The Instigator
boxbeat19
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The Contender
Aguilajoyce
Pro (for)
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Death Penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/31/2016 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 380 times Debate No: 89032
Debate Rounds (5)
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boxbeat19

Con

The death penalty is an outdated, barbaric, and, frankly, hypocritical form of punishment carried out by many third-world countries across the globe. It is also, sadly, carried out by the United States in numbers that rival those of China and several Middle-Eastern countries. It is more costly than holding the person in prison for life, it is extremely hypocritical, it does absolutely no good for the rest of society, and the methods by which we do it are inhumane and unright.
Aguilajoyce

Pro

I would like to accept this argument as a challenge to my own beliefs, that is, I agree with you, but I find the basis on which you rest your argument, although totally valid, to be debatable, so I thought I might try my hand at it and see where it leads.

My argument will center on attacking the presumption that human beings are somehow removed, beyond or above our natural proclivities, simply because we have the ability to rationalize our actions, or create things outside of nature. I think it is flawed reasoning to think that these abilities extricate us from nature, when it is ever apparent that we continue to be plagued by (perceivably) destructive impulses. This is dangerous, to say the least, because one cannot learn to temper that which is thought to be outside of, or separate from the self. So we are all murderers, cheaters, and rapists...as we are all capable of such thoughts and actions. We must accept this and be constantly vigilant of our tendency toward barbarity, in order to keep it in check.

I will admit to being descriptivist in my perceptions about all things. Things happen, so we cannot reject them simply because we feel they should not happen, they are neither inherently wrong or right, nor good or bad, they just are.
With that said, I will respond to your initial claim:

I will take your terms to mean:

Oudated: antiquated, obdolete
Barbaric: savage in nature
Hypocritical: to commit that which one claims is wrong/immoral/undesirable.
Third-world: lacking/ behind in social and economic development as compared to developed or 'first-world' nations.
Inhumane: cruel, lacking in compassion
Unright: morally wrong

Please redifine whichever terms are not to your liking. (I am known to have my own definitions for things...lol)

So, I find it hard to swallow that killing a murderer is outdated, when murder still exists. If we were truly beyond this as human beings, murderers would not exist. Death by murder and death by governments is still death. One cannot be more reprochable than the other, unless you are attributing some undue civility to governments, which is folly, because governments consist of men, and those men (like all mankind) are just as capable of murder ( rationalizing it) as the defendant. Notice that I'm just placing everything on an equal plain; removing the pretenses. Barbarity/inhumanity follow the same reasoning. If the murderers are capable of barbarity, so is the government. The murderer rationalizes his justifications for killing a person, and so do governments i.e., wars, cia assassinations, land seizures/occupations, etc.). All are barbarous acts if they result in death or suffering.

As far as hypocrisy, I think it much more hypocritical to say the reverse i.e., that criminals can commit heinous acts against his fellow man but that the government, or those seeking justice cannot respond in kind.

On a comparitve level, i also find it hard to see how allowing a man to live and breathe in confinement until the end of his days, is more humane than just killing him. I know that this implies a qualitative judgment about life, but freedom, or lack of it, has been equated with a death sentence by many a philosopher, founding fathers included. A life constrained/ in bondage is considered no life at all, which is why so many have given their lives in the pursuit of it. And many an inmate has, or has attempted to end their life-sentence for the very same reason.

You also posed points on the expense of the death penalty and how it is no good for society. I will admit that I learned from you that the death penalty is more costly then life-sentences. So firstly, thank you! Lol. But upon researching it, I found that the cost is not owed to the death itself, but rather the legal costs to pursue and defend against it, so the data, taken at face value, is somewhat misleading. But moreover I would like the expense to be haggled before the victims and their families to see if they could reconcile the cost of the sentence with the worth of a life which was taken.

The resulting detriment to society that you claim is difficult to fathom. Im just wondering how the swelling rolls of 'lifers' does us any good. I can only ask that you elaborate on this, so that I can attend directly to the point you're making...

And lastly, I fail to see how the comparison to developing countries is relevant, unless it based in ethnocentrism, or any other belief that we are somehow superior. if so, I can only remind you the aforementioned trap that we set for ourselves, by assuming we are somehow different...

I hope you understand where I am coming from with all this. I've done my best to try to present a worthwhile counterargument, i.e., to not make it apparent that I actually agree with you albeit for different reasons.

