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Soapbox: The Hangman’s Lottery

Posted on February 14, 2015 by

In September 2011, a group of US state employees took a man called Troy Davis from his prison cell in Atlanta, Georgia to a small room and strapped him to a gurney. They inserted a needle into one of his veins, hooked it up to some tubes connected to a machine and pressed a button on the machine, knowing that it would cause lethal chemicals to be pumped into his bloodstream until he died of asphyxiation.

These people – every one of whom doubtless considered themselves an ordinary, decent, caring member of society – participated willingly in the killing despite knowing that there was an enormous degree of doubt as to whether Davis was in any way responsible for the death of the man in whose name he was being executed.

Bafflingly, very few people found this behaviour at all odd.

The story, while attracting more worldwide media attention than the dozens of less controversial executions carried out in the US every year, still barely merited more than a footnote on international news bulletins.

Yet Davis’ case is remarkable. No physical evidence whatsoever linked him to the crime. He was convicted of it on the testimony of nine people, seven of whom later recanted their statements identifying him. Of the remaining two, one refused to speak of the case at all, and the other was the man many suspected of being the real murderer. (Several people claimed he had confessed it to them.)

None of that proves Davis was innocent, of course. But you’d think to most people it would – at the very least – fit any sensible definition of “reasonable doubt”, and in the penal code of most civilised societies, reasonable doubt is enough to prevent someone being found guilty, let alone suffering the irreversible ultimate sanction. Fairly astonishingly, even the hang-’em-and-flog-’em readers of the Daily Mail – by a margin of 3 to 1 – disapproved of Davis’ execution.

Yet people across the world – including Scotland and the UK, as we recently found when we commissioned a Panelbase poll of social attitudes – still support the death penalty. In almost every country on the planet a clear majority of citizens are regularly found to be in favour of state-sanctioned ceremonial killing.

Support for capital punishment runs at between 60% and 80% in Japan (which still hangs prisoners fairly regularly), and at similar levels in the US, which is the only nation in the West still to carry out executions. (There have been over 100 since Troy Davis.) It’s going to considerable trouble to keep doing so, looking for new methods and revisiting old ones as the supply of drugs for lethal injections dries up.

And the UK, USA and Japan are three of the world’s most supposedly enlightened and modern nations. More primitive peoples all over the planet can’t even begin to imagine why you wouldn’t want to execute your criminals, and for far less than murder to boot.)

But you pretty much know all this, so let’s see if we can’t inject a small vial of surprise into the veins of proceedings. I have no problem with the death penalty. If you deliberately kill someone, with malice aforethought, I don’t see why you shouldn’t forfeit your own life in return. After all, it’s not like your victim is going to be released from being dead after a few years of good behaviour in their grave, is it?

It’s not about deterrence, because the evidence against it being a deterrent is pretty conclusive. And I entirely accept that murderers can, in many cases, be rehabilitated and turned back into productive members of society. But why bother? It takes years of work and huge amounts of money, which could be better spent on people in need who haven’t murdered anyone. Do we want to send the message that you can jump the queue for a social worker with a quick bit of homicide? And why take the risk that you haven’t done the job properly, and that they’ll kill again after all?

I mean, what are we, short of humans all of a sudden? We can easily afford to trim out a few of the the nastier ones.

Because the thing with putting murderers in jail is that you have to either let them out, or not let them out. The average convicted murderer in the UK serves just 14 years of their “life sentence” before being released. That means they get to live about 80% of their natural adult life in freedom, despite having deliberately deprived someone else of all of theirs and condemned that person’s loved ones to lifelong misery. Is that justice? Is that fair? I don’t think so.

But alternatively, if you’re going to keep them locked up with no hope of release until they die, what’s the point? Why go to all the trouble and expense if you’re saying there can be no possibility of redemption? You may as well just get it over and done with.

No, the problem with the death penalty isn’t that it’s barbaric or uncivilised or unjust, because in and of itself, in principle, it’s none of those things. None of those issues are inherent or insurmountable. The problem with it is that it’s only any good until the day you execute someone who didn’t do it.

On that day, and forever afterwards, the state has surrendered any moral right to put murderers to death, because from that day forth we’re all murderers. A single Derek Bentley is one too many. From that moment on, it’s not about deterrence and morality, it’s purely about whether we want the state to kill in the name of revenge.

So how do we square this tricky moral circle? Well, like most things it’s pretty simple if you’re prepared to adopt a radical and rational solution. Every nation on Earth should hand over the decision on capital punishment to a referendum of its electorate. There should be a free vote, on any and all aspects of the issue right down to the method used and whether the condemned gets a last meal or not. But there’s a small twist.

Supporters of the death penalty argue – either directly and openly or by unavoidable implication – that a few mistaken executions are a price worth paying, either for the (alleged) deterrent effect or the principle of judicial vengeance. So the only reasonable thing to do is to make them embrace the reality of that situation.

The names of everyone who votes “Yes” to the retention or restoration of capital punishment must be recorded and entered into a database. Every time a criminal is put to death, a name will be drawn at random from the list and executed alongside them, with no exceptions or appeals.

After all, if you’re willing to accept the state killing of innocents, you have to accept that one day it might be you (or your son or your daughter or father or mother or brother or sister) who is the innocent in question. Because everyone who’s ever been wrongfully executed was someone’s son or someone’s daughter, and why should you be magically exempt? If the random sacrifice of the innocent is a price worth paying to kill murderers, you must be prepared to pay it yourself.

It’s hard to imagine any referendum held under such rules returning a “Yes” vote. (Though sadly not quite impossible, the way the US in particular is going.) And yet, that’s what any country with a death penalty already does – it’s just that advocates of capital punishment currently don’t have to confront the fact. Who’s with me?

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Soapbox is a weekend column designed to provoke debate on non-party-political issues. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Wings Over Scotland, except when we write them ourselves, obviously.

If you’d like to contribute a Soapbox piece (ideally 800-1500 words), send it to us via our Contact page, INCLUDING THE WORD ‘SOAPBOX’ IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

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  1. 14 02 15 14:43

    Soapbox: The Hangman’s Lottery - Speymouth
    Ignored

350 to “Soapbox: The Hangman’s Lottery”

  1. AnneDon
    Ignored
    says:

    You are quite right. The problems with capital punishment are: what does it do to those who participate in it? And: What about the innocent?

    In the USA, being innocent isn’t actually grounds for an appeal – only proving something was wrong with the trial. The Anglo-American system is about what is proven in court; the Scots-European system is about what actually happened. Fundamentally different.

    Also, the last hangman in Britain, Pierrepoint, prided himself that, it took four minutes for the condemned person to get from their cell to going thru’ the trapdoor. The US system takes NINE MINUTES from the needle going in. It would be cruel and unusual punishment in any other circumstances.

    It’s a penal system, not a justice system.

  2. Robert Knight
    Ignored
    says:

    I like this idea. I either had this same idea myself or have heard someone say something similar previously and I now simply think its my idea.

    Either way, I’m happy with it.

  3. Tattie-bogle
    Ignored
    says:

    But what is plan B

  4. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “Also, the last hangman in Britain, Pierrepoint, prided himself that, it took four minutes for the condemned person to get from their cell to going thru’ the trapdoor.”

    Far less than that. His record was seven SECONDS, and he aimed for no more than 30.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Pierrepoint#Notable_executions

  5. Cyc
    Ignored
    says:

    This is very true. The people I know who support the death penalty somehow think they would be magically exempt from it, that there would be no chance that they (or their loved ones) would get into a situation where they could be killed by the state for something they didn’t do. It’s othering. Criminals are all guilty of something, right? If you get yourself into a situation where you are accused of murder, you have to have done something wrong. They act as if tragedy and blind bad luck don’t exist.

    So this is a long way of saying I’m with you on this.

  6. Tattie-bogle
    Ignored
    says:

    I have been following this case http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-31456484 Witness statements are all over the place, it looks like being accused sent this guy over the edge.

  7. Brian Powell
    Ignored
    says:

    And when newspapers go on a witch hunt, which result in deaths, the lottery should be limited to the proprietors, shareholders, editors and journalists.

    Seems fair.

  8. Ghengis D'Midgies
    Ignored
    says:

    We do have an executioner in the UK and his name is Ian Duncan Smith MP. His methods are cruel and his victims are innocent.

  9. Dan777a
    Ignored
    says:

    “The names of everyone who votes “Yes” to retaining/restoring capital punishment must be recorded and entered into a lottery. Every time a criminal is put to death, a name will be drawn at random from the list and executed alongside them, with no exceptions or appeals.”

    Sorry Rev, was following you, but I think you lost the plot with the above…

    Why not let the electorate vote on each individual case? If someone is found guilty of murder their sentence is put to a vote. A Yes vote sentences them to death and a No vote sentences them to life in prison. That way each punishment is decided on a collective basis.

  10. themadmurph
    Ignored
    says:

    I like the sound of that. If nothing else you are forcing people to think and more importantly think it through for potential personal implications for them.

  11. AnneDon
    Ignored
    says:

    We are well aware of the social-racial elements of the US system – wealthy, white people will rarely go to trial nor white cops who kill unarmed young African-Americans on the street, even on camera.

    Did anyone ever look at the social makeup of those brought to trial in the UK while the death penalty existed?

  12. Geoff Huijer
    Ignored
    says:

    I like it!

    Imagine having to stand by your principles in such a way?

    In this case I would be a ‘No’ voter; not out of self-interest but because I don’t believe in the death penalty. As you say, one innocent person is one too much.

  13. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “Why not let the electorate vote on each individual case? If someone is found guilty of murder their sentence is put to a vote. A Yes vote sentences them to death and a No vote sentences them to life in prison.”

    Because (a) that’s totally insane, and (b) it doesn’t address the core issue, which is the execution of the innocent.

  14. Mealer
    Ignored
    says:

    Very thought provoking.

  15. Rhyl’s Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged in the UK for murdering her abusive partner in a fit of rage.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Ellis

    Merthyr’s Tim Evans was the man wrongly convicted in the ’10 Rillington Place’ murders.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Evans

    There’s just two from memory. Even if we know the person is 100% guilty then where do we draw the line between capital punishment and letting them live? If a criminal knows they are to be hanged if they are caught then what do they have to lose? Why not just commit more crimes in order to hide the evidence or escape ‘justice’.

    Speaking of Ruth Ellis the columnist ‘Cassandra’ wrote…
    “The one thing that brings stature and dignity to mankind and raises us above the beasts will have been denied her – pity and the hope of ultimate redemption.”

  16. Ben Cooper
    Ignored
    says:

    I believe the death penalty is actually more expensive than life imprisonment, at least in the USA. It’s the cost of lots of expensive appeals to higher and higher courts.

    My objection is twofold – firstly the moral one, that the death penalty turns us all into murderers. The second is that it doesn’t work.

  17. Gary
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m not sure if that middle “ach, just kill them” bit is meant to be flippant or not, but it’s quite a chilling attitude if not.

    That said, it’s an interesting proposition which sums up the absurdity of the death penalty.

    No-one, not one single, solitary person who lives, has lived or will live on this planet has the right to decide if another person lives or does. To quote Tolkien:

    “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”

  18. KriegersClones
    Ignored
    says:

    Agree completely. Even if you have no moral qualms with taking lives in any non-defence scenario, the fact that we have an imperfect justice system where innocents can and will be convicted means that the death penalty can not be meted out with 100% certainty that the condemned is truly guilty.

    And even if you’re willing to subject innocents to death (in a ‘collateral damage’ way of thinking), you have to consider the fact that allowing the state to be the arbiter of life and death means the death penalty can become a political tool to silence critics or opposition.

  19. Andrew Walker
    Ignored
    says:

    Sorry, but the idea of a lottery and purposefully killing people for no reason is absolutely abhorrent. I can only hope that this is a wind up due to being a slow news day.

    Stu. Lets bear in mind that as we approach the general election every day is important towards pointing voters towards parties with Scottish interests at heart. Visitors reading such articles may well just bin the idea of reading articles on this site. Please keep on topic, you do a damn good job when you do so.

  20. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “I’m not sure if that middle “ach, just kill them” bit is meant to be flippant or not, but it’s quite a chilling attitude if not.”

    Just so we’re clear, I’d vote No in any referendum on capital punishment, with or without the lottery clause.

  21. peekay
    Ignored
    says:

    Seems a bit extreme…..but with a bit of tweaking you might be onto something. Follow the same process but instead of executing the ‘winner’ have them flick the switch. If the individual turns out to be innocent at a later date then the ‘winner’ goes too

  22. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “Visitors reading such articles may well just bin the idea of reading articles on this site.”

    Except, of course, that restoration of the death penalty is the majority opinion in Scotland, including among both Yes voters and supporters of the SNP.

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “Follow the same process but instead of executing the ‘winner’ have them flick the switch. If the individual turns out to be innocent at a later date then the ‘winner’ goes too”

    Heh. Quite like that one.

  24. Rob James
    Ignored
    says:

    Not so sure about the lottery idea. Despite never having any luck with it, I noticed that all six of my numbers were in your photo. Not a good omen for me, so I’m out.

  25. CyberNiall
    Ignored
    says:

    Is it fair if another innocent life is killed if part of the judicial system hasn’t done its job properly?

    Should the death penalty not make investigations more thorough and improve prosecutions?

  26. mogabee
    Ignored
    says:

    Gosh, you’re really making us all into deep thinkers.

    Personally, I have never, ever understood why people can be so casual about state killings. I’ve always wondered if giving those who are so keen the chance to be involved in the killing, how quick could their minds be changed.

    Do hope that issue is never raised seriously.

    Stu’s idea would solve that issue for sure!

  27. civgw
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t think it’s wise to do stuff like this. It seems to me that it’s just going to lead to our opponents taking things out of context and broadcasting it over the rest of the media.

    Playing Devil’s advocate or saying controversial things to stir debate will provide too much ammunition to those who hate the good work this site does. I think it would be better to avoid giving them easy opportunities.

  28. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “Should the death penalty not make investigations more thorough and improve prosecutions?”

    What does that mean? There are almost no instances of 100% certainty. Even if someone’s filmed committing the crime, who’s to say they weren’t mentally imbalanced and not fully responsible for their actions?

    There’s no wriggling out – innocent people will always be convicted. Deal with it.

  29. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “I don’t think it’s wise to do stuff like this. It seems to me that it’s just going to lead to our opponents taking things out of context and broadcasting it over the rest of the media.”

    That’s the coward’s way. Soon you end up saying nothing at all, because ANYTHING can be twisted, and will be.

  30. CyberNiall
    Ignored
    says:

    Brings to mind “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.

  31. Alan McHarg
    Ignored
    says:

    Careful rev. or we will see this being claimed by the MSM/liebour/bbc as an SNP policy for an iScotland and another reason for the selfish in Scotland to justify their “NO” vote. I can just see the headline now (deja vu)…

    http://snp.us5.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=2b450428af6ce0be79dc234fb&id=e62ffdbf90&e=b48248efa6

  32. archie
    Ignored
    says:

    The death penalty cannot be considered on it’s own. If it were to be used it would need to become part of a wholesale change in sentencing for all crimes. Otherwise you’ll have a situation where it would be possible to “beat someone to within an inch of their live” and get only ten years for it. Quite a gap in sentencing when you consider that the victim might need constant medical attention for the rest of their life.

    What about killing someone through driving without due care or when under the influence of alcohol? It isn’t premeditated but a life has still been lost and a family will suffer that loss every bit as much as if the victim had been murdered in cold blood.

    All crimes where another person is affected would need to have their minimum and maximum sentences revisited before you can begin to consider the ultimate sanction in order for there to be some measure of proportion.

  33. aralston
    Ignored
    says:

    “Why not let the electorate vote on each individual case? If someone is found guilty of murder their sentence is put to a vote. A Yes vote sentences them to death and a No vote sentences them to life in prison.”

    perhaps because justice needs to be delivered without fear or favour

  34. Famous15
    Ignored
    says:

    My view is even more simplistic than this. I reject capital punishment because juries were returning perverse decisions . Murderers were being released because prosecutors refused to reduce the charge to culpable homicide in cases where the accused had generated public sympathy.

    Except for the worst cases eg Peter Manuel,McVeigh etc jurors are reluctant to condemn to death.

  35. James Caithness
    Ignored
    says:

    There are some pretty horrendous murders that have been carried out in this country. I too think if someone committed the murder they have no complaints about being executed.

    However I would vote against the death penalty being reinstated in this country. The reason for that is the police can’t be trusted. Over the years the police, have fabricated evidence a number of times, and later been proved to have done this.

    I spoke to an ex-policeman in a pub and I asked him if he had ever fitted someone up for a crime they did not commit. His answer was ”yes”. His justification was that they knew they had committed crimes that they had got away with.

    Because of this I do not see how execution can be allowed.

  36. Sandra
    Ignored
    says:

    The death penalty makes us all murderers.

  37. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    If we accept that the Justice system in Scotland, or anywhere, is imperfect and can never be the opposite, then legalised murder by execution can never be acceptable.

    Incorrect convictions for any non “capital” offence can in theory be reversed and sometimes are. After an execution, they can never be.

    BtP

  38. Andrew Walker
    Ignored
    says:

    Stu, sometimes you seem to be doing articles for the fun of it.

    On slow news days where there isn’t anything to rip the MSM a new one for the looming general election surely would dictate something more on message. Save these for the slow days between 15/16 elections. (Hopefully with enough MP’s of the right sort there shouldn’t be too many slow days though.)

  39. peter
    Ignored
    says:

    No chance, could we have the death penalty here in the Uk.
    This country is so corrupted it would almost be inevitable
    that people would be set up.. just think about this for a moment, not so long ago ram raiders would steal a car and then pick cigarette butts from the street and leave them in the car, for the police to find,!!!! DNA from the randomly picked up butts, would be checked. This was commonly done by crooks , to throw the police of the sent… how easy would it be to leave another person’s DNA after a crime has been committed. Way to easy to set someone up……….

  40. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    I am not with you.

    I do not believe in capital punishment, and one of my reasons is that which you give: it is wrong to kill innocent people. Killing two innocent people does not make it right.

    I understand that you are proposing this as a form of accountability for those who do support judicial murder, and I can see your point, most certainly. But if it is intended as a pragmatic approach to getting people to think things through in a way they do not do currently, then it seems to me you have to ask yourself why they do not. Opinions are not formed in a vacuum. We are well aware of the power of the media, and of other sources of influence. We are well aware that there are facts which are pretty certain but which do not prove effective in changing the minds of a lot of people

    Can you guarantee that those whose names are to be included in the lottery will be all of the people who vote yes? I believe that there will always be ways of making sure that the wealthy and privileged are not so included, just as they are not equally included in all other judicial processes. Will you be able to ensure that the elite are not “resident abroad” or “non domiciled” and therefore exempt? As with tax, for example? Will other countries extradite in such circumstances? I think not.

    As always, there is a simple, clear and obvious solution to every complex problem: and it is wrong

    Increasing personal accountability for the actions of the state is not popular when folk consider things like terror attacks promoted in response to our illegal wars, thought there are parallels. Nor do I think that objection is removed because this would be a result of direct democracy in the form or a referendum

    I am a big fan of democracy, don’t get me wrong. But it seems to me that the”tyranny of the majority” is a real problem and that is what necessitates a separate human rights agenda: some things should never be subject to a vote because there are wider moral considerations and 50,000 flies comes into play.

