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Stop Texting Or I’ll Shoot

13 Jan

According to the Pasco County, Florida Sheriff’s office, Chad Oulson and his wife were in a movie theater today, where he was texting his three-year old daughter on his cell phone before the movie started. The guy sitting behind him, Curtis Reeves, a former police captain, didn’t like it. Not one bit. He asked Oulson to cut it out, and a verbal argument ensued until Reeves had had enough. He pulled out his gun–everyone goes to the movie theater armed, right?–and shot Oulson in the chest, killing him. Oulson’s wife was hit in the hand “when she put her hand up in front of her husband.” The sheriff said an off-duty deputy in the theater got ahold of the gun and detained Reeves until deputies arrived.

Sheriff Chris Nocco said his detectives considered if this could be a “stand your ground” case but decided the criteria did not apply. “It’s absolutely crazy it would rise to this level over somebody just texting in a movie theater,” he offered.

No kidding. It’s kind of mind-boggling that they even considered releasing Reeves based on “stand your ground,” but you know, he could have felt threatened by the glow of Oulson’s cell phone in the darkened theater.

No doubt we’ll once again hear that guns don’t kill people, people do. But don’t you think that if Reeves wasn’t packing today, Chad Oulson would still be alive?

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55 Comments

Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Current Events, Guns

 

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55 responses to “Stop Texting Or I’ll Shoot

  1. Cluster

    January 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Yup, guns are the problem. Damn those inanimate objects.

     
    • watsonthethird

      January 13, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      If he hadn’t brought a gun to the movie theater, Chad Oulson would almost certainly be alive. Of course, guns are inanimate objects. Objects which make it quite simple and quick to kill other human beings. In fact, I would venture to guess that killing human beings is the intrinsic purpose of the gun that Curtis Reeves brought to the theater.

       
      • Cluster

        January 13, 2014 at 7:44 pm

        Curtis’s intent and obvious behavioral issues are the problem. A knife would have been just as effective.

        Many young kids are killed every day on the streets of Chicago, which incidentally has some of the strictest gun laws on the books, and yet I haven’t read one post from you on those unfortunate deaths.

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 13, 2014 at 7:51 pm

        Now you’re sounding like NeoClown. Okay, here’s a comment about Chicago. Did you know that Chicago had the fewest number of murders in 2013 of any year since the early 1970s? There were 412 homicides in the city in 2013. But to hear Clown tell it (over and over), there are an average of 50 murders every weekend. That would be about 2600 murders year. See how dishonest Clown is?

         
      • Cluster

        January 13, 2014 at 8:01 pm

        And the Redskins had a good year, when compared with the Texans. C’mon Watson.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/09/18/fbi-chicago-passes-new-york-as-murder-capital-of-u-s/

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 13, 2014 at 8:15 pm

        You’re right I should have been more careful.

        According to year-end data released by police departments around the country, Chicago still leads the country in homicides with 415, but that number declined 18% from 2012 and is the fewest since 1965.

        http://nation.time.com/2014/01/02/murders-in-u-s-cities-again-at-record-lows/

         
    • mitchethekid

      January 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      No, guns as an object are not the problem. It’s the people who use them as killing tools. Why do you think folks in prison have limited access to tool making resources??
      Defending unlimited access to killing tools isn’t an assault (no pun intended) on “freedom” or the 2nd amendment, it’s an awareness of the reality and consequences of human behavior.
      Sometime in a fantasized, utopian future, there will be no guns. The murderous nature of humanity evolved out by selective adaptation. And thus no need.

       
  2. Cluster

    January 13, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I think straight up honesty about some of our societal problems would do a hell of a lot more good than more laws. Being honest about the high rates of children born out of wedlock, lack of discipline in the schools and homes, recreational drug use, lack of opportunity, identifying mental illness’s, etc.

    And executing Mr Reeves the minute the trial is over may send a good message too.

