The Instigator
juvanya
Pro (for)
Losing
11 Points
The Contender
InsertNameHere
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Death Penalty

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
InsertNameHere
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/22/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,784 times Debate No: 12806
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (32)
Votes (6)

 

juvanya

Pro

This is my first debate here, so hopefully my opponent will go easy on me. ;)

The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, has been a punishment for crime for millennia. Over the years, its use has been expanded and retracted. Perhaps the first polity to abolish the death penalty was the religion of Judaism, which, as long as 2000 years ago, created dozens of obstacles to make the punishment impossible to apply, for all intents and purposes. It was determined that only God had the right to take life away.

Today, however, dozens of countries (mainly in Europe and parts of the United States) have abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Other countries keep it on the books for certain crimes, usually murder, rape, drug trafficking, treason, espionage, and desertion, at a minimum.

There are many arguments against the death penalty, usually revolving around whether society has the right to take away life, appropriateness of the punishment, and the question of accidentally executing an innocent. However, I am not the typical death penalty supporter. I do not think it is effective for deterring murder, except in the case of murder for profit (that is, a hitman). When someone commits murder, they are likely so mentally incompetent that there is simply no way they can think of the consequences. Thus, I oppose the death penalty for most murders.

Of course, I am here supporting the death penalty, not opposing it. Punishment should be a deterrent against crime, not something that exacts compensation (justice). The areas I support it are areas where it is effective and when there is no other deterrent that works. I support the death penalty for white collar crimes, such as fraud, embezzlement, corruption, and bribery. I can produce the example of Bernie Madoff, who made off with billions of dollars in an enormous mutual fund ponzi scheme. He is now serving something on the order of 150 years in prison. Clearly, a nice, cushy prison cell is fair enough to him that he risked it in order to gain profit. I am convinced that if he was under threat of death, he would not have started the fraud scheme, or at least would not have let it grown so huge.

Similarly, in areas of corruption or bribery, I can give the example of Rod Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois, who attempted to sell the vacated Senate seat of Barack Obama to the highest bidder. At best, he will serve enough consecutive jail sentences that he will die in jail. At worst, we see he was only convicted of one crime and will have a maximum of five years in prison. If he was threatened with death for his corruption and solicitations for bribes, it is likely he would not have engaged in such activities.

My conclusion is that in the case of financial white collar crimes, potential criminals have the ability to weigh the consequences, unlike in most murders.

However, I also support the death penalty for another group of crimes, which are related. The first is a new crime that is an adaption or expansion of an existing one. That is, the arson or destruction of intellectual institutions, such as libraries and museums. To burn or destroy these buildings can damage the cultural history of mankind and this must be prevented at all costs. I would rather a would-be arsonist light a McDonalds than a library, which will give him death.

The other crime is poaching. In a similar fashion to the above, destroying endangered species of plants or animals does irreparable harm to the Earth and mankind. Clearly, the existing punishments of prison and sometimes only fines are inadequate. Poachers must be threatened with death in order to greatly increase their cost of doing business to their very life, which will deter them to find other sources of profit.

Finally, in the case of drug trafficking, I support the death penalty. However, I only support this if drug trafficking itself is illegal. My reasoning is the same as for poaching—raising the cost of business. This punishment has seen effective use in China, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

I wish my opponent luck in attempting to defeat me because she is awesome. :D
InsertNameHere

Con

I thank my opponent for setting up this debate. Good luck to both of us!

Firstly, my opponent makes a point that the death penalty can deter people from committing certain crimes. While this may be true for some people it may be different for others. For some people death may be just an easy way out. The thought of being subject to harsh penalties while alive is plenty of deterrence for most people. Many police chiefs have confirmed this that the death penalty offers little deterrence. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

Next, there are some points about how the death penalty should only be used in certain circumstances with murder NOT being one of them. However, among many circles, murder is usually considered the worst crime and the death penalty the worst punishment. Using this logic shouldn't the worst crime be punished with the worst penalty? However, as I'm arguing con in this debate I'll stay away from that.

My opponent mentions how a fraudster would be deter from committing their crime at the threat of death. If a fraudster spent years obtaining large amounts of money only to be imprisoned later wouldn't it make them feel like their entire life was wasted? By that point they would feel all that time was wasted as the money would no longer be significant to them.