    Where there is the certainty of the death of some innocents, and we agree that there is such certainty, then the majority view must be overridden, IMO. There are not many fundamental issues of that sort. But I am convinced that there has to be a limit on democracy for those issues. This is the value of the human rights narrative. It is not simple when you get to the detail, but that is not a reason for abandoning it. One aim of your proposal is, after all, to get people to think realistically. Let us encourage thinking about fundamental human rights and how they apply, rather than this.

    I would not be exempt from personal responsibility if I lived in a state which had such a regime: neither would you nor any of us. Voting “no” is not enough: our names would also go into the lottery if we are to be consistent. Because at one more remove we are also responsible for the consequences of our political system in a democracy

    Sorry Rev, I am opposed

  41. Bobby King
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s not necessary to kill someone with every execution. Just make the selected person flip the switch. It’ll have the same effect. If they refuse, the killer gets life instead.

  42. lumilumi
    Ignored
    says:

    Interesting and thought-provoking idea about the lottery. I wonder how many would have the courage of their convictions and vote “yes” in such a scenario?

    But sorry, no go from me. I’m against the death penalty in any shape or form. Killing another human being in cold blood as a penalty is just abhorrent.

    Keeping convicted killers in prison for 14 years or whatever (and in particularly bad cases I’d want “life” to mean just that) is expensive but I think that’s a price worth paying.

    Life imprisonment is a terrible enough penalty: living out the rest of your life behind bars, with limited contact with the outside world (limited visits by your near and dear, limited access to TV/radio/the internet etc.), no hope of a “holiday”, ever. (OK, maybe to attend parent’s/spouse’s/child’s funeral under police escort.)

    These are thorny issues and I feel like I want to emulate my 5-year-old self and say: Why can’t everybody just be nice to everybody else and then we don’t have to think about all this.

  43. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Fiona

    Why be sorry?

  44. sinkmac
    Ignored
    says:

    As a ‘No’ I think this is unfair on Yes voters! (in that it would reduce their vote.) Which is a pity because it needs to be sorted out . As someone who believes in True or Direct Democracy – ie that the people have the right to propose and vote and amend policies – the first argument against this is ‘Oh you cant let the people decide on these matters as they would vote for the death penalty’ Which then becomes an obstacle to greater democracy.

    So what is way forward? We need more ideas – bring them on – as Peekay has done with their executioner suggestion. What would I do? Have the debate and if it is a Yes vote televise the execution with the proviso that as the hour drew nearer people could have the right to change their vote. Would there be a swing to No as people realised they might have blood on their hands? Dunno…but I would venture yes…

  45. Muscleguy
    Ignored
    says:

    @CyberNiall

    Back in New Zealand three words are enough to kybosh any argument in favour of the death penalty: Arthur Allan Thomas. He was convicted in the early ’70s of killing his neighbours (both were farmers) by shooting them through a window with a rifle and spent a long time in jail. Eventually it was proved detectives short of a suspect took cartridge cases from his farm and planted them below the window in question.

    The death penalty had not long been abolished, for the second time, and he would have been a prime candidate. Arthur Allan Thomas still lives, he lives on a farm in a different area that he bought with his compensation money.

    BTW NZ is also a good argument against the deterrent effect. In the ’60s one government abolished it, the next reinstated it and the next abolished it for good. The number of murders per year decreased after it was abolished the first time, increased after it was reinstated and fell again after the second abolition. I used those stats in a school debate on the subject. The school library had all the NZ govt yearbooks which amongst all sorts of other stuff held the murder rates.

  46. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @Bobby King

    There are many people who would love to do it. They would presumably be mostly yes voters in such a referendum. I am not so sanguine, nor do I see how it furthers increased fairness of the sort Rev Stu envisages. I also think that as the system becomes “normalised”, as it would, there would be fewer refusers over time. Might be wrong about that.

  47. Richardinho
    Ignored
    says:

    Not a fan of the death penalty. My perspective is that if you support the death penalty then either: you think the state could never make a mistake and execute an innocent person, OR: you do think the state could make such a mistake but you are happy about this.

  48. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    So we have a scenario where a president who has voted yes to the death penalty gets drawn out to be executed alongside the guilty man, however the president is in the middle of some very delicate negotiations that could (should he not be present to facilitate them) precipitate a world war,
    What takes precedence?
    the rule of law?
    or the prevention of a war in which millions may be killed?

  49. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @ john king

    No one person is that important, despite the current obsession with individualism and “leadership”

    But your point is a variation of my earlier one; how do you get the elite into the lottery

  50. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Bugger (the Panda)

    Because I really prefer it when I can agree with people?

    I know, I know….you would never guess from the way I post. Tis true, though 🙂

  51. jimnarlene
    Ignored
    says:

    Interesting. This would be one referendum I’d vote no. Too many innocent people have been executed, in the past. And I’m speaking as a relative, of a murder victim.

  52. deewal
    Ignored
    says:

    @Ghengis D’Midgies
    Your quite right. IDS is a murderer. Lets hang him.
    I would vote Yes because over the last few years I’ve come to realise that Yes never wins and I never win the Lottery.

    There is a simple method of executing a human being but when it was put to the US Yes to executions they turned it down because the victim wouldn’t suffer enough.

    That’s what people want. They’re fed up of football.

    They want Public Crucifixion at Wembley Stadium live on TV so they can gamble on which one of the criminals (or Innocents)dies first.
    A whole weekend of different methods like being eaten by lions and burning at the stake upside down under a slow fire.

    That is where our Civilization is going under the Worlds present Regimes.
    I’ll probably be one of the first convicted for writing things like this on the BAD Internet.

  53. Badger
    Ignored
    says:

    The biggest issue I would have with state sanctioned execution is the potential for its abuse by the state. If a state can declare no fault in executing innocent lives, who’s to say that they might not use their unaccountability to remove those who cause them problems or threaten the status quo.

  54. Willie John
    Ignored
    says:

    Bobby King @ 2:39

    Or give the condemned the option of flipping the switch. If they decline then they get life – and that means life, not 14 years or whatever.

  55. Robert Whyte
    Ignored
    says:

    Fred West. Can we all agree he should have been hanged!

  56. steveasaneilean
    Ignored
    says:

    If the penalty for murder is death and the definition of murder is the deliberate killing of someone then the capital punishment of someone is murder. It’s the only logical conclusion especially if an innocent person is executed.

    So it is only reasonable that the execution is carried out by someone randomly selected from those in favour of capital punishment. They would also have to accept that if it transpired that the person they executed was innocent then they, the executioner, would themselves face execution. That only seems fair to me.

    The killing of an innocent is never justified in my view.

    Moreover the defining characteristic of any justice system is that every sentence has the possibility of being reviewed should the person’s innocence subsequently be proved. For that reason alone there is no place for capital punishment in our society.

  57. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    I dont understand why people dont understand the logic in this article. It’s very straight forward, and as far as I can discern, is watertight. It might not be pleasant, but we should never back away from discussing important issues merely because they are not the stuff of so-called ‘polite society’.

    I’m glad I read this article, and I really dont care whether I read it on Wings or elsewhere. It was both creative and enlightening, and offered an airtight argument in a way that I had never seen expressed before. However you slice it, restoration of the death penalty is an important and topical political issue that we should all be discussing, for all the reasons in the article and more. I’m willing to bet that most of the people who responded positively to the poll have never really thought their position through with regard to it inevitably leading to the deaths of innocents, in much the same way as those who proclaim hang ’em, nuke ’em, bomb ’em fail to consider the inevitable collateral damage they are condoning, and the herd/lynch mob mentality they are displaying in doing so.

    For as long as critical thinking skills aren’t taught from early years, there will be a population that can be easily manipulated by the media and its sponsors.

  58. CyberNiall
    Ignored
    says:

    I never said that it would create 100% certainty. I just wondered if there is evidence to show that introducing the death penalty would increase the level of scrutiny and help decrease the conviction of innocent people.

    If the rule is to be ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ and the prosecutors give the death penalty when there ‘is doubt’, surely the prosecutors should be held responsible and not a random innocent person?

  59. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    If you deliberately kill someone, with malice aforethought, I don’t see why you shouldn’t forfeit your own life in return.

    That’s all very well, if the killer then takes his/her own life in atonement. It’s quite different if someone else decides to execute them, for the simple reason that if it is wrong to kill someone then it is wrong to kill anyone. Killing the murderer doesn’t make it better or cancel out what was done; it just makes the situation twice as bad.

    I agree with your other argument that capital punishment is unjustifiable because there is always a chance that an innocent person will be killed; but I would go further and say that capital is unjustifiable precisely because someone will be killed. All life is precious.

    Punish, rehabilitate, keep imprisoned in order to protect others – but do not commit the same crime as the murderer in the name of justice. That’s not justice. It’s revenge.

    By the way, I am going to be unfashionable here and make clear that as a Christian I believe in forgiveness, loving one’s neighbour and turning the other cheek. I’m not expecting others to agree with me or to do the same; but I would be dishonest and cowardly if I did not make clear that those beliefs underpin my attitude to this issue.

    And it seems to me that it’s precisely when principles are hardest to uphold (ie when someone you love has been hurt and you want to strike back at the person that hurt them) that it becomes most vital to uphold them; otherwise it’s not worth having them.

  60. davidb
    Ignored
    says:

    I assume the bold assertion of supporting State sanctioned judicial killing in the article is for the purpose of debate.

    I can think of 6 innocent Irish gentleman the mob would have seen murdered even, I suspect, in your sacrificial system. So how would we have resolved that? Would we have selected 12 Labour MP’s say, and executed them in reprisal of the 12 innocents taken?

    It is immoral to kill. It may be necessary in defence of your country, or to preserve your own life, but it is always wrong even so.

    I would campaign actively against any attempt to restore such barbarism.

    Admittedly on reading the 10 commandments, Im really only good for maybe 3 at most, but thou shalt not kill is one of those….

  61. MacBee
    Ignored
    says:

    Not only is the soap box pieces providing some interesting debate but it is also revealing how many people can read but not comprehend. How about “English comprehension and where we went wrong” for the next one?

    I like Peekay’s switch idea though sadly, I don’t think the general public would understand the implications until the first ‘winner’ is executed

  62. JLT
    Ignored
    says:

    I have to admit, Stuart, I was half way down the article, when you admitted ‘I have no problem with the death penalty’.

    Personally, I also have no problem with it, but would rather not see it implemented. For myself, and as stated in your article, the question that arises is what happens when we have the most heinous of crimes, but we have no clear murderer, but only some person who might have been there?

    For those, say like Adolf Hitler …not got a problem. I’m very happy for someone like him to be condemned to a state’s highest form of capital punishment due to his vast crimes. Same could be said of Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. However, that’s fine when we talk of those men who are now long deceased.

    But here is a question to test everyone’s morality. What happens when we say that ‘we should hang those who have the blood of millions on their hands’. Let’s try it out on someone who is still around and walking amongst us. What if we are talking about Tony Blair?

    What if we had concrete proof that he willingly, and knowingly ordered Britain’s part in the invasion of Iraq; knowing that it never had weapons of mass destruction, that it was going to be an illegal invasion, knowing that hundreds of thousands would die, that millions more would suffer through starvation, civil war, and loss of livelihood. What if it could be proven that Tony knew that invading Iraq was not only illegal, but was going to lead to insurmountable suffering? What happens if it was proven that he knew that he could make millions from the oil deals and all those business adventures that could be setup after the invasion?

    Say we have him in the Hague right now, and we just found him guilty. What would we do with him once found guilty. After all, his actions would be on a level with all those dictators from the past. Half a million dead. Millions caught up in a civil war. Starvation. Poverty. No livelihood, Orphans. Widows.

    He destroyed a nation. Question is …would we execute him?

    Chances are, you will say ‘No’. You will say that it is better to lock him up, and make sure he is never freed again. Do what we did to Rudolf Hess after 1945. A man who was a key member of the Nazi Party, and was placed into incarceration for the rest of his days.

    Like yourselves, I can understand the death penalty, and sometimes wish it on our worst. But the moral side within me says to lock the person away for good, and thus keep our ethics and morality to a level that we know that our nation should aspire too, and thus be a guiding light to the rest of the world, when it comes to ultimate justice.

  63. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    Incidentally, how are we going to ensure that there are no mistakes in the list of those to be included in the lottery? You know, given the whole argument is premised on the inevitability of mistakes in the judicial process? Who dies if someone is executed under these provisions and turns out to have voted “no” in the referendum?

  64. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @CyberNiall

    Prosecutors don’t “give the death sentence”. They don’t even decide guilt. That is juries,at least where the penalty is mandatorty: and that means you, whether you vote yes or no in the proposed referendum.

  65. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Natasha

    Well said. I am not a christian but I have much the same view of this, on other moral underpinnings

  66. Proud Cybernat
    Ignored
    says:

    I imagine Dim Jim would be in a bit of a pickle upon any such vote. You can just imagine the scene as Jim is about to cast his vote in the ‘Hang Em High Referendum’:
    .

    Should Joe Bloggs be hanged for the murder he committed?

    Dim Jim: “Naw! Oh–wait a minute. Aye! I mean, Naw! Oh wait–Aye! I mean YES!”
    .

    Are you prepared to place your name in tonight’s ‘Hang Em High Tumbola’?

    Dim Jim: “Feck Naw! I’ve ma expenses tae think aboot! Besides–last time I hanged someone oot tae dry she said I was just a Branch Office / Accounting Unit thingy.”
    .

    FWIW: I’m against capital punishment but thought-provoking article nonetheless.

  67. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    Bugger. Missed out the word ‘punishment’ in my second paragraph.

    davidb, 3pm
    I think you need to read the article again. Stu wasn’t actually supporting state sanctioned judicial killing, for one simple reason, which was that you can’t justify taking the risk that innocent people would be wrongly executed. You and I may have a different reason for being against it, but don’t accuse him of supporting it when he didn’t.

  68. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Fiona

    Do you like pink, and buses?

  69. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    Ian Brady, just one of many Serial killers, Yes or No?

  70. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Bugger (the Panda)

    Don’t like pink

    Do like buses

    Are you now going to accuse me of refusing to answer a simple question with a yes or no answer? I see that quite a lot in political discussion these days…..;)

  71. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    @
    Robert Whyte
    14 February, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Fred West. Can we all agree he should have been hanged!”

    No

    He should have been left in a prison to rot the rest of his natural life away. Each day he would have had to, or made to, consider the depravity of what he had done.

    If he was so imbalanced to have no comprehension of the profundity and wrongness of what he had done then, prison would have been the wrong place as well. Broadmoor or some other totally secure, more appropriate centre, without Jimmy Saville, would the next appropriate unit.

  72. Chitterinlicht
    Ignored
    says:

    Difficult one.

    Yes but….

    the UK cannot even organise an effective inquiry into child abuse so I have very little faith in the legal system getting the right person 100% when it comes to murder/death penalty

    our politicians engage in illegal wars that kill directly or indirectly 100’000’s of people but they are not subjected to trial and death penalty

    Most people are killed early by road accidents. Very few of these ever end in serious prison time.

    Most murders are domestic. What does it say about our society and abuse against women

    there is the danger of turning murderers into martyrs

    If they are dead you cannot study them to find out why they committed crimes and learn how to spot and prevent future murderers

    That said I could probably got the other way on a different day.

    Just not sure that the death penalty is an excuse for lazy justice and that the societies that engage in it are unlikely to be ones I want to live in.

  73. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    @Stoker 3.10pm
    No, for the reasons I outlined above.

  74. CyberNiall
    Ignored
    says:

    @muscleguy

    I’m not for the death penalty, I’m just being devil’s advocate.

    I think there is always too much corruption in authority and agree that one innocent person killed by the state is too many. Unfortunately it doesn’t take the death penalty for there to be state sponsored killings of innocent people every week.

    Does the cost taxpayers pay to encarcerate murderers make a difference to opinion?

  75. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    ‘The killing of an innocent is never justified in my view.”

    I’d make an exception for you if you post another comment with NO FUCKING PARAGRAPH BREAKS IN IT.

  76. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “I assume the bold assertion of supporting State sanctioned judicial killing in the article is for the purpose of debate.

    I can think of 6 innocent Irish gentleman the mob would have seen murdered even, I suspect, in your sacrificial system. So how would we have resolved that?”

    Have another go, and this time try reading the article properly.

  77. Ron
    Ignored
    says:

    In my opinion the whole thing is abhorrent and morally wrong under any circumstances. Where do you draw the line?

    Is it ok to execute someone who is mentally ill? What about if they ‘just’ had depression at the time of the crime? Is depression not a mental illness? Are some mental illnesses more ‘excecutable’ than others?

    The age of criminal responsibility in Scotland is eight. Is it ok to execute an eight year old? A twelve year old? How about a sixteen year old? Is it ok to execute someone the day after their 18th birthday? If not, why not?

    Is it ok to execute someone for murder? What about cases where an assault leaves the victim brain damaged and needing permanent care? Should society endorse the execution of those who commit armed bank robbery or kidnapping? What about causing death by dangerous driving? If not, why not? The victim of a dangerous and criminally negligent driver is just as dead as someone who’s been murdered.

    Proponents of the death penalty often say it should be reserved for “the most serious cases”. Is the murder of one person not serious enough? Should we execute someone who has killed three people? Ten people? One hundred people? Is it not doing a great wrong to a murder victim’s family and friends to introduce a sort of sliding scale of heinousness?

    This issue is repugnant and is something which should be kept as far away from the Indy cause as possible. In any case, as long as we are a member of the EU the death penalty can never be made legal and rightly so. To be honest I’m a bit disappointed at the editorial direction Wings has taken with the soapbox series so far.

  78. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Fiona says
    “No one person is that important, despite the current obsession with individualism and “leadership”

    OK we’re at the point of war erupting any minute, we have two possible candidates to negotiate a peace deal Nicola Sturgeon and Ed Miliband and Nicolas been selected for death by lottery, would you trust Miliband to prevent a war?

  79. Captain Caveman
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m out and about right now so can’t post substantively, but just to say very well said, Natasha, an excellent, thoughtful, well principled and brave post.

  80. Mac Tomas
    Ignored
    says:

    Interesting use of naked logic to undermine the death pen option. However I prefer the moral option. The death penalty is uncivilized & barbaric. Unfortunately it would seem over 60% of our fellows are prepared to be “partially civilized”

  81. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    What’s the assumed ‘error rate’ for execution of ‘innocents’ over the decades?

    Whatever it is, it’s way below collateral damage during war. Maybe keep the executions for scientifically proven murders and just stop war.

    Stuff the lottery idea… I’d be a contentious objector but fight violently if you came to my house to take me or one of mine. The whole idea sucks.

  82. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Fiona

    Not at all.

    I am just being a devillish Ursine advocate, or something.

  83. Dr Ew
    Ignored
    says:

    Very clever and beautifully constructed riposte to the capital punishment lobby.

    My opposition to the death penalty comes from a slightly different place, however. Why hand even greater power to an already venal and corrupt state?

    Our legal system – Scotland’s but also true of any legal system – is so pitted with flaws, open to manipulation and abuse by those in positions of power that the “ultimate sanction” is simply far too risky to implement. In my book what is probably the famous criminal case ever tried under Scots Law led to the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi under highly dubious and politically influenced circumstances.

    No state, not even a future independent Scotland, should have the power to order the killing of its own citizens, regardless of the process.

  84. davidb
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Natasha

    Sorry, I re-read it, and it clearly states

    I have no problem with the death penalty. If you deliberately kill someone, with malice aforethought, I don’t see why you shouldn’t forfeit your own life in return.

    I made the assumption that he wasn’t suggesting vigilante lynchings, but rather that some sort or due process would be adhered to.

