The Instigator
CiRrO
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
alvinthegreat
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

R: Corporal Punishment is a reasonably adequate punishment for certain crimes.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/25/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,523 times Debate No: 5134
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (4)

 

CiRrO

Pro

I affirm: Corporal Punishment is a reasonably adequate and just punishment for certain crimes.

[Definitions]

For clarity I pose the following definitions.

Corporal Punishment: caning or flogging.
Reasonably: fair, proportionate
Adequate: sufficient for the purpose
Just: giving each their due

[Observational Analysis]

For analysis of the resolution, I pose the following observations.

1. The resolution asks for a "reasonably adequate" punishment. This is a punishment that is proportion to the crime that has been committed. Note: Proportionality is not equivalence.

2. Certain crimes. The affirmative offers the 3 following crimes that warrant Corporal Punishment while in Jail/Detainment. Crimes: Rape, Kidnapping, Attempted Terrorism.

[Contentions]

Contention I: Corporal Punishment is a reasonable punishment.(Proportionality)

For the 3 crimes I have posted above; corporal punishment is a proportionate response. These 3 crimes do not deserve death but they are too great for jail only. Punishments must be fair and proportionate. Using corporal punishment open up an avenue for an intrum punishment. I.e. a punishment between staying in jail only, and receiving the death penalty. For a punishment to be reasonable it must be: "fair, proportionate". Corporal Punishment is indeed proportionate for crimes that do not warrant death or jail only. Corporal Punishment could be sued while the person is in jail for the given amount of years, or life. (Since we are talking about rape, kidnapping, and attempted terrorism).

Contention II: Reducing Crime (Justice)

According to the CIA country information site, the countries which have corporal punishment have significantly lower crime rates then the US. E.g. Japan and Singapore. If deterrence is indeed a factor being played, it is a good secondary outcome, that is just for the members of society.

Contention III: 8th Amendment (Proportionality, Constitutionality)

The 8th Amendment is based off of the ideas of Beccaria. He said the famous quote: "The punishment must fit the crime." The 8th Amendment claims no cruel and unusual punishment. Beccaria explains that this means that the punishment cannot exceed that of the crime committed. If it does, then it is an unjust punishment, and thus violates the Constitution. for reasons in contention I, the punishment is proportionate, and is thus in coherence with the constitution.

Contention IV: Faulty Jail System (Justice)

The jail system in the US is faulty. We have overcrowded jails which lead to lessining of sentences. This is the reality of things. however the justice system must keep justice. Using corporal punishment can be used to achieve proportionality but have reduced sentences, if necessary. That way, we would have more room to fix the system, and return it back to normal. Therefore, corporal punishment is a just way for members of society by reducing taxes and making a more efficient justice system.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
alvinthegreat

Con

Thank you CiRro for hosting this interesting topic,
First off, I must ask my opponent to clarify his resolution. He says "Corporal Punishment is a reasonably adequate and just punishment for certain crimes." He defined reasonable as "fair or proportional". I must ask him to define what FAIR, PROPORTIONAL, and "SUFFICIENT" (in his words).

Contention I: Corporal Punishment is a reasonable punishment.
i.My opponent claims that the 3 crimes (rape, murder, attempted terrorism) do not deserve the death penalty. However, this argument is not true. My opponent later cites Beccaria's "The punishment must for the crime". For such horrendous crimes my opponent has mentioned, it is intuitive that the death penalty (or otherwise strongest possible punishment) is justified for the three crimes my opponent mentioned. The psychological and physical damage done by rape, murder, and terrorism clearly outweighs the death of the perpetrator (and thus is a fitting punishment.

ii.Secondly, my opponents claim that corporal punishment opens up for interim punishment is not inherent in today's society. The flexibility of prison years allows the government to pursue interim punishment reasonable for the crime.

Contention II: Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy
My opponent claims that corporal punishment decreases actual crime rates. First, I must demand citations (papers) to support this claim. Secondly, this is a classic case of Post Hoc Ergo Propter hoc fallacy. Correlation does not mean causation. One must question the other influences present in countries my opponent mentioned. One possible influence is better police forces or anti-gun ownership laws ect… Such confounding variables undermine my opponent claim of causation.