     
    • watsonthethird

      January 13, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      I think straight up regulations regarding gun ownership would do a hell of a lot more good than blaming schools and single parents. Like, in order to have a concealed carry permit, you must undergo annual training and verification that you have had no drugs, alcohol, or anger issues. Any instance of drunk driving, for example, should disqualify you from a concealed carry permit–and gun ownership, for that matter. And maybe the training could teach owners not to fire their guns when they are trying to unload them.

       
      • Cluster

        January 14, 2014 at 5:44 am

        The perpetrator was a cop Watson, he had all the training in the world. Look, you can’t legislate away crime and instead of blaming an inanimate object, we need to blame ourselves, period. We tolerate way too much in this society in the name of political correctness and sensitivity. It’s not ok to have children from different fathers out of wedlock and it’s not ok to look the other way when someone exhibits mental instability, and I can almost guarantee you that somewhere in the recent past, this former cop exhibited bizarre behavior that someone overlooked.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 14, 2014 at 8:57 am

        Watson,

        Although we don’t know much about Reeves background at this point, it seems unlikely that any laws short of a total gun ban would have prevented this situation. He was a highly trained officer who likely would have passed your carry permit proposals with ease.

        Pandora’s box is open in this country regarding guns, and it aint closing anytime soon. Stricter laws may help, and I like the idea of annual certification, but incidents like these are inevitable in a society such as ours steeped in gun culture. One thing’s for sure, Cluster’s call for an execution is misguided. There are no arguments for capitol punishment that don’t come from the lizard brain. It is not a deterrent, more expensive than life without the possibility of parole, impossible to institute fairly, prone to fatal mistakes, and for all of these reasons, barbaric.

         
      • Cluster

        January 14, 2014 at 9:15 am

        Cases like this are absolutely not prone to mistakes. An unprovoked murder with several eyewitness’s can be adjudicated quite easily, and the prompt execution of that perpetrator would indeed send a signal to those who carelessly deploy their weapon. Prison, complete with TV, exercise yard, warm bunk, and three meals a day, is certainly not a strong enough deterrent. And anyone who obviously has such a disregard for life, does not deserve his own.

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 14, 2014 at 10:33 am

        The perpetrator was a cop Watson, he had all the training in the world.

        A former cop, Cluster. Being a former cop should not entitle one to a lifetime concealed carry permit.

        I agree, Rusty, that given the gun culture in this country, incidents like this will continue. But that doesn’t mean we should just sigh and give concealed carry permits to anyone. Such a permit should require annual re-certification involving a demonstration of safe gun handling. I think any incidents of public drunkenness or drunk driving should cause your CCP to be revoked, as such behavior shows poor or impaired judgement that does not merit having a lethal weapon in your pocket. Ditto any documented forms of anger issues. In this case, the shooter was 71 years old. Older people can suffer from dementia. Obviously, any forms of mental illness should disqualify one from having a CCP.

        I realize that even these measures will not stop the majority of gun incidents, but it would help.

         
      • Cluster

        January 14, 2014 at 3:11 pm

        but it would help.

        What in the world would lead you to believe that?? The strictest gun laws on the books are found in an area that has the highest US murder rate? Is this just more wishful liberal thinking?? Seems to be a lot of that lately.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm

        Watson,

        I agree 100%.

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

        What in the world would lead you to believe that?? The strictest gun laws on the books are found in an area that has the highest US murder rate? Is this just more wishful liberal thinking?? Seems to be a lot of that lately.

        Because it might eliminate a murder or two, Cluster. Look, if Curtis Reeves what not packing in that theater, Chad Oulson would be alive today. It’s as simple as that. Yeah, you can give me crap about him having a knife instead, but we both know that is a woefully weak argument.

         
      • Cluster

        January 14, 2014 at 4:30 pm

        ….having a knife instead, but we both know that is a woefully weak argument.

        No it’s not. Far from it.

        http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jan/18/facebook-posts/facebook-post-says-more-people-were-murdered-knive/

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 14, 2014 at 5:09 pm

        Okay, so there are only 5 times as many homicides committed with guns than with knives. That doesn’t diminish the fact that there should be reasonable regulations regarding concealed carry permits.

