The Instigator
wingnut2280
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
spoon171
Con (against)
Losing
13 Points

We should replace capital punishment with gladitorial combat

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/18/2007 Category: Sports
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,242 times Debate No: 657
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (11)

 

wingnut2280

Pro

We should replace the death penalty with gladitorial combat. Everyone subject to this would still recieve all of teh legal privileges of our system. We would just take the death row inmates, and when it comes time to put them to death, we make them fight each other in a public arena. When the inmates would have otehrwise been lethally injected/electric chaired, we will draw them a random matchup from another death row inmate who would have also been put to death anyway at that time. This makes it impartial and doesn't effect the lifespan of one of the inmates. The inmate who wins/survives would stay in prison and go on to fight again later down the road. This has positive benefits that I will go into upon response.

Please don't turn this into a debate on capital punishment. For the sake of argument we are assuming that the current death penalty is OK. Thanks in advance for the response.
spoon171

Con

This is a good and hilarious approach to the topic, however I can find a few different problems with your approach.

The first is the idea of the surviving gladiator gets to fight again. What happens if they keep winning? Eventually if slaves won several fights in the arena, they would be freed for staving off death. This means billy the rapist can stave off death a couple of times, and then keep on raping. I mean, come on, havent you seen Gladiator? He won over the hearts of the people. Now picture him raping people....with a sword.

Second, can you imagine how bad this would be in terms of setting a precident for bad reality TV spinoffs? I belive the only amazing gladiators in America should be the american gladiators, people like Turbo, Lazer, Gemini, etc. You could eventually have these gladiators wanting to prove their supremacy since they are the only American Gladiators. This could lead to innocent people getting killed in the name of honor. This could also set a bad precident for kids. Who do most children model after these days? Athletes! You create a new generation of bloodsport athletes who will inspire these kids to kill and get the death penalty in the name of fulfilling their dreams in the arena someday...

Third, vegas odds? It might be pretty bad or morally wrong for people to wager on these death matches, because, you know thats inevitable.

In the end, this also means those on death row really win in the end, even if they get killed in the arena. Why is this true? Because if they have killed in the past and they want to kill again, why give them the glory of swording someone to death, or fighting their opponent and knocking them into the spike wall.....the killers can keep on killing, which means they dont get punished, this is just another win for all of the murders and billy the rapist!
Debate Round No. 1
wingnut2280

Pro

If the gladiator keeps living they don't get freed. This isn't Rome, they just keep fighting until someone kills them, or they die in prison. The benefit is they get is to live a little longer. I don't care if Billy the Rapist or Russel Crowe win the hearts of the people. The law keeps them in jail, regardless. They don't get out, problem solved.

As far as cultural concerns go. The whole concept is entertainment. We have bisexual dating shows and internet sites that depict people pooping in each others mouths. I don't think societal corruption is a problem. The key here is that the people fighting would be people who are already going to die. If the American Gladiators want to fight them thats their perogative (that won't really happen). We'll just put warning labels and advisory notices like Jackass does. Kids wouldn't model these people because they are criminals. Responsible parenting or an age restriction could solve this problem. If people want to fight to the death, they are going to do it anyway. They would have to commit the crime to get on death row, in which case they would deserve this anyway. The arena would not be an incentive. This was true in Rome too. People didn't enslave themselves in order to fight to the death. People wouldn't face life in prison, or, you know, the dying part, in order to have a shot at fighting in the arena.

Who cares if we let murderers kill some more. Obviously society has decided that these people deserve it, so why not? Having someone who has already murdered kill again is better than having an innocent employee of the state responsible for a death. This takes the moral burden of the death of the person off of innocent individuals and places it on those who are already killers and going to die.

So, the benefits are money, entertainment and moral values. The state could make MASSIVE profits off of this. Counteracting the millions of dollars we spend on these people and other prisoners every year. This would be like a car wreck, people would come in droves to watch this stuff. We, as a society, would get some benefit out of the terrible crimes these people have commited. Also, as I stated above, it takes the moral burden off of the state.
spoon171

Con

Ok, so here are some small contradictions in your argument. When addressing my argument about why gambling would fund people staying in jails, which spending is a problem....you say that there is an inherent value to allowing these people to live. You say it is good that if someone survives a fight, they get to live a few more days, yet the state will have to fund the gladiators as long as they have the skills to live. An alternative would be as soon as you get the death penalty, instantly kill them, or have them have combat vs tigers instead of other inmates.