Contention III:
The 8th amendment may have been founded on the premise of "the crime fits of punishment". Furthermore, it also forbids harsh and unnecessary punishment. It is clearly evident that corporal punishment can be construed as harsh and unnecessary punishment. This is a clear precedent against corporal punishment on the 8th amendment:

"In Hudson v McMillian (1992) the Court considered whether the beating by prison guards of a handcuffed inmate at Louisiana's Angola prison violated the inmate's Eighth Amendment rights. Voting 7 to 2, the Court found a violation of the cruel and unusual punishment clause even though the inmate suffered no permanent injuries or injuries that required hospitalization." (http://www.law.umkc.edu...)

Although this may not be the corporal punishment advocated by my opponent, it is certainly analogous to infliction of physical pain on a prisoner.
Contention IV: Although our prisons may be crowded, my opponent has given no evidence in support of the deterrence of corporal punishment. For all we know, the reduced prison times may lead to the release of very dangerous criminals in our streets. Jails serve to keep dangerous members of society from mainstream society as well as a deterrence/punishment role. Releasing them early because they have suffered corporal punishment is antithetical to the first purpose. The economic costs of releasing known criminals (i.e murderers, rapists, terrorists) into the streets far outweighs the amount of money saved by the government in prison-keeping fees. Not only are economic costs incurred by releasing such prisoners, other intangible social costs (i.e higher crime rates, can't go out during the night ect) also result from releasing more prisoners.

My arguments against:
First, Although the crimes my opponents mentioned certainly deserved to be punished, punishment doled out by the infliction of physical pain undermines the moral foundation of society. If a society is willing to inflict physical pain in lieu of prison time or the often painless death penalty, the society signals the tacit acceptance of physical pain in its foundations. Soon, the infliction of physical pain may be widespread in society (i.e if the police can whip prisoners, why can't I whip my wife?), undermining not only law and order, but also the all-important morals of a society.

Secondly, the acceptance of corporal punishment would signal that the society no longer views corporal punishment by its members as illegal (i.e I can beat my wife).

Thirdly, my opponent argues that "the punishment must fit the crime". Does he advocate that we should rape, murder, or attempt terrorism on the perpetrators. Basically my opponent is arguing for a weaker form of "an eye for an eye". There are numerous arguments against this moral and judicial philosophy that I could mention later if my opponent so obliges.
In conclusion, since my opponent has not shown (with proof/studies) that corporal punishment actually serves a significant deterrent against crimes or that corporal punishment

Thank you ladies and gentlemen for reading this
Debate Round No. 1
CiRrO

Pro

My own definitions (since that's what he asked for)

Fair: giving each their due.
Proportional: in likeness to.
Sufficient: not extreme but not to easy

"Contention I: Corporal Punishment is a reasonable punishment.
i.My opponent claims that the 3 crimes (rape, murder, attempted terrorism) do not deserve the death penalty. However, this argument is not true. My opponent later cites Beccaria's "The punishment must for the crime". For such horrendous crimes my opponent has mentioned, it is intuitive that the death penalty (or otherwise strongest possible punishment) is justified for the three crimes my opponent mentioned. The psychological and physical damage done by rape, murder, and terrorism clearly outweighs the death of the perpetrator (and thus is a fitting punishment."

--> First, I claimed the three as: Rape, KIDNAPPING, and attempted terrorism. He claims that these 3 that I mentioned coincide with "The punishment must fit the crime. I have 2 response:

1. No crime listed above results in death. The 3 I list are implied that it did not result in another crime, i.e. murder. Therefore, the death penalty would be too extreme of a punishment.

2. Let's say that one of these crimes did result in death. I am not advocating taking away the death penalty totally. If it was necessary then it should be up to the discretion of the court system. All I am arguing is that for certain crimes, just jail is not enough, but the death penalty goes to far.

"Secondly, my opponents claim that corporal punishment opens up for interim punishment is not inherent in today's society. The flexibility of prison years allows the government to pursue interim punishment reasonable for the crime."