  85. KennyG
    Ignored
    says:

    @Cyc 1.22pm

    “If you get yourself into a situation where you’re accused of murder then you have to have done something wrong.”

    Not true.

    Imagine sitting at home with two friends, and one turns round and kills the other one. It’s highly likely that you’d be accused of murder despite not having done anything.

    There are many cases of completely innocent people being accused of murder. Normally found guilty on the front pages before a ball’s even kicked.

  86. steveasaneilean
    Ignored
    says:

    @Rev. Stuart Campbell – harsh!

    But guilty as charged and promise not to do it again.

  87. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    It makes me laugh that most humans argue against killing man but draw a line somewhere with what animal its okay to kill…

    Elephants
    Lions
    Buffalo
    Deer
    Horses
    Dogs
    Cats
    Rabbits
    Squirrels
    Rats
    Fish
    Crabs
    Blue-bottles
    Flies
    Midges
    Worms
    Mosquitoes

    Wheres your line?

    And is it okay for food and leather goods?

  88. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @ john king

    Your elaboration does not help

    You could negotiate the peace deal if it comes to it: or me: or anyone. Individuals just don’t matter that much, IMO.

    This is just like the argument used to justify torture: the terrorist in custody and the ticking bomb. It just does not happen in the real world, and it is a specious proposition designed to justify the indefensible

  89. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    Bugger (the Panda) says:
    14 February, 2015 at 3:15 pm
    @
    Robert Whyte
    14 February, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    ” Fred West. Can we all agree he should have been hanged!”

    No

    “He should have been left in a prison to rot the rest of his natural life away.”
    __________________

    And is it right that perfectly law abiding taxpayers should be expected to pay for this monsters keep and relatively comfortable lifestyle?

    btw, Fred West hanged himself, allegedly.

  90. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    14 February, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    “‘The killing of an innocent is never justified in my view.”

    I’d make an exception for you if you post another comment with NO FUCKING PARAGRAPH BREAKS IN IT.”

    Come on Rev

    Let him have it!

  91. liz g
    Ignored
    says:

    Robert White@ 2.57
    No I for one can’t agree Fred West should have been hanged

    I spent a few hours chatting to a lady a couple of years ago.
    Turn’s out she was a prison nurse and was on duty the night Myra Hindly died.
    From what she said I am more than confident hanging would have been to good for her.
    Society did in her case extract a form of revenge and did not lose its humanity in the process.

  92. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @Stoker

    Yes it is right that society should pay to keep people in prison. Many things do not come down to money, though you would hardly guess that these days

  93. Nuada
    Ignored
    says:

    A random person executed alongside the convicted man? Bit extreme, Rev, especially considering such random executions take place every day. In the UK, there are approximately 2000 deaths by road accident every year, and each one of them is entirely random. It’s all very well saying that these are not intended deaths, but actually, they are. We know that despite the best efforts, there are always going to be a number of road deaths every year, and even if we cut them in half, that’s still a thousand or so per annum, and we all tacitly enter our names in the lottery every time we cross the road, or get in or car, and we all tacitly accept the deaths of others as the price we pay for the convenience of motor transport: nobody even thinks of banning the car to save those lives. And that’s just roads. People die from electrocution but we don’t ban electricity; they die from gas leaks, but we don’t ban gas and there are a thousand other ways that modern conveniences kill us, and nobody is campaigning on a luddite platform.

    Here’s an alternative idea – let each “yes” voter’s name go into a lottery, not for execution themselves, but to act as the executioner. It’s one thing calling for the rope in the abstract, it’s another matter having to drop someone through the trapdoor yourself.

  94. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    And leaving aside the Legal system for a moment…

    Supposing your whole family was brutally raped, tortured and murdered. Is there really anyone who would not feel a murderous intent toward the perpetrators? 🙂

    The whole capital punishment debate is an exercise in community gum beating. Imagine all these innocents that are in jail for twenty years having been wrongly accused and found guilty.

  95. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Now here is different tack.

    If an innocent one of mine was killed by someone, would I be happy to kill them, “with my own bare hands.”

    Probably, but I would have to accept the same judgement that the person who killed mine would have had to face.

    BtP

  96. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m not entirely sure of the wisdom of anyone invoking the ‘good book’ here. A close inspection of it reveals quite a lot of executions for quite a lot of crimes, from beginning to end. And for what it’s worth, the Decalogue categorically does not say ‘thou shalt not kill’, that’s a lazy and careless translation of the original Hebrew, which is ‘thou shalt not murder’, a quite different injunction, one which allows those who accepted it to carry out the horrific proscriptions of Deuteronomy.

    On a different note, one good thing about being a European Citizen is that my right to life is enshrined in the EU’s Charter of fundamental rights and the European Convention Human Rights, which prohibit all EU partners the use of the death penalty in their domestic law. Yay for Europe.

  97. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    @Bugger the Panda

    Hence the reason the state needs to apply punishment commensurate with the crime.

  98. Terry
    Ignored
    says:

    Despite the horrors of murder and the grief of relatives and the awfulness of these people getting out after 14 years I would always vote no. This post sums up the best case/ argument against the death penalty I have ever read. It’s outstanding. As is ghengis’ point about IDS. How many people have been driven to suicide due to austerity?

    Keep em coming. I Am really enjoying this regular Saturday debate / discussion. Cheers, rev.

  99. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “In the UK, there are approximately 2000 deaths by road accident every year”

    *headdesk*

    Sometimes I really don’t know why I bother 🙁

  100. Tattie-bogle
    Ignored
    says:

    Any state that sanctions the death penalty should be ashamed . I can’t remember who said this “society is judged by it.s treatment of criminals” If there is no room for forgiveness what is the point?

  101. Croompenstein
    Ignored
    says:

    I know it’s a serious topic but I always think of this whenever the death penalty is discussed…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7zDebveHeM

  102. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Wingman 2020 says:

    For food OK, but for fashion and vanity, no.

    If something is already killed for food, the making shoes and clothes seems sort of logical after the first caveat.

  103. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “Wheres your line?”

    Tastiness.

    We are designed as a species to eat meat, as are a great many other species. It seems comical that you cite “lions” in a list of animals apparently intended to castigate carnivores. Try getting one of them to live on carrots.

  104. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Hunger Games, folks?

  105. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “If something is already killed for food, the making shoes and clothes seems sort of logical after the first caveat.”

    Yep. I abhor the killing of animals for purely decorative purposes, but if it’s getting eaten anyway then it’s only right and proper to use every last bit of it that can be put to some useful purpose.

  106. Barbara McKenzie
    Ignored
    says:

    @Richardinho

    That’s it in a nutshell.

  107. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    Fiona says:
    “Yes it is right that society should pay to keep people in prison.”

    I never asked that, Fiona.
    My fault for not making it clear enough.
    I was talking about serial killers, not garden-variety criminals.

    But given your answer, why is it right?

  108. dennis mclaughlin
    Ignored
    says:

    For all these members of society convicted of sexual crimes I would quite gladly wield the two handed axe.
    We have no deterrents for any crime,people are fed up with this kid glove treatment of these monsters.

  109. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @Stoker

    Because the alternative is not keeping them in prison (or in a secure mental health facility)

  110. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Stu

    “It seems comical that you cite “lions” in a list of animals apparently intended to castigate carnivores.”

    Selection was more or less random, although I selected Lions because there are people who think it’s all right to hunt them.

  111. heedtracker
    Ignored
    says:

    We focus way too much time on the USA because our imperial masters want us to be like the USA but “Let him have it Chris” is etched in my napper for good. Saying it, got Derek Bentley hanged but they argued he was shouting at the shooter to hand over the gun. Picture a UK where Ruth Ellis is hanged.

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

    Death penalty puts the power of life and death back in the hands of the UK judiciary which is just one of several powers they can never have again. Exact same goes for the electorate. Or look at how UK establishment pedophilia investigation has either fallen apart or been ignored right at the top of the UK elite.

    If you’re for the death penalty consul yourself knowing that every year UK jails kill far more than were ever hanged in modern history. Its a very British horror basically. As long as the right sort go unaffected though.

  112. Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Ignored
    says:

    “I selected Lions because there are people who think it’s all right to hunt them.”

    Indeed there are, and those people should be fed TO the lions, saving a few gazelle in the process. Win-win.

  113. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @ dennis mclaughlin.

    I have been the victim of a flasher twice in my life. Most women I know have been the victim of that sex crime at least once. Killing them all will certainly help to solve the population problem. However I prefer my friend’s response, which was “put it away, it’s no very bonny”, on the whole

  114. Kirsty
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve never understood why state sanctioned murder is somehow better than an individual murdering someone. Murder is murder, surely. It also scares the spine out of me that anyone would even consider giving the state so much power; do we really trust them not to abuse that power at some point? Also, since they can’t even be trusted with our personal data surely trusting them with our lives is a tad risky!

    I also don’t think it’s just about the potential for innocent people to be wrongfully executed. I think it’s about being a decent society which means not doing the very thing that you’re punishing someone else for. Maybe instead of calling for state sanctioned murder some of our taxes should be spent on trying to find out why people commit such crimes in the first place and doing something about it like having services which could either prevent offending in the first place or reoffending; things like support for people, research, mental health services, rehabilitation programmes, education, etc.

  115. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    @Stu

    “apparently intended to castigate carnivores”

    Not at all… but intended to suggest that all life is sacred.

    The point I was making is that humans feel that all human life is sacred to the point of being paralysed at the thought of ‘killing an innocent’ by execution. But animals… well they are so far apart from us right?

    As regards being carnivores as a justification? In Belgium and France horse meat is perfectly acceptable. In Korea dog meat is acceptable. Most people in the UK may disagree.

    Perhaps I could have added Dolphins, Baby Seals and Pigs on my list.

  116. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    Anyone eat a McDonalds now and again?

    Ever considered that the meat is halal and how it is killed?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5FK6vPtdjE

  117. KennyG
    Ignored
    says:

    Maybe on the less extreme side, you could have a referendum, with all those in favour being added to a register.

    Then, like dury duty, they could be picked at random and ordered to carry out the executions.

    Or, the dury in the case could be duty bound to carry out the executions themselves.

  118. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Stoker 4:18 pm

    Can you define a serial killer?

    Is it someone who kills more than one person, during the one unique indent or not, for example?

    Or is it someone who is (obviously?) deranged and sets out to make a series of killings, sexual or not?

  119. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    @Stu

    “Indeed there are, and those people should be fed TO the lions, saving a few gazelle in the process. Win-win.”

    That’s a form of execution I suspect. 🙂

  120. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    @Stu

    “Yep. I abhor the killing of animals for purely decorative purposes, but if it’s getting eaten anyway then it’s only right and proper to use every last bit of it that can be put to some useful purpose.”

    Be sure that in our society this doesn’t hold true. Animals fattened for meat don’t necessarily make great shoes. And snakes and crocodiles, which can technically be eaten, can make great handbags.

  121. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    @ wingman 2020 says:
    14 February, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    “Anyone eat a McDonalds now and again?

    Ever considered that the meat is halal and how it is killed?”

    Wingman, that is a different question, and one which I agree with you, but nothing to do with State execution.

    I am not going to go into the obvious cul de sacs from your argument regarding bullfighting, cock fighting, Spanish local festivals with donkeys and half buried chickens.

    Different topic.

  122. David
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Bugger (the Panda) at 3:47 pm –

    “Come on Rev

    Let him have it!”

    Today’s best comment, but I think you could get charged with incitement, cos you’re egging him on! 🙂

  123. Cuilean
    Ignored
    says:

    My grandfather’s grandfather was the first man to be hung at Duke Street prison. Two gamekeepers were shot & killed behind Port Glasgow and the police questioned known poachers. One known poacher then turned ‘informer’ and stated that my great great grandfather and another man had carried out the shootings. My ancestor protested his innocence and that he suspected the police ‘informer’ was the guilty person. There was no evidence against my grandfather, no gun (my grandfather and his friend never owned guns) found and no motive. My grandfather also provided an alibi but this was pooh-poohed by the judge. The police needed to find someone guilty so my grandfather and his friend were hung by executioner Marbrand at Duke Street for a crime they did not commit. My grandfather, (now dead) his whole life never talked about it. He knew his grandfather very well, of course. If the subject came up within the family, he left the room.

  124. tony O'neill
    Ignored
    says:

    As long as there are still crooked cops innocents would still die at their hands like they have done in the past.How about this idea instead,execute their family members instead of the perpetrator??.

  125. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    Wingman said:

    ‘The point I was making is that humans feel that all human life is sacred to the point of being paralysed at the thought of ‘killing an innocent’ by execution. But animals… well they are so far apart from us right?’

    Even as an atheist, I can defend the principle that all sentient human life is sacred in simple moral terms. We made it sacred by loving our children, by working tirelessly for peace, justice and democracy, by having been given the tools to fight disease and famine by our very best minds. Altruism is a part of our genetic code, and we are not even the only species on this planet capable of it; higher primates, particularly Mountain Gorillas, also display a complex system of moral rules, not at all unlike our own. It’s a necessity for any complex society.

    We abhor killing because it is wrong. It is a very short step from there to abhorring revenge killing, which is what capital punishment is. And no amount of verbal gymnastics can manouevre you around the issue of wrongful convictions. In a society that uses the death penalty, that conviction cannot be undone.

  126. Marie clark
    Ignored
    says:

    Rev the very thought of your random lottery sent chills up my spine.
    I am a very definate NO when it comes to the death penalty.

    When you watch some of the Americans talking about someone who has murdered their family member, my son/daughter is not here anymore,he must be made to pay. That to me is not justice, it is vengance. Sometimes they strike me as not being to far away from a lynch mob.

    I’m with Fiona very much against.

    The Timothy Evans case is one that we all know of. The poor man was hanged for crimes that he had not commited. Years later the state gave him a posthumous pardon, what the hell good was that?The man was dead, you can’t bring him back and say sorry. At least if he had been jailed he could have been set free and continued with his life.

  127. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Wingman 2020

    The point I was making is that humans feel that all human life is sacred to the point of being paralysed at the thought of ‘killing an innocent’ by execution. But animals… well they are so far apart from us right?

    I draw the line certainly at other apes, for reasons of disease transmission and other domesticised animals, like dugs, budgies and cats.

    However I believe that bananas have have over 50% (maybe a lot more) of the same DNA as humans. God knows just how close Orang Utangs are to us. They are pretty damn close to being fully sentinent beings manifestinging many of our fundamental human traits.

    By the way, I have eaten lion, elephant, giraffe, kudu and croc in South Africa at the largest buffet in the World with over 100 options available. I drew the line at the mealie grubs but my mate went there and was sick as a dog for two days.

    I was assured that the table was sourced from the national parks and was the product of deliberate culling to maintain a balanced ecology.

    Yep, I ate the caste of the Lion King,

  128. Paula Rose
    Ignored
    says:

    Two points

    What is so great about life that an early exit is a deterrent?

    I would rather find out what drives homicidal maniacs and genocidal despots – something that would be impossible if they were dead.

  129. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    @davidb 3.41pm

    You’re quite right, Stu did state that he had no problem with the death penalty per se, but he then went on to explain why it couldn’t be justified, for the reason I gave in my post.

    I was distinguishing between his personal feelings –

    ie if you take someone’s life then there is no inherent problem with your own life being forfeit –

    and his polemical statement about the problem with incorporating that as part of the judicial process –

    ie you can never guarantee that mistakes will not be made, and therefore it can’t be justified because even one mistake is one too many.

  130. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    @Paula Rose

    I can just imagine the interrogative techniques you would use to discover the answers to your questions! 🙂

    (By the way, are you planning to bid for Angela Constance’s shoes? I would have thought they were a bit tacky for you, but Ronnie Anderson seems to think otherwise!)

    In my opinion (as an infant teacher) you can predict with 99% certainty who will end up in prison by the age of 18 . . . (give me the child until he is 7 and I will give you the man, and all that jazz).

  131. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    Panda says:
    “Can you define a serial killer?”

    Google it, you’ll get a far more detailed explanation than i can give but generally speaking i think the official definition is something closer to your 2nd option, with a minimum of 2or3 victims.

  132. Robert Louis
    Ignored
    says:

    Many of the points above were raised in the now well known movie ‘a short film about killing’, which the director if I remember correctly partly described it as showing the senslessness of a brutal street murder, followed by state sanctioned murder – the idea being they are essentially the same thing. Apparently part of the motivation for making the film was that in Poland at point of execution, the victim/prisoner was told he was being hanged in the names of Poland (or the Polish state/people).

    It is an interesting film, which I have often thought those who favour state sanctioned murder (‘execution’) should watch.

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

    Too many innocent people have been killed by state sanctioned murder (execution) in many countires including this one. Killing is killing, no matter how fancy you make it, or how many officials get involved. The fact remains that should anybody kill an animal in the USA using the crappy, cruel, botched techniques currently employed in the USA for state sanctioned murder (executions) (it took an agonising 43 minutes to kill an Oklahoma prisoner/victim recently by lethal injection – ultimately he died from a heart attack), they would likely be prosecuted or jailed.

  133. Dr Jim
    Ignored
    says:

    Now i could without hesitation if attacked or say a burgler cut off their head, shoot them, bludgeon them to death with a heavy object, but what i could’nt do was be the guy who throws the switch for a government who might be wrong and by association make me wrong, if you want the man dead Mr President or Mr Prime Minister you’d have to do it yourself so that later i, we the people hold the right people to account
    So i think what i’m saying is, who wants to make the decisions then, i don’t.
    I just realised i made myself look like a possible premeditated murderer, so if it ever happens, who volunteers to kill me
    Woa!! slow down folks, no need to queue…

  134. Robert Louis
    Ignored
    says:

    Wingman 2020,

    I am one person, who being a meat eater, will not knowingly eat halal (a process banned in the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium, as it is unecessarily cruel).

    Anytime I see the sign in a takeaway, I just don’t go in. It is also one of the reasons I haven’t eaten many indian takeaways in recent years as most now seem to be halal. I do think any meat or meat product produced by halal, should have a big red label on it, so buyers can have a choice.

  135. Taranaich
    Ignored
    says:

    Jings, you didn’t half pick a tough follow-up, and on Valentine’s to boot! Makes the Alcohol License look like policy on biscuit tins.

    I have no problem with the death penalty. If you deliberately kill someone, with malice aforethought, I don’t see why you shouldn’t forfeit your own life in return. After all, it’s not like your victim is going to be released from being dead after a few years of good behaviour in their grave, is it?

    Something I observe (because I’m a big sappy poet, me) is that a murderer effectively kills twice. First is the victim, but in a way, the murderer also murders themselves. They murder the precocious child who could have done anything; they murder the teenager with the whole world ahead of them; they murder the possibility of who they could be. After they take a life, they have robbed the world not only of that very real life, but also themselves, in a roundabout sort of way. A sort of theoretical suicide.

    Wee Charlie Manson was not a monster at the age of 8. Baby Adolf Hitler was not a tyrant in the pram. Anders Brievik was not a murderer in high school. The moment they made the decision to take a life, they murdered not only the people they killed, but the people they could have been.

    (This is all a bit abstract, but hey, you started it with this Lottery business!)

    And I entirely accept that murderers can, in many cases, be rehabilitated and turned back into productive members of society. But why bother? It takes years of work and huge amounts of money, which could be better spent on people in need who haven’t murdered anyone. Do we want to send the message that you can jump the queue for a social worker with a quick bit of homicide? And why take the risk that you haven’t done the job properly, and that they’ll kill again after all?