In terms of pooping and bisexual dating shows, these have different effects than violence on children. Now, whilst I disagree at times with the statistics that say simulated violence leads to violence in children, these statistics may have more truth to them when the children see actual violence unfold in front of them. Labels and disclaimers will never solve because all parents will never be responsible. This is true because we have morons who continue to come to near paralysis because they see idiots shattering their testicles and have crocodiles eat chicken out of their thongs. And people may not have voluntarily enslaved themselves, but today there is a different breed of child and a different style of discipline in today's world. And to say that children didnt mimick violence from the arena in Rome is absurd, in the era of school shootings and massive violence, I am sure some kids will be influenced to kill in the name of sport.

In terms of the profit argument, it is hard to prove that corporate media sponsorship will give money to the prison, and in terms of gambling revanue, this is possible, but most of the money will go to big casinos. And in terms of corporate sponsorship of death is also a tenuous moral argument. Even if you change some direction in who moral responsibiliy lies upon, you now place a dollar sign on human lives. This means capitalism will find a new way to kill people in the name of profit....

The final argument I would like to introduce is asking whats next. Studies show that if you televise executions (which this would fall under the umbrella of) people will see the morbidity of death and lead to movements banning the death penalty. This begs the question of what will be the new disaster or car wreck we gravitate ourselves to? Something more horrendous? Maybe televising euthanasia?

I believe you are in a doublebind. Either you cause a more violent society through children increasing violence. Or, the benefits of your profit are only shor term, and we lose the death penalty as an option to reduce prision populations because people move to ban the death penalty. This means we will have more crowded prisons and it will only cost us more in the long term.....

Finally....I still cant believe you think Lazer or Gemini wont try to challenge bobby the rapist in the arena? Come on.....
Debate Round No. 2
wingnut2280

Pro

I don't argue that gambling or corporate sponsorships would fund the gov. Nor do I argue that allowing these people to live longer is inherently good. Them living longer is merely a consequence of winning the fight and a personal reward to the victor, not a benefit to society.

Your alternatives don't function. Killing people immediately in order to avoid cost denies them legal due process and their potential appeals. Any other form of individual execution, like the tigers, wouldn't be as humane/efficient as the one we have now, nor would it access the benefits of gladiatorial combat because you don't get the fighting each other aspect.

So, lets talk about the money. Government institutions, like this one and the lottery for example, are not legally allowed to be sponsored by corporations. Also, I don't claim this anywhere in my arg. Second, the gov makes money on the winnings of the casino/people because of taxes. The payment to see this event by people would bring in revenue as well. Capitalist head hunting is not a viable argument because it is illegal. The only reason my case functions is because the state has deemed these people should die and is going to kill them anyway. Any corporate attempt to mimic this would be illegal and therefore impossible.

The revenue the gov would make would far outweigh the cost of keeping a diminishing number of these people alive for a little while longer. There is no question the gov would make money here (LOTS).

On to morality. The FCC has shown us that we can broadcast anything under the right stipulations. We have the UFC beating each other to a pulp on cable TV, porn on PPV, and Howard Stern on public radio. Granted these are not fights to the death, but it has legal ground to be broadcasted. As far as the corruption of morals and children go, we have dozens of shows depicting cartoon, realistic fictional, or real violence already. The kids who would be corrupted by GC would already be corrupted by the violence currently in the media. Even if that isn't true, we have shown executions before on television. We broadcasted Timothy McVeigh's final moments on CBS and lethal injections/executions are on the history channel and A&E all the time. So, this argument is terminally non-unique. Also, our culture is already shot. This is just the next step in satisfying audience demands.

This is what is next. There are no further legal options following this. Euthanasia is illegal and therefore impossible to be equated with this scenario. You can't get more corrupt then public GC. But, as I said before, this isn't a problem because we have already reached this point as a society.