Thanks for reviewing...and, nice to make your acquaintance!
Debate Round No. 1
boxbeat19

Con

When I stated that killing a murderer is outdated, I meant it in the sense that the GOVERNMENT carrying out a legal execution is outdated, at least in many first-world countries. When you state that a murder on the street cannot be more reproachable than the government killing someone, you are wrong. The government was created to create and maintain laws so that citizens can know the line where right and wrong meet. If the government makes a law stating that murder is bad, but then turns around and kills someone for breaking that law, then they are being (very) hypocritical.

Forcing someone to spend the rest of their days in prison can oftentimes be just as inhumane as killing them. The difference here is, while one allows them to live and breathe, to think and feel, to laugh and love, the other kills you, taking all of that away. Morally, that is wrong. This debate is not about the quality of life in prison, but about the morality of our own government, who makes the laws to begin with, but executes the person after the crime has already been committed.

You do make a very good point by stating the victim's family should be able to chip in by covering the legal fees. But how much would they be willing to pay? Anything less than $30,000 would simply not be worth it. And what if the victim's family did not particularly care about whether the person died or not? The amount of money the government would receive from families would, for the most part, be too insignificant to make a difference.

The "swelling rolls of lifers" you refer to would be less than 40 people per year. Compare that to the over 4,000 who die in prison each year, and I think we'll be okay. Capital Punishment does, in fact, do no good to society. It costs more, it is often cruel (which I will get to later) and it just shows people how brutish and barbaric we can be. What that person did is done. Nothing will change that; it's over. Killing them is strictly for retribution and revenge; a childish and immature thing to do.

The comparison to developing countries was to show how "behind the times" we are in this aspect. The United States is a country which others look up to; we are the standard for many nations in terms of safety, fairness, freedom, etc. America is the place where you don't have to bribe police, you don't need a firearm to protect your home (compared to countries in Africa, Asia, and South America), and you will most likely always have enough food to eat. Yet, for some reason, we still rank up there with Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Sudan in terms of government executions.

The newest method of execution is lethal injection. Usually, three drugs are mixed together to perform the task of killing the person once injected into the bloodstream. Funny thing is, different states have different drugs they use, and they don't always get reported to the federal government. This, accompanied by poorly-trained executioners (doctors usually opt out of performing executions due to their oath) has resulted in nearly fifty botched lethal-injection executions.
Some states still use the electric chair. Pretty self-explanatory as to why it's inhumane; the person gets fried for however long it takes to kill them.

I hope this better informed you as to why I oppose capital punishment. Thank you!
Aguilajoyce

Pro

Hi again,

I understand completely what you mean by your argument. The point that I'm putting forth is murder, like so many other acts deemed ignoble, assumes a universal morality that does not exist. Humans harm other humans, while maintaining their justifications for doing so. Some justifications we agree with, some we don't. It is all left up to our subjective experience, which again, refutes this idea of a universal recognition of right and wrong. If the government is simply a collection of human beings, not some greater, independent consciousness, it too will have its (human derived) reasons/justifications i.e., for why murder is justifiable e.g., self defense, war, treason, drug trafficking and so on. So it is not so hypocritical as you claim. But if you are arguing that murder, regardless of the reason, is wrong, then we are all hypocrites, because we all harden our hearts (entertain the demise of others) towards other human beings for reasons both justified and unjustified...lol.

I know that the govt was created for noble purposes, but I'm sure you will agree that we have fallen short of many a noble concept. And the fall is principally due to our tendency to deny/repress the human beings equal potential for 'good and bad' acts, when conjuring up these lofty theories.

I will say that your view of life imprisonment strikes me as a bit idyllic, as you say it "allows them to live and breathe, to think and feel, to laugh and love...". I don't know what prisons or prison stats you are using to back up this claim but it the reports I read/see repeatedly depict the rotting of a the soul...lol. Also, one of the major complaints about prison is the swelling roles of lifers. See here: http://www.businessinsider.com...
So I dont know where you get the number 40/yr.

I think you misunderstood my point about victims families... I was not suggesting that they contribute financially to see justice be done, but rather that telling them that the death penalty is too costly to pursue, is like a slap in the face to someone who has lost a loved one due to violent crime. To them, the life that was taken was priceless, so cost is a rather callous point to make for all concerned. Just saying..

Your point about the cruelty also fall flat, as a the offender never paused to consider the cruelty being inflicted on the their victims! Murder is cruel and inhumane...it is what it is... regardless of whether committed by govt or criminal. One is no better than the other, so, again, I dont see your basis for how one is worse.