--> My opponent affirms right here. "The flexibility of prison years allows the government to pursue interim punishment reasonable for the crime." Essentially, if the court system believes that a crime warrants corporal punishment as an interim punishment, then they would do so. Essentially, an interim punishment is one that is worked in relation with the jail system. I.e. during jail time they would receive a corporal punishment once a week. (For argument's sake)

"Contention II: Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy
My opponent claims that corporal punishment decreases actual crime rates. First, I must demand citations (papers) to support this claim. Secondly, this is a classic case of Post Hoc Ergo Propter hoc fallacy. Correlation does not mean causation. One must question the other influences present in countries my opponent mentioned. One possible influence is better police forces or anti-gun ownership laws ect… Such confounding variables undermine my opponent claim of causation."

--> First off I cited a source. He is open to look if he wishes. Secondly, I clearly state in my point that if deterrence is indeed true, and it does work, then it is a good secondary outcome. It is not necessary to affirm, but it is a good method to help protect society.

"Contention III:
The 8th amendment may have been founded on the premise of "the crime fits of punishment". Furthermore, it also forbids harsh and unnecessary punishment. It is clearly evident that corporal punishment can be construed as harsh and unnecessary punishment."

--> The key word is construed. Essentially, it is an opinion. Since the harshness of a punishment is subjective, we must look at Beccaria's proportionality part of the 8th Amendment. Link ym contention 1 to this

"Although this may not be the corporal punishment advocated by my opponent, it is certainly analogous to infliction of physical pain on a prisoner"

--> As is evident by the case presented, the force was one produced out of personal want to hurt another person. It was not intended as a means for punishment. Essentially, it was a vigilante (so to speak) use of force. Corporal Punishment would be overlooked by the justice system and the jail system. It would be administered proportionality in deal with the previous crime committed.

"Contention IV: Although our prisons may be crowded, my opponent has given no evidence in support of the deterrence of corporal punishment. For all we know, the reduced prison times may lead to the release of very dangerous criminals in our streets. Jails serve to keep dangerous members of society from mainstream society as well as a deterrence/punishment role. Releasing them early because they have suffered corporal punishment is antithetical to the first purpose. The economic costs of releasing known criminals (i.e murderers, rapists, terrorists) into the streets far outweighs the amount of money saved by the government in prison-keeping fees. Not only are economic costs incurred by releasing such prisoners, other intangible social costs (i.e higher crime rates, can't go out during the night ect) also result from releasing more prisoners."

--> As is clear from my point, we would have less sentences with corporal punishment if it warrant. Obviously, we would not let a mass-killer out of jail. Furthermore, the use of corporal punishment would send a stronger message of just retribution for crimes as posed above. It would be much more effective then: "Your going to jail." (Oh God, I'm so scared. Recreation time, meals included. I'm getting a free ride by tax payers. I don't know how I can deal with it.)

I'll refute his own case

Point I

Ok essentially the whole idea behind this argument is that we as a society can't condone physical punishment on a criminal. Ok, I have 2 responses:

1. Ok, then why is it ok for us to restrict liberties when we send them into jail. For a society, according to you, should be above this. We wouldn't want to condone taking away given liberties. Furthermore, the death penalty is not painless as you so mention. For about 1 minute before you die, you go through shock and immense pain. (This is lethal injection) Basically, your point means that a society should not punish.

2. You will say that physical punishment is different. It doesn't matter. If the court decides that a criminal warrants such punishment, then it is used to achieve justice. According to Rawls, justice is foremost in an institution and society. We would be more of a society if we act out of justice.

"Secondly, the acceptance of corporal punishment would signal that the society no longer views corporal punishment by its members as illegal (i.e I can beat my wife.)

--> This is stupid. Do people go around murdering because the government implements the death penalty. Do people kidnapping because the government puts people in jail. No. It is the exact opposite. People do not wish to have negativity brought upon them. Therefore, they will refrain from such actions. I.e. deterrence.

"Thirdly, my opponent argues that "the punishment must fit the crime". Does he advocate that we should rape, murder, or attempt terrorism on the perpetrators. Basically my opponent is arguing for a weaker form of "an eye for an eye". There are numerous arguments against this moral and judicial philosophy that I could mention later if my opponent so obliges."

