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Unread 12-14-2005, 04:18 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

I would argue that it is not/should not be vengeance that guides us in these matters, but deterrence. If Mr. Williams life had been spared then we are only sending a message to future potential criminals that they will not be held accountable for their actions, thus further eroding the "effectiveness of our criminal justice system".

Another example of how well deterrence works ... My father-in-law worked in Iran for a couple of years (15-20 years ago) and personally witnessed public executions (beheading) for rape and other violent crimes, and cutting off of hands for stealing ... etc ... By his account the crime rate there was very low.
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Unread 12-14-2005, 04:20 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDubreuil
A single man with the passion to kill thousands can do so with technology that is readily available. He thinks of himself as a soldier representing his god. He is unconcerned about the consequences of his actions and is willing to die for his cause. A single person capable of killing thousands...
...
The US has to deal with terrorism in very unconventional ways. Otherwise, we are just sitting ducks for the next terrorist attack. We need information on where the terrorists are, who they are, and what their next move is. They are not going to announce their attack, they just do it. They know they can't actually win they know that they just want to cause pain, fear and death- terror. Try to kill as many Americans as possible; hit a US landmark, the goal is to erase our resolve for peace. The US doesn't want to control another country. We just want that country to act responsibly and deal with terrorism.
In all seriousness, why must the majority of the country be so utterly petrified of a terrorist blowing something up? Let's step back for a second; you contend that the U.S. has to deal with terrorism. Do they? Does the U.S. have to invest billions of dollars, and thousands of lives, in support of campaigns that might save thousands more, but also unreasonably restrict the rights of individuals, both American and foreign? At some point, these actions go beyond "reasonable and prudent", and become obsessive. The fact that infiltrators with terroristic aspirations are, by their very essence, subversive and difficult to detect makes it a fundamentally losing proposition to attempt to catch them all. The American government crows loudly when a top terrorist is killed or captured—but it is fundamentally misguided to claim this as a victory in their phantom war. For every terrorist emblazoned on a playing card, there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of others who are just as willing to set off a car bomb, or grenade, or fire off a few thousand rifle rounds, or poison a critical resource. One would be insane, utterly and positively insane, to believe that even a police state could prevent every single one from slipping through their web of impediments. And if even one does get through? If it's a suicide bomber that you're dealing with, well, you might as well give up. If escape isn't a concern, it's suddenly a whole lot easier for the terrorist that got away to pull off all sorts of outrageously violent things.

The fact of the matter is, you'll never be safe from terrorists, because there are too many of them, and they will forever be able to cause havoc in innovative and unexpected ways. So why obsess over it? If it's the loss of American lives that concerns the nation, why not campaign aggressively against smoking, or improve automobile safety? At least then, the benefits will be tangible, and substantially more significant to the well being of the locals.

And that brings up another problem: what to do about the loss of life in general? After all, we hear plenty about how America is safer for Americans; but if you're going to invade another country, unless you follow the Ghengis Khan school of thought, it's very much your responsibility to plan for the bloodbath that might well ensue. When America went marching into Iraq on a platform of "fighting terror" and "searching for WMDs", it's relatively obvious that they didn't anticipate staying as long as they have, and having the blood of thousands on their hands, just a few years later.