         
      • Cluster

        January 14, 2014 at 6:34 pm

        There ARE reasonable regulations.

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 14, 2014 at 6:45 pm

        There ARE reasonable regulations.

        Socialist.

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 14, 2014 at 6:46 pm

        Or maybe I should say:

        Statist.

         
  3. rustybrown2012

    January 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

    There is always room for mistakes, misinterpretation, new information, etc. What if it’s revealed that Reeves has a developing tumor in his hypothalamus affecting his ability to control his emotions? Another problem is where do you draw the line – you may think this case is easy, but it’s certainly not as easy as John Wayne Gacy’s was, which was not as easy as Ted Bundy’s. How do you draft into law which cases are “not prone to mistakes” and which ones are?

     
    • Cluster

      January 14, 2014 at 9:58 am

      I am big supporter of the death penalty for people like Bundy, Gacy, etc., and for those who randomly kill, i.e.: the Newtown shooter, the Colorado movie theater shooter; people who can easily be identified and acted unprovoked. These cases are not prone to mistakes. Murders with just circumstantial evidence are prone to mistakes and should not have the death penalty on the table.

       
      • rustybrown2012

        January 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

        Cluster,

        Oh I see, you’re for only executing REALLY bad people who we all KNOW are guilty. Gee, why didn’t anybody think of that before? The answer is they have and it’s basically what we’re presently doing.

        Again, how do you legislate which cases are not “prone to mistake”? It’s quite impossible. How can you insure that factors such as money, race, and gender aren’t influencing the decision? Do you think if Bill Gates committed a crime like Reeve’s he’d get the chair? How about the fact that it costs more money to execute rather than incarcerate? Speeding up the process and denying appeals would increase the likelihood that mistakes will be made. How about the fact that the death penalty has been shown to not be a deterrent? In light of all of this, what PURPOSE would an execution serve outside of satisfying a bloodlust? Pardon me for repeating myself but until you answer these substantial problems your argument is about as compelling as farts on a winter’s breeze.

        And I see you’ve conveniently ignored my question about a brain tumor, which has been a likely instigator for horrific violence in the past:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Whitman#Autopsy

         
      • Cluster

        January 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm

        Again, how do you legislate which cases are not “prone to mistake”?

        We’ve gone over this and I was quite specific. Why in the hell do I have to constantly repeat myself???

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 14, 2014 at 4:24 pm

        As I said, there are no arguments for capitol punishment that don’t come from the lizard brain. Thanks Cluster, for being the reliable lizard brain of this blog – it gives us all perspective.

         
      • Cluster

        January 14, 2014 at 4:33 pm

        Pretty hard to argue with that logic. Good job Rust.

         
      • mitchethekid

        January 14, 2014 at 4:36 pm

        Come on. Be nice. He is a founder after all. Man enough to expose himself to the slings and arrows of progressive liberals. 🙂

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

        Did I miss something? Did Cluster justify his position in any way or answer any of my informed criticisms of the death penalty? No, I didn’t think so. Let’s keep it real, shall we?

         
      • Cluster

        January 14, 2014 at 6:36 pm

        Calling me a lizard brain was informed criticism? Or did I miss something?

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm

        Again, how do you legislate which cases are not “prone to mistake”?

        We’ve gone over this and I was quite specific. Why in the hell do I have to constantly repeat myself???

        This was one of your famed attempts at humor, right?

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm

        Cluster,

        Yes, you missed something (you were called a lizard brain after you missed/ignored everything). This was the informed criticism, to repeat:

        Again, how do you legislate which cases are not “prone to mistake”? It’s quite impossible. How can you insure that factors such as money, race, and gender aren’t influencing the decision? Do you think if Bill Gates committed a crime like Reeve’s he’d get the chair? How about the fact that it costs more money to execute rather than incarcerate? Speeding up the process and denying appeals would increase the likelihood that mistakes will be made. How about the fact that the death penalty has been shown to not be a deterrent? In light of all of this, what PURPOSE would an execution serve outside of satisfying a bloodlust?