And finally, your comparisons to the penal systems in other countries, raises some serious issues. I think we all have observed how the justice system seems to be more lenient toward the affluent of our society. I agree with your implied condemnation of corruption in the justice system, but one cannot deny the mere fact that possessing the resources to pay for lawyers and court costs increases the likelihood of one being acquitted. This is tantamount to bribery, because you have to fatten their pockets. So even here, in a wealthy, 'first-world' country, justice costs!!!

I think we must be careful of the ' fecal matter' we sling when we forward derogatory generalizations about others, as we never come out of it as unsullied as we anticipated..lol
Debate Round No. 2
boxbeat19

Con

Hello,

In this argument my opinion is that the death penalty, murder whose sole purpose is revenge, is wrong. Revenge is not in self defense, nor will it make right what has been done wrong. The federal and state governments are hypocritical because they murder those who have murdered, because they murdered someone. Yes, I do use the word "hypocritical" a lot because, frankly, it is.

Yes, the government has fallen short of its noble and righteous tendencies; that does not, however, justify the killing of anyone who is not in the process of harming or attempting to harm someone. Just something isn't like it once was, does not mean we need to forget everything it was built for; justice is not about the killing of a person in retribution; it is, for lack of a better term, "unprofessional."

I'm going to start this paragraph off by apologizing for misunderstanding what you previously stated. I took what you said to mean that if we don't kill the bad people, the offender population in prisons would swell. But even so, why did you bring it up? Are you suggesting we kill everyone who kills someone else? Moving on, I will state once again that this argument is not about the environment or living conditions of prison, but about life and death. In today's society, death is considered to be the ultimate punishment; if you die, there's no going back. If they're alive, they have the option to live and enjoy life.

Once again, I apologize for misunderstanding you. So you're saying that we should base the punishment on how the family feels about it? That's not how the Justice system works, or should work. Many states have already chosen to abolish the death penalty, and from what I can see, there have been no mass protests about it.

I will state my point once again that revenge killing by an organized, civilized, modern government, paid for by you and me, the taxpayers, is (and yes I will use this word again) barbaric. It used to be that people would travel by carriage into town to watch the hangings of suspected murderers, thieves, and rapists. People in that time period, in addition to thinking that Capital Punishment was great, believed that gays were bad, that black people were bad, and that women should stay at home and raise children. We've reversed three of those four things in the past few decades; why has the death penalty stuck around? Why are people willing to pay an additional $300,000 to have someone be killed out of spite, when that money could be put towards so many other (useful) things? And yes, the murderer most likely did not care about how cruel he was to his victim(s). Does that mean we should stoop to his level? Are we children, saying that because he gets to do it, we should too?

I do not think that corruption is running rampant in our Justice system; all I said was that we are a first-world country who ranks with third-world countries in terms of Government-Sponsored revenge killing. I don't know about you, but I don't see Canada, France, Germany, Britian, Belgium, etc. killing all of these people. Why do we have to?

Until next time,
boxbeat19
Aguilajoyce

Pro

Hey again!

I'm sorry that we seem to be going in circles...lol. It seems you dont understand my points for disagreeing so I'll be more explicit...

So your argument as I understand it:

The death penalty is wrong in a moral since because all killing is wrong. Govt executions (killing of offenders) are more wrong because it is the guardian or authority on what is right and wrong for us all (the society) and if it states that killing is wrong, then to kill people in the name of justice is hypocritical. You also offer the life-improsonment as a humane alternative to the dealth penalty, as it allows them the offender to continue to live.

I hope I represented you accurately so that we can move on to the your response to my rebuttals.
1. Claims of right and wrong
My first issue is with the moral judgment of right and wrong for any act, because it incorrectly assumes that everyone has/holds the same beliefs, that is to say, that what is right and wrong is universal and we know that this is not the case. People have different experiences and perceptions, and with those perceptions different values of what is good or bad for that individual. For example, some believe that it is wrong to kill or harm anything. Others believe its wrong to kill or harm humans, but necessary/natural (not wrong) to kill or harm animals. Still others believe that killing humans is not wrong, if it in self-defense. And still others believe that it is right to take a life in payment for another life (eye for an eye). Morality is based on one's experience, which is subjective, so in order to convince anyone of your point of view, you must appeal to something that is commonly held. This is why condemning anything as 'wrong' is pointless means of debate.
The other more obvious fact of the ineffectiveness of claiming that something is morally wrong is that human beings act in contrary to their personal/moral beliefs all the time, meaning that we do things we consider 'wrong' all the time. So again, this is why I say that calling it wrong makes no difference, because we are all hypocrites, for some act or another. The same applies for your value judgments like barbarity, cruelty, antiquated, unprofessional; they don't demonstrate rationally why the death penalty should be abolished as a means of justice, just your preference among all the other preferences.