America has committed itself to an unwinnable conflict, which has the potential to exist in perpetuity, so long as ideologues on both sides refuse to seek common ground. The only way to win a war on terrorism, is to fight a different battle: earn the respect of those with whom you would do battle, and come to a consensus. Obviously, this is not an overnight solution; it is a long-term goal, which may require decades, or even centuries, if history is any indication. In the mean time, America must stop living for the cheap thrill of dominating over hapless despots, and pursue policies that earn the trust of other nations, lest they be doomed to do battle over their differences later. If it is in the interest of human rights, to depose a dictator or junta, then seek the opinion of all of the stakeholders; if it's in the interests of promoting an ideology and political message (e.g. "War on Terror"), forget about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDubreuil
We are in one of the most difficult times in history. Traditionally, a country declares war on another country. They fight and one side is the clear winner with the other county admitting defeat. The modern day terrorist has no government support. Most Middle Eastern governments aren’t even concerned if their citizens are committing acts of terror. The terror is supported by a group of individuals who share the same ideals. Recruitment happens when someone else shares the ideals. However, these are not soldiers we are not fighting a traditional war. One day a member could be on a roof top sniping the next day he is in a market selling vegetables. This is why they are called terrorist, insurgents or enemy combatants.
Be that as it may, there's almost nothing (reasonable) that can be done about this problem. The more we talk about fighting terror, the more we perpetuate the notion that we must kill "them" all. Every government feels the pressures of history; despite this, to claim that this is "one of the most difficult times in history" is hyperbole in the extreme. What of the real wars, the economic crises, the natural disasters, the famines and the plagues? To compare the deaths of 3 000 citizens to those things is pure sensationalism. What of the 25 000 who died in the recent earthquake in Iran—shouldn't we say that they had a slightly more difficult time than we did? When 200 000 died in the recent tsunami? When millions died in pandemics, or in droughts? In fact, tens of millions have died in the past century as a result of natural disasters; mere tens of thousands have died at the hands of terrorists. It is abundantly clear that America is not living through a particularly difficult period in history; it merely tells itself that, as perverse justification for all manner of counterproductive and uncivilized behaviour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDubreuil
I don’t feel there is enough public information to judge whether the US is committing acts that could truly be considered torture. One method of information gathering is forcing a detainee to be awake for long periods of time without sleep. Some would say that is torture, most would not. I think the word torture conjures images of splinters under finger nails and there’s no evidence to support torture in the truest since. There’s simply no evidence to support similar events.
I wouldn't say no evidence; merely that proof is difficulty to obtain, when facilities like Guantanamo are not open to inspection by impartial observers, and when courts are not permitted to publish their evidence into the public record, on the basis of trumped-up national security concerns. (Self-perpetuating terror, at work.)

There's no fine line between torture and aggressive interrogation; but who speaks for the prisoners, when the loosely defined boundaries are pushed too far? Who speaks for the prisoners, when they're held too long? Isn't it valid to note that what may not be torture when applied once, can be rather torturous when applied over a period of several years of incarceration? One of the most grevious injustices against the American prisoners, is the unavailability of proper legal representation, in a court of competent jurisdiction. If they're war criminals or terrorists, charge them, try them, and prove it. If they're prisoners of war, then, by definition, America must be at war with their country of origin, in order to hold them—since it is not, they are being held in violation of the spirit of the historically recognized conventions of war. The "enemy combatant" designation is not a recognized one—it's simply a construct designed to avoid the procedures established for the protection of the imprisoned; as such, it is fundamentally contrary to their rights as individuals. Terrorists have rights, too, insofar as they are entitled to certain "unalienable Rights", simply as members of the species; to claim otherwise is to reduce yourself to their level, by adopting barbarism when it is convenient to avoid the niceties that society provides for everyone.

And now, we return to our regularly scheduled discussion of Mr. Williams, already in progress....
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Unread 12-14-2005, 04:31 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Sorry to continue off topic ... but I have to say it ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristan Lall

... So why obsess over it? If it's the loss of American lives that concerns the nation, why not campaign aggressively against smoking, or improve automobile safety? At least then, the benefits will be tangible, and substantially more significant to the well being of the locals. ...
Now THAT may be the most intelligent thing I have ever read on this forum ...
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Unread 12-14-2005, 05:46 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenWittlief
Cory, Ive already given examples, and you dismissed then out of hand for un-related reasons.

If you define 'civilized' and 'society' to preclude civilizations and society's that go against your way of thinking, then you are rigging the discussion to force you own point of view to be correct.

If there is a credible threat of death for a given action, then any rational person will carefully consider their actions. Do you really believe that no one cares if they live or die? No one?

if any percentage of the population stops and reconsiders their actions, then the threat of capitol punishment has acted as a deterrent.
Forgive me Ken, I missed when the debate switched from whether or not capital punishment is an effective deterrent in the US, to whether or not it's an effective deterrent in Iraq or China.