    I think those years of work and huge amounts of money are worth it, personally. For all I’ve said about murderers being multiple-killers, that also extends to the possibility of redemption. There is no forgiveness or true clemency for murder, but that doesn’t mean they can’t attempt it. Better to strive to improve yourself and fail, than not to try at all.

    The names of everyone who votes “Yes” to the retention or restoration of capital punishment must be recorded and entered into a lottery. Every time a criminal is put to death, a name will be drawn at random from the list and executed alongside them, with no exceptions or appeals.

    My objection is “no man is an island.” A scheme like this has far-reaching consequences for people who vote “No” as well as “Yes.” There will, in all likelihood, be a broad range of Yes and No voters across society – likely among families. Let’s say there’s a family where the seven children and mother are No, but the father is a Yes, and he is selected. It’s all tough luck for him, but what about the rest of this family? They didn’t ask for their father/husband to be taken from them, possibly imposing a financial burden on them based solely on his decision, even though he committed no crime. I’d suppose some sort of state compensation might be in issue, but it still means you’re depriving a wife and children of their loved one because of something he did.

    Then you have to think of other things. What if a highly trained, successful doctor whose skills are without par votes No – do we deprive the world of a great talent because of a vote? What about a politician, which would necessitate an election for their successor and hundreds of pounds of spending and weeks of time? What if someone changed their mind after the referendum (to either side), how would that work? What if a beaurocratic mistake a la Brazil selected the wrong person?

    It might sound like I’m being critical – like you, I doubt such a referendum would return a yes – but I’m just thinking out ideas for a kickass dystopian science-fiction story. 🙂

  136. jeremy the lawyer
    Ignored
    says:

    As long as we have an adversarial system we cannot have the death penalty. A good lawyer can use their skills to create doubt where not exists or remove it when it should be there. That is our job. A persons life can’t be based on the showmanship of another individual.

    The other problem is that the law isn’t about revenge. Killing someone doesn’t bring back a murdered person or unrape you. It also won’t automatically make people feel better because they will focus on the revenge and not get on with trying to out their life back together which is hard enough. The cost of the death penalty in a financial sense is also way more expensive than life imprisonment simply due to the appeal processes involved.

    The answer should be tougher sentences, better opportunities for people to avoid crime, early intervention in people and children demonstrating potential future criminal behaviour etc.

    And on a side note if I’m responsible for defending someone’s life I want paid a lot more than £45 an hour legal aid rates

  137. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Stoker says:
    14 February, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Panda says:
    “Can you define a serial killer?”

    Google it, you’ll get a far more detailed explanation than i can give but generally speaking i think the official definition is something closer to your 2nd option, with a minimum of 2or3 victims.

    So, people who have really deep and fundamentally mentally disturbed should be euthaised?

    They are a sub life, aren’t they, not worthy of sharing the same air as?

    Who decides?

    Remember please my post above about me and mine.

  138. ronnie anderson
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Natasha now now Natasha dont be getting jealous Paula Rose is a very colourful lady & very adventurous in fashion,& what lady can desist designer shoes.

  139. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    Rev writes:
    “The names of everyone who votes “Yes” to the retention or restoration of capital punishment must be recorded and entered into a lottery. Every time a criminal is put to death, a name will be drawn at random from the list and executed alongside them, with no exceptions or appeals.”

    I think you’ve got the basis of a very good movie there.
    Something to rival Would You Rather and better than The Purge.
    🙂

  140. Nuada
    Ignored
    says:

    There are times when the good reverend’s command of spin qualifies him for membership of the Labour Party. The “everybody knows” dismissal aside, I still don’t know why tacitly accepting 2000 deaths a year as a price worth paying for the car is different from tacitly accepting the deaths of innocent people on the gallows as a price worth paying for law and order. Does he?

  141. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    @Dr Jim, 5.28pm

    When I was 8 months pregnant with my third child, I came home and found a burglar in the house. I was furious!

    Would you believe, I tried to shut him in the bedroom so I could call the police? Needless to say, that didn’t work too well, and he threw me about a bit and then put his arm round my neck, held his hand over my mouth and threatened to kill me if I didn’t let him go! (He still called me lady, though, so he hadn’t forgotten all his manners).

    I pointed out that I couldn’t stop him, so he ran off down the stairs with quite a lot of my possessions in MY holdall (which he had claimed was his), frightening my three and two year olds half to death on the way. He stopped to try and pull my handbag off me, while still threatening to kill me if I followed him.

    The nice lady from Victim Support came round the next day and was quite surprised when I said that if I ever found him I’d take a baseball bat to him. Eventually I calmed down a bit and remembered I was supposed to love my enemy and turn the other cheek, etc. It took a while, though.

    Anyway, I’d have been in a queue behind my husband, my father and my three older brothers.

    He managed to miss my engagement ring while he was rifling through my jewellery box, so he can’t have been all that bright.

  142. Ron Maclean
    Ignored
    says:

    When I encounter supporters of the death penalty I think of the alleged misdeeds of Lord Goddard (Lord Chief Justice of England 1946-1958) and I wonder if their reasoning is above suspicion.

  143. heedtracker
    Ignored
    says:

    Paula Rose says:
    14 February, 2015 at 5:09 pm
    Two points

    What is so great about life that an early exit is a deterrent?

    Not catching 50 Shades of Grey movie Paula Rose:D

  144. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jeremy the lawyer

    And on a side note if I’m responsible for defending someone’s life I want paid a lot more than £45 an hour legal aid rates

    I’m responsible for shaping the future adults of our society on a daily basis – teaching them not just how to read, write, add/subtract etc, but how to play nicely, share, take turns, look after other people, and question authority (apart from mine of course).

    More importantly than all of this, however, my foremost responsibility is to ensure that they are safe from harm and properly looked after. To do that, I will go up against anyone and everyone who gets in my way, regardless of whether they are my head teacher or the chief executive of the local education authority. It’s what we are all required to do by law and by virtue of our humanity.

    For that I am paid the equivalent of about £20 per hour. I should be paid more, but society doesn’t actually value what I do. I don’t stop doing it because of that, however; I do it because it’s the best way I know of doing something useful and because I love it.

    What’s your motivation?

  145. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    KennyG

    I think I’ve told you before, it’s ‘jury’ not ‘dury’.

    That’s what you get for saying that if a woman is drunk, it’s not really rape.

  146. Alastair Naughton
    Ignored
    says:

    Sorry Rev, but I disagree with your fundamental point. I think the death penalty is wrong per se. No ifs, no buts. It can NEVER be justified. It debases all humanity, and can do lifelong psychological damage to the executioner as well. I’m with Fiona on this, in that it should not even be open for debate. If it is wrong to take a life it is wrong, end of story. An eye for an eye leaves both people blind. And the thing is, it brings no relief to the relatives of the victims. That is quite apart from the very valid point you make about wrongful convictions. This is just another reason why the death penalty can never ever be justified. Can you imagine the outcry over the Birmingham 6 or Guildford 4 if the death penalty had been around at that time?

  147. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    regarding

    “Wha dare meddle wae me?”

    We were at a wedding at the Co-operative Halls ( No Danny Alexander jokes please) and had to walk home after. It was a 25 minute walk and we set off with my Dad following at the rear. It was the late ’50’s

    It was soon obvious that two types were shadowing us and my Dad told us to move ahead quicker and he, sort of disappeared.

    He appeared about 5 minutes later with some blood splatters on his clothes, much to the horror of my Mother, but she somehow bottled it until we were home and then the dam burst.

    I have no idea to this day what happened then or after but I know my Dad was well connected with local polis.

    My Dad was Clark Kent and had been a VR RAF airframe and engine engineer during war, eventually assigned to the Para Regiment. He had received para training and his jon was to fly in the trailing glider in case there was a simple problem which would have endangered the two planes. After the glider had landed he was left with gun and had to fight his way out and back with the Paras.

    He never went to Arnhem, because he fell off a Lancaster whilst working on the engine and went deaf in one ear for a period.

    Me or mine.

    Simple

  148. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    Panda says:
    “So, people who have really deep and fundamentally mentally disturbed should be euthaised?”

    Oh no, i would much rather see the latest cosmetic or chemical invention being tested on the eyes of some serial killer than on the eyes of some defenceless creature.

    Much more accurate results, don’t ya think!
    😉

  149. Kevin Evans
    Ignored
    says:

    Too many times have guilty been found innocent after years of incarceration. That allow makes the death penalty something that should never be allowed

  150. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    @Nuada

    You’re making an apples and oranges argument. Precisely no one is arguing for banning cars, or the death penalty; it’s a discussion about whether it should be re-introduced, which is a quite different proposal, and one that cannot happen for as long as the UK remains in the EU.

    You accuse the Rev of ‘tacitly accepting road deaths’ (which he does not), while arguing for a proposal whereby YOU are tacitly accepting the wrongful conviction and murder of innocents at the hands of the state as some kind of macabre ‘price worth paying’.

    By taking your argument to it’s logical conclusion, even society’s return to gathering nuts and berries still wouldn’t remove the chance of ‘accidental death’. By not re-introducing the death penalty, what we are consciously doing is preventing one more thing in this world from causing death. Surely a worthy cause, by your own logic?

  151. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Stoker says:
    14 February, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Panda says:

    Oh no, i would much rather see the latest cosmetic or chemical invention being tested on the eyes of some serial killer than on the eyes of some defenceless creature.

    Much more accurate results, don’t ya think!
    😉

    Yea, but that is torturous vengeance?

    Back to the dish best taken cold, so beloved by Margaret Thatcher.

    🙂

  152. ronnie anderson
    Ignored
    says:

    A Englishman A Irishman A scotsman
    Were due to be hung,they would be cut down after 15mins, but were given the choice & method of hangin.

    The Englishman I want hung with piano wire as I loved playing the piano.

    The Irishman I want hung with fiddle string cause I loved playing the fiddle.

    The wee Scotsman awe fur fuck sake ah never learned tae play oanything, but I want a 8ft drop an 14ft of hairystring.

    All were hung on the same day,the question is no whit wan survived.

    But whit wan read Wings Over Scotland.

  153. jeremy the lawyer
    Ignored
    says:

    Natasha

    If my motivation was cash there are several other things I could be doing. I agree teachers are underpaid. They make about the same many criminal defence lawyers (although less than the hourly rate charged by a hairdresser and some garage chains – not that the staff get to see any of that money)

    My motivation for starting the job was to ensure justice was done. After a decade I’ve realised that is pointless when courts pride themselves on conviction rates rather than the correct administration of justice and the governments position is to pay lawyers more to get people to plead guilty early rather than go to trial. So now my motivation is simply to try to work less than a ten hour day and not let the horrible things I’ve seen ruin my views on the species, something that gets harder by the day.

    But on point you how stupid and borderline incompetent the judicial system is in this country you cannot be for the death penalty. And the government responsible for it are not any better when it comes to drafting clear and competent legislation. We had Kenny mckaskill as the justice secretary for 7 years. Even the snp kept him in the cupboard for the duration of the referendum for fear he would open his mouth.

  154. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    @Bugger the Panda

    “Anyone eat a McDonalds now and again?

    Ever considered that the meat is halal and how it is killed?”

    Wingman, that is a different question, and one which I agree with you, but nothing to do with State execution.

    On the contrary, I believe it has everything to do with how humans value and justify life and death.

    Here’s the thing. Humans wax lyrically about human life being sacred. Imagine! The horror of killing an innocent man.

    Today we kill animals to eat meat. Before that we killed other men for meat (cannibalism), a few tribes still do. Maybe that’s progress.

    But if you argue that taking human life is so fundamentally wrong, you have to look at animals as well.

    If you argue that it’s all to do with the ‘possibility of executing an innocent’ because the punishment ‘cannot be reversed’ – I’d argue that 20 years of your life in prison cannot be reversed either.

    And I’d further argue, that if anyone came home one night and found Hannibal Lectur frying one of their family with fava beans, it’s probably best the state took care of his punishment rather than the victim or a lynch mob.

  155. Conan_the_Librarian
    Ignored
    says:

    Missed all this, bah.

    Fred West did die by hanging. Obviously he did it himself, perhaps with the aid of a little blind eye on the part of his gaolers though.

  156. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Ronnie Anderson

    Obviously the answer is ‘Murphy’.

  157. SquareHaggis
    Ignored
    says:

    There are other implications. Try looking thru Gary Gilmores eyes

    http://tinyurl.com/k3vvsy4

  158. frazer allan whyte
    Ignored
    says:

    Natasha puts it very clearly – but I would also add, as a Christian, that we are also called to humility and need to admit that we are not omniscient. That’s why judgement over life and death belong to God alone (never could figure out how atheists justify whatever their take is on such issues).

    Being 100% sure that someone should or should be “extinguished” is sheer arrogance.

  159. Paula Rose
    Ignored
    says:

    (ronnie honey – superb)

  160. Truth
    Ignored
    says:

    Of course sometimes murderers do society a service. Not all victims are “innocent”.

  161. wingman 2020
    Ignored
    says:

    @Robert Louis
    “I am one person, who being a meat eater, will not knowingly eat halal”

    Lets hope you don’t do McDonalds, Burger King or Pizza Express.

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/may/07/halal-meat-restaurant-menus-humane-slaughter

  162. Paula Rose
    Ignored
    says:

    @ frazer allan whyte – which god are you referring to dear?

  163. Andy-B
    Ignored
    says:

    There should be no place for the execution of murderers convicted or not, in this day and age, what does it say of humanity, that we need to see the convicted person die, to feel justice has been done.

    Yes it cost money to house feed and keep convicted murderers, but isn’t that a price worth paying to strive towards a civilised, and better society.

    I’m not advocating giving murderers an easy time of it, they deserve to be punished, and punished hard, but if we continue to execute those who kill, then in reality we haven’t moved on very far from our forefathers, and their attitude towards capital punishment.

  164. Truth
    Ignored
    says:

    Not only did Fred West allegedly commit suicide, so too did his brother.

    You have to wonder who was protected by their “suicides”. Especially in light of all the establishment revelations of late.

  165. Clootie
    Ignored
    says:

    Every murder case is almost unique. Is the bounary between murder and manslaughter clear?

    The risk of an innocent person being found guilty will always exist.
    Would an innocent person prefer life in jail or a state execution?

    I simply do not have an adequate answer to this question.
    I don’t think anyone has.

    I’m sure of one thing though – it should not be left to the people or the politicians. The law should be drafted by a panel/board of experts.

  166. jeremy the lawyer
    Ignored
    says:

    Frazer Allan Whyte

    As an atheist I can advise as follows. There is no clear definition of what each one of us thinks. Each has there own view on it. Mine is that we’re all important to ourselves and loved ones but insignificant to the rest of the universe unless we do something that causes us to be. Life is life and death is death. Nobody gets to decide over matters of life and death except the individual either by a conscious decision to end their life and an unconscious decision made by our bodies to shut down when it doesn’t work anymore.

    It should not be the decision of the state or someone else’s imaginary friend

  167. Richie
    Ignored
    says:

    I like your idea but I’d go a bit further with the lottery idea.
    Anyone who voted yes should also be randomly picked to carry out the next 5 executions. And not something clean like pressing a button. Would they still be in favour after that?

  168. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    @ wingman 2020 says:
    14 February, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    You are mixing two threads, human murder and animal slaughtering for food.

    As I said eating animal flesh food is something I have reservations but fundamentally understand and can accept.

    Killing people has nothing to do with this thread, unless you are an 18th Century shipwrecked matelot or a rugby player from Argentine?

    I am getting tired and so may not respond further but, feel free.

  169. Marcia
    Ignored
    says:

    For those who advocate the Death Penalty – the Guildford 4 and the Birmingham 6 would have been hung if the death penalty was in force in the mid 1970’s. Then we find that they are totally innocent. You cannot say sorry to them if they had been hung.

  170. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Wingman

    But if you argue that taking human life is so fundamentally wrong, you have to look at animals as well.

    Should you change your pseudo Albert Schwitzer as well?

    I am failing and I hold you culpable, morally snd legally

    🙂

    Nightol!

  171. Ricky
    Ignored
    says:

    Brilliant Stu.

    Soapbox gets you thinking out the box ( sorry for the pun)

    Child killers – Death penalty.

    Pre-Meditated Murder – death penalty.

    All the rest – prison.

    No Voters – 4 weeks of litter cleaning and doing up the house or garden of the pensioners you threatened. 😉

    P.S Jail for ANY politician for using lies to the public. Banned from office on completion of sentence.

    D Block… full of Murphy’s and Ballies…… 🙂

    I feel a song coming on.

  172. ronnie anderson
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Wingman 2020 Awe fur FS ah wiz hiving ah Murphy free day

    Spoiler.

  173. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Just off now but here is a pedants comment

    A picture is hung, a human is hanged.

    A small difference perhaps, but no so, for the picture either.

  174. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Clootie says
    “The law should be drafted by a panel/board of experts.”

    Chilling!
    Who chooses the experts?

  175. Dr Jim
    Ignored
    says:

    @natasha
    As you know i lived in Spain for a number of years and had many dealings with the Police both Guardia and Civil not as a baddy you understand but the accepted rule there is that if burgled, do whatever you need to then drag the body into the street because it saves on the paperwork,
    Now what i’m about to tell you is 100% true
    If the offender is English, American, Morrocan or Algerian the advice is leave them lying there don’t phone the cops,let somebody else do it and only the thinnest of investigations will take place
    They don’t care! Well,maybe the Morrocans or Algerians a little bit, and i’m not joking
    If any other Nationality it’s ok to own up because self defence is well accepted there
    If Spanish, flee the country coz you’re going to jail and the family will sue you for everything you’ve got or ever had for the rest of you’re entire existance

  176. Robert Kerr
    Ignored
    says:

    Do you trust the State enough to allow the death penalty?

    I don’t.

    Remember the description of the execution of Mary Stewart by her cousin Elizabeth.

    “The judicial murder of an anointed Queen”

    For we mere plebs and peons elimination would be easy if we were considered a serious threat to the State.

    WoSers we know who you are and you are all on the list!

  177. Paula Rose
    Ignored
    says:

    Death is the best night’s sleep you’ll ever have – why would that be a punishment?

  178. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    yesg… er Ricky says
    “I feel a song coming on.”

    What?
    this one?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEqf2X6bEaw
    No exactly a toe tapper is it?

  179. jeremy the lawyer
    Ignored
    says:

    john king says:

    14 February, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Clootie says
    “The law should be drafted by a panel/board of experts.”

    Chilling!
    Who chooses the experts?

    Easy.

    Celebrity deathmatch. Last man or woman standing makes the laws. Or maybe the thunderdome? What the hell, lets just let tina turner do it.

  180. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    “That’s why judgement over life and death belong to God alone (never could figure out how atheists justify whatever their take is on such issues).”

    Absolute poppycock!

  181. Andrew Morton
    Ignored
    says:

    I’d like to propose a slight (OK a major) alteration to Stu’s proposition. Instead of a lottery to decide who dies along with the condemned person, we should have one to decide who executes him/her. The thought that you might have to step up to put the rope round the neck and pull the lever, or inject the fatal dose would make any of us think twice about putting a cross in the Yes box.

  182. Ron
    Ignored
    says:

    Each man’s death diminishes me,
    For I am involved in mankind.
    Therefore, send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee.

  183. Paula Rose
    Ignored
    says:

    Andrew Morton – do you mean the murdering of the definitely innocent one?

  184. Johnny
    Ignored
    says:

    Tattie-Bogle @ 4:05.

    It was Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

    Well, him and Agent Vince Larkin in Con Air!