        How many times does an argument have to be presented to you? Four, five times? Instead of trying to be cute or funny or prevaricating, would you like to try to debate your opinion like an adult? I’m game if you are.

         
      • Cluster

        January 15, 2014 at 5:24 am

        See Marner’s post at 7:21pm

         
  4. Marner

    January 14, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Let me throw my lizard brain two cents in here, because I support Capitol punishment. People for whom there is absolutely no doubt as to their having committed heinous murders should be executed. The Colorado theater shooter is number one on my list. He went in with premeditation and massacred as many people as he could. He booby-trapped his apartment so he could try to squeeze in one or two more deaths before he was done. I personally don’t care if he has a mental disorder, or a brain tumor, or any other excuse; he has lost the right to live after what he’s done.

    I also apply that belief to the murderer of Dr. Tiller, who committed an act of terrorism when he walked into Tiller’s church and shot him at point blank range. It also goes to the D.C. Freeway shooters, regardless of the kid’s age. Some crimes are just too terrible to allow the perpetrator to live.

    That being said, I don’t support the death penalty for people who kill others without premeditation, such as when an argument escalates into a death. Those people have the ability to be rehabilitated, but not the others. I also don’t support it for people where there is any doubt at all as to whether or not they the committed the crime.

    My position might not make sense and some may see it as inconsistent, but it is what it is and arguments over the fiscal propriety of imprisonment over execution don’t have any effect on my lizard brain.

     
    • rustybrown2012

      January 14, 2014 at 11:37 pm

      Marner,
      Let me just start by saying how refreshing it is to have a sincere and coherent response. It renews my faith that reasonable people can have reasonable differences. That being said, we do have differences, my friend. You seem to have a subjective and peculiarly specific view of when the death penalty should be applied which underscores my point that it cannot be applied objectively, and therefore should not be applied at all. Many would ask why, for instance, in your view the unwilling victim of a brain disorder who commits murder should be subject to state sanctioned death while someone who murders in a fit of anger should be spared. That certainly seems like a very narrow and personal distinction to me. But what then is your judgement if the tumor victim murders his victim painlessly in his sleep while the rage killer butchers a toddler with a cleaver? Does that change the equation for you? If so, why? Your original criterion has still been met. The tumor victim who kills painlessly should die while the child butcherer should face life in prison. Can you begin to understand how these lines can be blurred and how impossible it would be to only execute the ‘really bad’ killers? Shit, you don’t have to look far, think about the recent cases involving death row inmates with borderline retardation. Think about all the capitol cases overturned by new technology. The problem is what constitutes a capitol offense in Marner’s world is different from what constitutes a capitol offense in Cluster’s world, and so on – it’s all dependent on circumstance, opinion, and prejudice, cannot be written into law, and is therefore essentially arbitrary.

      Capitol punishment is irreversible. Are you willing to bet that no mistake has ever been made in a state sanctioned execution, that none will be made in the future? I’m not. I know human beings are fallible and mistakes will inevitably be made. And for what? You and Cluster have still not provided one good reason for capitol punishment aside from appeal to base instinct, the lizard brain.

       
      • Marner

        January 15, 2014 at 5:36 am

        Rusty,

        In my book, someone who hacks a toddler to pieces deserves to die.Someone who gets into a fight at a bar and kills the person he’s fighting with does not. I agree that its a subjective line that I draw as to what qualifies for the death penalty and what doesn’t, but in my mind it is a clear line.
        Our system of laws and punishment is subjective. Some states allow capitol punishment, while others don’t, but we’ve decided as a society that the taking of a life, or multiple lives, is not the same in every instance and shouldn’t be treated as such. There is a world of difference between involuntary manslaughter and first degree murder. In first degree murder, the killer deliberately planned to take the life of another person, and for that, to me, he has lost his right to live. However, as I said, I don’t think the death penalty should be imposed unless their is no doubt as to whether or not the person is guilty. Circumstantial evidence doesn’t cut it, but standing over the body with a bloody axe and crowing over your achievement does.
        Capitol punishment is irreversible, but there is no doubt that the Aurora killer and Tiller’s murderer committed their crimes with premeditation and malice. I would not feel a bit of misgiving about seeing them die for their crimes.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 15, 2014 at 10:57 am