--> Proportionality is not legal equivalence. We should not rape because someone rapes. This is where corporal punishment has a plus. It is used as a punishment that needs harsher means but is not equivalent, or death. Having only jail shows that we as a society do not condemn crime as much as we ought to. Having corporal punishment furthers proportionality and wanes us off of legal equivalence. Turn this argument against my opponent.

"In conclusion, since my opponent has not shown (with proof/studies) that corporal punishment actually serves a significant deterrent against crimes or that corporal punishment"

--> He didnt' finish the sentence. However, the resolution is asking for fairness and proportionality. Deterrence is not necessary for that.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
alvinthegreat

Con

Contention I:
My opponent claims that rape, kidnapping, and attempted terrorism do not cause death, and thus does not deserve a death sentence. However, this form of "an eye for an eye" judicial system does not hold up because of the intangible psychological effect involved. The main purpose of the mentioned crimes are to inspire FEAR in the victim, and this intangible (and yes, perhaps subjective) effect of the mentioned crimes must be taken into account. Which leads to the next point, proportional response. If current laws allow the death sentence for rape and attempted terrorism and life, then my opponents arguments are clearly not inherent.

Secondly, my opponent's arguments contradict themselves.He first says against my arguments for the death of rapists, kidnappers, terrorists: "1. No crime listed above results in death. The 3 I list are implied that it did not result in another crime, i.e. murder. Therefore, the death penalty would be too extreme of a punishment."
However, He later says "Proportionality is not legal equivalence", taken in this viewpoint (and later on against my point of "an eye for an eye"). If proportionality is not legal equivalence, then why am I wrong in advocating the death penalty for these criminals? If you do not demand "an eye for an eye", why can we not go above and account for intangible costs and deal them the death penalty? The death penalty is the greatest punishment that we can deal out, and in the cases of the despicable acts of rape, kidnapping, and attempted terrorism, the death penalty is justified (and has already been embraced by societies around the world)

Contention II:
The CIA factbook does not account for other confounding variables. Simply stating a statistic without a scientific study can only be fallacious. As I have advocated, there may be NUMEROUS other reasons of why the crime rate is lower, all of which undermine my opponents argument. I'll even go farther and state that my opponent's statistic means NOTHING, due to the number of confounding variables and being an observational study rather than experiment (and for anyone who has designed experiments, one cannot draw cause and effect conclusions from an observational study) My opponent still has not provided a study that says corporal punishment is indeed inherently a effective deterrent for crime.

Contention III:
"The key word is construed. Essentially, it is an opinion. Since the harshness of a punishment is subjective, we must look at Beccaria's proportionality part of the 8th Amendment. Link ym contention 1 to this"

Precisely, how is corporal punishment (i.e flogging, whipping ect) not harsh? Can we claim that it is the actually PLEASANT to be whipped and flogged? I think not. It is clearly intuitive that there is at least some harshness to the whipping or flogging of criminals.
My opponent's link actually undermines his point, if the criminals' punishments do not have to "an eye for an eye" but merely proportional, can it not be that the death penalty should be used against them?

As to my citations for the prison guard beatings, is it not PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT with the intention of PUNISHMENT/RETRIBUTION? So what exactly distinguishes from the corporal punishment except it is not carried out in a regulated place. The use of physical violence in this case is clearly forbidden, and thus should be used as a precedent against the use of PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT (aka corporal punishment).

Let's assume that the beatings may not have been proportional, does that mean the precedent is suddenly null and void against punishments that are proportional? Clearly not, too many characteristics are shared by this case and what you're advocating to discount this.

Contention IV: My opponent actually undermines his points here, he claims that "would have less sentences with corporal punishment if it warrant. Obviously, we would not let a mass-killer out of jail."
But is not my opponent argument precisely that the mass-killers and all the perhaps mentally unstable and dangerous people in society should be given corporal punishment in order to reduce prison sentences? I think it is intuitively clear that the label of a rapist, kidnapper or terrorist fits in the same category as a mass murderer. It is clear by such lists such as sex offenders and convicted rapists on the internet that society has a legitimate reason to exclude certain criminals.