I don't know what these studies are. If you could cite them, that would be great. This argument is also not possible. As I said before, we hav already broadcasted 'the morbidity of death'. If this immense social realization were to happen, it would have already. We have a big movement against capital punishment and nothing is changing. This is also non-unique. Capital punishment would stay in tact as it did the previous times we have shown this morbidity, not causing the problems you suggest.

I am not in a double-bind because I can solve the children problem and the profit problem independently and simultaneously as I illustrated above.

So, the benefits of GC are increased gov revenue, increased entertainment for the public, and the relief of the moral burden the state carries.

I access the profit benefits and capitalist head hunting is impossible because 1) the gov makes profit off of GC because the revenue generate would far outweigh the costs of keeping these people alive 2) corporate sponsorship is illegal 3) capitalist head hunting is also illegal and 4) the ability of GC rests solely on the fact that only the state already has the power to execute people after due process, any other scenario would be impossible due to its illegality and 5) the death penalty would stay in tact because the risk you provide would have already happened because we have shown society the 'morbidity' before and this hasn't happened. GC is morally justified because 1) these people have been given due process and are already going to die 2) executions have been broadcast on national TV before, so societal corruption and negative child influence would have already taken place 3) society's morals are virtually non-existent anyway 4) immense amounts of violence are already present and accessible. If anything the moral BENEFITS of GC would outweigh any kind of societal corruption due to the immense moral burden of thousands of deaths a year being lifted off the shoulders of innocent state employees. Also, society would get some kind of return from these people who haved damaged society in a way that has deemed them deserving of this. If there is an audience willing to watch this, our cultural values obviously call for it. These benefits would far outweigh any risk of cultural corruption, even in the instance that I haven't fully nullified it with my arguments above.

I know this debate began as a joke, and remains that way, but it is a viable option despite the fact that it will never realistically be enacted.
spoon171

Con

First, you say "I don't argue that gambling or corporate sponsorships would fund the gov." I think you are wrong, in your previous post you make the argument that "So, the benefits are money, entertainment and moral values. The state could make MASSIVE profits off of this." Where would the profits come from? Clearly it would have to come from sponsorships etc of the execution to fund the prisons. Otherwise, if they dont make money from sponsorships etc. then they make no money off of the gladiator battle, which means there is absolutely no benefit to transitioning away from current methods of killing prisoners.

In terms of my alternatives arguments, I will conceed. I was trying to have fun... although billy the rapist v persian tiger would be amazing, and was an actual staple of gladiator combat back in the day. I will defend the death penalty as it is now, and you spoil the fun through televising executions.

You make the argument that we have televised them before? When in the history of the USA have we ever televised executions? The closest thing is live wittnesses to public executions back in the day and they were only in a small scales. The only other close televised execution in history was McVey on closed circuit tv, which was only on 250 televisions. I will cite several studies in a moment that will prove why you lead to an eventual ban of the death penalty.

The first examp;e os mere assertion that you will lead to public outrage in the future if you televise executions: Matthew Miller 2000 (http://www.commondreams.org...)

"Now, though, thanks to modern media technology, no American need go undeterred. "Reality" and "voyeuristic" shows are in vogue anyway: What's more "real" or voyeuristic than this? To drive ratings, cable programs usually have to make inconsequential events seem earth-shattering. Here, instead, they'd be shining ceaseless light on a state activity that may generate outrage only through sustained exposure."

This next example also paints a good picture of what a world with televised executions would look like: Nicholas Compton 2001 (http://law.richmond.edu...)

"However, for those individuals who wish to have a public execution, courts should not stand in their way. The public has a right to know the true nature of a procedure it sanctions. Moreover, public executions serve as a check on the prison officials conducting the execution. If the public is going to sanction an execution, it should be assured that the execution is being carried out in as humane a manner as possible given the situation. If the procedure is gruesome, so be it. If execution horror stories[58] are shown on television, then so be it. The public has a right to know what it is authorizing. Some people may find the procedure barbaric and may be moved to protest further executions. Some people may see the execution as a just and rightful end to a barbaric human being. Either way, if the condemned individual wishes to have his message broadcast, if the news media wishes to facilitate that broadcast, and if citizens choose to watch that broadcast, then they should be able to exercise that choice free from any unreasonable restrictions placed on them by the state.