2. Your assumption that the govt execution is more wrong and hypocritical is problematic for me because killing and murder are not the same thing. Neither is revenge and justice...which i will attend to afterward...

Killing is the act of extinguishing/destroying life.

Murder is specifically, to kill unlawfully i.e., without valid justification.

So if the application of the law for unlawful killing/murder is the death penalty, then it is hardly hypocritical unless they are killing people without just cause (caused established by the govt, not you or me) as the law states that the sentence for certain crimes is death.

Your most recent response just slings around more terms of condemnation instead of addressing my problems with value judgments:
So executions are now revenge for murder and not justice.

But if justice is society's response to crimes committed against it or its citizens, then you're saying that any enforcement of law is revenge! Life imprisonment included!! This implies that your against all applications of the law...as law is only applied to actions already passed.

You also say that nothing can "justify the killing of anyone who is not in the process of harming or attempting to harm someone" as though you're trying to make them seem innocent. I should remind you then, that justice is not carried out for the govt, but the citizens. If you were to say this during the sentencing of a convicted murderer, you might be attacked! Lol. This exhibits the same callousness as your 'too costly' argument. The whole point of freedom is personal accountability. I personally believe that if one wants to avoid the death penalty, he/she should exercise restraint i.e.,not commit capital offenses in those jurisdictions that warrant such justice, lol. As you said, the govt. is authorized by us to deciding what is best for society (making and enforcing laws). If it is to defend and uphold the autonomy of the citizen, then the citizen must accept responsibility for his/her actions, which includes knowing what actions are unlawful and the possible consequences.

3. Life imprisonment is more humane.
Your proposal that for imprisonment as the humane option is also questionable considering the effect that prison has on inmates. Please see the link provided for the current state of the penal system. (https://aspe.hhs.gov...) The dehumanization of individuals who are incarcerated is well documented. So simply allowing an individual to continue to live out his life in captivity is not as humane/ civil as you say. If you'd propsed a valid means of rehabilitation/reintegration into society for the offenders, I might be able to give ground. But your proposal completely overlooks quality of life, which kind of discredits your claim. Yes, they are alive, but living in contrary to their design. Would you say that slave owners were humane because they fed clothed their slaves? What does human mean to you? Is it just a scientific classification? Have you seen the film Blackfish that documents the life of orca living in captivity at Seaworld? Lol. If you can say 'at least they are alive'...in the face of suffering so replete that it denies a human, or any other species the environment/experience for which it was intended, in which it flourishes, then you are issuing nothing less than a death sentence, because you have denied its right to BE. Captivity denies this right! A dog is not be a dog when chained. An orca is not an orca in a aquarium pool, and a human is not a human when caged or imprisoned for life. So, if imprisonment takes away that which defines us as man, our humanity, then I sincerely fail to see how it is more humane.

On the whole, as I said before, I do think you have a valid motive, and so do others, as evidenced by the fact that the abolition of the death penalty is still occuring. See link (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...)

I'm just saying that your argument leaves much to be desired in the way of convincing, especially as you have yet to attend directly to my rebuttals and the alternative you offer is a poor solution.
Debate Round No. 3
boxbeat19

Con

Nice to see you on here again.

Alright, let's toss all personal opinions on "right and wrong" out the window. While we act according to our own personal standards, there is always the law itself keeping us in line, which proclaims that killing - not in defense of yourself or others - is wrong. The law cannot be changed by the personal opinions of the judge, jury, or prosecutor, and was created in accordance with the Constitution. So if I were to look at this unbiasedly, my conclusion would be that the killing of a person is wrongful, simply because the law says so. In the 1972 trial Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty, ruling it at cruel and unusual punishment. Granted while it was brought back a few years later, it proves that the stability of the argument for Capital Punishment is weakening; why else would 18 states have gotten rid of it? But the argument against most killing of any kind has stood the test of time - that's where I get my ideas of "right and wrong" for this debate.