        Marner,

        First off, I find your lack of concern for a murderer with the mitigating circumstance of a brain tumor troubling to say the least. We’re potentially talking about a 100% physical condition, someone who has absolutely no control of his actions, a victim of a grave disease that is potentially treatable. By what logic would you condemn that person to death as opposed to treatment and incarceration?

        Second, the problem here is you’re applying perfect standards to an imperfect world. You seem to have very clear ideas for what would constitute a capital offense, but your personal boundaries and standards are not really what we’re talking about. By admitting your standards are arbitrary you are tacitly endorsing executions to occur by standards very different from your own. You may have a very firm idea of where you would draw the lines but obviously those aren’t the ones being drawn in the real world. This isn’t a thought experiment we’re talking about, these are life and death decisions being made in the real world. So in actuality you’re admitting you’re fine with ceding your moral judgement for someone else’s, trusting them to be equivalent to your own. But in reality they aren’t. In actuality you’re fine with letting the intellect and morals of George Bush, Rick Perry, Rick Scott, etc. decide who lives and who dies. So you may have indelible ideas for where you draw the line but they never leave your armchair.

        Further, in armchair world only the most heinous murderers are executed but in the real world innocent people do end up being murdered by the state. The wrongful execution of a single innocent person would be intolerable, but unfortunately we’re talking about many more than that.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment#Wrongful_execution

        It is a fact that if you support the death penalty you support the taking of innocent life. Talk about premeditation; you don’t even have a tumor as an excuse.

        And despite all this you have yet to provide a single compelling argument for capital punishment. Cluster’s claim of deterrence is without merit. Near as I can tell it satisfies some type of frontier justice or primitive quest for vengeance for you which in light of the real-world stakes, per my original point, is inadequate.

         
      • Cluster

        January 15, 2014 at 3:36 pm

        By what logic would you condemn that person to death as opposed to treatment and incarceration?

        I will let you explain that to the 3 yr old, and mother who just lost their dad and husband.

         
      • Marner

        January 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

        Rusty,

        First of all, I’m sorry that you’re troubled. If believing that a tumor is not an excuse to escape punishment for a heinous crime makes me a cold, heartless bastard, then I will accept that label. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been called that.

        Second, I am not applying any standards to the world; I’m telling you what my personal beliefs are. The world is not run solely by my standards, yours, or anyone else’s, and none of us on this blog have the power to dictate any other person’s execution or clemency, so any discussion on this topic is purely a “thought experiment.” In any law, the will of the group is substituted for the will of the individual. In any other direction lies anarchy. In the case of most laws, I find myself in agreement with the will of the group, but in some I don’t. That doesn’t necessarily make the law or supporters of the law immoral; it just means that we have different opinions. Society, for the most part, has determined that execution is a just punishment for some people. I can disagree with the criteria used and I can try to influence society’s criteria by changing the laws, but I have no desire to eliminate that punishment completely.

        It is not a fact that supporting the death penalty means supporting the taking of innocent life. I said quite clearly what the circumstances were where I would personally support the death penalty, and they did not include cases where there is any doubt as to the guilt of the accused or where it was a “one-off”. I support the execution of the Aurora killer; I do not support the execution of the guy who shot the movie patron this week.

        So, you can call me a lizard brain or someone who approves of state-sanctioned murder of innocent people and, to be honest, I won’t much care. I can respect that you have a deeply-held opinion on capitol punishment. Try to understand that those who disagree with you can have deeply-held opinions without that making them evil incarnate.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm

        Marner,

        any discussion on this topic is purely a “thought experiment.”