It's the perfect melding of medium and message. Instead of "White House Sexcapades" we'd have "Execution of the Week," with a dark little theme song all its own.

To be sure, all death-penalty foes don't buy my argument. Mike Farrell, the actor (he played B.J. Honeycutt on the hit series "MASH") and chairman of Death Penalty Focus, told me "Death Penalty TV" could do more harm than good.

"The diluted impression people get through their television screen would allow people to accept it and rationalize it," Farrell fears. "It will simply become another event that people shake their heads about, and go on with their lives."

Maybe Farrell's right, but I think there's a stronger chance that a steady televised diet of state-sponsored vengeance would turn our national stomach. Even the spectacle of today's "kinder, gentler" executions -- in which the prisoner is dragged from his cell, strapped on a gurney and then put down like an animal with a lethal injection -- might so horrify people that they would call on officials to end this monstrosity being performed in their name."

Finally, here is an actual controlled psychological study that shows actual shifts in beliefs after people were forced to view a televised execution: Howells et Al 1995 (http://cjb.sagepub.com...)

"Two hundred and ninety one registered California voters completed Peterson and Thurstone's Attitude Toward Capital Punishment scale. About half of the participants then viewed a videotape of two executions, and the other participants watched a nature film. All of the respondents then completed an alternative version of the capital punishment attitude scale. Significantly more viewers of the execution videotape reduced their support for capital punishment than did viewers of the control film, suggesting that resumption of public (i.e., televised) executions may somewhat reduce support for the death penalty."

All of the above give theoretical and actual examples of why full scale televised executions will lead to an abolishment of the death penalty. This means, that although you give american something more entertaining (not gonna lie, I'd probably watch) than "A shot at love...." or "American Idol" the repulsion value is much greater than current television. So, whats the point, if you ban the death penalty, some may argue that it is a good thing. However, when your solution claims to solve for things like: money and prison overcrowding, you only make the problem worse. The death penalty is dwindling in states where it is legal in the united states, and you only run the risk of creating a total ban. Therefore death is no longer an option which means you create thousands of more life sentances without parole, which means taxpayers will be paying more money in the long term.

You make arguments like "society's morals are nonexistent" which may be true in so many instances, yet the death penalty has been so taboo, which is why it has been locked behind clothes doors. You force the american public to confront their new biggest fear...which means even if there is some capital gain in the short term, my studies cited above prove that you actually make things worse in the long run!

On a totally unrelated note....who would have had some of the greatest gladiator battles in history?

What about Hussein v. McVeigh?

I still think Gemini v. Billy the rapist would be a good PPV
Debate Round No. 3
wingnut2280

Pro

So, the debate is left with essentially two issues after you did not respond to any of my other points. The first issue, funding, and the argument that making GC public would lead to the outlaw of capital punishment and subsequently negative consequences.

The funding issue I addressed in the last round. "Government institutions, like this one and the lottery for example, are not legally allowed to be sponsored by corporations. Also, I don't claim this anywhere in my arg. Second, the gov makes money on the winnings of the casino/people because of taxes. The payment to see this event by people would bring in revenue as well." The government would make money off of ticket sales and the taxes I mentioned, not requiring any kind of corporate involvement. They would also avoid the cost of the execution itself, like the prices of lethally injecting someone. That avoidance would be small, but the revenue (depart from sponsorships etc.) would be large, maintaining the money advantage I claim.

Next, the rest of your post cites three sources that you claim argue publicizing executions would lead to the ban of capital punishment. I'll address them source by source. Keep in mind, we are attempting to ignore the legitimacy of the current system (a goal that seems to have gone by the wayside).

