Paganism and the Death Penalty

Discussions of all things pagan and neo-pagan.

What are your views on the Death Penalty?

It should be banned and never used!
7
29%
I don't like it, but don't care if it remains on the books or not.
2
8%
It should be used in only the most extreme cases like Serial killings.
6
25%
It should be available for all murder cases.
4
17%
Hang 'em All; Hang 'em High!
5
21%
 
Total votes: 24

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Jescissa
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Post by Jescissa » Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:04 am

FyreGarnet wrote:He thought it would be a piece of cake to get the knife away from him. Needless to say, this guy ended up in the emergency room and was lucky to have lived.
It's one thing to disarm an opponent in the dojo when they're holding a plastic or wooden knife, it's totally another sack of ferrets to try to disarm a frantic person trying to mug you in the dark :-? My brother is a martial artist with a collection of blades he keeps for aesthetics, but he would never keep one on him for self-defence because one slip with a knife and he (or the mugger) could be finished and the law over here is very anti-knife and anti-gun (we've had so many teen killings recently that having any knife on you longer than 3" is illegal) so my brother could be prosecuted for using a knife in self-defence, even if he'd disarmed the mugger and was using the mugger's own knife to keep them from running away. Such is the law!

As for the death penalty, we don't have one over here, but I think that we should for very serious crimes like murder, (I think the sentence for treason against the Crown is still hanging, but I'm not sure, no one has committed treason to find out!) Sentencing in this country has gone a bit stupid, with some cases I've seen murderers have got off with 10 years or less for serious crimes...because our prisons are stuffed with petty criminals. As a result, more serious crimes get less punishment and our Government has come up with the ASBO to deter petty criminals :s ASBO? Some teens collect ASBOs as badges of honour :s

I'm with Kitsune and Lotus, I like the 3-strikes analogy. That works for me. If you commit a crime that often you're asking for serious punishment.

Peacefully or even loudly protesting an unjust law is a different 'crime' to killing or harming another, and I think that if the death penalty was reintroduced to the UK, I would like to see it administered by judges and hangmen who were outside the political system (not that that would *ever* happen), I don't think political 'crimes' should ever be punishable by death because in a pseudo-democratic society, we're all allowed to step up and complain when something isn't working for us...like the Poll Tax.

As for terrorists...well, putting terrorists to death only creates martyrs for their cause, so the situation is very difficult. Public emotion will always run high over things like this so I can't see a way that putting terrorists to death would benefit anyone. Ok, so the world would have one less violent person willing to kill others for the cause...but if the cause is strong enough there will be more to take hir place. There is also the 'who is a terrorist?' question. One person's terrorist is another person's freedom-fighter. Don't tell me that the IRA went about their business believing themselves to be terrorists or that al'Qaeda believe they are terrorists!
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy. Goodbye." - Miss Tick, Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men

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Post by Willow » Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:35 am

Oh don't worry about it causing me stress. I have realised lately that anything polarising (death penalty, abortion, euthanasia) jsut thinking about it sends my whole psyche out of whack. I think it is my old fundie self emerging and fighting against the idea that these things may not be black and white. Its a part of my past I am still dealing with.

I have to agree with diabanjo, I am still wary of who gets to decide what crimes warrant punishment. Society doesn't always have the best interests of the minority in mind.

Don't get me wrong, the crimes that are heinous are just that, however, there is something to be said for restitution as well. Putting a person in jail or killing them does nto give anything back to the family that was injured. I sometimes wonder if we whould re-institute ideas of shame for soem of the smaller crimes. I wonder if publicly making people give something equal back to society would be viable, but It hink we would need smaller more tight knit communities for that.

I need to meet some of the elders at the aboriginal centre. I wonder what they will think....
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

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Post by daibanjo » Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:20 am

These discussions can be interesting because we all have different opinions and have lived lives with different experiences. I am convinced that there is always something to learn from listening to opinions that differ. One of the things I appreciate about this board is that we can do that without putting down someone elses feelings. That makes it a very worthwhile exercise.
Back to the discussion.
Laws are strange things and so are our reactions to them. We often want people put to death because they do not conform to the standards of civilized behaviour as defined by modern western culture. Yet, contradictions surround us. Like in Jenna where thousands of civil rights supporters marched in support of black youths who severely beat a white student.
On the "News and politics" forum there is a thread called "Funny as hell" it refers to the worst crime I have ever heard of it's such a horror that the details give people nightmares. It can't be denied though, that a large part of the crime was motivated by race hate. Do the descendants of a previously abused people, who still feel underprivileged, have the right to seek revenge on the innocent, yet privileged, children of the old oppressor?
In America there is a lot of hand wringing over the acquital of O.J. and the recent mistrial of Phil Spectre. But the reality is that we do not have a justice system, we have a legal system. This means that the prosecution will do all in their power and use all of their resources to ensure a conviction. Even if they believe the accused to be innocent. The D.A. goes up for election citing the cases he has won, not the determined effort to discover truth, but the evidence that his team of lawyers can out argue anyone else. All that can be truly said about rich people being set free is that they are the only ones who can afford a fair trial.
I agree with Willow about restitution as an alternative to other forms of punishment. How about if every person is considered to be under contract to "Keep the Peace" so the "criminals" become in breach of contract and must make restitution accordingly. Interesting thought?
It'll be all right in the end. If it's not all right, it's not the end.

