On capital punishment


The state has no right to put to death, even for the sake of making an example, anyone whom it can leave alive without danger.

Social contract by JJR

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

91 thoughts on “On capital punishment

  1. Couldn’t agree more with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear, I fear I shall have to re-read SC to catch up with you.

    As an aside, I can never understand why religious people support it. Isn’t life and death the responsibility of their gods, not something for mere people to meddle with?

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    • makagutu says:

      I guess the religious support it because they are hastening the eternal punishment of the offender.
      I actually started reading this on your prompting- you wrote some quote from the book a while back. I have paused the Confessions to be resumed when I finish this.

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  3. Oh, sorry to be a -humanist- party popper -again-, but anyone around have personally had any relatives, adults or children, viciously raped, mutilated, and/or savagely murdered by some of those you so kindly defend, from an otherwise understandable attitude of human compassion?
    You see I personally know people who, for example, have been stubborn anti-abortionists until the day they had to choose themselves between a hopeless, damaged pregnancy, and the life of their spouses at an increasing risk as the pregnancy was developing into an irreversible, life threatening medical disaster…
    Everything changes when activism becomes a matter of personal loss.
    As for JJR, I’ve always had a bit of a problem with him: “When Rousseau subsequently became celebrated as a theorist of education and child-rearing, his abandonment of his children was used by his critics, including Voltaire and Edmund Burke, as the basis for ad hominem attacks.”

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    • Yes. I still do not support the death penalty. If I supported the killing of the perpetrator, I would be no better than he, no matter how calm the death would be.

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      • No, no, my question was “…anyone around had any…”?
        If you didn’t, your opinion -to which you are absolutely entitled- is nevertheless irrelevant, since your degree of understanding of the issue is purely reason shaped, without the ability to genuinely identity with the matter.

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        • I suppose I still don’t understand what you’re getting at. People who have never had such an experience only have reason to form their opinion with, that isn’t a bad thing. People who have those experiences understand the emotions, but that is not necessarily the best way to form an opinion.

          There are people with and without said experiences that are on either side of the issue. Given that, I think reason is our best tool.

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          • You see, most of the time those in charge with taking decisions, have either reason, or emotions only…
            I don’t blame you for not understanding what I am trying to get at, since you probably -and hopefully- lack the emotional load.
            Reason IS the best tool, but only when all pre-requisites are in place, subjective and objective. Justice is a complex system of reasoning which consideres, or should consider both.
            In my opinion the capital punishment is the just retribution for the proven, criminally deliberate termination of a human life. It has nothing to do with how society “feels” about it, nor it should have.
            Murder is a act which places its perpetrator beyond the boundaries of ethical expectations.
            It is an act of sadism to force the families of the victims to pay through their taxes for the prison comfort and life long welfare of their loved ones’ murderer.

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          • You seem at odds with yourself. Either justice should take emotion into account or it shouldn’t. We can’t have it both ways.
            What is capital punishment if not deliberate termination of human life? I don’t see how it can be argued that the reason for the murder makes it any less unethical and wrong. If anything, putting someone to death that has been neutralized by imprisionment is even less ethical than other murders.

            Would you stop supporting capital punishment if there was a way to insure that victims’ tax money didn’t go to the prision system?

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          • You misunderstood. It is probably my British English mixed into the sintactic mess caused by the rest of languages competing for my thoughts…
            Justice does, and should take into account the victim’s side’s emotions. Pure reason is objective only, but contrary to the general acceptance, it is not enough to make decisions where the emotional load of personal lose -as in the case of victims’ families- is involved. Your evaluation of the system is objective only, placing the perpetrator’s life on the same side with the victim’s, which is both morally and ethically wrong.
            And please read and reflect all my words when argumenting. I wrote “criminal deliberate”, which makes the intent diametrically opposed to deliberate only.
            The carrying out of an act of justice is not a crime.
            I have a suggestion, why don’t you people against capital punishment ask for these criminals to be placed into your custody, just to grow yourselves an idea of who they really are?

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          • My evaluation is not objective only. I have experience with one of the things you mentioned in your original comment.