In the part of the first article you don't quote, Miller says that public execution would allow us to "face up to the logic of our position." This means that people would only become outraged if they had a problem with capital punishment in the first place, which we stipulated they don't. The part of the article you cite is based on Miller's previous assumption that Americans don't like capital punishment. As I stipulated in Rd. 1, we are assuming the legitimacy of the current system. The piont this evidence makes is subject for a whole different debate and can not be applied to this one because it is based on assumptions neither of us prove here. Based on the issue we are discussing, this evidence is not correlative and doesn't function in the way you want it to.

Your first two sources place themselves in a double-bind. Your Compton evidence argues that publicity would outrage the public, while your Farrel commentary claims "their television screen would allow people to accept it and rationalize it". So, which is it? Your own evidence disproves your argument.

The lengthy Compton paragraph argues for public broadcast as well. He claims the public who want to see this should be able to. The only part that would benefit you "Some people may find the procedure barbaric and may be moved to protest further executions" is directly nullified by the very next sentence "Some people may see the execution as a just and rightful end to a barbaric human being". In the same article, your author argues for it again "Capital punishment is gruesome, but if television viewers wish not to see an execution, they can simply change the channel. The fact that some viewers may be emotionally affected by an execution should not prohibit an inmate or the press from exercising their 1st Amendment rights." In fact, the entire conclusion of the Compton article is a MASSIVE argument FOR broadcasted capital punishment. Compton does say that some people will be moved to protest, but he also claims an equal number would move in the opposite direction, cancelling each other out.

Your own authors argue for my point. You may be able to snip one-liners that support your view, but clearly the general argument of both of these authors is FOR braodcasted executions.

Additionally, as a point of my own. The rise against CP is terminally non-unique (it already would have happened). The news shows clips of Al-Jazeera(sp) networks beheadings, dozens of other countries (including us in the past) have public executions, and there are frequent shows which analyze and illustrate the real process which all would have caused this rise already.

The only remaining source is the psychological study. At the surface, this seems persuading, but there are a couple of problems. First, the selection group is small and we don't know their prior views on capital punishment. This means that the results may not be as substantial as you want to claim. Beyond that, the study alone doesn't prove the brink to your argument. The results of the study found "televised) executions may somewhat reduce support for the death penalty". This doesn't provide for, prove or claim the societal upheaval that you do. So what if support for capital punishment goes down "somewhat", this doesn't mean it will lead to its outlaw.

So, as these sources function with your claim that publicized GC would lead to the ban of capital punishment, they do not add up. Your first author assumes that people don't like the deaht penalty already (which we presupposed at the beginning of the debate wasn't true) in order to get to his conclusion. His contributor (Farrel) disagrees with him, claiming that publicized executions would lead to public rationalization and acceptance (the opposite of what you claim). Your second author is actually PRO publicity and cites several reasons for it. He also directly refutes your claim that there would be an uprising against CP by observing the trend in favor of CP. Finally, the study, if its results are verifiable, does not provide for the magnitude of your argument, finding that the drop in support was meager. This drop would not uproot the legal nature of CP. Also, we began this debate on the pretext that the current system is legitimate, whether that is true or not is irrelevant to this debate.

So, as these two arguments are the only two you make, you observe the other benefits of GC and its very functionality. Remember the moral benefit of lifting thousands of deaths off of innocent shoulders. And, society would get some kind of value out of these people that have done such terrible things to damage it. Also, the government revenue (devoid from sponsorships and corporations, as I have specified and explained throughout the debate) from tickets and taxes, no matter how large, would offset or benefit the financial problem death row inmates present.

After solving the funding problem and further examining your sources, I have proven that GC wouldn't lead to the abolition of CP and that your sources actually ADVOCATE MY POSITION. This means you have no ground to stand on, defensive or offensive.

Weighing the harms, we have the moral, financial and entertainment benefits of GC against virtually no disadvantages. Therefore, we have every reason to switch the current capital punishment system to gladiatorial combat.

Thanks, nice debate. I think I would put Sihan Sihan (killed Bobby Kennedy) against Hussein, to make people who agree be forced to kill each other. Otherwise, Charles Manson against any big strapping guy, to see just how good his skills of persuasion and charisma really are.
spoon171

Con

spoon171 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Redman 9 years ago
Redman
GOOD FORM! Let them live for the chance of death and honor rather than useless gangs and fear!
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