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Post by morgana » Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:56 am

Ok, I am adding an addendum now that I have read Windwalker's opinion. I actually agree with you that if a guy tries to kill/hurt/rape you, you should be able to go after him yourself and "pay him back." BUT, say some big muscle bound guy rapes me, and I live, but I being an average sized woman and NOT a professional female weightlifter on steroids am significantly weaker than he is, and therefore he has the advantage over me. (NOTE: I am in no way implying that women in general can't kick butt when they need to, I am just saying in this scenario I personally would more than likely be outmatched, having had no martial arts or weapons experience).

I think in this scenario I should be afforded some help, like say the government hears my case and provides me with my own muscle bound guy who is a black belt in 10 different martial arts and can shoot a fly off the top of your head without hitting you. That way I can still get my revenge without risking getting raped again or beaten and killed. Aside from that, I actually prefer the idea to get my own revenge rather than wait around for the justice system to decide what to do with him.
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Post by Lotus » Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:15 pm

There are plenty of laws that I think are dumb.

The area that I live in is full of senseless crimes:
Speed-limit laws are horrible laws. If you and your car can handle that road at 80mph then so be it. As long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone around you then it should be no big deal. At the same time, people should be really taught how to drive and not pushed through a class lasting only a few weeks.
Most speed-limit laws are in effect to generate revenue for the city/county/or what have you. They have nothing to do with safety. It is perfectly safe to drive 40mph + in Columbus, Ohio after certain hours but, if you do you will get a ticket.
Vehicular homicide laws annoy me. If your little precious brat is dumb enough to play out in the middle of the road then, your precious brat deserves to get hit by a car. Why lock some dude up for killing some dumb kid who did not listen? Areas here are constantly changing speed limits because “my little kid might run out into the road” sort of crap. Well, try watching your kid….its called parenting.

I’m not saying that people should be put to death for the above senseless crimes or equally senseless crimes.

I feel differently from Windwalker on things. Criminals should not have rights. In fact, I would argue that criminals have too many rights. Mind you I worked in a prison as a Correctional Officer.
Many go in only to commit the same crime when they are back on the outside. The only conspiracy that I saw was pertaining to many of the drug laws in this country. I think things should be handled like how Spain handles things. It is illegal there to sell the drugs but, it is not illegal to use them.
If I’m walking down the road some night It does not mean that some psychopath has the right to rape me just because it is in their nature to be a rapist.
Majority of pedophiles are pedophiles because it is within their nature to be pedophiles. Should they get off scot-free because it is logical nature?
I have anger management issues so, does this mean I should be allowed to kill whoever I feel like killing because it is within my nature to do so? No! I have to have self-control over my urges to strangle someone screaming at me.

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Post by Crazy Healer Lady » Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:33 pm

is illegal there to sell the drugs but, it is not illegal to use them.
Sort of like prostitution in Canada. Last I checked (three years ago, I believe), it was illegal to solicit but not illegal for the act.
If your little precious brat is dumb enough to play out in the middle of the road then, your precious brat deserves to get hit by a car.
While I admit parental & personal responsibility is a thing lacking, if you have ever raised little ones, you know how quickly they can dart the moment you turn away. Myself, as a baby, fell off the baby changing table TWICE the moment my mother turned to fetch a diaper, though her hand was still on me.

Honestly, some kids are just too stupid to beat the words "DON'T STEP ONTO THE STREET" into their heads with a verbal stick, hence those horrid child leashes.

I agree some of the laws pertaining to vehicular homicide are a little off, particularly the ones that state that in the case of vehicle vs pedestrian, vehicle is at immediate fault, regardless if the person even purposely stepped before the vehicle.
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Post by Kystar » Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:35 pm

My Tony thinks that we should use prisoners with life sentences or the death penalty as test subjects for medicinal research...figure if we're going to pay to feed them in a "correctional facility", we should be getting something back. And if some convicted multi-murderer helps find the cure for cancer...cool.
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Post by Ragnar » Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:20 pm

Dark Waters wrote: Heinlein's "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" is full of sound plans. Yes, I know it's science fiction but a LOT of modern society is based of the dreams of writers becoming Science Fact.
The can not successfully terraform Australia, what chance do you think they stzand on another PLANET?