You're right...I did dismiss them, because Iraq and China are not the US. There is absolutely no similarity between our governments, societal values, or culture in general. When you can find a statistic that shows that capital punishment in the United States of America is an effective deterrent, I'll be glad to listen to what you have to say. Until then, you're presenting nothing more than anecdotal evidence that is entirely irrelevant to the situation at hand.
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Last edited by Cory : 12-14-2005 at 05:54 PM.
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Unread 12-14-2005, 05:55 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

If loseing lives is the major issue, why not push for global gun ban. It would stop all the killing. If you think it would be a probem to get other countries to listen to you, you form a trade embargo along with other aligned/UN countries against a select country(ies). A potential peacful solution to world politics.

edit: I missed when it switched away from being about Mr. Williams
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Unread 12-14-2005, 06:07 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayswandir-75
If loseing lives is the major issue, why not push for global gun ban. It would stop all the killing.
I don't think you've thought this one through.

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Unread 12-14-2005, 06:34 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory
Forgive me Ken, I missed when the debate switched from whether or not capital punishment is an effective deterrent in the US, to whether or not it's an effective deterrent in Iraq or China.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory
on the top of page 2
There's absolutely no evidence that the death penalty is an effective deterrent. We are one of the few civilized nations that actually puts people to death, and we still have an absurdly high rate of violent crimes compared to many of these countries that don't use the death penalty.
where did you limit the discussion of the death penalty to the US only?

oops! you were the one who brought up the crime rates in other nations to compare to the US.

Why do you get to choose which nations the US can be compared to, and which ones are not relavant to this discussion?!
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Unread 12-14-2005, 06:37 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenWittlief
where did you limit the discussion of the death penalty to the US only?

oops! you were the one who brought up the crime rates in other nations to compare to the US.

Why do you get to choose which nations the US can be compared to, and which ones are not relavant to this discussion?!

Ok--throw out my comments. It doesn't matter, since we're trying to focus on a purely domestic issue. We shouldn't need any international perspective.

This debate pertains to whether or not capital punishment is an effective deterrent inside the US.

I have so far not seen a single ounce of evidence from you that this is so (remember...you made this claim, therefore the burden of proof is on you). You continue to debate semantics about sidetracked conversations that have nothing to do with what we're talking about.
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Unread 12-14-2005, 06:44 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Back on the topic for Mr. Williams for a moment, the one point about the death penalty that I surprisingly have not yet seen arise is how many people are put to death and then late found innocent of the crime which they were killed for. They all went down pleading innocence. Ignoring entirely my personal moral beliefs, this simple fact seems enough to me for the end of the system. Even if we are saying a life for a (some) life(ves), how can you justify that with so many people who have been killed now having evidence found that they were innocent?

[Personal belief time, not necessarily backed by fact as above statement was]

As (I believe it was) Bill said, the only real time that one really ought be not horrifically punished for killing another is in self defense. There have been numerous studies that tell that the defense of one's own life is the only natural instinct: survival. Anyone who truly believes in the death penalty must be willing to die themselves. If someone is given the death penalty, someone has to push the button to give them the injection. The button pusher therefore is a murderer himself and must now be killed. He knew about this ahead of time and had everything planned out and did it all in sound conscience. And so on and so on until all but 1 person who believes in the death penalty are killed. But they have a right to kill that person some may say. Who determines the right to kill? Who says "you may kill" "you may not"? Who has the right to say who will live or die?

Some of you are arguing that capitol punishment is a way to detur murderous crime. It isn't though. You're solving a murder with a murder. Most people who commit these murders probably are not the type that think like most of society anyways because most of society does not go around killing each other. So you can't say "well this will scare most people from commiting murder" because the people commiting these murders, in doing so, have rejected the view of most of society who wouldn't have done what the murderer did in the first place. (sorry, that was a really bad run on sentance)

FINAL STATEMENT FOR THOSE WHO DON'T WANT TO READ THAT WHOLE THING: There are too many problems with the death penalty for it to seriously be used. Period.
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Unread 12-14-2005, 07:44 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory
I have so far not seen a single ounce of evidence from you that this is so (remember...you made this claim, therefore the burden of proof is on you). You continue to debate semantics about sidetracked conversations that have nothing to do with what we're talking about.
Come on Cory, every time you get backed into a corner in a serious discussion, you toss out this "the burden of proof is on you" stuff.