As for the death penalty for burning down a library, this isn't fully justified. If all the books burned we could just reproduce them from other copies of the same book. I doubt there is any significant work of literature where only one copy exists. If the book was important there would be other copies produced. Plus burning down a library would also destroy books that are insignificant like Twilight(lol).

As for poaching and other such crimes, if we as humans regard murder as a horrible crime wouldn't it be double standards to murder a person for murdering somebody or poaching? Killing is unethical regardless of who is doing it.

I'll like to keep things brief this round. Good luck to my opponent! :)
Debate Round No. 1
juvanya

Pro

*insert formality here*

//Firstly, my opponent makes a point that the death penalty can deter people from committing certain crimes. While this may be true for some people it may be different for others. For some people death may be just an easy way out. The thought of being subject to harsh penalties while alive is plenty of deterrence for most people. Many police chiefs have confirmed this that the death penalty offers little deterrence. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org... //

Unfortunately, my opponent is working under the conventional wisdom and usage of the death penalty. I dont disagree at all with her link—because that is based on using the death penalty for murder, which I stated previously is almost impossible to deter with the death penalty. Someone who is at the point where they can suspend their natural resistance to killing their fellow species is suffering from severe mental problems. They are unable to think of the consequences.

Further, my opponent thinks that time in prison is an effective deterrent for the crimes I have prescribed. This is simply not the case. Between the trial times, time served, parole, probation, comfortable prison cells, etc., there simply is little to no deterrence in a prison sentence, at least for those crimes.

//Next, there are some points about how the death penalty should only be used in certain circumstances with murder NOT being one of them. However, among many circles, murder is usually considered the worst crime and the death penalty the worst punishment. Using this logic shouldn't the worst crime be punished with the worst penalty? However, as I'm arguing con in this debate I'll stay away from that.//
Murder may be the worst crime, but the concept of "an eye for an eye" has long been debunked and found ineffective. There are a few areas where it makes sense, such as reparations for theft, but beyond that, this philosophy is completely pointless. The justice system is useless if it is used for vengeance, as usually in the case of murder. Instead, justice and punishment should serve to reduce crime as much as possible. Using the death penalty appropriately for the right crimes can do this.

//My opponent mentions how a fraudster would be deter from committing their crime at the threat of death. If a fraudster spent years obtaining large amounts of money only to be imprisoned later wouldn't it make them feel like their entire life was wasted? By that point they would feel all that time was wasted as the money would no longer be significant to them.//
This is a good point, however, it ignores several things. Death is a substantially hire penalty than prison, where one can still conduct life very well, if restricted. Most prisons offer decent food, television, internet, well-stocked libraries. Even without this, one can still conduct business or affairs from a prison (legally or otherwise). Meanwhile, a dead criminal cannot do such things. So, even though someone is in prison, they will figure that at least they still get to live a minimally reasonable life with possibility of parole and they will have enjoyed their life before and just endure the "suffering" in prison. I, personally, find it quite unlikely Bernie Madoff is suffering much in prison now.

//As for the death penalty for burning down a library, this isn't fully justified. If all the books burned we could just reproduce them from other copies of the same book. I doubt there is any significant work of literature where only one copy exists.//
Actually, there are plenty of single works that libraries have. Certainly, some small libraries will have books that are duplicated elsewhere, but this is more exception than rule. Also, there are frequently special, rare editions, that while in print elsewhere, are not quite the same.

//If the book was important there would be other copies produced.//
Unfortunately, this is not even remotely the case. There are millions of important publications that are single copies and there is no money or ability to reproduce all of them yet.

//Plus burning down a library would also destroy books that are insignificant like Twilight(lol).//
This is a laughable reason at best to support arson. Not to mention it is an appeal to spite, thus a fallacy.

//As for poaching and other such crimes, if we as humans regard murder as a horrible crime wouldn't it be double standards to murder a person for murdering somebody or poaching? Killing is unethical regardless of who is doing it.//
This is not about horrible crimes; this is about deterrence. We would not have to worry about morality of a crime if the crime is prevented from occurring. My support for the death penalty (and all punishments) is based on preventing future crime, not responding to past crime. The past is irrelevant; the future can be changed (unless one is a fatalist).
InsertNameHere

Con

Thank you for your quick response. :)

I'll like to begin by addressing my opponents argument about links to murder with mental illness. He makes a point that many murderers are mentally ill and were unaware of the consequences of their crime. However, only about 5% of murderers are confirmed to have some form of mental illness(usually schizophrenia), 25% of this 2% were people who stopped taking their medication. http://www.timesonline.co.uk... So in reality, the statistics for murders committed by the mentally ill are really quite low so if one is to support the death penalty it would make sense to support it for murder too.