        That may be, but if you move beyond discussion and SUPPORT capital punishment, as you have (which I would presume means voting for pro death penalty candidates, referendums, opinion polls etc.), you have moved beyond the theoretical and are promoting the death penalty in the real world, complete with all of the egregious flaws I’ve listed. You are now willingly giving Rick Perry and other right wing whack jobs the authority to take a persons life, and some of those people will be innocent. Those are facts.

        Society, for the most part, has determined that execution is a just punishment for some people.

        Societies the world over are moving inexorably in one direction: the steady eradication of capital punishment. This shift away from execution is historically true and continues today. If mankind survives long enough I have no doubt state sponsored killing will be seen as a barbaric vestige of our past.

        It is not a fact that supporting the death penalty means supporting the taking of innocent life.

        In the real world that’s exactly what it means. That’s like saying “It is not a fact that supporting the criminalization of marijuana means supporting the jailing of first time non-violent offenders”

        I said quite clearly what the circumstances were where I would personally support the death penalty, and they did not include cases where there is any doubt as to the guilt of the accused or where it was a “one-off”.

        Well that’s great for all of the murderers who are tried in your living room, not so hot in the real world where the death penalty actually takes place.

        Finally, I never said you or others who support the death penalty are evil incarnate but I do believe that supporters have poorly thought out positions and a callous lack of empathy and perspective. Just my opinion, but I think the facts support it.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm

        BTW, my original statement about this was “There are no arguments for capital punishment that don’t come from the lizard brain.” I meant ‘lizard brain’ to be shorthand for base, retributive instinct with no benefit to society in mind. I don’t think it’s as much of an insult as people seem to have taken it; the lizard brain is part of all of us and we all use it to a certain degree. But if anybody has provided an argument for capital punishment that transcends that initial description, please point it out to me because I didn’t see any.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm

        Cluster,
        I wasn’t talking about that case. I was talking about a murderer who could not control his actions because of a severe brain tumor. Try to keep up.

        BTW, I would be able to explain my position on capital punishment to anybody. How would you feel about explaining your position to the family of an innocent man who’s just been executed? What would you say? “Shit happens, we’ll try to be more careful next time. At least you still have pictures.”?

         
      • Cluster

        January 15, 2014 at 5:20 pm

        You still don’t understand the position or you’re being willfully ignorant. Either way, I don’t care.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm

        Here’s a bit more info for capital punishment advocates to chew on:

        A number of people are claimed to have been innocent victims of the death penalty.[2][3] Newly available DNA evidence has allowed the exoneration and release of more than 15 death row inmates since 1992 in the United States,[4] but DNA evidence is available in only a fraction of capital cases. Others have been released on the basis of weak cases against them, sometimes involving prosecutorial misconduct; resulting in acquittal at retrial, charges dropped, or innocence-based pardons. The Death Penalty Information Center (U.S.) has published a list of 10 inmates “executed but possibly innocent”.[5] At least 39 executions are claimed to have been carried out in the U.S. in the face of evidence of innocence or serious doubt about guilt.[6]

        In the UK, reviews prompted by the Criminal Cases Review Commission have resulted in one pardon and three exonerations for people executed between 1950 and 1953 (when the execution rate in England and Wales averaged 17 per year), with compensation being paid.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrongful_execution

        Do read the whole thing. How anybody can read the specific cases of wrongful execution and still be for the death penalty is beyond me.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 15, 2014 at 5:32 pm

        “You still don’t understand the position or you’re being willfully ignorant. Either way, I don’t care.”

        I understand your position and disagree with it based on the arguments I’ve presented, which you’ve ignored because you apparently have no answer for them. We do have one thing in common though – I don’t care!

         
      • Marner

        January 15, 2014 at 5:42 pm

        Rusty,

        No problem on the lizard brain, I knew what you meant and it would take a lot more than that to piss me off. I do less drama than Obama, man.