Capitol punishment is the law of the land. At the state and federal level the people we have elected and appointed to study this issue and reach the proper conclusions have made their decisions.

If you and hollywood actors and the media want the law to be changed, then the burden of proof is on you.
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Unread 12-14-2005, 07:50 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth Sweet
[Personal belief time, not necessarily backed by fact as above statement was]

If someone is given the death penalty, someone has to push the button to give them the injection. The button pusher therefore is a murderer himself and must now be killed. He knew about this ahead of time and had everything planned out and did it all in sound conscience.
What is your definition of "murder"?

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary: "the crime of unlawfully killing a person esp. with malice aforethought"

When the law allows the death penalty, the executioner is performing a legally-mandated killing and is therefore not a murderer. The majority of killings in this country are not murder. Many of them are accidents; some of them are manslaughter, a lesser crime than murder. And not all murders are intentional (example: an armed bank robber killing someone in the course of committing the robbery, and claiming it was unintentional, will still be held liable for first-degree murder unless the court is very liberal).

In 2004, there was a shoot-out at our motel during a regional competition. Fortunately, most of the team was at the stadium and was not exposed to the danger. This is what happened: a man was misbehaving in the motel lobby. The police came and tried to deal with him. He pulled a gun on them. A running gun battle ensued from the motel lobby, across the front courtyard, alongside some of our rooms, and into the rear parking lot, where the police finally killed him.

Now, the guy was probably on drugs or crazy or something, so it's too bad this happened, but what else could the police do? Let him go on shooting up the motel? Would you call the police "murderers" because they were defending themselves and the immediate community (motel staff and guests) from a clearly dangerous person? (I have pictures of the bullet holes in the wall 2 rooms down from the room where one of our team moms cowered during the shooting; a light fixture was shattered just outside the door of the room where our vice-principal was.)

Please be careful of how you use words. "Murder" is being expanded by some people to include any kind of killing, including killing of animals, or even plants. Overused, the word can lose its meaning and make rational discussion of this subject difficult or impossible.

Another point about the executioner: By instituting a governmental justice system, society takes vengeance for killings out of the hands of the victim's immediate friends and family, thereby curtailing the endless "eye for eye" cycle. Whatever flaws our justice system has, it is still much more impartial -- police, courts, and executioners--than an enraged parent or sibling who is thirsting for revenge.
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Unread 12-14-2005, 07:57 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenH
What is your definition of "murder"?


When the law allows the death penalty, the executioner is performing a legally-mandated killing and is therefore not a murderer.

Another point about the executioner: By instituting a governmental justice system, society takes vengeance for killings out of the hands of the victim's immediate friends and family, thereby curtailing the endless "eye for eye" cycle. Whatever flaws our justice system has, it is still much more impartial -- police, courts, and executioners--than an enraged parent or sibling who is thirsting for revenge.
As I said, who gives the right to kill? Who has the right to kill? Murder by my definition is intentionally killing someone, knowing what you're doing. Who gives the right to kill?
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Unread 12-14-2005, 08:04 PM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

There's been some good discussion in this thread, it's refreshing. On the other hand, there have been some personal attacks in this thread. That's not cool. Let's try and keep things on track here, as opposed to singling people out and making sarcastic comments about them.
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Unread 12-15-2005, 10:10 AM
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristan Lall
Does the U.S. have to invest billions of dollars, and thousands of lives, in support of campaigns that might save thousands more, but also unreasonably restrict the rights of individuals, both American and foreign?...

The fact of the matter is, you'll never be safe from terrorists, because there are too many of them, and they will forever be able to cause havoc in innovative and unexpected ways. So why obsess over it?
Tristan made a really good post above and I did rep him for it. I can't disagree with most of his post. I do have my 10 cents that is mostly opinion as an American who sees a ton of his money go to taxes.