Furthermore, my opponent claims that it will serve as better deterrence; however, my opponent has not provided concrete proof of it (CITED STUDY FROM A SCIENCE JOURNAL). Since my opponent has the burden of proof, his warrentless assertion must be discounted. Secondly, is not life sentence and the death sentence(which exists for the crime my opponent has mentioned) not a good enough deterrent? Would you propose that we punsish them even though they are going to be in life for jail? Is this not cruel punishment?

If we wanted a deterrent against such crimes, we could just expand the death penalty to include more of the crimes my opponent has mentioned, serving the deterrence purpose. Even more so, it would cut down on economic costs, since the cost of killing someone is still (assuming that we can make it quicker than today's process) is alot less than upkeep.

MY POINTS:

My point is not that society should not punish, we should not use anachronistic methods of inflicting intense PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT in order to remedy crime. As a highly developed civilization, our morals dictate that we use the most reasonable and painless methods of punishment while retaining deterrence and other consequences of punishment at an acceptable level. The infliction of pain undermines the moralistic foundations of a society. If my government is actively beating people, what's to stop them from torturing us later? Perhaps we are restricting rights when we send criminals to jail, but we're violating not only their HUMAN RIGHT (as opposed to civil right) and SOCIETY'S ACCEPTED MORALS in order to deal punishment to those who might otherwise not need them. We need to restrict civil liberties of people in jail because their actions have justified that, but we have no right to invade human rights.

Secondly, we're going down a slippery slope of government violating our civil liberties. If the government can actively use physical punishment against criminals, what's to stop it from abusing this power or spreading it for the general populace? NOTHING. If we do allow corporal punishment, the fundamental civil liberties guaranteed to us by the bill of rights will be severely compromised.

Thirdly, my opponent claims that corporal punishment would show proportionality. Why is it that the current system does not accurately serve PROPORTIONALITY, apart from the very subjective argument that the crimes do not fit the punishment? The definition you provided for proportionaltiy could very well include the death penalty under its wings, making any discussion moot.

In conclusion, the existence of the death sentence and varying prison terms already remedy what my opponent has described as necessary reasons for corporal punishment. Not only do the current methods serve the purposes of punishment better, they're also on a higher moralistic plane. If my opponent wants to deter criminals from committing crimes, the death penalty is already there. If my opponent wants varying degrees of punishment, there are varying sentence lengths and different security level prisons. My point is that my opponent's arguments are essentially flawed because they are not INHERENT. Corporal punishment is by no means the only solution to providing proportional punishment.

Last but not least, my opponent has not offered a single CLEAR and IRREFUTABLE piece of evidence for the existence of corporal punishment, as most his arguments are based on conjecture with no studies or citations.
Debate Round No. 2
CiRrO

Pro

"My opponent claims that rape, kidnapping, and attempted terrorism do not cause death, and thus does not deserve a death sentence. However, this form of "an eye for an eye" judicial system does not hold up because of the intangible psychological effect involved. The main purpose of the mentioned crimes are to inspire FEAR in the victim, and this intangible (and yes, perhaps subjective) effect of the mentioned crimes must be taken into account."

--> The adverse effects are taken into account. However jsut because someone might be afraid doesn't mean that a person deserves death as a punishment. Corporal punishment would be an adequate punishment for this. I will show how my opponents reasoning is flawed. E.g. Someone robs a house and is caught. However, the person in the house is afraid to be in his/her house again, because he/she does not want to be robbed. Does this fear mean that the robber deserves death? Obviously not. Just because fear may happen to a person doesn't mean that another person deserves death.

"If proportionality is not legal equivalence, then why am I wrong in advocating the death penalty for these criminals? If you do not demand "an eye for an eye", why can we not go above and account for intangible costs and deal them the death penalty? The death penalty is the greatest punishment that we can deal out, and in the cases of the despicable acts of rape, kidnapping, and attempted terrorism, the death penalty is justified (and has already been embraced by societies around the world)"

--> We can argue proportionality vs. legal equivalence all day. however this misses the point. You have yet to explain why in certain cases corporal punishment is not justified. You are just saying that we can use the death penalty if it warrants. Just because option, according to you, may be justified doesn't automatically make corporal punishment unjustified.

