to end it. Killing in cold blood is always torture and cruel punishment, whether there is a problem as there was in this case or not. Shouldn't Americans be above that? What message are we sending? That killing another human being is OK as long as the killer thinks it's justified? Why does the United States always have to be trailing so far behind whenever it comes to social common sense? Maybe that's one reason we have such a high homicide rate in this country. Nobody displays any common sense, including the government. Nobody is better off having a killer dead than locked up in prison, certainly not the victim's loved ones. Killing a killer simply puts him out of his misery, quickly and relatively efficiently. He is let off of his punishment and the US looks like the barbaric country it is. Check out the lovely company we keep with other countries that still have the death penalty. Lois
Thanks for putting into clear words what I and many other people have felt for a very long time.
When looked at rationally there are acts being committed constantly at a very high level in governments and businesses that do vast amounts of damage at a personal level that are rarely addressed. Think of Bernie Madoff ripping off billions of dollars over several decades, Dick Cheney working so aggressively to start a war that personally benefited himself and those close to him and the ongoing vast fraud of climate change denial that puts not just the lives of people but our future as a species at risk, most of this with little or no attempt at real justice. Then explain how killing a person for killing another is going to make any real difference in such a toxic socio-economic environment. It's mostly poor and or minority people ending up on death row which raises serious questions of a clear bias in the application of the death penalty. It's the appearance of justice while the real bastards keep creating vast damage.
That's right, and it's not just poor people, either. The death penalty is carried out almost twice as often when a victim is white than if a victim is black. The percentage is even higher when the killer is black and the victim is white. Why should it be that more black killers face the death penalty than white killers? Why should the race of the victim influence the imposition of the death penalty? Poverty of the killer also influences the death penalty. When has anyone heard of a wealthy killer being executed, no matter how heinous the crime? There are many white killers that are barbaric and cruel who get life in prison while black killers, whose crimes are not nearly so barbaric or cruel, who get the death penalty. Is society somehow better off for having white people get life in prison while blacks get the death penalty? Lois
Thanks for the book recommendation Lois. I obviously havent read it yet but on the topic of the death penalty I was wondering if anyone here had opinions about the recent "execution gone wrong" (http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/30/us/oklahoma-botched-execution/) case in Oklahoma. Apparently the anesthetic was given and the prisoner was deemed unconscious. He was then given a lethal cocktail through the IV and prisoner was seen to arch up and open his eyes in spasms. He did eventually die but now there is a hold on executions and an outcry from death penalty opponents. To balance the picture, this is an individual who was convicted of shooting a woman with a shotgun and then having her buried alive while she was bleeding to death. I have mixed feelings about the death penalty. On the one hand I think the risk of executing even one innocent person is unacceptable. It also dehumanizes us to some degree On the other hand there are some cases where the evidence is completely incontrovertible and the act so heinous that I believe execution is justified and may be the only way to provide peace for the victims family. In this case noted above, no matter how botched ( and I am not sure the effects on the prisoner were as bad as it appears externally) the execution was it was still far more humane than the execution he presided over himself.
I'd like to point out that the book, Shot in the Heart, is not a screed against the death penalty. It is a well-written and affecting story about the lives of these two brothers and what drove one to murder. Lois

It was most unfortunate that the criminal was made to suffer. He shouldn’t have if the State had access to the proper chemicals even though the crime he committed was heinous to say the least. He was obviously a psychopath and at the least should have been locked away from society for life. If you think about this practically, those on death row should be executed in order to save space for the others when they are captured and processed. We now have over three million incarcerated in prisons and jails, some are short timers, drug users and dealers and others are killers. I have listened to many stories told by these criminals to family members in law enforcement and some were chilling. I won’t recount them here; you probably don’t want to read them anyway.
I believe that most of us have mixed feelings about the death penalty; I’m not in favor of it except in extreme cases where the evidence is solid and the crime horrendous. These psychopaths are beyond rehabilitation and will be warehoused for life if not executed in some states. and BTW, it isn’t a deterrent for them, thrill killers will continue until caught and imprisoned. So, if we as a country ban all executions then we must build more inescapable prisons. There’s no other alternative.
Cap’t Jack

So, if we as a country ban all executions then we must build more inescapable prisons. There's no other alternative. Cap't Jack
There's no alternative? First, the Feds just played around with giving clemency to thousands of imprisoned small time drug dealers. There's people doing hard time for possessing ounces of marijuana for example. Second, only 6-8 states execute people in the US anymore. The total number of executed people in the whole US is less than 45 people each year for the past 4 years. The number being paroled each year is far more than that. Are you saying it's expedient to execute people so we can make room in prisons?
I'd like to point out that the book, Shot in the Heart, is not a screed against the death penalty. It is a well-written and affecting story about the lives of these two brothers and what drove one to murder. Lois
Sorry Lois. I should have read something about the book before commenting. It looks like I have inadvertently hijacked your thread