As to death penalty.

Norse. YES!

For SECOND conviction of murder, rape, child abuse, plus some That I will have to leave open. Which is the way laws are written any way. Circumstances dictate changes in law.

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Post by Jescissa » Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:34 am

Lotus wrote:In fact, I would argue that criminals have too many rights.
I would agree with you there, Lotus. My mum is a housing officer where I live and the council have a duty to house all people released from prison. I do believe that if you've served the time you should have somewhere to live once you're out, but prisoners can be re-housed in any area they like, whereas people wanting a council house who haven't been inside have to have a link to the area first. I don't think this is fair, particularly as many who have been inside, will then go on to reoffend.

I kind of agree with the people who think that prisoners should be used in medical research. Why inflict pain and suffering on animals who don't deserve it, when there are human subjects who have already harmed society in some way, ready and waiting?
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy. Goodbye." - Miss Tick, Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men

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Post by fatale » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:27 am

Principally I am against Death Penalty. Still, there are these cases when the violence and brutality makes you feel so helpless and hurt you don't know anymore. Just today they reported about a three year old getting raped and it's on tape ... why would I want this man to live? So I try to think about it and calm myself.

So, no death penalty but maybe harsher sentences for crimes like rape and child molestation.

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Post by Bandersnatch » Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:28 pm

I know I'm late to game here but just a thought...

Regardless of how you feel about the death penalty etc. - what about making people directly responsible for the problems they create?

If you kill someone, you work to replace the income of the man you killed to his family. You steal, you pay back what you stole. Its not just about punishment, (that is for the next life) but taking responsibility for you own actions - or making someone take the responsibility if they refuse to assume it.

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Post by Jescissa » Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:38 pm

I do agree with you in part about making reparations to the victims family directly, such as being responsible for the family of the person you murdered, making sure they get a good education and are fed and watered, but I think we have moved so far away from a culture that would find that acceptable that I don't know how many victims' families would accept it now. Many would probably find it distasteful to be in contact with someone who killed their loved one.
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy. Goodbye." - Miss Tick, Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men

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Post by Crazy Healer Lady » Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:09 pm

And then you have those who will not pay. There are many deadbeat dads and moms out there who will not pay a single $ no matter what the legal threat is. I may be wrong, but I feel that someone guilty of first-degree murder will not give. As for possessing houses and all to pay them, you affect the lives of those within the guilty's circle of family as well. That's even assuming they have the $$$ to give or repossess.

However, if these kinks were worked out, that would be a great plan!
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Post by daibanjo » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:23 pm

Good post Bandersnatch. This is a remedy that has been proposed from time to time. Basically the notion is to replace criminal law with contract law. We would all be assumed to be under contract to keep the peace. So any injury, of whatever kind, the injured parties or their survivors would have the right to sue for recompense.
Though this does sound like a very mature and civilisedway to handle things, both Jescissa and Crazy Healer Lady have valid and real points. Society as a whole would not accept these remedies and there is the problem of the criminals who would refuse to meet their obligations.
I wish it could be so but for now I don't think it can be.
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Re: Paganism and the Death Penalty

Post by Labrys » Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:58 am

Dark Waters wrote:Currently I am involved in Jury Selection {go back for the next stage on 10/02} on a case.... with a possibility for the Death Penalty if convicted. But here is what I wanted to bring up. During initial screening we were all given questionaires to help the lawyers and judge select a jury and some of the questions gave me pause, especially as I am still relatively new to the Path.



My personal viewpoint has always been that it should remain an option for the most serious of crimes, but I am kind of curious as to what feedback you guys will give.
Like you, I think it needs to be an option in some cases. There simply are people who will never be more than a dire threat to society....and those who have done colossal amounts of irreparable damage already. I once was in favor of rather more than less usage of the death penalty; but the way it has been unequally applied and very badly administered at times has made me a bit charry of it. Once a man is dead, it is a bit late to suddenly find him innocent! And since I view the death penalty as the ultimate protection of society and NOT a form of blood vengeance, it should be as humane as possible a death (tho' that sounds shockingly oxymoronic to say!)

It is a problematical issue and is not going to be simplified any time soon. Serial killers and child murderers....these are the ones I fear ever turning lose again; and imprisoning them sometimes doesn't confine their sphere of influence. More and more often now, some of these killers attract "fans" who sometimes emulate their crimes. A scary world, sometimes..... :-(
Sounds like undulant rhetoric to me!
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