  185. Dinnatouch
    Ignored
    says:

    If someone attacked my wife or daughter, I’d be prepared to kill that person purely for vengeance. However, I’d also be prepared to be found guilty of his killing, and spend the rest of my life in prison.

    I don’t agree that the State should be participating in vengeance though, especially when it’s more than possible that an innocent could be wrongly convicted.

  186. Nuada
    Ignored
    says:

    @steviecosmic

    Sorry, stevie, but that dog won’t fight. The examples I gave have one thing in common with each other and with the return of capital punishment – all of them are man-made. The deaths to which I referred are only accidental in the sense that nobody actively intended that they should happen, which is the case with innocent people being executed. If, as you say, we should not allow anything unnatural to come into existence which might cause the deaths of the innocent, then the existence of cars, electricity cables and gas mains should never have been invented and should accordingly be scrapped. We don’t do that because we like the benefits of these things and accordingly, we certainly DO tacitly acquiesce in the deaths of those who will inevitably die as a result. The Rev Stu gave a smarmy, undergraduate response to me on this point because he’s spent the last three years battling the Labour Party and the experience may have made him sensitive to criticism. I can understand that, but he should remember that outclassing the Labour Party is not a very high bar to clear, and the fact that he’s been doing it with ease most days has, perhaps, made people assume that everyone would see things his way because, heretofore, everybody HAS been seeing things his way. On the Saturday soapbox, however, he’s not shooting fish in a barrel anymore and he needs to thicken his skin. He has an audience, not a claque.

  187. Craig
    Ignored
    says:

    So if we don’t “Kill” our killers like Robert Black, Peter Tobin, Angus Sinclair who have killed more than once, does that mean the lottery will select 3 “Winners” for one Killer’s crimes?

    I do believe in the death penalty, how many times have we heard that a killer has previously jailed for culpable homicide after the judge delievered his sentence

    The Death penalty should apply to those who have killed more than one person.

  188. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    @Frazer Allan Whyte

    Morality and good ethical behaviour are not solely the purvey of those of faith; atrocities carried out in the name of religion attest to that.

    For the purposes of demonstrating this, I refer you to the argument, in the form of two questions, made by the late Christopher Hitchens:

    Name a moral action undertaken or a moral and ethical statement made by a believer that cannot be undertaken or made by a non-believer?

    Think of something wicked that only a believer would be likely to do or something wicked that only a believer would be likely to say?

    The first question has never been answered satisfactorily. The second however, is another story.

    Many in the communities of the faithful appear to believe that as morality is solely derived from scripture, those who lack faith must therefore lack a moral or ethical code. This is the basis of Dostoevsky’s ‘Without god, everything is permissible’ argument, which is demonstrably false. Many a non-believer has lived a purposeful and peaceful life. I give you David Hume as an example.

    The argument that humanity had absolutely no moral code until Moses carried the Decalogue from atop Mt Sinai is laughable at its very best. Even at the earliest estimation of when that event took place, we have plentiful evidence for civilizations other than the Hebrews who had perfectly functioning, and in some cases advanced, societies.

    Morality is derived not from dusty old books, but from thought and a primal sense of altruism and all that this entails. It’s with thought that we arrive at a position of saying that the death penalty is morally and ethically and logically wrong, not scripture, which actually proscribes it.

  189. lumilumi
    Ignored
    says:

    Natasha @ 3.00pm

    By the way, I am going to be unfashionable here and make clear that as a Christian I believe in forgiveness, loving one’s neighbour and turning the other cheek. I’m not expecting others to agree with me or to do the same; but I would be dishonest and cowardly if I did not make clear that those beliefs underpin my attitude to this issue.

    Thank you, Natasha, for your honesty. Being a believer is, indeed, a bit “unfashonable” nowadays.

    I also believe in forgiving, in loving my fellow humans and even in turning the other cheek.

    Maybe that’s because I grew up in a (protestant) “Christian” country and our culture is imbued with (protestant) “Christian” thinking (but not actions).

    Or maybe because any decent human being if they thought about it would arrive at the same conclusion.

    Nowadays I have no religion because I’d be a hypocrite if I pretended I believed in a god. Or gods.

    I don’t.

    When I die, that’s it. Nothing. Blank. The End. No “afterlife”. I’ve had my time, now it’s over. What’s so wrong with that? I find the idea of the end, the void, the unknown nothingness, comforting.

    That doesn’t mean I cannot be a decent human being while I’m on this Earth. Never vote for the death penalty, for instance.

  190. Paula Rose
    Ignored
    says:

    As a serial killer would no doubt have an obsession with death I would expect more such behaviour in a society where the punishment for such crimes was itself death.

  191. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    @lumilumi

    David Hume had an interesting take on your ‘nothingness’. On his deathbed he was asked by his biographer, a devout christian perplexed by Hume’s atheism ‘but sir, how shall you feel upon dying?’ to which Hume replied ‘my dear boy, exactly as I felt before I was born’.

    I ought to also say that many of Jesus’s ‘be kind and gentle’ teachings are pre-dated by 400 years in the teachings of the Buddha.

  192. george
    Ignored
    says:

    as someone who opposes the death penalty i have to say: nice one. just that.

  193. Jet Jockey
    Ignored
    says:

    If you want to come to a decision regarding capital punishment, go and sit in the public gallery at several criminal trials , and see firsthand how the lawyers operate ,how the police operate , and how it is all analysed by the judge and jury.It will open your eyes to what is called the justice system.

  194. Robert Peffers
    Ignored
    says:

    @Rev Stu. I was nearly with you until you got to the bit about the lottery to award one of the voters the death penalty to also die needlessly.

    Much better if the winning ticket holder had to be the executioner and their name, address and photograph plastered all over the media for doing their civic duty.

  195. Luigi
    Ignored
    says:

    I agree that “revenge” is entirely inappropriate for dealing with convicted murderers. Personally, I felt uncomfortable that a government (Jordan) went down this route immediately after one of their pilots was savagely “exocuted” by IS terrorists. Not only revenge for a fould deed, but revenge for a deed committed by others. Hardly the behaviour of civilised states.

    That said, there are clearly dangerous individuals that should never be released. And people detained for life should not be made very comfortable in jail. Not out of revenge, but I just see no reason to make them comfortable.

  196. Hoss Mackintosh
    Ignored
    says:

    @Andrew Morton
    I was struggling to understand this thread until I read your post.

    I agree with you – have the lottery and the winner has the perform the execution.

    If you believe in capital punishment then you should be prepared to carry it out.

    I would not vote for it and would not perform it.

    We are not barbarians and the one of the best things this country has done was to let Megrahi go on compassionate grounds.

    I was very proud of my country, Scotland, that day.

  197. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    @Nuada

    Sorry mate, either you misread what I meant or, rather more plausibly, I failed to state it clearly in the first place.

    We can’t un-invent cars or electricity or whatever, but we can take steps to mitigate their causing harm unduly, mostly through scientific advancements and basic communication. That is taking steps to reduce the possibility of accidental death.

    By not re-instating the death penalty, we are doing precisely the same thing, except in this case, we reduce the chance of death to zero. No amount of fiddling with the judicial process can produce the same result.

  198. Robert Peffers
    Ignored
    says:

    @Cyc says: 14 February, 2015 at 1:22 pm:

    “This is very true. The people I know who support the death penalty somehow think they would be magically exempt from it, that there would be no chance that they (or their loved ones) would get into a situation where they could be killed by the state for something they didn’t do.”

    Derek Bentley was executed on 28th of January 1953. Not only was he mentally handicapped, having the mental age of 11, but three police officers were subsequently forensically proven to have lied at his trial.

    Way back in the late fifties when, I had not long finished my apprenticeship, Rosyth Dockyard Trade Unions agreed to allow the employment of lifers from HM Prison Saughton, in the Dockyard. I thus met several and even had one as my labourer for a while.

    Now this guy was built like a brick outhouse and being a young guy I must confess I was rather wary as I was working afloat on shi’sp electrical installation and thus alone with the guy in dark gloomy engine, boiler and machinery spaces.

    Thing is in fact the guy was no different from anyone else and he eventually told me how he ended up convicted of murder. It was so simple that my first thought was, “That could have been me”. His wife had cheated on him and he got into a fight with the guy and hit him just once. No weapons just a one punch with his fist. The big guy was really a pussycat and normally as gentle as could be. It certainly changed my outlook for good.

  199. Jenni
    Ignored
    says:

    I would support the death penalty for people for whom there is zero chance of rehabilitation. Serial paedophiles for example. And the conviction for this sentence would have to go significantly further than ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ – beyond a shadow of doubt.

    Crimes of passion, first offence, insanity defence – where there is a reasonable expectation of a cure – should not result in execution.

    Unrepentant serial offenders of serious crimes against persons however… what else do you do with them? There is no reasonable expectation of them becoming ‘better’ and less of a danger to society – just the enormous expense of incarcerating them.

    I personally believe that paedophiles in particular are incurable. Chemical castration only works if they take the meds.

    So yeah, stick me in your lottery. If someone goes to the lengths of manufacturing irrefutable evidence against me for multiple crimes – which I am unlikely to commit – then I am clearly in trouble anyway.

    I do think the actual act should be as quick and painless as possible though. No need whatsoever to be punitive about it.

  200. Croompenstein
    Ignored
    says:

    As far as morality tales go the best one I have ever seen was ‘God On Trial’. A bit off topic for the question of the death penalty but some of the posts touch on the morality of men..

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

  201. Robert Peffers
    Ignored
    says:

    @Ghengis D’Midgies says: 14 February, 2015 at 1:25 pm:

    “We do have an executioner in the UK and his name is Ian Duncan Smith MP. His methods are cruel and his victims are innocent.”

    Aye! Ghengis, and when they put him in the dock I’m sure he will say, in his own defence, “I was only doing my job and following my boss’ orders”.

    Here! That defence sounds really familiar I wonder who said that before?

  202. Author_al
    Ignored
    says:

    Always easier to kill someone when there is distance between the perpetrator and the crime… Stark choices become less stark. Trident v hungry kids needing food banks comes to mind. Bankers bonuses v welfare cuts. All have implications and consequences.

  203. Rock
    Ignored
    says:

    It all boils down to ‘not in my own backyard’.

    People are selfish enough to accept anything that happens to others as long as they are not directly affected.

    That is why we can live with ‘collateral damage’ elsewhere, with ‘rendition’ flights through our airports, with our secret services’ participation in the torture of suspects and with our secrecy and ‘anti-plebs’ laws.

    When someone is fighting an injustice, hardly anyone cares, unless it is turned into a bandwagon by the media.

    The death penalty is not wrong in principle but I am sure that our rotten to the core justice system would kill more innocents than guilty.

  204. Robert Peffers
    Ignored
    says:

    @AnneDon says: 14 February, 2015 at 1:32 pm:

    “Did anyone ever look at the social makeup of those brought to trial in the UK while the death penalty existed?”</I?

    Indeed yes, AnneDon. The Rev mentioned the case of Derek Bentley. The case that eventually led to the suspension of executions and the end of the death penalty. Basically Bentley was a teenager with the mental age of 11. He and a younger friend, Christopher Craig, (then aged 16), were in the process of a burglary but were chased by the police. Bentley had a handgun.

    The pair got trapped on a roof and the alleged story was that the policeman who was murdered said to hand over the gun and come along quietly. Craig was alleged to have said, "Let him have it, Derek", and Bentley shot the policeman.

    Now Bentley was over 18 and Craig was 16 and the outcome was that Craig, got jailed and Bentley was hanged. Subsequently forensic proof emerged that three police officers had lied. Bentley today would have been innocent as being mentally unfit to plead. Craig served a sentence and was released.

    See here : –

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

  205. Ian Brotherhood
    Ignored
    says:

    Fascinating thread.

    This is, technically, off-topic, but if I could please just broaden it a tad to include ‘crime & punishment’ more generally, what would people here do about ‘punishing’ the likes of Curran, Morph, Jabba, Ian Davidson etc.

    I’m not talking about punishing those ‘No’ voters who genuinely believed that they were doing the right thing. I’m not even talking about punishing those No voters who purposely put their own interests before everyone else’s, knowing full-well that an historic opportunity was being wasted – being ‘selfish’ isn’t a crime.

    But those who lied, repeatedly, relentlessly, month after month and terrorised our most vulnerable and impressionable fellow citizens? We know who they are, and they know who they are. What should be done with/to them to send the message out (to anyone aspiring to public service in the ‘new’ Scotland – aye, it’s coming yet for a’ that…) that such behaviour cannot and will not be tolerated?

    I don’t want to upset Ronnie A by mentioning the Morph yet again, so let’s take, er, aff the tap ay ma heid, what about Ian Smart? What would be a measured, fair action to take against that man? Would a public apology from him suffice?

    I’m not inviting a witch-hunt against anyone, but the principle can’t be ignored, and Rev’s hypothetical seems, to me, to be based entirely on principle and logic. So, by extension, can we consider what could/should happen to those who knowingly helped thwart the genuine movement for real constitutional change?

    Just saying ‘I’d boot Smart’s* arse up and down Sauchiehall Street for a week’ is understandable, but not practical. If it was up to you – seriously – how would you have that person make meaningful amends for the damage he’s done?

    *Substitute for Cochrane, Darling, Danny A, Patronising Woman, Murray Foote, Carmichael, whoever else really got your hackles up during the whole indyref campaign, or has a similar effect on you now – if given the responsibility, how would you ‘punish’ them? N.B. You have to tell them, face-to-face, what their crime was, what the punishment is, and you have to be prepared to administer it.

  206. HandandShrimp
    Ignored
    says:

    Using killing as a means of judicial punishment is generally a sign of weakness. Dysfunctional countries or authoritarian governments fearful of change or revolution use it to try and keep a lid on things. Just as violence begets violence so too calmness begets calmness.

    Of course there are crimes that outrage and people feel vengeful, that is understandable but that is why we have process and rule of law. The outrage strengthens our sense of what is right and wrong and that is essential but it is also essential that vengeance plays no part in the process of law. We can see societies where it does and these are not places I think any of us would like to live.

  207. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jenni

    Sweet Christ on the cross. Seriously?

    To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, it is not justice. Desmond Tutu is attributed with that statement.

    Undertaking an action (returning the death penalty) that inevitably results in the deaths of innocent people in what can only be described as an act of pure vengeance for murder, paedophilia etc is not only morally reprehensible, but utterly pointless logically as each act of so called justice is accompanied by any number of acts of injustice: that’s the point, we never know how many people really are wrongfully convicted, although official figures show that it is sufficiently high as to be significant (see Amnesty International’s take on it via Google).

  208. Rock
    Ignored
    says:

    Jet Jockey,

    “If you want to come to a decision regarding capital punishment, go and sit in the public gallery at several criminal trials , and see firsthand how the lawyers operate ,how the police operate , and how it is all analysed by the judge and jury.It will open your eyes to what is called the justice system.”

    Yes, it is all an elaborate show to make us plebs believe that we live in a free, fair and democratic society.

    Judges and lawyers are the lowest of the low in society.

  209. Ian Brotherhood
    Ignored
    says:

    Another punt for the IndyLive heroes:

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/livestreaming-to-may-elections-2015

  210. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    If you have a couple of hours to spare and just want to relax with a good movie,
    i highly recommend The Life of David Gale
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Life_of_David_Gale

  211. Robert Peffers
    Ignored
    says:

    @aralston says: 14 February, 2015 at 2:09 pm:

    ” … Yes vote sentences them to death and a No vote sentences them to life in prison.”

    Yeah! and we could televise it and charge calls to vote at premium rates to offset the costs of the executions, “We could call it, “Strictly Come Hangem”, or perhaps, “The Great British Hanging Bee”.
    Aye!
    Richt!

  212. Famous15
    Ignored
    says:

    Following Twitter but not willing to engage in conversation I am irritated at the extent of people baiting.

    Rev you take a lot of nonsense and they try to shoehorn you into being the bad guy but may I say the moral high ground would be more obvious if you cut the c word and f word.

    As they used to say in the service saying bollocks to the colonel feels good for a minute but is a pain for months. Just sayin!

  213. boris
    Ignored
    says:

    O/T; About 27,000 British charities are dependent on the Government for three quarters or more of their funding. Without Government cash, many would collapse. Nevertheless they spend much of their time and money lobbying the Government rather than doing what most people would consider ‘charitable work’.

    Many of these charities were, “stuffed to the gunwales with Labour placemen” by Prime Minister Gordon Brown before he left office. Some used to work directly for Gordon Brown, while other third sector bosses worked in the last Labour government, or remain members of the party. Much More to read

    http://caltonjock.com/2015/02/14/the-great-british-rip-off-out-to-pasture-torys-find-nests-in-the-private-sector-labourites-find-a-nice-home-in-the-charity-world/

  214. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    Governments already kill far too many innocent people, illegally.

  215. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jeremy the lawyer 6.26pm

    Fair enough.

    (I would have replied sooner but my husband took me out to dinner.)

  216. Rookiescot
    Ignored
    says:

    Nope sorry. Capital punishment is simply pointless.
    It does not prevent serious crime.
    We could hang 1000 people a year but if only one of those people is then proven to be innocent what then? We have had 999 revenge killings and 1 murder.
    What if the 1 person was your mum/dad/partner/son/daughter/brother/sister?

    If we start killing people as a society we are little better than ISIS.

    However, life should mean life. A life imprisionment should mean exactly that.

  217. lumilumi
    Ignored
    says:

    @Ian Brotherhood @10.14pm

    How would I wish to see the Murph, Curran, Ian Davidson etc. punished?

    Simple: vote them out and let them sink without a trace from public life. Disqualify them from company directorships on the basis of proven dishonesty. Their demise would also put the McTernans, McDougalls and other leeches out of a job.

    No need to be unduly vindictive.

    Though I’m reminded of “shame collars” as depicted in the Tintin book Blue Lotus. Convicted criminals wearing large wooden collars with their crimes written on the collar and paraded through the streets…

  218. cearc
    Ignored
    says:

    Vengance is a perfectly natural feeling but is quite seperate from punishment or public safety and tends to fade with time.

    A very long time, ago an elderly gentlemen told me of an african system.

    A year after the nurder the whole community would gather. The murderer/accused would be bound and rowed out and dropped overboard. The family of the victim then had to choose whether to rescue him or let him drown. The latter was very rare.

    I am not suggesting that this should be adopted, of course! Judicial murder is the same as any other murder, which I suppose is the conclusion that the families also reached.

  219. cearc
    Ignored
    says:

    Punishments for politicians?

    Everytime one of them says, ‘Hard-working families..’, they should be have to go and actually do hard, manual work for a week.

  220. archie
    Ignored
    says:

    A victim is murdered.
    The police gather evidence and arrest a suspect.
    The Procurator Fiscal makes a case and goes to trial.
    A jury unanimously agree that the evidence is good enough to prove guilt.
    The judge then passes a sentence of death.
    The hangman executes the convicted suspect.
    Later new evidence shows that the suspect was innocent.

    Question – If an innocent person has been killed would that persons family and friends not have a reasonable expectation of justice?
    And should that not involve the arrest and trial of all those involved in the original case from the police to the jury to the hangman?
    And because an innocent person has been killed then it follows that everyone involved in the case should be executed also.

    The death penalty is not a deterent. And making a supporter carry out the execution in order to make them face the reality of what they were doing makes as little sense. There have been executioners for many long centuries and too many knuckleheads would think it gave them bragging rights.

