Death knell for the death penalty?

Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 5 May, 2014 06:30 am
Drom a comment at The Guardian:
When it comes to the death penalty, the United States today is what South Africa was in the 1980s. It is the subject of a targeted boycott of goods based on behavior that the rest of the world views as immoral. That's a mighty strange place to be for the self-declared leader of the free world.
Source: Europe taught America how to end the death penalty. Now maybe it finally will

I want to add that in the American Sector of Berlin the death penalty only ended in 1990/1991 with the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany. (For instance, having a longknife outside home was punishable with the penalty until then under US-Law, gun etc in any event.)
Reply Mon 5 May, 2014 07:48 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Sorry, you sounded very condescending so I replied in kind.

You said

If the prisoner tortured and killed someone you loved, and you lied awake at night hopelessly trying to rid your mind of images you had created of the horrendous act, you might be comforted knowing the prisoner had been killed for his or her crime.

So I replied:


I see that but I don't get how their death would make me feel better.

So no Freudian slip.
Reply Mon 5 May, 2014 07:56 am
That's a good post, gunga.

Not long ago I was reading a lot about how police go about getting confessions from suspects. It's pretty alarming. A confession is usually presented as iron clad proof that someone is guilty and that isn't always the case. That's another hurdle we'd have to get past to arrive at "beyond any doubt, whatsoever".
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Reply Mon 5 May, 2014 08:08 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I'm not sure America will ever learn that lesson, Walter.
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Reply Mon 5 May, 2014 11:40 am
@Walter Hinteler,
As I understand schadenfreude, there is a component of envy that elicites the enjoyment of seeing another person suffer. Meaning those who are considered to having something that one might not deserve, that person elicits schadenfreude if they lose those gains that is not supposedly deserved.

In effect, in the proponents of the death penalty, the shadenfreude is obtained by taking the life of someone that murdered others. However, I do understand that that is considered an atavistic sentiment in many countries, and is not shared by some.

I believe the differing opinions just has to do with whether "retribution" for the benefit of the murdered person's close ties is to be offered for some sort of ameliorating emotions, or is "retribution" just to be considered an atavistic trait that should be gone from society.

In the way of example, I believe the dropping of the A-bomb was not in retribution for the American soldiers that died at the hands of the Imperial Japanese. It was to prevent the loss of more lives in storming the Japanese Islands. So, since a murderer can be prevented by murdering again by incarcerating a murderer, execution can be argued to be reflective of "retribution" that not even the relatives of dead soldiers in the Pacific theatre were afforded, as the reason for dropping the A-bomb.

Anyway, I do not believe in execution, since I also believe that society is using executions as an expedient way to avoid the issues relating to the ineffectiveness of how society raises all children. Just my opinion.
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Finn dAbuzz
Reply Mon 5 May, 2014 12:04 pm
Qualified apologies are not of much value.

Reread my original post. It wasn't at all condescending.

You wrote that you couldn't understand how others might be comforted by a prisoner's death.

I offered an explanation.

You responded "I see that."

It appears I may have misinterpreted this comment as an acknowledgment that you now understood what, for you, was understandable before. Thinking, though, that your comment meant what I thought it did I expressed that I was comforted by what seemed to be the case of someone allowing empathy to inform intellect.

That I acknowledged your "feeling" as being reasonable can hardly be considered condescending.

If you are asking (rhetorically or otherwise) how you might ever be comforted by a prisoner's death, there is no answer other than to insert you into the life of someone who is and see what happens.

Again though, because you can't imagine ever being comforted, doesn't demean the feelings or motivations of those who are.

Now this may, indeed, be seen as condescending, but it is quite ironic for a conservative to be reminding a post-modern progressive on the importance of empathy.
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