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Well, I'll throw in my two cents here.

This is a short e-mail I sent in to the local CJAD station after listening to a debate as to whether the death penalty should be reinstated if a police officer is killed.



I was listening to the debate about reinstating

capital punishment for killing police officers today

on your show.

While I sometimes even find my own opinion wavering, I

wanted to bring up an important issue that sometimes

gets lost when we speak about having society kill

criminals for their actions.

When we speak about society killing individuals do not

forget that there must then be people employed to put

criminals to death, most likely to be prison guards

who are assigned this task to prepare the machines

that we get to do the actually dirty work, or to strap

the man in to them.

These people, willingly or unwillingly, must now

represent society killing this criminal for his/her

injustices. They now have an immense burden over their

heads, as killing another human being, no matter how

wretched you may think they are, is not a easy thing

to do, especially if you are the person employed to do

it for "the bettering of society". The psychological

burden that they have to deal would be immense.

The reason I must object to the death penalty is

because I know that I myself would not be willing to

"push the button" to kill a member of this society who

has committed injustices.

I believe that if you want the death penalty

reinstated you must ask yourself if YOU could push the

button, because if you tell "society" to do it and can

not do it yourself, then that, in itself, is an


We, in north America live behind a wall of illusions,

and I can only hope that having "society" reinstate

the death penalty is not another illusion we put in

place to detach ourselves from the reality of a world

where people are willing to kill millions of others in

order to pay ten cents less for gas.

While it may sometimes be hard to have faith in

society, I do put my hope into individual people.

Thanks for your time.

I saw a really good documentary about the prison guards who were employed to do this work, but the name escapes me.

What I'm trying to get at is that once you instate capital punishment it must be instated with certain general rules as a law. So, you can no longer point out a single case and say, "that crime was horrible and he should be killed". I admit that even I think this more than I'd admit.

But, as I was saying, when it becomes a policy in the real world, the grim reality of what capital punishment means sets in.

We can put the inmate in a clean white room, stick some needles in his arm and let the family watch him die and maybe feel some closure.

In the Army they tell us to shoot for his gut where the bullet will grind up his insides making sure he'll die, if not right away, at least slowly. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars for the procedure itself when you can get a gun and a bullet and cap him in the head? Why the push for a "humane" death?

[some states still used firing squads on my last check. But I don't think they'd let the family watch, do they?? Cause I don't know.]

But for the most part it's the illusion. His death is not as real when you inject something, or put a cover over his head when they use the chair.

And then there's the guy whos job it is to take the corpse away. And after this one guy is dead, there are the preparations for the next one, and the next guy, and so on.

Sure, maybe they all are murderers and have commited horrible crimes. But when the the person who's job it is day after day to kill themgoes home and sees his wife and kids can he tell them he had a good day at work? That he is happy doing his job? That his life means somthing?

Please, no matter how much he may dispise the person he killed (or the actions he commited), he will have to deal with that decision (forced or not) that he had to make to start the kiling process. And he will do it again and again. Chances are it mayy even stop hitting him, maybe even stop mattering. Another hanous crime, another execution. It's like a war that has no end, and never will.

I think about this a lot, being in the reserves. I don't ever want to have to go to war, and I certainly don't want to have to kill anybody, or watch my buddies die for some politician to have his ratings go up, or so that the country can look like its doing the "right" thing.

I've read a lot of soldiers' accounts and letters discussing their feelings and what they go through. Hell, I look into my grandfathers' eyes when the issue comes up and the emotions that come through hit me hard.

The criminal sitting there on the table is not our enemy. The criminal who killed one, two, or forty people will be the one who has to deal with what he's done (i'm not saying we don't have the obligation to punish criminals).

My going up to him and taking him down won't do ***t all to remedy the situation, however. And it sure as heck would not make me feel better than now I'm the one with blood on my hands if I kill him when he's not even putting up a fight. Should every member of society feel better with his blood on their hands? I would not want to have to explain this to my two year old kid if i had one.

If I capture an enemy soldier, I can't kill him because he may have shot my buddy, or wiped out my platoon. I'm not allowed to by law.

Now when society captures a criminal, we want to take him and execute him?

Sure there's a difference between a soldier and a criminal. Our country tell us when to kill, and the criminal kills on his own initiative.

But it is the act of killing that he is being pinushed for. And it is the act of killing that I am taught, as a soldier, may be my duty one day.

There is a paradox here that adds to my reluctance to accept the death penalty.

Maybe this argument was all over the place. No more time to write here as I'm off writing a paper on the origins of the first world war.

So feel free to pick it apart, as I like these debates. They force me to deal with all the points people bring up that I may not have concidered.


[ 03-09-2002, 22:46: Message edited by: Fractux ]

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Only point I could bring up Frax:

No one can force a guard/prison worker to press that button. He has options. Like anyone at any job. He doesn't like it, let him find another job. Pretty simple.

For the record, I don't believe any state would allow anyone to be FORCED to participate in execution. (With the exception of the convict heheh).

Small point, but a point nonetheless.


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Oh dear, another debate.

I agree with the death sentence. I also agree with Stormshadow; the death sentence isn't given as often, as quickly, or as publicly as I'd like it to be. IMO, the appeal system is way overused. In fact, there shouldn't be appeals unless new evidence surfaces, or a governor grants a pardon. The issue concerning the defendent's guilt is in the hands of the trial.

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All trials where the death penalty is given should meet the follow criteria:

A. Crime is Murder

B. The following provided:

a) Conclusive DNA evidence+witness


B) Videotape of crime


c) It was IMPOSSIBLE for anyone else to have done it through the evidence presented. (not some reasonable doubt BS, if your killing someone, NO DOUBT)

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