            The reason I did not zone in on ‘criminal’ is because laws change. Right now, capital punishment is legal in some places and illegal in others. What is criminal depends on whose borders you find yourself in.

            What they really are is human, perhaps heinous humans, but their disgusting acts do not justify further disgusting acts. Sanctioned murder is still murder.

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          • Your forgiving spirit deserves my utmost appreciation, even though I have to respectfully disagree with you.
            I agree also to the fact that murder is murder, but unfortunately as necessary as a justified amputation of a cancerous or septic limb, on which all other medical procedures have failed. Leaving such a limb out of moral or ethical reasons shall cause the slow and painful death of the individual. Convicted murderers are a slow, septic cancer of society, draining away resources which could be used for better purposes. It is disgusting to see that governments cut back on research and treatment of terminally ill children, while these horrendous parasites are granted taxpayer funded cosmetic surgeries, university education etc.
            Is this correct?
            Is it corect for the infamous Norwegian mass murderer to be allowed to sue the Norwegian state because his solitary confinement breaches his human rights! 77 young people murdered in cold blood by this human excrement! Please take a look as his “smile” and imagine the families of all those 77 people being forced to look at it: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/11406616/Mass-murderer-Breivik-to-sue-Norway-over-prison-conditions.html

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          • Well, I think respectful disagreement is the best we are going to do here. Have a lovely day. 馃檪

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          • makagutu says:

            I think I agree

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    • themodernidiot says:

      yes I have. the assailants’ deaths won’t turn back time or erase what’s happened. they’re off the street. we’ve moved on. no death penalty required.

      would we be sad if these criminals died? no. but we aren’t better people because we advocate for it.

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      • Your suffering demands utter respect.
        And yes, we aren’t “better” people by advocating for the death penalty.
        But, in my opinion, advocating it doesn’t make anyone”worse” which is oftentimes the outcome of demonising the advocates of it.
        For me, it is a matter of correct justice.

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        • themodernidiot says:

          I do understand that, plenty of jerks I’d like to whack with a bat. For me, justice has just always been not letting someone else’s deficiency become mine; but I get that’s not for everyone. My mom is the biggest pacifist I know, but she’s not against seeing someone heinous get the same treatment in return. Much peace to you friend.

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    • makagutu says:

      On JJR abandoning his children, he writes about it a lot in the confessions. He doesn’t run away from it. I like the confessions which I haven’t finished reading as yet, but he tells the reader to judge him as he wishes, he does his best to present himself as he really is.

      As to capital punishment, I honestly haven’t had a personal experience which such inhumane acts and I wouldn’t wish it even for my enemy. I just don’t think hanging them is the best way forward.

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      • I fully agree, it’s not the best, just unfortunately necessary…
        As for JJR, I care less about how sincere he is, I just judge him according to what he did, not what he wrote. The world sucks because of two groups of people: the ones who think theoretical rationalizing without practical experience is enough, and the ones who think practical experience without theoretical knowledge might be also enough.
        The saddest thing is that the vast majority of politicians belong to either one, or the other category.

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        • makagutu says:

          how do we bridge the gap of experience and that of theory?

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          • No decision-making should be permitted without proper theoretical credentials, reinforced by practical experience.
            It’s paradoxical to notice that every job/profession requires both from an applicant, except that of a politician.
            I guess this is why a PhD, which is largely theoretical, requires nevertheless peer reviewed publications, which provides the author with the practical experience given by years of research and writing.

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          • makagutu says:

            here is where I have a small problem especially in the question at hand.
            how would such matters be adjudicated? would we require judges to have had personal experience with gruesome crimes or where will they get the practical experience?

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          • Judges and lawyers for example must spend a reasonable amount of time as assistants exactly in order to gain such experience, before going full as doctors of law.

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  4. Ron says:

    For comparison purposes, these videos explain the Nordic corrections and policing system:

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  5. I have often wondered – if we gave convicted felons the choice between a lifetime of jail or death, how many of them would choose death?

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  6. themodernidiot says:

    Pennsylvania looking to end the death penalty

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  7. themodernidiot says:

    Noel–is there capital punishment where you are?

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  8. aguywithoutboxers says:

    Agreed! 馃檪

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