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Do the methods of capital punishment make any difference?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Stevicus, May 5, 2021.

  1. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I didn't want to hijack the other thread, which is a straight question about whether one is for or against.

    Instead of looking at that question, I was thinking about how the methods of capital punishment have changed over the centuries. In past eras, there have been such horrific methods such as crucifixion, drawing and quartering, burning, boiling in oil. When the guillotine was introduced, it would be seen as a far more humane punishment compared what they did before. Firing squads also seemed rather quick.

    In the U.S., it seems hanging was the preferred method for quite a long time. The last public hanging took place in 1936 (Public execution - Wikipedia). Then there was the electric chair, which was also supposed to be "quick and painless," but apparently not. Arizona and a few other states used lethal gas until they switched over to lethal injection.

    The thing is, we've moved away from festive public hangings and made executions into a more solemn affair, with an ostensibly less painful and quicker method of execution (although I've also read of mishaps in that regard).

    But does that somehow make it more civilized and humane? Is that why we stopped having public hangings and moved it out of the public eye? Does it seem "cleaner" that way?

    What about the method? The Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment, although it still leaves some room for interpretation.

    For those who are against capital punishment already, do you find this to be hypocritical? Is it an attempt to whitewash or sanitize capital punishment?

    For those who are in favor of capital punishment, would you still be for it if it involved public hangings (possibly even on TV)?
     
  2. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    They just say that so people don't have to deal with the horrible truth it is not really more humane, less painful, or really any quicker.
    They are basically sedated, paralyzed, and then have an injection put into them said to feel like fire being poured into your veins, and it causes cardiac arrest. They feel it, they are wide awake, they can't move or scream or communicate any of this. And we get the blissful illusion this was all more peaceful and humane than it actually is (the electric chair didn't provide this and it was deeply disturbing for many to witness).
    There is no humane way to execute, as execution itself is cruel and inhumane.
     
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  3. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

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    As a person who see capitol punishmnet as an act of evil in it self, i would say human beings should never take the life of an other person, even for a punishment for what someone might have done in the past.
    But I also know i have to respect the view of other people on earth, so i can not sitt here and say, MY VIEW is the only correct answer. Each person has to make up their mind what they find acceptable to them. But personally i would never be able to send someone to their death, nor would i watch someone being killed by capitol punishment if it ever was done in public.
     
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  4. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    I've never understood how anyone could want to watch it, give a vote or order that someone be put to death, or even be the executioner.
    I know talk a lot about kill this or that and had that "kill it" frustration and anger, but to actually do it, witness it, or even just send someone to it, I'd be too traumatized by it to actually do it.
     
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  5. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

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    Totally agree with you on this.
     
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  6. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    I once saw a documentary about the death penalty and the author found the most humane way to kill a person, asphyxiation by low air pressure. He thought to have solved the problem and everyone would agree. Turned out that people want the delinquent to suffer and are not OK with humane killing.
     
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  7. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    I always think that 15+ years incarcerated with the planet's worst is the cruelest kind of suffering
     
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  8. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    In the absence of any organized police force, how does one keep the starving masses in their places, if not by terrorizing them?

    Torturing those who annoy you is very satisfying. People tend to be naturally vindictive and punitive creatures.
    Just look at the current spate of police brutality caught on film (digits?)
     
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  9. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    If executions were ever a reality show, the ratings will go through the roof.

    I agree with you, but I doubt people wouldn't watch it.

    If anything, it would show the degradation of a civilized society continuing its downward spiral as blood lust is as immensely popular as it ever was as evidenced by reality TV.
     
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  10. Wu Wei

    Wu Wei ursus senum severiorum and ex-Bisy Backson

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    The idea of punishment for crime is to set an example for others thay may want to create similar crimes. And for the most part it works. However in the cases of capital punishment, it seems only to stop the person they are executing from committing the crime again. At least that is what studies showed way back in my criminal justice classes in college.
     
  11. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Historically, death wasn't the punishment; pain was. That was the point of execution methods like crucifixion, drawing and quartering, burning, etc. Death was only part of it as either an inevitable part of being tortured to death or - if an executioner stepped in and beheaded the condemned person or whatnot - an act of mercy that ended the pain of the torture.

    It's only relatively recently - e.g. the French Revolution, as you pointed out - that we stopped seeing physical suffering as a legitimate goal of state-sanctioned punishment for crimes.

    By and large, this change in attitude led to the abolition of the death penalty in most countries (and a moratorium that amounts to an effective ban in many others). The US's capital punishment laws really are an outlier compared to worldwide trends.
     
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  12. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Criminals tend to be impulsive. They rarely do a risk-benefit analysis before their misdeeds.
    Legal consequences are often not considered -- nor expected, for that matter.
     
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  13. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    I don't doubt that for a moment.
    (It's George Carlin, does he need any warnings about content?)
     
  14. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    It's certainly an excellent method to produce more criminals!
     
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  15. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Mihi Quaestio Factus Sum

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    I'm of the opinion that if you're going to have the death penalty then just use the bullet or the noose. Both are quick and time tested. If we're going to execute someone does it really concern us whether the to be executed suffers a few seconds of pain? It comes off as a rather irrational concern to me.
     
    #15 Musing Bassist, May 9, 2021
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
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