The US Federal Goverment has few major tasks to complete with roughly ~30% of mine and everyone elses salary. One of those tasks is to provide security for US citizens. You're right, we'll never be safe from terrorists; but that doesn't mean we should abandon strategies that could keep us safer. After the 9/11 attacks America did institute some very obsessive policies on terrorism (the Patriot Act comes to mind.) Unfortunatly, if policy makers didn't act swiftly and harshly they probably wouldn't have been re-elected. With the TSA loosening restrictions I think we're stepping away from overbearing policies. Basicly, I'd rather see them do something to fight terrorism rather than nothing.

Regardless of whether or not Iraq has WMD; because they did have WMD, they used WMD on 100,000 Iranians during the Iraq-Iran War (Source). It was a "good thing" to liberate the country from an oppresive dictator who also happened to use his WMD on his own citizens during the Kurdish Genocide (Source). Whether or not the Colaition of the Willing finds WMD seems to be a moot point with Saddam Hussein's track record.

I'm not going to lie to you and say that there weren't less altrusitic reasons for freeing Iraq, they certainly have a lot of oil. There's also debatabley better things the military could be used for such as in Darfur. However, wherever the United States military does go they are doing their work for peace for the United States, other countries, and the citizens of the invaded countries. It's disheareting to hear much of the critissim over the Iraq war coming from the French. We all know what the US military did for the citizens of France during World War 2.

I do have a problem with this line...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristan Lall
America has committed itself to an unwinnable conflict, which has the potential to exist in perpetuity, so long as ideologues on both sides refuse to seek common ground."
I am vehemently opposed to seeking common ground with idiots. Their defintion of normal and acceptable behavior is far different from ours. The United State's idealog is that they want peace for not only of every United States citizen, but every citizen of Earth. That means we simply can't meet minds with terrorists or countries who routinely torture their citizens. For instance the president of Iran wishes for Israel to be wiped off the face of the Earth and thinks the Holocaust is a myth. How can you meet idealogs with people like this? The United States was formed with the pricipal idea that there should be a seperation of church and state. Terrorist countries see another country's religion as a pretense for war. We will never meet idealogically because we do not consider one's religion a reason for violence.

I am rambling now, so I'm going to stop and return to the subject of the thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth Sweet
Who has the right to kill? Who gives the right to kill?
In Mr. Williams's case it was the People of the State of California. It was someone's job at San Quentin to push the button and administer the deadly fluids. We do have a representative governemtn and the people in his state decided under what circumstances the death penatly is used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetzel
Unfortunately, vengeance rather than rehabilitation is still the way of the criminal justice system in this county and Mr Williams has been killed for his actions.
What's wrong with vengeance? Isn't the greatest form of retribution to have your own life taken for taking another's. Is it not the victim's family's right to closure?


I found a really great article on Wikipedia about capital punishment and have brought some new ideas for the death penalty:




  • If the death penalty were abolished, a criminal would have little or no reason not to kill potential witnesses during the commission of a robbery (assuming that robbery would earn the criminal a life sentence or a very lengthy prison sentence).
  • By waiving the threat of a death penalty, individuals can be encouraged to plead guilty, accomplices can be encouraged to testify against their co-conspirators, and criminals can be encouraged to lead investigators to the bodies of victims. The threat of the death penalty can be a powerful mechanism for greasing the wheels of justice.
  • People who have committed the most heinous crimes (typically murder) have no right to life.
  • The death penalty shows the greatest respect for the ordinary man's, and especially the victim's, inviolable value.
It's food for thought.
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Last edited by MikeDubreuil : 12-15-2005 at 12:01 PM. Reason: pronoun usage
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Unread 12-15-2005, 11:09 AM
sanddrag sanddrag is offline
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Re: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

I don't know too much about this guy but I see the situation something like this: It is kind of like purposely denting someone's car and handing them a can of Bondo. Yes it is an attempt to "make it right" but it'll never be as good as it once was. No amount of children's books or "don't join gangs" campaigning will bring back those 4 people's lives he took.
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