"Precisely, how is corporal punishment (i.e flogging, whipping ect) not harsh? Can we claim that it is the actually PLEASANT to be whipped and flogged? I think not. It is clearly intuitive that there is at least some harshness to the whipping or flogging of criminals."

--> you miss the point. According to Beccaria, a punishment is harsh if it exceeds the punishment due. Punishments are not meant to be kind, they are meant to be harsh. You miss the point Beccaria is making. A punishment must be due, not exceeding the fairness of it.

"As to my citations for the prison guard beatings, is it not PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT with the intention of PUNISHMENT/RETRIBUTION? So what exactly distinguishes from the corporal punishment except it is not carried out in a regulated place. The use of physical violence in this case is clearly forbidden, and thus should be used as a precedent against the use of PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT (aka corporal punishment)."

--> Ok, then according to you the death penalty is unjustified, and you continually use that point. Also, labor would be unjustified because it can create physical pain on the body.

"But is not my opponent argument precisely that the mass-killers and all the perhaps mentally unstable and dangerous people in society should be given corporal punishment in order to reduce prison sentences?"

--> This is where you misunderstand my case. I am not abolishing all punishments to be replaced by corporal punishment. The key word is warrants. A mass-murderer has killed so he deserves the death penalty. I said if it WARRANTS they could reduce sentences and use corporal punishment.

"Furthermore, my opponent claims that it will serve as better deterrence; however, my opponent has not provided concrete proof of it (CITED STUDY FROM A SCIENCE JOURNAL). Since my opponent has the burden of proof, his warrentless assertion must be discounted"

--> If I remember correctly, I made a link between other countries that use corporal punishment compared to the US. Since deterrence cannot be proven 100%, we must use comparative arguments.

"My point is not that society should not punish, we should not use anachronistic methods of inflicting intense PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT in order to remedy crime. As a highly developed civilization, our morals dictate that we use the most reasonable and painless methods of punishment while retaining deterrence and other consequences of punishment at an acceptable level. The infliction of pain undermines the moralistic foundations of a society. If my government is actively beating people, what's to stop them from torturing us later? Perhaps we are restricting rights when we send criminals to jail, but we're violating not only their HUMAN RIGHT (as opposed to civil right) and SOCIETY'S ACCEPTED MORALS in order to deal punishment to those who might otherwise not need them. We need to restrict civil liberties of people in jail because their actions have justified that, but we have no right to invade human rights."

--> Punishments and morality are incoherent. All punishments are in some way immoral. It is immoral to kill some, it is immoral to take someone out of society and restrict their freedoms (jail). Thus, your morality point is dropped on the fact you are trying to make to opposite ideas coherent.

Secondly, we're going down a slippery slope of government violating our civil liberties. If the government can actively use physical punishment against criminals, what's to stop it from abusing this power or spreading it for the general populace? NOTHING. If we do allow corporal punishment, the fundamental civil liberties guaranteed to us by the bill of rights will be severely compromised.

--> Nothing stops them now. They could easily use physical punishment on us without making corporal punishment legal. Furthermore, what makes the government not take everyone into jail, but we have a jail system. Your punishment has no real link to the resolution.

"Thirdly, my opponent claims that corporal punishment would show proportionality. Why is it that the current system does not accurately serve PROPORTIONALITY, apart from the very subjective argument that the crimes do not fit the punishment? The definition you provided for proportionaltiy could very well include the death penalty under its wings, making any discussion moot."

--> As I said before, I am not taking away the DP all together. I am arguing that certain crimes and circumstances deserve a punishment in between 2 extremes. I.e. jail and the death penalty. Furthermore, it helps judicial discretion on the judges part.

[Voting Issues]

1. My opponent has not negated the given resolution. All his points and examples explain why corporal punishment may not be the best system, but he doesn't explain how it is not a just punishment.
2. It is clear that corporal punishment is a justified when it is warranted.

For these reasons I urge an affirmation.
alvinthegreat

Con

alvinthegreat forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by wjmelements 5 years ago
wjmelements
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Vote Placed by Patrick_Henry 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by alvinthegreat 6 years ago
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Logical-Master
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