I see where you're coming from, I really do. If a person kills someone, we should kill them because they are guilty. That does not, however, change the fact that the law states killing is unright. So why should the government be able to kill them? I know I've asked this a lot through this whole thing, and I promise I'll stop if you give me one reason why the government should say one thing is wrong, but then inflict it on someone else as a punishment for doing it.

One of the main points in Furman v. Georgia was that there was no consistency in who got killed and who didn't. What's the deciding factor? The personal opinion of the judge? If we have something so serious in place, it should be consistent; either everyone who commits murder dies, or no one does.

Yes, one of my points here is that Capital Punishment is simply killing in retribution for something that has already happened. A meaningless death, if you will.

And yes, I have been tossing around several "trigger" words without providing the most clear explanation as to why they are being used. So...

Barbaric: the formal sentencing of a person to death has been going on for as long as humans have been around. This is the 21st century, where everyone is truly (mostly) equal, technology has advanced at amazingly fast rates, and so forth. Yet for some reason we still feel the need to execute people.

Cruel: I actually think I explained this pretty well. The means by which we kill those sentenced to die are often painful and drawn-out.

Hypocritical: someone (in this case the federal and state governments) says not to do something, then turns around and does it. That's pretty much the definition, and I'm not sure how you can't see how hypocritical it truly is.

Unjust: not justified; no one's life is in danger.

Revenge: an action done simply out of anger, intended to harm someone for something they did in the past.

Humane: treating someone/something kindly and in an unharmful way.

You seem to be reaching a bit here. Obviously I'm in favor of incarcerating dangerous criminals; what you seem to be saying is that if someone rapes a person, they themselves should be raped. If someone assaults someone with a blunt object, then they should be assaulted with a blunt object. Do you see what I'm getting at here? This is not how the justice system works. People are locked away for life for the safety of the public, in addition to it being a cleaner form of punishment. And while prison isn't at all happy and healthy, I'd sure take it over the electric chair.

I fail to see how my statement would make it seem like I was defending them. All I said was that if a person is not actively attempting to harm someone, they shouldn't be killed. Do you think police officers shoot the person after they've dropped their gun/knife/baseball bat? Usually not.

"Personal accountability"... that varies from state to state? In my opinion, personal accountability shouldn't depend on where you are when you do the bad thing. Once again, there needs to be consistency; if not, then I fail to see how it can be considered "justice."

Yes, I do believe it is more humane than killing them. In fact, if they are not being tortured by actions/thoughts, then I say life is always the more humane option. But if they really hate prison, well (I'm going to be blunt) they can kill themselves. Hell, it might even be quicker than the methods used in the execution chamber. If any former/current convict wants to hop on in the comments and give his/her opinion, then that would be great. And yes, I have seen the film Blackfish - but what do you want to do? Get rid of prisons? And have you ever seen a criminal happy when they get sentenced to death? No? Neither have I.

I hope this has cleared up some of my points I've been making.
Aguilajoyce

Pro

Hey there, sorry about the down-to-the-wire responses, I’ve got a bit busy of late…so here goes…

Okay so we kind of put ‘right and wrong’ down for a bit: “Alright, let's toss all personal opinions on "right and wrong" out the window. While we act according to our own personal standards, there is always the law itself keeping us in line,” but then it gets picked right back up with “, it proves that the stability of the argument for Capital Punishment is weakening; why else would 18 states have gotten rid of it? But the argument against most killing of any kind has stood the test of time - that's where I get my ideas of "right and wrong" for this debate.

LOL. Don’t worry about it, I’m not here to batter you with moral relativism, I too believe that killing is wrong, without just cause. I believe that murder is wrong, legally (morally also). But I know that I cannot impose my morality on others. I must find means of doing it via the law, which as you say, applies to us all.

So if I were to look at this unbiasedly, my conclusion would be that the killing of a person is wrongful, simply because the law says so. In the 1972 trial Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty, ruling it at cruel and unusual punishment. Granted while it was brought back a few years later, it proves that the stability of the argument for Capital Punishment is weakening. Again the law does not say that killing is wrong, but killing without just cause i.e., murder is wrong. Note the distinction. The eight amendment clearly reserves the right of the state to administer the death penalty/capital punishment. So if we use the law, then there is no wrong/wrongfulness/hypocrisy to speak of:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The eight amendment even mentions it, not to prohibit it, but to demand due process (that the accused get a fair trial). The unconstitutionality of the death sentence in the case you mention, had to do with the process, the arbitrariness found in the states’ administrative process concerning the death penalty. This is why it was reinstated, because the states simply rewrote the laws, death for capital crimes was never upheld.