    It’s easy to cite Fred West as justification for the death penalty but what about the shocking abduction and brutal murder of James Bulger. Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were ten years old at the time but if the loss of an innocent life and the pain of the victims family is to be used as a reason for taking a muderers life shouldn’t that also apply to those ten year old boys.

    You can’t draw a line and say that you’ll execute some but not others. Justice is what is given to the victims and their families and as Justice is blind (supposedly) it shouldn’t be discriminating because of age or mental health.

    The death penalty is wrong because it executes innocents and its supporters think that’s a reasonable price to pay.

    The death penalty is wrong because if it is to be a penalty available to the justice system it must also be applied to children and the mentally ill as well.

    The death penalty is wrong because killing is wrong.

  221. lumilumi
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Marcia, 11.10pm re: the Sunday Herald front page.

    As someone tweeted, strange colour choice. Shouldn’t Nicola be red and David blue?

    Also, Lord Foulkes doesn’t like it. 😀 (So it must be good.)

  222. Michael McCabe
    Ignored
    says:

    I Think no noose is good news.

  223. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    Rookiescot wrote:
    “However, life should mean life. A life imprisionment should mean exactly that.”
    _______

    Just for debates sake, let me pose a question based on that.

    What would that achieve?

    Please don’t say something along the lines of “it incapacitates them and keeps them off our streets” because in reality what we would have is our prisons overflowing with killers who have nothing to lose.

    The prisons would be controlled by the crims, attacks on prison officers would most likely increase greatly and become commonplace along with mass breakouts.

    And very importantly, the cost to the taxpayer would be astronomical beyond belief.

    On the other hand we could continue to release killers after certain periods of time, and after certain criteria appear to have been met, only to witness them kill again.

    Oh what to do, what to do!

    btw, have you ever noticed that when a killer is released, only to kill again, the do-gooders who sanctioned that release are NEVER held to account. Strange that, eh!

  224. Rock
    Ignored
    says:

    jeremy the lawyer,

    “And on a side note if I’m responsible for defending someone’s life I want paid a lot more than £45 an hour legal aid rates”

    Your only interest in ‘defending’ anyone is filling your pockets.

    As if £45 an hour was not enough, parasites like yourself want to feed on money which should be used to end poverty.

    You and the vast majority of your like are the lowest of the low in society.

  225. Croompenstein
    Ignored
    says:

    The Christopher Jefferies case should serve as a warning where a totally innocent man was tried and convicted by our lovely balanced MSM and we all went along with it, we would have knitted while Christopher was executed all because he ‘didn’t look right’

    They’ll burn down the synagogues at six o clock and we’ll all go along like before

  226. JGedd
    Ignored
    says:

    Many of today’s population were either not alive when there was a death penalty in this country or are too young to remember it and therefore don’t know that there was growing repugnance against it.

    Many people became uncomfortable with the arbitrariness of application of the death penalty in cases like that of Derek Bentley and Ruth Ellis where a large proportion of the populace were in favour of mercy being exercised. People were actually confronted by the reality of the moral dilemma facing society when complex circumstances don’t fit the simple mechanistic exercise of blind justice.

    Personally I am not in favour of the full panoply of the state being employed in the slow, inexorable process of extinguishing a life. I also quail at the thought of our unsavoury tabloid press, ever quick to judgement, leading populist outrage. The whole process would call up the worst aspects of gloating sensationalism.

    Considering the miscarriages of justice which have occurred I would rather have people being given a prison sentence where at least injustice could be reversed. It is far worse that a democratic state should put to death an innocent person and I don’t think that many of those asking for the death penalty would find themselves able to reconcile with the discovery that the state had executed an innocent on their behalf.

    Murder is sometimes the result of a moment of unthinking violence and sometimes a sadistic act of planned cruelty.I do not want the state to act like a calculating killer in my name, taking many weeks to hold someone in captivity with the threat of death hanging over them all that time, before at last ending their lives. The whole process is abhorrent and I think that at last, a society which in the past had watched the whole slow, grisly process of trial, conviction then execution, decided quietly that it should be abolished.

  227. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    @Rock 11.45pm

    Did you read Jeremy the lawyer’s other post at 6.26pm? His motivation is not what you imply. Sometimes people (and I include myself in this) make comments which don’t completely explain what they mean, and if they then qualify those comments with further explanations, they deserve to have that taken into account.

  228. crazycat
    Ignored
    says:

    @ JGedd

    Well said – an excellent summary in my opinion.

  229. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    john king says:
    14 February, 2015 at 6:57 pm
    Clootie says
    “The law should be drafted by a panel/board of experts.”

    Chilling!
    Who chooses the experts?

    Theresa May, I presume 🙂

  230. sunshine
    Ignored
    says:

    Ian @10.14. The punishment I would have is along the lines of other replies you have had. Bar this type of person from public office for life. Remove any cash they have or have transferred within seven years and finally,no matter what employment they find they are not allowed to earn above the minimum wage.
    These type of people are a blight on any society and they all have the same things in common. Selfishness, self centeredness and the worship of money.
    Removing their money would be worse than a lifetime in prison for these type of people.

  231. archie
    Ignored
    says:

    Stoker wrote

    “And very importantly, the cost to the taxpayer would be astronomical beyond belief”.

    According to Audit Scotland in 2010–11, £254 million was spent restricting the liberty of offenders. That includes all imprisoned offenders as well as those on parole, male and female.

    The cost of free personal care for the elderly was £452 million for the same period.

    By your argument and logic we should introduce euthanasia for those who it seems are a burden on society.

  232. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    archie
    By all means introduce euthanasia for the red, blue and yellow tory MPs . . . oh, wait, that’s not what you meant, is it? 🙂

  233. heedtracker
    Ignored
    says:

    “By your argument and logic we should introduce euthanasia for those who it seems are a burden on society.”

    ATOS.

    http://www.bigissue.com/features/3637/atos-deaths-and-welfare-cuts

  234. heedtracker
    Ignored
    says:

    From the Big Issue

    Government statistics indicate that between January 2011 and November 2011, 10,600 sick and disabled people died within six weeks of their benefit claim ending. Such was the furore about this figure, the DWP has stopped using Atos data to count the number of deaths.

    If anyone wishes to Google “Atos”, “death” and “coroner”, they’ll find dozens of news stories about benefit cuts and suicides in the last couple of years, including many cases of people killing themselves after Atos assessments found them fit to work.

    ATOS are unfit to test disability, say Big Issue readers…
    Take Tim Salter, a blind 53-year-old suffering from agoraphobia. Tim hanged himself after an Atos test that found him fit to work and a DWP decision to axe his £30-a-week incapacity benefit left him wondering how he could afford his housing association rent. South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh declared: “A major factor in his death was that his benefits had been greatly reduced leaving him almost destitute.”

    Take Edward Jacques, a 47-year-old man suffering from HIV, hepatitis C and with a history of self-harm and depression, who took an overdose in September after his £90-a-week benefits were stopped. Nottinghamshire coroner Mairin Casey said Edward’s medical assessments had been “crude”.

    She found that “the process in Edward’s case did not fully or properly reflect Edward’s physical and mental health at that time. It is desperately sad that such evidence was not available either to the nurse or to the decision-maker.”

    One of the very saddest deaths is David Coupe (pictured below), a former farmer in Derbyshire who died of a rare form of cancer in October last year. He had been stripped of his £50-a-week incapacity benefit and ruled fit to work in December 2012, despite being housebound with a painful back injury, ulcers and diabetes. It left David and his wife Lyn with just £71 a week for the last 10 months of his life.

  235. Doug Mcg
    Ignored
    says:

    A death sentence can be given but not necessarily carried out , a life sentence as is now administered is not confined to murder and takes in all kinds of crimes. Why not at least differentiate the worst crimes by a death sentence , not to be carried out (yet) ?

  236. hetty
    Ignored
    says:

    And, it is a fact that many people who end up being locked up have some kind of learning disability.
    It is very scary indeed to think that we are actually regressing, or are we just running on the spot?
    Otherness should perhaps be a compulsory subject in school, because too many would condemn others while thinking they themselves are somehow immune to the very treatment which they condone wholeheartedly. Brrrr.

  237. Dr Jim
    Ignored
    says:

    o/t But all of us who are or were dog owners will know that our canine pals understand our moods and many more things
    New research has now proved that dogs can recognize happy or sad faces in strangers
    Of course many other of the animal kingdom can also do this like monkeys and chimps and it’s led me to think that if a monkey can recognize emotions on faces
    Why can’t Labour MPs and NO voters
    Evolutionary Chain?

  238. hetty
    Ignored
    says:

    I read recently that as a member of the EU a country cannot impose the death penalty, if England vote us out of the EU, what then? Our justice system being devolved would mean we would not have the death penalty in Scotland.

  239. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    archie wrote:
    “By your argument and logic we should introduce euthanasia for those who it seems are a burden on society.”
    ______

    Rubbish!

    I’m talking about prisons overflowing with killers with nothing to lose and nor did i advocate “euthanasia” anywhere in ANY post i’ve made on this thread.

    I asked a specific question and offered likely outcomes of jailing every killer indefinitely, until the day they die.

    I also note from your other post you mention wee Jamie Bulgers killers but you fail to mention that these 2 offenders were protected by the system, millions spent on their care and new identities etc etc etc and that, at least one of them, has re-offended on more than one occasion when he was secretly allowed out under his new identity.

    Some of his re-offending has involved assault, drugs and child porn, allegedly. Those “10-year old boys” are no-longer boys and the current penal system is obviously failing.

    So, if you’re not going to execute them and the current system isn’t working beyond providing temporary accommodation, what do we do, what is the answer?

  240. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    Doug Mcg wrote:
    “a life sentence as is now administered is not confined to murder and takes in all kinds of crimes.”

    As far as i know i think it is possible to receive a life sentence from a “Breach of the Peace” charge.

  241. Paula Rose
    Ignored
    says:

    Lets kill all those who won’t kill.

  242. ronnie anderson
    Ignored
    says:

    When everybodys finnished hingin everybody else,would you,s mind & leave enough Yes voters.

    We do have a country to liberate.

  243. george
    Ignored
    says:

    Doug Mcg says:
    15 February, 2015 at 12:33 am
    A death sentence can be given but not necessarily carried out , a life sentence as is now administered is not confined to murder and takes in all kinds of crimes. Why not at least differentiate the worst crimes by a death sentence , not to be carried out (yet) ?

    ^ arguably torture.

    i believe those on death row in japan are treated this way, that they spend years in gaol pending possible appeals, reviews etc.; that they aren’t told when those have been unsuccessful – and therefore when they’ll be executed – until the occasion when their cell door is unlocked and it isn’t just for the morning count

    doing it the other way around, a kind of conditional clemency, i’m guessing for most it would be the torture of waiting for the law to change and kill them at some point in the future, for others the chance to attack a prison officer or other inmate and have the law put them out of their own misery. a kind of suicide-by-state i suppose

    something that i don’t think has been emphasised enough was mentioned by muscleguy at 2:42

    a death penalty increases the number of murders.

  244. Illy
    Ignored
    says:

    Relevent Reading for why no-one involved thinks it’s odd:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

  245. Illy
    Ignored
    says:

    Then there’s the questions:

    Do you support state-sanctioned killings? Is “Justice” just another word for “revenge”? Should prision be about deterrence or rehabilitation?

    The alternative would be for all sentences to be “Until Rehabilitated” but that probably just moves the problem, but since the current prision system neither deters nor rehabilitates, we really should pick one and go for it wholeheartedly, not pussyfoot about in the middle being ineffective.

  246. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Fred @ 9.47
    that link doesn’t work Fred
    it just takes you to a gmail login

  247. Sinky
    Ignored
    says:

    O/T Will supine Scottish press take up story re London Labour tax exile bankrolling Jim Murphy in Scotland?

    Sunday Times leads on activities of Sir David Gerrard

    ED MILIBAND is facing accusations of hypocrisy over revelations that a property tycoon who is bankrolling the Labour party placed shares in an offshore trust that can be used to avoid tax.
    Garrard is among a small band of wealthy supporters who have donated to Labour since Miliband beat his brother David to the party leadership. Garrard gave £690,000 last year to the party and has promised to fund Labour’s battle against the SNP in Scotland.
    The tycoon, who was embroiled in the cash for honours scandal, made his fortune through Minerva, a property investment and development firm that he set up with Andrew Rosenfeld, also a Labour donor, who died last week.
    He was living as a tax exile in Switzerland after his retirement when he was nominated for a peerage. His name was withdrawn after revelations that he was among Labour supporters who had made secret loans to the party.

    http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/Politics/article1519471.ece

    And still no press coverage of Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray accepting secondment of staff from mega accountancy firm PcW that the chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee said was ‘inappropriate’ to accept unpaid help from the firm accused by MPs of promoting tax avoidance schemes on an ‘industrial scale’.

  248. Bugger (the Panda)
    Ignored
    says:

    Sinky

    I take it he doesn’t live in Switzerland at the moment?

  249. Famous15
    Ignored
    says:

    Radio Scotland on now taking the mickey ou of Jim Murphy. His policy on NHS back to Carry on Nurse. Hs policy on booze back to glamour girls on beer cans at football..

  250. Chess Hair
    Ignored
    says:

    http://forargyll.com/2015/02/jim-murphy-under-pressure-to-confirm-intentions-for-east-renfrewshire/

    Thought this was good summation of Murphy wanting Matrons and drink– not necessarily in that order

  251. Tattie-bogle
    Ignored
    says:

    I was searching for the quote i posted earlier “the degree of a nation’s civilization can be seen in the way it treats its prisoners”. That particular quote was by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

  252. caz-m
    Ignored
    says:

    Sinky 8.06am

    Jim Murphy’s illegal campaign warchest does need highlighting. I’m sure Gordon Brewer’s Sunday Politics show will be all over this.

    Or maybe we could ask Murphy ourselves when he is out campaigning with his Irn Bru crate.

    Do we even know if Murphy is standing to be the East Renfrewshire MP or not?

    Murphy, man of mystery!

    And as for Ian Murray MP…

  253. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    Cameron’s fiscal policy. Rather than face up to his responsibilities and introduce a tax on ‘loss leading’ cheap alcohol to lower consumption and fund the related problems. Alcohol (poison) which is being sold at under production costs. Cameron’s policy is to illegally, and without a mandate, cause harm to health and kill off the citizens. While slogging endless bottles of expensive plonk at taxpayers expense. One of the reasons for such bad Westminster decisions are the majority are made while under the influence of alcohol.

    Murphy the tee totaller, advocates killing off the citizens with ‘loss leading’ cheap alcohol. The irony.

  254. Dorothy Devine
    Ignored
    says:

    I think that the world can live without serial killers and that life imprisonment should mean just that. There can be no cover all death sentence.

    An excellent Ian Bell article in the Sunday Herald ,however it also contains the inane witterings of you know who , they ain’t half working on shoving him in our faces.

  255. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    There are not 2 million job vacancies in the UK for (sick) people in the UK. Cameron the liar, without a mandate for policies, doesn’t to have noticed.

  256. HandandShrimp
    Ignored
    says:

    Famous15

    I listened to a bit of Crossfire for the first time in ages and I was mildly surprised to hear Jim being gently ribbed for his Ashes to Ashes Oooooh Matron approach to policy. I think Anna Burnside had it right in that what he is doing is a In The Thick Of It focus group session trying to come up with ideas that sound populist but cost £0 to implement (apart from all the starch for the nurses uniforms)so he gets maximum press coverage for little or nothing of substance.

  257. Robert Peffers
    Ignored
    says:

    @Ian Brotherhood says:14 February, 2015 at 10:14 pm:

    ” … what would people here do about ‘punishing’ the likes of Curran, Morph, Jabba, Ian Davidson etc.”

    Apply the Little Bo Peep, Principle, Ian.

    Ms Peep was a rather bad shepherdess who carelessly lost her whole herd of sheep. We voters all know, “The Good Shepherd”, will search for even one lost sheep. Ms Peep, though, couldn’t be bothered searching even after losing a whole herd. She did nothing on the bad advice of another and she left them alone.

    They did indeed come home. However, the moral of the story tells us, “They will come home, wagging their tales behind them”. So it will be with those miscreants you speak of. They indeed have tales wagging behind them and those tales will follow them as long as they live. Voters will desert them and the miscreants will be the authors of their own downfall.

    Ah’ll get my coat.

  258. bookie from hell
    Ignored
    says:

    Sunday Post

    Jim Murphy,nationalist trolls Clutha

    http://www.sundaypost.com/news-views/scotland/jim-murphy-hits-out-at-online-trolls-over-clutha-fund-1.838974

    bfh–it’s like referendum campaign all over again,smear SNP with a few

  259. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    O/T
    I was looking through some pictures just now JLT, Kininvie, and was surprised to see in the group picture taken in the Livingston Football club car park none other than Angela Constance, (did you know she was in the convoy?) I did not even notice her when we were milling around pressing flesh, I’ve tried to copy the picture to post it up here but I don’t know how to do it.

  260. jacqui
    Ignored
    says:

    I’d be another no in a ref for bringing back the death penalty although I’d be a yes for the chooky chopper for paedophiles, I may or may not be joking.
    Out of curiosity,are the folks who are for the death penalty also against rehabilitation ? Do they think prisoners have a cushy time? 3 meals a day etc
    I used to be a person who wanted our prisoners to have the toughest time of their lives, but the way we treat our inmates doesn’t seem to be working out very well for them or us when it comes to re-offending rates.
    Bastoy Prison opened my eyes just that bit wider, http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/feb/25/norwegian-prison-inmates-treated-like-people

  261. Karmanaut
    Ignored
    says:

    If we rule out the death sentence as immoral, and we can’t deport people to some distant colony any more, we’re all going to have to keep paying to keep criminals of the streets. That’s fine because we all benefit from that.

    According to a quick check on google, the prison service costs £3bn a year to run.

    But what if we could make criminals pay a disproportionately high share of that cost? After all, crime is their choice.

    So here’s my idea: The “Santa Tax”.

    Some part of VAT revenue is put aside into the Santa tax fund. Everyone pays. However, the money isn’t spent. It is invested by the government on our behalf.

    Then, every year at Christmas, you get a rebate. But only if you’ve been good.

    If you’ve been naughty (convicted of a crime) you forfeit your money. You get nowt. Nada. Not even a tangerine. The money that would have been returned to you if you’d been nice is chucked into the prison service to offset the costs.

    Say the government could drop VAT from 20% back to 17.5%. But they choose not to. We all keep paying it at 20%, but only 17.5% of that goes into the government coffers, and the the difference is put into the Santa Tax.

    That difference amounts to £11bn across the UK. Deduct the £3bn the prison servoice costs, leaving £7bn Christmas rebate for everyone who has been good that year and didn’t commit a crime.

    I reckon it’s about £150 per person. £300 a couple, from Santa and his eleves, to pay for Christmas pressies. But only if daddy was nice and didn’t “glass some c*nt”.

  262. HandandShrimp
    Ignored
    says:

    Is this a poll free weekend btw?

  263. JGedd
    Ignored
    says:

    @Tattie-bogle

    Dostoyevsky wrote a harrowing account of his own ‘nearly’ execution when he was a young man condemned for political activism against the Tsarist regime. He describes the horror of being led out to the place of execution and the exquisitely agonizing process in which every second was cherished that took him closer to death. His account makes clear that the psychological anguish of the anticipation of death was intensely experienced.

    The outcome was, at the last moment, his execution was called off. It was staged as a macabre trick which shows that at least the Tsarist authorities understood the psychological torture of sentencing someone to death and causing them to endure the ghastly theatre of execution.

