Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ol' Sparky

Studies say death penalty deters crime
What gets little notice, however, is a series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim to settle a once hotly debated argument — whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. The analyses say yes. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.

The reports have horrified death penalty opponents and several scientists, who vigorously question the data and its implications.
My heart weeps...

"Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it," said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. "The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect."

A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides. "The results are robust, they don't really go away," he said. "I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?"
Imagine that, not being hard on killers gets more innocent people killed.

I wonder just whose side the anti-death-penalty people are on.

You'd think they felt themselves immune from murder.

Among the conclusions:

• Each execution deters an average of 18 murders, according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University. (Other studies have estimated the deterred murders per execution at three, five and 14).

• The Illinois moratorium on executions in 2000 led to 150 additional homicides over four years following, according to a 2006 study by professors at the University of Houston.

Speeding up executions would strengthen the deterrent effect. For every 2.75 years cut from time spent on death row, one murder would be prevented, according to a 2004 study by an Emory University professor.
Got that?

Showing compassion to the merciless gets more innocents killed.

The studies' conclusions drew a philosophical response from a well-known liberal law professor, University of Chicago's Cass Sunstein. A critic of the death penalty, in 2005 he co-authored a paper titled "Is capital punishment morally required?"

"If it's the case that executing murderers prevents the execution of innocents by murderers, then the moral evaluation is not simple," he told The Associated Press. "Abolitionists or others, like me, who are skeptical about the death penalty haven't given adequate consideration to the possibility that innocent life is saved by the death penalty."
That's funny.

The question becomes "not simple" for this guy if innocents are saved.

Before, it was "simple" to him that the death penalty is wrong.

Actually, I'd say the new information makes the issue morally quite simple!

Shouldn't it have been the other way around?

Anyway, as with gun rights, to me the death penalty is not about statistics and crime deterrence.

Even if it didn't have a life-saving effect, I can't abide the thought of a ruthless murderer who snuffed out all the hopes and dreams of the victim, as well as destroying whole families of survivors, could be allowed even one moment of further contentment.

The victim never will get any more moments of joy. Why should the killer?

Make the standard of proof for the death penalty higher if you worry about innocents being executed. Surely there are many cases in which guilt is not in question.

Is there a lack of racial parity? Then execute more whites!

Speed it up! Why is Mumia still alive?

Some say "life in prison to me would be worse than dying!"

Yeah, right! Care to test that assertion?

And plenty of people have jolly old times behind bars. Just look up the life of serial killer and mass rapist Richard Speck.

Speck was given the death penalty by a jury after a mere 49 minutes.

Bleeding hearts, though legal agitation, got his death sentence commuted to 1,200 years, then reduced to 300 years, which actually made him eligible for parole after a mere 5 years.

Though he died in prison,
In May 1996, Chicago television news anchor Bill Kurtis received video tapes from an anonymous attorney which were made at Stateville Prison in 1988. Showing them publicly for the first time in front of a shocked and deeply angry Illinois state legislature, Kurtis pointed out the explicit scenes of sex, drug use, and money being passed around by prisoners who seemingly had no fear of being caught, and in the center of it all was Speck, ingesting cocaine, parading around in silk panties, sporting female-like breasts grown from smuggled hormone treatments, and boasting, "If they only knew how much fun I was having, they'd turn me loose."

From behind the camera, a prisoner asked him why he killed the nurses. Speck shrugged and jokingly said "It just wasn't their night." Asked how he felt about himself in the years since, he said "Like I always feel. Had no feelings." He also described in detail what must be done when strangling someone: "it's not like TV...it takes over three minutes and you have to have a lot of strength." John Schmale, the brother of one of the murdered nurses, said, "It was a very painful experience watching him tell about how he killed my sister."
Mental defectives still made excuses, claiming Speck was somehow "forced" to have all this fun by the other inmates. Talk about delusional cognitive dissonance!

Speck was not a model prisoner; he was often caught with drugs or distilled moonshine. Punishment for such infractions never stopped him. "How am I going to get in trouble? I'm here for 1,200 years!"
That's another reason one must have a death penalty.

How else do you deter or punish someone already in prison for life?

Some jailed drug kingpins have ordered hits on police and others while serving life sentences, with impunity.

And suppose a criminal has just committed a crime that, if caught, would put him away for life or nearly so -- without a death penalty, society has just given him an incentive to murder all the witnesses and kill anyone in his path!

Because it couldn't get worse for him!

Isn't that stupid?

Fire up Ol' Sparky!


Blogger The_Bad said...

There is an incredibly simple litmus test for considering an argument against capital punishment:

Ask the person who is against it if they support abortion rights. If they proclaim themselves to be “pro-choice”, then you can dismiss them entirely. Anyone who supports the right to stop the beating heart of an unborn child but does not support the right to stop the beating heart of a convicted murderer is a dullard. Listening to them only kills brain cells.

Now, if they are of the fundamentalist Christian belief that neither capital punishment nor abortion is right, then at least their arguments, agree or disagree, have merit.

2:09 PM, June 13, 2007  

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