I see where you're coming from, I really do. If a person kills someone, we should kill them because they are guilty. Oh no, let’s just be clear, that I don’t believe in an eye for an eye. My point is only that all forms of justice are justifiable if they pursue the betterment of society. Because morality is subjective we must submit to a common definition of right and wrong (only as it pertains to the society) it’s still subjective, but we agree to give our govt./lawmakers the authority to do/pursue the best interest of the society, including to redress wrongs committed by individuals in order to have some justice to which we can appeal. Some commonality, some degree of objectivity. So, if the govt. decides that some crimes are so ‘infamous’ that they warrant a capital punishment, then it is not wrong, unless it can be proved wrong for society. Do you see what I mean? You would have to prove that the govt.’s pursuit of the death penalty is at odds with the best interest of society.

You have put forth points to support this:

1) the hypocrisy (which I think I’ve proven, is not true, as the constitution never offered an absolute condemnation for killing)

2) the barbarity, obsoleteness (outdated), cruelty, etc, I have attempted to demonstrate how these are all subjective value judgments based in where you assume humans should be at this stage of evolution, despite the fact that human beings have never ceased to harm one other.

I have lumped the govt. in with this capability for justifiable harm, saying every individual (govt. employee or not), will have and hold his own justification for killing, e.g., war, rage, negligence, envy, greed, etc.

3) You have offered reasons such as exorbitant cost, and ‘containment is enough’ which I not only felt were callous observations in the face of the victims, but were also misleading, or irrelevant respectively. Misleading pertaining to costs, because it was legal fees, not due to the administering the sentence and irrelevant as it pertains to the ‘current’ containment, because justice is predicated on actions committed, not what the offender is doing at the moment. If his actions warrant death (via written law), then justice must be carried out, according to that law. To not pursue this law, without just cause, would mean that the law is ineffective.

So your goal remains to undermine the established law/govt. authority by proving that capital punishment is damaging to society (goes counter to the govt’s purpose). And I believe this has yet to occur

And lastly your alternative:

4) Then you offered the life-sentence as humane (not cruel) and effective as it keeps society safe (containment). I have countered with evidence to the contrary, that the overcrowding and diminished resources along with the lack of autonomy and the common violence from prison staff and inmates make this a dismal/anything but humane alternative. And I will add, to your question “- but what do you want to do? Get rid of prisons? Yes, I am against prison. I am more against prison than I am the death penalty. I think if we are not going to rehabilitate them/let them contribute to humanity/redeem themselves, then they are forever outcasts, which only makes them a liability to our society. Prison to me is the death penalty, because I cannot trade quality of life, for life itself. There is a difference between quantitative life, and what it means to live, qualitatively. They are not the same thing.

This is like saying to a terminally ill person (one whos life has been reduced to waiting for death), at least your still alive. Yes, it’s painful, and the pain is pointless, but just think, you could be dead!! Lol. The criminal knows that his sentence is to suffer, but prisons are tortuous to the human psyche, so why torture them to death strip them of their humanity until death? If this is the punishment then say so, but don’t do it under the guise of ‘life is always best’ argument. That seems really sinister…lol

I am trying to return volley sooner… I hope you understand a bit more the structure of my argument. I mean, where we are in my mind..lol

Debate Round No. 4
boxbeat19

Con

Ahhh, the final round.

I'm gonna keep this relatively short and sweet; I'm not sure there's much more either if us can say that we haven't said before, but here goes.

I'm going to focus on the four main points you provided for me:

1) Yup, been there done that.

2) I have based my barbarity argument not on where we SHOULD be, but where we are. Throughout this argument you seem to have been trying too hard to look at it in a really big picture sense; if you do that, then you will realize everything is based on people's opinions. If you think about it, every law ever made is an opinion on something, made by a group of people. So let's take a break from worrying about how we can't use opinions to control people, because we can. Lawmakers are of the opinion that a person who kills someone deserves to die; that is their belief, which is contrary to my own.

This is 21st Century America. If you go up to any random person on the street, most of them will agree that racism, sexism, child labor, slavery, etc. are outdated. So why can't executions be outdated? Slavery is illegal because times change; times are still changing, yet we are stuck in the past on this one pointless issue. For the life of me I can't understand why people are so bloodthirsty (our government no less).