    In the end, he was sent to a prison camp in Siberia. The Gulag system existed as part of the Tsarist penal system too. ( He used his experiences there in his book, The House of the Dead.)

    The irony is, that though the searing experience of that long-drawn out process of being taken out to execution stayed with him with horrifying clarity so that he gave us his account of it and he wrote movingly of what prisoners endured in Siberia, much later in life, he became a terrible old authoritarian thundering against even the mildest of reforms then being tentatively introduced – like having juries for example.

    What’s that about becoming more reactionary as you grow older? Worth thinking about when you realise that the cruel minds of the Tsarist authorities well understood the mental torture of even being sentenced to death and knew the ghastly punishment being inflicted when they chose to use the march to the scaffold alone as. in itself, a fitting punishment, just short of actual killing.

  264. Cod
    Ignored
    says:

    It turns out it’s pretty hard to find statistics on the percentage of the UK prison population who are imprisoned for murder (since the State records such crimes in the VATP – violence against the person – category, and not as a separate category).

    However, even just a casual perusal of the figures shows that sentences for murder only account for a fraction of the population (England & Wales have the third highest imprisonment rate per 100,000 of population amongst the so called developed nations, followed closely by Scotland). Repeated opinion polls and surveys have shown that both the public, and prisoners, support means other than prison sentences for most crimes, and almost every study ever done shows that prison is the least effective method of preventing recidivism.

    So, here’s a radical idea (which, actually, isn’t that radical, given the results of the aforementioned surveys and polls): stop sending people to jail for non violent offences. Start treating the causes of crime rather than waiting to punish the results of crime. Reducing the prison population
    A) costs less to the State and to all of us,
    B) decreases recidivism rates, and the cost to all of us
    C) helps people with issues ranging from childhood abuse to violence, to poverty and lack of education, and opportunity who would otherwise end up in prison to deal with the issues, preferably before they end up in prison, but certainly at the point they are brought before the courts.

    Restorative justice is another area which could be greatly expanded on, and which studies have proven decreases reoffending rates, even when used in isolation, with no other help strategy being offered.

    If you don’t believe me on facts A, B and particularly C, check out the facts in the documents I’ve linked to at the bottom of this post.

    So, how does this relate to the death penalty argument? Well, it’s simple really: if you have emptied the prisons by a huge percentage by preventing people from going to jail for most non violent offences (for the sake of clarity, almost all sexual offences would still be classed as violent offences) then you have prisons which are no longer anywhere near being overcrowded, and which cost considerably less to the State, and thus all of us, to run. It also means that murderers given life sentences can actually be accommodated. The cost of keeping them in jail for life is more than offset by the savings made by the reforms previously mentioned. Cost should never be a factor in an argument over whether people should be executed by the State or not.

    For the record, I am completely against the death penalty. Yes, I, like everyone else, can have an emotive response to a case like, say, the Wests, or Harold Shipman, but that emotive response should never guide our rational response to the issue. An eye for an eye is not a deterrent, it is simply revenge, and revenge makes us no better than the murderers we avenge ourselves on. And the issue of innocence can never be removed – how many non innocent lives is one innocent life worth? 1? 10? 100? Is a rate of 1 innocent executed per 100 executions acceptable to anyone?

    Anyway, here are the links I referred to earlier – they are worth having a look at if you are at all interested in the arguments surrounding the stupidly high incarceration rates of the countries of the UK, and the support for means of dealing with crime other than prison:

    http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/Prison%20the%20facts%20May%202014.pdf

    http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN04334/prison-population-statistics

  265. Robert Peffers
    Ignored
    says:

    Rock says: 14 February, 2015 at 10:19 pm:

    “If you want to come to a decision regarding capital punishment, go and sit in the public gallery at several criminal trials “

    There may soon be a chance to see just such a case of Miscarriage of Justice being revisited in the Scottish Courts for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, would seem to be just such a victim of a miscarriage of justice.

    Dr Jim Swire, (whose daughter Flora was killed in the bombing), has led a campaign to have a posthumous appeal on behalf of al-Megrahi. Now if anyone has a motive for revenge Dr Jim has. Yet the USAsian families have branded the campaign members as, “Disgraceful”. I’m no lawyer but I can figure things out and if anyone in this whole sorry matter are disgraceful it is the USA administrations since the Lockerbie incident.

    First of all they paid several million Dollars to the main witness and his brother for a somewhat dodgy identification of an alleged customer who bought items of clothing at the witnesses shop. His first description of the buyer bore no resemblance to al-Megrahi. The paid for witness contradicted himself several times. Then there is the claimed identification of the circuit board used in the bomb. Forensics proves it was not ever fitted in the actual unit used in that trigger. Furthermore, the trigger was operated by air pressure at a certain height and the prosecution claimed that al-Megrahi had placed the unit containing the bomb on board the aircraft at Malta. So how do they explain away the fact that the plane flew from Malta to Heathrow above that pre-set height?

    Evidence is that the luggage from the plane was off-loaded at Heathrow and stored overnight in a warehouse. That warehouse was broken into during the night before the luggage was reloaded into the plane. Yet Al-Megrahi was proven to be nowhere near Heathrow. Obviously the bomb could not have been on board the plane en route to Heathrow and no one could get to it in the plane’s hold in flight. You don’t need to be a Miss Marple to work out there is something far wrong with al-Megrahi’s trial & conviction. Yet the Yanks seem to be fitting al-Megrahi up as the bomber and thus they are not too fussy who got done as long as they got revenge on someone. Either that or the USA administrations have something to hide, or want to blame an innocent, to safeguard the guilty.

    BTW: The Scottish Police statements were either lies or tampered with. Just how many people are involved in some kind of dodgy deal?

  266. lumilumi
    Ignored
    says:

    Tattie-bogle @ 9.36am
    “the degree of a nation’s civilization can be seen in the way it treats its prisoners”. That particular quote was by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

    One of the gripes the UK has with the EU is votes for prisoners.

    After the Finnish Civil War (1918), “red rebel” prisoners were denied the vote for a while but nowadays prisoners have the vote. How else are they supposed to be part of our democracy and have their say?

  267. Thepnr
    Ignored
    says:

    @john king

    To post a pictute. a simple way is to use tinypic.com

    No need to join, just select the image file then choose upload. You will then be given 4 types of links, best use the bottom one for here I think “direct link”

  268. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    Scotland will have high prison costs because there is less privatisation of prison services (funded by the public purse), and a higher consumption of alcohol (drugs) in Scotland. Comsumption of alcohol in Scotland has fallen 7% (from 25% more than the rest of the UK to 17%). Alcohol consumption and related costs have fallen under the SNP policies.

    How many people are being charged with ‘crimes’ put in cells and the ‘charges’ are dropped. Along with the expense inconvenience etc. The Police should release the figures of people being put in cells under false ‘charges’ which are dropped. Especially people arrested under false ‘charges’ (which are dropped) on a Friday and spend a week- end in cells and hang about in court corridors, incurr legal bills, when the ‘charges’ are dropped. ‘Charges’ which would not hold up in court. It takes longer than 4 years to improve a Police, criminal justice system.

    Apology from HSBC. Just makes people more angry. The only thing that will make people less angry is if wealthy, bank fraudsters, tax evaders go to jail. Thatcher’s legacy.

    Unionists Parties funded by Hedge Funds. SNP funded by it’s members.

  269. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    Some of the mass murderers could have be stopped sooner, if the authorities had taken the necessary action and taken complains seriously.

  270. steveasaneilean
    Ignored
    says:

    I remember an interview with the Norwegian Justice Minister on BBC Scotland a few years back.

    He was asked why Scotland had so many more people in prison than Norway.

    “You have too many laws” was his simple reply.

  271. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks Alex here goes, http://tinyurl.com/m3bue5y

  272. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    Ken500 says:
    15 February, 2015 at 11:23 am
    Scotland will have high prison costs because there is less privatisation of prison services (funded by the public purse),

    Eh? How does that work? Can you explain, please

  273. Lollysmum
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Robert Peffers

    Did you watch last week’s IndependenceLive interview with Morag? She did a good job of showing some of the inconsistencies in the evidence in the Megrahi case.

    http://new.livestream.com/accounts/6163639/events/3803448

  274. heedtracker
    Ignored
    says:

    Anyway poverty and crime are very obliviously causal, so London is almost the richest region in the whole of Europe and the seven poorest out of the poorest EU regions are teamGB. That’s some achievement for the red Tories, Brown, Bliar, the Flipper, Morphy 3 term, 12 years in Westminster. And Brown wanted coalition with the farce that is the LibDem comedy show.

    “The former chairman of HSBC is stepping down from a British financial services lobbying group as the scandal over the bank’s alleged Swiss tax evasion schemes continues to rage.

    Stephen Green, who also sits in the House of Lords as a Tory peer, has quit as chair of TheCityUK’s Advisory Council with immediate effect.”

    Thats the Independent. Lord Green is also ordained Church of England priest which again says more than enough about our imperial masters.

  275. Lollysmum
    Ignored
    says:

    @ John King
    I think you used tinyurl not tinypic.com so it doesn’t work

  276. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    The biggest criminal of all Blair, criminalised the society, but is above the Laws he made and broke.

  277. Helena Brown
    Ignored
    says:

    I was devastated when Troy Davis was put to death, I signed all the petitions on his behalf which I received from Amnesty International.
    I do not believe a civilized country should have the Death Penalty and my reasons have been stated by so many here. The Police have a history of fitting up people to fit the crime. The right wing play on people’s emotions often making up the facts, where have we seen that before.
    Justice is supposed to be blind and therefore emotion is supposed to be removed from sentencing. Life imprisonment should mean that after all how can someone be freed if the ultimate punishment has been carried out and it turns out that the person is not guilty. I cannot support the lottery idea either, as this would still be judicial murder.

  278. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    Megrahi was innocent. The Scottish Gov can do nothing about any appeal because it does not have the powers (limited devolved powers) and is subject to the UK Official Secrets Act. Megrahi got home to die with his family. It was Megrahi’s decision to be Gaddafi’s patsy.

  279. Robert Peffers
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jenni says: 14 February, 2015 at 9:43 pm:

    “I would support the death penalty for people for whom there is zero chance of rehabilitation.”

    Out of your own mouth, Jenni.

    “Crimes of passion, first offence, insanity defence – where there is a reasonable expectation of a cure – should not result in execution.

    And again.

    “There is no reasonable expectation of them becoming ‘better’ and less of a danger to society – just the enormous expense of incarcerating them … “

    ” … So yeah, stick me in your lottery. If someone goes to the lengths of manufacturing irrefutable evidence against me for multiple crimes – which I am unlikely to commit – then I am clearly in trouble anyway.”

    No need to go to any, “Great Lengths”, you have, after all confessed in a public forum. Here is some other evidence that shows your views are wrong. –

    The State Hospital at Carstairs in Scotland is a psychiatric hospital providing care and treatment in conditions of high security for around 140 patients from Scotland and Northern Ireland who need to be detained in hospital under conditions of special security that can only be provided by the State Hospital.

    These 140 patients are those that remain after other former patients deemed to be remotely able to be rehabilitated were remover elsewhere. If memory serves me well, a patient named Sam Glass has been a patient at Carstairs for around 45 years. He is mentally ill yet you would murder them for being ill because it costs us money.

    Where does it all stop, Jenni? Perhaps you would also murder diabetics done for speeding. After all diabetes is incurable too.

  280. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    take two

  281. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Lollys mum
    “I think you used tinyurl not tinypic.com so it doesn’t work”

    I did but only after taking it from tinypic cos the link was huge, but it didnt work.

  282. Robert Peffers
    Ignored
    says:

    @Author_al says: 14 February, 2015 at 10:00 pm:

    “Always easier to kill someone when there is distance between the perpetrator and the crime… Stark choices become less stark. Trident v hungry kids needing food banks comes to mind. Bankers bonuses v welfare cuts. All have implications and consequences.”

    Best comment of the day, Author-Al.

  283. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    A higher number of public service in the South have been privatised, but are still funded by public money (taxpayers money). On a balance sheet without proper scrutiny by comparison, it would appear as private sector activity. Given for a higher cost of public services, by comparison, in Scotland. If added scrutiny is not given in the accounts of private sector activity (of public services) which is funded by public money. Ie Not comparing like with like. The detail is missing from the account.

  284. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Take three
    I didnt see your comment about using the bottom one Alex
    http://i59.tinypic.com/qod741.jpg

  285. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Oh God.
    Its upside down! 🙁

  286. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    @ Ken500

    The prisons are wholly funded from the public purse, no matter who is running them. Therefore the costs must show in the public accounts. I have never seen an example where private provision is cheaper, despite what we were told would happen. It is true that the private sector cuts costs in the form of wages and staff, etc. But that is more than offset by the need for profit and shareholder value. I still do not understand your point

  287. Andy Nimmo
    Ignored
    says:

    In certain parts of LA and NY, life expectancy is so low that you can actually expect to live longer by commiting murder, get sentenced to death and spend years on death row.
    By the time they get round to killing you, you will have exceeded the average life expectancy.

  288. Capella
    Ignored
    says:

    “The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.” (Marx)

    If the state condones judicial murder it sanctions murder as a means of solving problems. That becomes the ruling idea, as we can see every day in the US. We have to find a better solution.

  289. Good Witch Wendy
    Ignored
    says:

    I believe revenge is a disfunctional and destructive reaction to injury and for individuals and the community to progress, people need to work hard to preserve empathy and hope above all else: the logic that ‘An eye for an eye makes everyone blind’ rings true for me.

    My view is that capital punishment is unjustifiable in any form. The state should protect all of its citizens, their community and environment, it should steer well clear of ‘punishing’ people and should stick to prevention, protection and rehabilitation.

    Tackling mental health, domestic abuse and addiction issues could do much more to prevent murder, protect us all and cut costs in the long run, and would benefit the whole of society in the meantime.

    ( Also, please can I ask you to be careful about using ‘primitive’ when referring to any people, as I think missuse of this word can encourage ignorance and intolerance, although I realise your intent here is to provoke thought and discussion rather rather than discourage it.)

  290. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    I have now officially lost the will to live!

  291. Jim McIntosh
    Ignored
    says:

    I seem to remember reading a book many years ago (by Dennis Wheatley I think) where it was suggested that if the British government ever voted for war again, when the MPs left the chamber they should each drew a ball out of a bag.

    One out of every 10 balls was to be black, the rest white. If you drew a black ball you were taken out and immediately shot.

    What’s the guessing we would have less wars.

  292. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    @Cod 10.56am
    Excellent and well-argued comment. Thank you for the links.

  293. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    Dear John King
    We still love you! It was quite funny watching you struggle, though . . .

  294. effijy
    Ignored
    says:

    Any one against the death penalty for corrupt politicians, bankers
    the CEO of large Corporations???.

    Boy would that one see more tax revenues coming in, and on time.

  295. Lollysmum
    Ignored
    says:

    @John King
    Your last post made my day. Full marks for persistence though. LOL 🙂

  296. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    Some prison services are run by private companies (paid by public money)

    Eg If two companies build a building. One company pays the build entirely from their own accounts. Balance sheet. The other company subcontracts some of the contract. The comparison has to made including the subcontract expense. To make a true comparison. Otherwise it appears the costs of one companies activities/costs overall is higher.

  297. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Natasha says
    “Dear John King
    We still love you! It was quite funny watching you struggle, though . . .”

    You’ll be even happier to hear that even if it had been the right way up it was the wrong picture waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  298. Hoss Mackintosh
    Ignored
    says:

    O/T

    I got another begging letter from Jim Murphy with no less than three links to get money for campaigning.

    One of you guys got me to register for something months ago (grrrr) so they must still have my email.

    Pretty desperate stuff – this is their vision of how to win our votes and get contributions…

    Scottish Labour

    Two months in, we’re changing our party so we can make Scotland a better and fairer country. But we all have to work together to make it happen.
    Can you donate to our campaign fund?
    Dear Friend,

    I was so honoured, two months ago today, that you and the Scottish Labour Party put your trust in Kez and me.

    You put us to work on a huge task: to change the Scottish Labour Party so that we could offer the ideas that will make Scotland a better and fairer place to live and work, and to build the organisation that could win that battles of ideas on election day.

    This isn’t just a task for Kez and me, it is one for all of us. Can you donate to our election campaign fund?

    Together, we have made good progress over the last two months. The choice at the next election could not be clearer. Either a Tory government who have a plan that only works for the people at the top. Or a Labour government which will deliver fairer pay; more homes; more powers for our villages, towns and cities; and a mansion tax to pay for 1000 extra nurses for our NHS.

    But willing it is not enough. We need to campaign and make it happen. We’ve been building our team in every community but we need to club together to get those campaigners the resources they need to get the job done.

    Chip in to make it happen:

    https://secure.scottishlabour.org.uk/2-months

    Thank you for being part of it.

    Jim

    Donate Like LIKE Follow FOLLOW
    Unsubscribe

    Reproduced from an email sent by the Scottish Labour Party, promoted by the Scottish Labour Party, at 290 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4RE.

    ——————————————————–

    I unsubscribed again and they asked why? My answer…

    “I am going to vote SNP. Nicola Sturgeon is an inspirational leader”. 🙂

  299. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    Some Football Boardss (illegally) encourage bigotry by only employing people of a certain faith. They try and make money out of bigotry but often result in their demise and lose of support. Religion and sport doesn’t mix. It limits support. The Churches have privileges above the Law, the Equal Opportunities Employment Laws. Football businesses should not illegally break Equal Opportunity Laws.

  300. Fiona
    Ignored
    says:

    They are changing their party, are they? So as to pursue the aim of making Scotland a better and fairer country?

    What were they doing before? I think we should be told!

    Though it is clear that many of us have come to our own conclusions about that: and have abandoned the party which was working to make Scotland a worse and more unequal place for years and years. And succeeding!

  301. Ken500
    Ignored
    says:

    @ John King

    ‘lost the will to live’ HaHa

    ‘Things can only get better’

  302. Fred
    Ignored
    says:

    @ John King, sorry about that John, try,

    https://drmarkjardine.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/the-execution-of-james-nicol-and-william-nicol-in-edinburgh-in-1684/

    You can sign up for Dr Jardine’s wee newsletters anent Scotland’s “Killing Times”.

  303. Stoker
    Ignored
    says:

    Another great topic, Rev, with lots of thought provoking contributions from many different people.

    I’m really enjoying this Saturday Soapbox feature and hope you retain it as a permanent feature of the site.

    Out of all the contributions so far, on this topic, two are standouts, in my opinion.

    The first is by “Cuilean” (14.02.15 @ 4.54pm) – thank you very much for sharing that very important part of your family history with us all. I have an interest in family history and although your story is a bit on the sad side it also demonstrates clearly why the death penalty is wrong and if your g g grandfathers case can be used to convince others then some good will have come from those horrible events. Thank you once again.

    The second was one of the many contributions from “steviecosmic” (14.02.15 @ 8.13pm) – thanks for that, simply could not have put it better myself.

    Can’t wait to see what next weeks hot topic is all about.
    Now we have the Soapbox AND Chris’ cartoons to look forward to.
    🙂

  304. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    I cant tell you all how happy I am to hear my decline into a morass of despair and despondency makes your lives so much better,
    I think I want to be alone now to suck on the bitter teat of loneliness………………

    Hahahahahaha I bet that got you all going eh?
    hello,…. hello,….. anyone?….. hello………..