        I have to respectfully disagree with your belief that supporting the death penalty means supporting killing innocents. You could just as easily say that supporting the military having bombs means supporting killing innocents. No matter how “smart” a bomb is, there are still mistakes made.

        Perhaps fortunately for society, I don’t solely have the power of life or death over anyone accused of murder and I never will. I just have my beliefs, which are sincerely held.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm

        Marner,

        No problem, we just disagree on this. One thing’s for sure, this is a very visceral issue (life and death) and therefore produces strong opinions. Having said that,

        I have to respectfully disagree with your belief that supporting the death penalty means supporting killing innocents. You could just as easily say that supporting the military having bombs means supporting killing innocents. No matter how “smart” a bomb is, there are still mistakes made.

        Your analogy is flawed for the following reasons: It is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY in America today to support a military that possesses bombs. Cat’s out of the bag, history happened and we’re a superpower in an age of global enemies and unrest, and we have every moral right to protect ourselves with a full, modern arsenal. So advocating for a military without bombs would be patently ridiculous and suicidal. Therefore, bombs may end up killing innocents but we have NO CHOICE but to maintain them (how we choose to use those bombs is a different matter but not relevant to your analogy).

        But this is not the case with the death penalty. It is ABSOLUTELY UNNECESSARY to have capital punishment, and as I’ve shown there are extremely compelling reasons against it. So in light of wrongful executions, you have a CHOICE about whether you want to maintain the death penalty or not. If you choose to maintain it you are making an unnecessary choice which will result in innocent people being murdered with your tax dollars. Break a few eggs to make an omelette? These are eggs that don’t need to be broken, you are choosing to break them.

        By the way, what is your response to the wrongful executions which could be avoided by abolishing the death penalty?

         
      • Marner

        January 15, 2014 at 7:05 pm

        I said I only support the death penalty for those who are guilty beyond any doubt, but I am not willing to remove that punishment on the chance that someone is executed for a crime they didn’t commit. I believe that number is small and I’m not an absolutist who insists on zero defects.

        You have a point on the bombs, but there are other ways to conduct war that would reduce the number of innocents killed.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm

        Well I hazard to guess that the vast majority of innocent people sentenced to death were sentenced by judges and juries who were convinced of their guilt “beyond any doubt”. That certainty didn’t save them, did it? And it’s not a “chance” that innocent people are murdered for crimes they don’t commit, it’s a certainty, and the number is not small. From my previous link:

        “Statistics likely understate the actual problem of wrongful convictions because once an execution has occurred there is often insufficient motivation and finance to keep a case open, and it becomes unlikely at that point that the miscarriage of justice will ever be exposed.”

        “Since the reinstatement of the death penalty, 142 men and women have been released from Death Row nationally….some only minutes away from execution. ”

        I’m too am almost never an “absolutist who insists on zero defects”, but I most certainly am when the “defects” are innocent victims murdered by the state.

        there are other ways to conduct war that would reduce the number of innocents killed.

        No argument from me there, but I don’t see why you’re making that point since it has nothing to do with your analogy.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 16, 2014 at 11:17 am

        Meursault,

        Well, there are two different aspects we seem to be talking about here. One is an idealized fantasy application of the death penalty and the other is how it actually works in the real world. In fantasy world, the “thought experiment” we alluded to, only the most vile, irredeemable and unrepentant killers would be put to death. There would be 100% certainty of their guilt. There would be zero chance for human error so there would be no wrongful executions. Capital punishment would be a strong deterrent against violent crime, thus saving lives. Minorities and the poor would not be disproportionately killed. As a bonus, the death penalty would actually be much cheaper than life in prison. With this fantasy model the arguments against drop precipitously. This is NOT, however, what we’ve been discussing (as an aside, personally I would still be against the fantasy model because I don’t believe in the commonly understood sense of free will).

        In the real world, ALL of the above qualifiers are false. Read that sentence again.