3) Misleading costs? Sure. Should we dispose of the things that make those costs? If course not. In my OPINION (yes, opinion) a man should be able to beg for his life, and make his case. If we didn't allow that, then we really would be savages. Are you proposing that a person be sentenced to die, and have no opportunity to take his name off of death row?

Laws get revised all the time. Marijuana is illegal in most states; does that mean we shouldn't change it? No. There used to be laws that stated black people and women couldn't vote; were those changed? Yes. Just because a law is written doesn't mean it can't be changed. If the government feels a law is outdated/unfair/unjust, they change it

As for damaging society, think about the accused's family. Yeah, they're murderers, but that doesn't mean they're mom's won't grieve when they're gone. While everyone else gets a short-lived justice boner, his family has to deal with the loss of a loved one.

4) Right off the bat I want to address the fact that you don't want prisons. You actually said that you don't want prisons. So...if there's a serial rapist, what do we do? Send him to rehab and then let him loose again? Will there be enough rehab centers to intake all those rapists, murderers, child molesters, robbers, carjackers, ganbangers, etc? And how much would that actually help? Moving on, I agree that the prison system is a cruel, violent place. Unfortunately, that's not what we're focusing on here. (Although in case you're curious, I support what some European countries do with the 21 year maximum sentence, with an evaluation every five years after that). And I've explained to you that I don't believe life is always best; please don't "put words in my mouth." As I stated earlier, I understand that there are circumstances in which death is certainly the better option. However, it shouldn't be the government's place to kill an individual; that is up to the individual himself. If he wishes to die, then he should take that responsibility upon his own shoulders.

It's been nice talking to you,
Boxbeat19
Aguilajoyce

Pro

And so we reach the conclusion :-)


In closing, I first want to respond on your recognition that I “seem to have been trying too hard to look at it in a really big picture sense”. I did say in the beginning that my views on life are descriptive (what is) and not prescriptive (what should be). I do this because if I base my judgments on what humans actually do, instead of what we have the potential to do, it reduces the chance that my perceptions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ will be swept from under me, as it were.


So let me clarify that I never wholly dismissed opinions, my issue is with opinions which are derived from poorly drawn conclusions about life/reality. Lol.


The assumption underlying your argument is that America has reached a state of sophistication/civility/evolution (technological, social, and educational advancement) sufficient to make punishments like the death penalty obsolete:


This is 21st Century America. If you go up to any random person on the street, most of them will agree that racism, sexism, child labor, slavery, etc. are outdated. So why can't executions be outdated? Slavery is illegal because times change; times are still changing, yet we are stuck in the past on this one pointless issue.


I meant it in the sense that the GOVERNMENT carrying out a legal execution is outdated, at least in many first-world countries.


The comparison to developing countries was to show how "behind the times" we are in this aspect. The United States is a country which others look up to; we are the standard for many nations in terms of safety, fairness, freedom, etc


It used to be that people would travel by carriage into town to watch the hangings of suspected murderers, thieves, and rapists. People in that time period, in addition to thinking that Capital Punishment was great, believed that gays were bad, that black people were bad, and that women should stay at home and raise children. We've reversed three of those four things in the past few decades


What I have attempted to demonstrate in my rebuttals is that it does not logically follow that science, technology, and human rights lead to the eradication of the motive/rationalization for killing other human beings, be it for individuals or governments (especially as it hasn’t led to this). The BoP was on you, as pro, to prove this, not me…lol.


You make a distinction between developed and developing countries to make the point that the U.S. is ‘behind the times’, but humans killing other humans (for whatever reason) is not an issue of national development, but rather, a human proclivity (governments are human, too), so I fail to see why the comparison is necessary. Your point ultimately comes down to saying ‘we should be better than this’ and ‘other developed countries have abolished it’-bandwagon-esque logic, both of which are fallacious.


Your use of loaded language or ‘trigger words’ are an attempt to shame the government into doing ‘better’. You have not proven that it is harmful to society, nor that life incarceration is humane.


Now had you argued about the irrevocability of the death sentence in light of the fallibility of the justice system i.e., if our government (purposed primarily to protecting the citizen) cannot be absolutely sure that it isn’t punishing an innocent person, then to have an irrevocable punishment means that it innocent people are punished (irreparably) which is directly contrary to its directive, etc.; I probably would not have taken you on…lol.


Nonetheless, it’s been fun and engaging, so thank you for your time and attention…


Debate Round No. 5
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