  305. Croompenstein
    Ignored
    says:

    @john king –

    Fear not john if you right click on the image and choose open in new tab then voila it magically appears the right way up and you can zoom in and everything… 😀

  306. Lollysmum
    Ignored
    says:

    John King
    You get worse 🙂 & we shouldn’t encourage you

  307. Fred
    Ignored
    says:

    John, is this unsatisfactory suckling anything to do with my MP in Glasgow East, aka, “Auld Vinegar Tits”?

  308. KennyG
    Ignored
    says:

    @Natasha 5.55pm

    Would you care to quote me on that?

    I have never said that if a woman is drunk it’s not rape.

    What I have said though, is that if a woman is out, gets very drunk and she meets a man she’s never met, then goes back to his hotel room with him, then gets into bed with him, then wakes up in the morning unclothed, and the guy says they had sex, and she says I don’t remember giving consent, this is not rape.

  309. Captain Caveman
    Ignored
    says:

    “I mean, what are we, short of humans all of a sudden? We can easily afford to trim out a few of the the nastier ones.”

    Hmm, can’t say I find this kind of sentiment very edifying, Stu, even if it was said somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Others here have articulated views far better than I ever could, so I’ll simply restrict myself to saying we (the people, the state) have to be better than this; above all, we must earn and retain moral authority at all times.

    The death penalty is clearly amoral for the reason that you yourself articulate, i.e. we can never be 100% sure of the guilt of any accused, no matter how compelling the evidence, and so it is not something that should ever be applied, obviously. But, even if it was possible to achieve 100% certainty, we still (I argue) need to be better than that. The moral worth of any society can be directly measured according to how it treats its most reprehensible citizens; State retribution and revenge has no place in civilised, 21st century human society?

    (I’d also briefly mention that I found your “Logan’s Run” style death lottery a bit disturbing too; what between this and your proposed citizens’ informant networks for illicit alcohol consumption, I don’t think I’d want to live in WoS Land :p )

  310. george
    Ignored
    says:

    jeremy the lawyer says:
    14 February, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    . . . when courts pride themselves on conviction rates rather than the correct administration of justice and the governments position is to pay lawyers more to get people to plead guilty early rather than go to trial . . .

    wait, what??

  311. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    KennyG

    What I have said though, is that if a woman is out, gets very drunk and she meets a man she’s never met, then goes back to his hotel room with him, then gets into bed with him, then wakes up in the morning unclothed, and the guy says they had sex, and she says I don’t remember giving consent, this is not rape.

    And if a man takes advantage of a woman in that situation knowing full well that she’s not in any kind of position to give consent (because she’s quite clearly so drunk that she doesn’t know what she’s doing) then it is rape.

    I remember when I was a teenager, going out with a guy who I wasn’t sure about for various reasons. After having thought about it carefully I realised that all I needed to do really was to ask myself whether my father or brothers would behave the way he did, and if not, why not. They were decent human beings who cared about other people. He wasn’t.

    On the basis of what you have written, you would fail that test utterly.

    Remind me never to let you anywhere near my teenage daughters.

  312. john king
    Ignored
    says:

    Croompemstein says
    “Fear not john if you right click on the image and choose open in new tab then voila it magically appears the right way up and you can zoom in and everything…”

    See, there are some kind people out there, thank you Croompy. 🙂

    now all I have to do is select a picture where the person in question isn’t actually turning away from the camera and we’re sorted.
    http://i62.tinypic.com/1hfcd4.jpg

    Right you lot you heard the man, get clicking,
    What?
    I dont know why its upside down, what am I an IT guru or something?

    The wummin wi the saltire butterfly is my wife, behind her is Kininvie, and hidden from veiw (thankfully) behind the man with the saltire is JLT and the wummin wi the tartan jaiket is Angela Constance,
    what do you mean who the hell is she?
    don’t make me come over there!
    but for the life of me I cant figure out where the phrase I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS. came from?

  313. Martin McDonald
    Ignored
    says:

    Whether there was any doubt as to this man’s death or not, those who participated in his state ordered killing are, quite simply, evil scum who deserve nothing but condemnation.

    That includes those who sentenced him.

    Countries who still have the death penalty on their statute books should be made international pariahs.

  314. Jet Jockey
    Ignored
    says:

    It is possible to completely destroy a person morally and mentally and that means you have never touched them,and they probably feel murdered yet you can go free . Take a look at http://www.scottishwebsites.com and see what I mean , and make a comment if you can relate.

  315. Martin McDonald
    Ignored
    says:

    Sad to read a lot of the comments here. Remarkable that some people can’t understand the perspective of this piece or point being made in it. Some people think that the writer is seriously suggesting a death lottery. Unreal.

    And some people don’t understand the soapbox concept, despite it having been clearly explained.

    Sad.

  316. Gary
    Ignored
    says:

    The ‘arguments’ over the death penalty try to base themselves in logic. This is not argument but justification. Those who have formed opinions on it have not done so based on logic but based on emotion and how they were brought up. One thing I do know is that Joseph Beltrami said that juries were much less likely to convict in a capital case, they wanted no doubt. I’ve seen documentaries of such cases in USA, they have no such qualms and were willing to send a man to be executed on flimsy evidence. Their culture is different, they carry guns and they execute people. Execution has been gone for about half a century now, it has been denormalised. Surveys can say anything, survey Daily Mail readers and you could get 75% in favour of public floggings for socialists! Regardless of what the convict has done, could I order an employee to kill him? I’d be paying him to kill someone. Kill but not in defence nor in anger. What does this make me, what does it make him? There are no logical arguments, only feelings. If the victim was family I think I know what I’d want, but laws are supposed to be made in the cold light of day.

  317. Annette
    Ignored
    says:

    This argument would have done Solomon proud.

  318. Captain Caveman
    Ignored
    says:

    @Martin McDonald

    “Some people think that the writer is seriously suggesting a death lottery. Unreal.”

    To be fair, my closing comment on that score was a joke, hence the smiley bit. (Assuming you were thinking of my comment here)

  319. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    KennyG

    By the way, I REALLY hope you don’t work with children or vulnerable people.

  320. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    @Gary

    Sound arguments based on logic very much can be put in defence of not having the death penalty, as the article itself demonstrates. It is not purely an emotive issue, but one where argument needs to be framed in such a way that the reader truly understands the variables on both sides of the equation. This article is a perfect example of that style of argument.

    Discussions over whether something is morally or ethically acceptable can’t help but be governed by logic, for it is through Socratic thought and Aristotelian Formal Logic and Ethics that much of our understanding of these things come, and upon which religious ethics is largely based. Indeed, it cuts both ways: Thomas Aquinas and the Catholic Church in general invoked Aristotelian Ethics in defence of capital punishment by the state, believing that God bestowed upon the state the divine right to execute criminals. Their argument of course presupposes the existence of a God, so I as an atheist can discount it as false.

  321. Jim McIntosh
    Ignored
    says:

    Even it was proven 100% and the defendant pleaded guilty, surely state of mind and other mitigating circumstances has to come into play. A Supreme Court ruling in 2007 in the USA barred the execution of mentally retarded persons. However it is up to individual states to determine what’s deemed ‘retardation’. There are over 3,000 people on death row in the USA.

    From Amnesty International: “In 1997 one-third of 602 death row inmates in the USA who responded to a newspaper’s questionnaire had been treated for psychiatric problems ranging from suicide and depression to anti-social behaviour and sexual problems

    I’d guess with the improved diagnosis of mental illness since then the figure of 33% has probably gone up. It’s quite possible over 50% of the inmates on death row are mentally challenged.

  322. Paula Rose
    Ignored
    says:

    Living on death row is not exactly conducive to a sane state of mind, so if the condemned were not mad when they committed the crime – they probably will be when they are murdered.

  323. Fred
    Ignored
    says:

    Surprised Murphy isn’t advocating a populist vote-catcher like hanging!

  324. Gavin
    Ignored
    says:

    Great topic, but there are some very strange comments and opinions!

    Absolute NO to the death penalty, it does not act as a deterrant, US is a perfect example of this.

    However, we have to have a system where the sentence handed down is served, not reduced. If our system is based on reform, then we have to ensure that the prisoner HAS reformed prior to release, else all we do is encourage further crime, furthermore release should not be the end as we have far too many reoffenders.

    Should we have some form of hard labour (had considered removing the word labour for the obvious reason, but decided against it)?

  325. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve always thought that, due to taxpayers resenting having to pay for criminals in what some regard as better conditions than some have on the outside, ‘hard’ labour should be a part of a sentence. I’m not convinced at all that simply removing someone’s liberty is the correct course of action. I think it would be better for society, the prisoner and better for the taxpayer, if prisoners were put to work to manufacture items that were useful and could raise significant amounts of revenue for the prison system whilst providing valuable skills, training, education and certification within a meritocratic environment that encouraged team work, diligence and aspiration. Something other than tattie sacks and license plates and rotting in a cell for the majority of the time.

  326. Andy Nimmo
    Ignored
    says:

    I wrote this in July last year as a wee bitty black comedy.
    Now I’m not so sure. Mebbes ahm a bitty a clairvoyant

    https://justinfayresweeklyrant.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/ghost-of-christmas-future/

  327. Gizmo
    Ignored
    says:

    Exactly why I will never accept the death sentence for any crime. Far to many miscarriages of justice and if we see murder as wrong and immoral, giving the state the right to carry out murder is equally wrong.

    We do, however, need to make sentences more appropriate to the crime – if you murder someone and remove them from existence – expect a long stay, if not life-long. Unless we crack a reliable form of rehabilitation then keep them locked up – what is of most import – unless we somehow learn to predict crimes – is keeping society safe.

    I don’t particularly care what happens to prisoners once they are inside except that we, as a civilized nation, need to provide the basic minimum for their survival. And we need to do more for the victims/victims families.

  328. Dormant
    Ignored
    says:

    I can’t agree with you here. I think it is morally wrong to kill someone in the name of the state in cold blood, no matter what they did – including Bin Laden and Hussein.

    What I find strange is that the pressure on the US death penalty is coming from a bunch of European drug companies.

  329. george
    Ignored
    says:

    steviecosmic says:
    15 February, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    this is just an informed critique, ‘cos i don’t have anything insightful or original of my own to add

    *I’ve always thought that, due to taxpayers resenting having to pay for criminals in what some regard as better conditions than some have on the outside*

    – have a look at ruby wax’s programme about the priory from a few years back. the reason prison conditions have improved in the last decade is that so very many politicians and their chums have been inside, whether it be the priory or actual prison. gaol is just the priory for the poor: same huge costs, same locks and bars, same chance of meeting a crazy that’ll stab you, much poorer quality of drugs and facilities.

    *and could raise significant amounts of revenue for the prison system whilst providing valuable skills, training, education and certification*

    – the “significant revenue” bit is an absolute no-no because firstly you’d be taking jobs out of the wider economy “shawshank redemption” style (like the tories are doing at the moment with the open poorhouse that is jobseekers allowance) and secondly because people don’t trust the products. it’s why gordon ramsey’s ideas largely failed and why breaking rocks was such a popular idea.

    at least half the people inside have been in and out since their mid teens. basic literacy and numeracy are often a challenge. prisons do provide much better education these days because they now have the facilities to do so . . . but then people leave gaol and go into an environment that doesn’t want them. we demonise our criminals.

    *within a meritocratic environment that encouraged team work, diligence and aspiration*

    – gaol is an environment much like a ship, except that there are very, very few officers; unlike a ship everyone is potentially armed, deranged, hostile, prone to violence, and is most likely on drugs at some point in the day. it is not an environment conducive to building team spirit, although the workers do their best with what they have.

    i think the norwegian government minister mentioned in a previous comment was right. i think we have too many laws. i also think we need to tell our red-top press to peddle their “flog-’em, burn-’em and hang-’em” sensationalism somewhere else.

  330. george
    Ignored
    says:

    quick addendum to the post above:

    i’ve often thought it a pity that the only way for poor young people to get away from being trapped in lives that they don’t want is to become state-sponsored professional killers.

  331. KennyG
    Ignored
    says:

    @Natasha 4.40pm.

    So there’s two people in that room. One says consent was given, the other says not. So who’s right?

    The fact that the woman is so drunk that she can’t remember giving consent is her own fault not his.

    This, for me, in court, would constitute reasonable doubt, as who can say with absolute certainty that consent was or was not given?

    I REALLy hope you don’t work in law!

  332. Cináed
    Ignored
    says:

    Sums up my own opinion quite neatly Rev.

    I’ve got no problem with the mechanics of the death penalty, or the principle. There are plenty of people whose crimes are foul enough to justify death.

    The only qualm I’ve got is the potential for an innocent person being executed. And on that basis, I would be very, very reluctant to see the state assume responsibility for who lives and who dies. You can always pull someone out of prison if new evidence comes to light (and compensate appropriately).

    Then again, if our justice system could conceive a half-proportionate response to those who do commit the foulest of crimes, you’d probably find that public support for the death penalty would drop dramatically. People feel victims are short-changed by the current system and, frankly, it can’t be beyond the wit of man to design a cheaper, more effective system of proportionate punishment for those who commit the foulest crimes that doesn’t involve executing them.

  333. Captain Caveman
    Ignored
    says:

    @KennyG

    I’m no lawyer but, if the woman was “so drunk” as you put it (and this is not in dispute), then she is clearly not competent to give such consent in such a condition.

    No gentleman would ever conceivably engage in sex with someone who was in that state. Sorry, it’s just not done.

  334. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    @George

    Point well made and taken. I’m not suggesting it’s easy to change the prison system into something more positive, but I do believe the whole issue requires a re-think. Simply taking away peoples’ liberty and doing little else leads exactly to the conditions you describe. There must be something that these people can do that is of value to both society and themselves and their collective future, something that wouldn’t encourage institutionalization and reoffending.

    And I wholeheartedly agree with you last point.

  335. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    KennyG

    The fact that the woman is so drunk that she can’t remember giving consent is her own fault not his.

    As I said earlier, if she is that drunk, she can’t give consent because she doesn’t know what she is doing.

    Are you seriously telling me that any man who deliberately takes advantage of woman who is that vulnerable does not know what he is doing? Would you do that? If not, then you must know on some level that it would be wrong – in which case, why are you defending such behaviour?

    Everything you say continues to confirm my judgement of you as morally bankrupt.

  336. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    KennyG

    Let’s take this further, shall we? A woman who was so drunk that she can’t remember having sex was therefore also so drunk that she didn’t have the capacity to give consent. Yet you are saying that it is her fault for being that drunk and she cannot then complain about being exploited (ie raped).

    But if we have any decency, humanity and compassion at all, we do not take advantage of someone who is vulnerable. What kind of person ARE you?

    Just because someone doesn’t actually say NO out loud doesn’t mean they gave consent. A child may not say NO out loud when a loved and trusted adult abuses them; the whole point about grooming a child is that the paedophile gains their trust and puts them in a position where they don’t feel able to say no. It doesn’t stop it being abuse and rape. By law, a child CANNOT consent to sex; they are deemed not to have the capacity to do so.

    I may not know the law with regard to the situation you describe (and I bet you don’t either) but I do know that anyone who is so drunk that they cannot remember the next day what happened certainly was not in a position to give consent to anything. One thing is clear; I have a very much better understanding of what it means to be a decent human being than you do. And like I said; I REALLY REALLY hope you don’t have any power over children or vulnerable adults.

  337. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate, you say that the woman was ‘so drunk she doesn’t know what she’s doing’.

    Can that defense also apply to the hypothetical man?

  338. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    Steviecosmic

    Just to play devil’s advocate, you say that the woman was ‘so drunk she doesn’t know what she’s doing’.

    Can that defense also apply to the hypothetical man?

    Not really, because if he can remember having sex and was sober enough to do so, then he was sober enough to be responsible for his actions. In the scenario we were discussing, it was clear (to me, at any rate) that the woman was so drunk that she could not possibly have given consent.

    (Of course it would be equally a case of rape if the man in question knowingly took advantage of another man in a very drunk state).

    It appears that KennyG expects women to exercise moral responsibility but does not think that men either should or can do the same.

    Kind of a twisted compliment to women, in a way; but I don’t think he should judge all other men by his own moral inadequacy.

  339. steviecosmic
    Ignored
    says:

    First off, let me say that I agree that non-consensual sex is wrong, no matter the gender mix involved, including partners and married couples. It is an act of violence that should not go unpunished.

    All I was attempting to do was highlight what appeared to be a gaping hole in your argument; the defence of not being responsible for one’s actions. While I agree that it is possible hypothetical man was lucid due to his memory and ability to carry out the act, I also think it equally plausible that he too could have been ‘mentally incapacitated’ at the time.

    As someone who has drank a lot in their lives, I can say with a fair degree of experience that drunken states come in all manner of nightmarish guises, from complete blackouts to out of body experiences to slo-mo hallucinations. To be blunt, being hammered doesn’t necessarily preclude performance in the bedroom, whether you remember it or not the next morning, or indeed even the next week.

    In this hypothetical situation, I think we’ve chosen possibly the worst parameters imaginable, which enables any one of us to take it to an extreme hypothesis that’s incredibly difficult to resolve, even though we all can clearly agree that rape is an abhorrent act of violence. And that I think is the problem here; the situation seems so loosely arranged and the details scant, that it’s possible to move the goal posts.

    If Mr Hypothetical was lucid, and she wasn’t, then he should be in the ‘big hoose’, too afraid to pick up the soap. I don’t think any reasonable person could object to that. However, I remain unconvinced whether a jury would convict him given the circumstances, such is my faith in humanity.

  340. KennyG
    Ignored
    says:

    Natasha

    I do not agree that if a man has sex with a woman, or child, as you have introduced to the equation, against their will, or passed out drunk it is OK, and your constant suggestions that I do, or would harm a child, are baseless slurs and more of a stain on your character than mine.

    My stance is still the same.

    If a woman goes out and meets a stranger, gets drunk, agrees to go back to his hotel, gets into bed with him and sleeps with him, then wakes up and says I don’t remember giving you consent to have sex with me, you must have raped me, then how, if she has admitted not remembering giving consent can she be sure whether she did or didn’t?

    So you would surely agree then, that if the man was also drunk, and the woman was to touch him intimately, then he could also make a counter allegation for sexual assault as he didn’t give her consent?

    And let’s be clear. If you’re going to make claims that I agree with rape, then have the decency to quote me.

  341. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    KennyG

    I did quote you; you condemned yourself out of your own mouth. I don’t think you’re in any position to make comments about other people’s decency when you clearly have none.

    The basic fact remains – a decent compassionate human being doesn’t take advantage of others’ vulnerability, whether male or female. You were saying that it was the woman’s fault for making herself vulnerable; you seemed to think the man had no moral responsibility whatsoever. Like I said – you’re not clearly not fit to be responsible for children or vulnerable people.

  342. KennyG
    Ignored
    says:

    Natasha

    Like i said, if you claim that I said it’s OK to rape a vulnerable person, or someone who’s passed out drunk, then quote me on it.

  343. Natasha
    Ignored
    says:

    KennyG

    Okay, here you go:

    The fact that the woman is so drunk that she can’t remember giving consent is her own fault not his.
    16 Feb 9.50am.

    If she was that drunk, she wasn’t in any position to give consent and she was therefore vulnerable. QED.

  344. Cactus
    Ignored
    says:

    Hey death, listen to mr bill hicks, he got the thonk 😉

    One more.. you ever heard of a guy called Rich Hall:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p4oQXIWmiU

  345. Gubbyduffer
    Ignored
    says:

    It is good to hear some people would like to hang criminals as long as their conscience is clear of the evil biased British press that may be against it!!



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