As for prisons, it is true that there are often comfortable cells. They are often more comfortable than the conditions poor people are forced to live in(http://www.bitrebels.com...), so wouldn't that not deter somebody from committing a crime? The only deterrence that would come from imprisonment is if there were horrible conditions, which in my opinion, criminals fully deserve. This would offer much more deterrence than killing them.

Another issue that is often brought up against usage of the death penalty is the cost. Cases involving the death penalty almost always cost more to conduct. It was reported that the state of Maryland pays $37 million for one execution while Tennessee found that death penalty cases cost 48% more than non-death penalty cases. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org... This is a huge difference and money that could be used for other things such as improving the American education system.

Again, my opponent mentions the comfortable conditions in prison and could still conduct business in these conditions. The solution is simple and much more cost efficient than killing them; remove these luxuries.

Finally, for the points about libraries, even if there's different editions of books the text inside is still generally the same and easily reproduced. Even if most copies of one book were destroyed it could still be reproduced by other existing copies. It would be nearly impossible to wipe out one book.

Lastly, my opponent mentions deterrence. Deterring people from committing crimes is more effective through other methods rather than the death penalty.

Again, thank you. Good luck to my opponent in round 3!
Debate Round No. 2
juvanya

Pro

Welcome back! its time for round 3!

//I'll like to begin by addressing my opponents argument about links to murder with mental illness. He makes a point that many murderers are mentally ill and were unaware of the consequences of their crime. However, only about 5% of murderers are confirmed to have some form of mental illness(usually schizophrenia)...//
This is under the clinically-approved standard of mental illness. In addition, we, as a society, think murder is something people will think about in a normal state of mind. But it is quite clear that almost anyone who takes the life of another human is somehow mentally ill. It need not be a chronic condition, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, I can easily demonstrate why murderers are generally not in a normal or stable state of mind: If murder were normal, then it would be rampant. People would just kill and there probably would not even be laws against it, since it would be an accepted aspect of society.

Even in near-anarchy locales such as Mogadishu, there is still a sort of natural order that prevents people from going on killing rampages. There certainly is much violence there, caused by (surprise) crazed religious fanatics and clan warfare, but you do not see people killing their brother who they hate with a fiery passion or the neighbor that has more wives than you. This clearly shows that murder is not possible in a normal state of mind. Thus, most murderers are mentally ill/crippled/whatever and there is simply no way for the death penalty to be effective here.

Now I notice we have both strayed far off-topic.

//As for prisons, it is true that there are often comfortable cells. They are often more comfortable than the conditions poor people are forced to live in(http://www.bitrebels.com......), so wouldn't that not deter somebody from committing a crime? The only deterrence that would come from imprisonment is if there were horrible conditions, which in my opinion, criminals fully deserve. This would offer much more deterrence than killing them.//
Even with terrible conditions, it still would not provide enough of a deterrent. There will always be ways to improve life. How is life in a labor camp going to deter someone from millions of dollars in fraud? Not to mention the immense cost of prisons. While cost comparisons are frequently brought up, and it appears both sides are correct about cost, the actual balanced reality is that death penalty costs more only due to extensive appeals and expensive death row prisons. If executions were conducted quickly and efficiently, and without expensive chemicals such as sodium thiopental for lethal injections or sodium cyanide for gas chambers. China utilizes a single or a handful of bullets, which are extremely cheap, quick, efficient, and effective. Pain is also minimal in comparison to most forms of execution.

Now the question of appeals may come up again, but this canbe easily dismissed because the crimes I have specified are much easier to prove than murder. And there are no questions of mental culpability or mistrial or anything. So there is less likelihood of appeal and we can also cut down on appeal allowances. In China and Singapore, there are few if any appeals available.

//Finally, for the points about libraries, even if there's different editions of books the text inside is still generally the same and easily reproduced. Even if most copies of one book were destroyed it could still be reproduced by other existing copies. It would be nearly impossible to wipe out one book.//
This is often true, but not always the case. And that is similar to saying that because we have prints of famous paintings, we need not preserve the originals. Of course books and paintings are not fully comparable, but the analogy can be understood. And even so, most libraries will have unique collections that do not exist anywhere else in a usable condition. It is simply too expensive to produce enough copies of certain books and different libraries will specialize in certain topics.