        This shouldn’t need to be said, but I think adults have an obligation to base their opinions on reality rather than a personal idealized fantasy, especially when it comes to matters of life and death. At least Marner has the honesty to admit that keeping the death penalty is so important to him that he’s OK with murdering innocent people along the way. But I think another question death penalty proponents should be asking themselves is “how would I feel if it were me or my child about to be executed for a crime we didn’t commit? Would I still be in favor of the death penalty, sacrificing us for what I perceive as the greater good?” If the answer is “yes, I’d still be fine with it”, then I at least respect the depth and consistency of your beliefs. If the answer is “no”, then you’re a hypocrite and have a severe ethical problem on your hands.

        I’ll note one more important argument for abolition, one that directly contradicts Cluster’s solution of fast-tracking executions (which is a ridiculous and barbaric idea anyway), and it is that we potentially have much to learn from the worst killers. Environment and biology have made these people fundamentally different from us. By understanding the underlying mechanics of what makes a serial killer we could potentially be saving countless lives from horrific suffering.

         
    • Cluster

      January 15, 2014 at 5:24 am

      I agree 100%. Well said. I think if we would have an express lane to the execution chamber for people like the Colorado Theater shooter, who is also number one on my list, crimes likes this would be less frequent. A lot of these criminals don’t fear prison and want the notoriety but if they knew they too would dead within a very short time, I think they might reconsider their actions.

       
      • Marner

        January 15, 2014 at 5:39 am

        Cluster,

        I’m not sure I agree with the idea of capitol punishment as a deterrent to future murderers. Studies have failed to show a causal relationship between the two. In any case, it does prevent at least one homicidal psychopath from doing it again and to me that’s good enough.

         
    • meursault1942

      January 16, 2014 at 8:39 am

      The death penalty is a tricky subject for me. I’m mostly opposed to it, and I am appalled at how it’s used and celebrated today. So my stance is about 95 percent “no way, get it outta here.” But that remaining 5 percent agrees with Cluster and Marner that there are some people whose crimes are so heinous–and done absolutely deliberately–that they have forfeited their right to life.

       
      • rustybrown2012

        January 16, 2014 at 11:50 am

        Repost. Sorry, posted it in the wrong spot before:

        Meursault,

        Well, there are two different aspects we seem to be talking about here. One is an idealized fantasy application of the death penalty and the other is how it actually works in the real world. In fantasy world, the “thought experiment” we alluded to, only the most vile, irredeemable and unrepentant killers would be put to death. There would be 100% certainty of their guilt. There would be zero chance for human error so there would be no wrongful executions. Capital punishment would be a strong deterrent against violent crime, thus saving lives. Minorities and the poor would not be disproportionately killed. As a bonus, the death penalty would actually be much cheaper than life in prison. With this fantasy model the arguments against drop precipitously. This is NOT, however, what we’ve been discussing (as an aside, personally I would still be against the fantasy model because I don’t believe in the commonly understood sense of free will).

        In the real world, ALL of the above qualifiers are false. Read that sentence again.

        This shouldn’t need to be said, but I think adults have an obligation to base their opinions on reality rather than a personal idealized fantasy, especially when it comes to matters of life and death. At least Marner has the honesty to admit that keeping the death penalty is so important to him that he’s OK with murdering innocent people along the way. But I think another question death penalty proponents should be asking themselves is “how would I feel if it were me or my child about to be executed for a crime we didn’t commit? Would I still be in favor of the death penalty, sacrificing us for what I perceive as the greater good?” If the answer is “yes, I’d still be fine with it”, then I at least respect the depth and consistency of your beliefs. If the answer is “no”, then you’re a hypocrite and have a severe ethical problem on your hands.

        I’ll note one more important argument for abolition, one that directly contradicts Cluster’s solution of fast-tracking executions (which is a ridiculous and barbaric idea anyway), and it is that we potentially have much to learn from the worst killers. Environment and biology have made these people fundamentally different from us. By understanding the underlying mechanics of what makes a serial killer we could potentially be saving countless lives from horrific suffering.

         
 
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