My other example was museums, which much more obviously have unique items that are impossible to replace. Thus, a great deterrence is necessary.

//Lastly, my opponent mentions deterrence. Deterring people from committing crimes is more effective through other methods rather than the death penalty.//
This is not always the case. We can clearly see that prison is not an effective deterrent for many crimes. More restrictive prisons or labor camps will just not change this. Where there is life, there is hope. Again, a dead criminal can never commit another crime. This does not mean we should execute all criminals, that would be disproportionate and inefficient.

I would like to conclude by reiterating my point that justice should serve only to prevent the next crime. It is often too late to rectify the crime that has been committed, but we can always try to prevent the next one.

Good luck to my awesome opponent in her final argument! <3 <3 <3
InsertNameHere

Con

I'll like to take this opportunity to thank my opponent for an interesting debate. Both of us have made fantastic points and I ask that the voters please vote fairly.

Firstly, I have provided the statistics for the number of murderers who are mentally ill. My opponent tries to refute this by stating that nobody in a sane state of mind would murder. He also brings up a point that if that were the case murder would be accepted in society. Just because something occurs in society it doesn't mean it's right. Up to about a few hundred years ago(and even in some societies today) young girls were marrying older men. It was accepted in society at the time, but it doesn't mean it was right. Same with things such as murder, cannibalism, rape, etc. None of those things are "right".

Secondly, we move onto the prisons. We both have determined that death row prisons are ineffective and expensive to maintain and my opponent feels this could be reduced by killing people given the death sentence quickly. However, as with most crimes there is a small chance of false accusations. By reducing death row wait times you're also reducing time to investigate further in case somebody messes up during the case and sentences the wrong person. It would pretty much be a "you've been sentenced and now will be killed" type of scenario where you have little opportunity to be re-examined. My opponent has addressed this, but even in crimes like the ones he mentioned there could be things going wrong.

As for the books in libraries, losing the original of any copy of a book would be a great loss to everybody, but as mentioned before, it's a book. It's the words on the pages that would matter most. As long as there's other copies the same words could be reproduced, leading to little loss as people could still enjoy the book. Obviously this isn't the case for museums, but still the death penalty offers little deterrence as mentioned in previous rounds.

Finally, my opponent finishes off by stating that as long as a person is alive they can have hope. However, if somebody is locked up for life in a high security prison with terrible conditions I doubt they would be hopeful for very long. They made other people suffer so it's fair that they would suffer in exchange. By making criminals endure harsh conditions and treatment there is very little chance they would commit the crime again.

Again, I thank my opponent and good luck to both of us!
Debate Round No. 3
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by InsertNameHere 6 years ago
InsertNameHere
Wtf? How did I win this? O.o
Posted by juvanya 6 years ago
juvanya
:'(

What the heck was that last guy......
Posted by juvanya 6 years ago
juvanya
sorry shtookah, you cant flatter her if shes taken.
Posted by wayneii308 6 years ago
wayneii308
WOW.
Juv, that was the best first debate Ive ever seen.
Damn good job. I have no idea who to vote for here.
Posted by juvanya 6 years ago
juvanya
Thats like saying a guy that lightly stabs you wont cause the damage of someone stabbing the hell out of you. Either way, youre being stabbed.
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
lovelife
I never said they had to stay at one side. A smoker walking by wont cause the damage of one standing there for 5-10 mins.
Posted by juvanya 6 years ago
juvanya
lovelife, thats a crazy idea. even if smokers had the right to smoke, they pretty much are always committing forceful or violent actions against others. A nonsmoker would have the right to sue a smoker for damages caused to their person at such a bus stop, so the smoker would be best off only at home or in specialized smoker areas. Segregated bus stops are not really the way to do this.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 6 years ago
I-am-a-panda
I did. Seriously, segregating roads is beyond stupidity. Immediately depending on their positioning shops can lose half their customers. What if a smoker lives on the left side of the road?
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
lovelife
Thank you panda. I assume you didn't read any of it tho.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 6 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Lovelife that's the most retarded idea ever.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Shtookah 6 years ago
Shtookah
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Vote Placed by wayneii308 6 years ago
wayneii308
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Vote Placed by InsertNameHere 6 years ago
InsertNameHere
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Vote Placed by lovelife 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
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