Does capital punishment serve a worthwhile purpose?

Most countries around the world have stopped using the death penalty. But the United States ranks among the top five countries that still execute prisoners. Today’s Question: Does capital punishment serve a worthwhile purpose?

  • Hiram

    It serves the blood lust of psychotics.

  • Wade

    Yes, in fact it’s not utilized enough. We should be cutting off hands of thieves and do public whippings.

    Can someone who is against capital punishment explain to me how it makes sense to keep those people alive at the cost of $50,000/year or whatever it costs to contain them?

    Not to mention prisoners have access to TVs, Internet (limited), good food, private bedrooms (quarters), education, etc. HELLO, they are criminals! Give them a cot in the basement and bread and water. Who cares about them. They are the bottom of the barrel in society. They are a debit as far as society is concerned. Let’s forget about them and focus on the credits to society. Give their food and education to the starving underachieving kids out there.

  • If there is any hope that can come from the death penalty and Mr. Troy Davis’ execution last evening, it’s the dialogue we’re presently engaged in; to one day become a nation that truly believes, respects, and values the “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of all human kind.

    Mahatma Gandhi is attributed with the phrase, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” If we as human beings, not simply Americans, don’t see how wrong the death penalty is — perhaps we’ve lost our sight long ago.

  • GregX

    capital punishment is what you put in place when the rest of your system leading up to the someone becomeing a criminal doesn’t work. Life imprisonment – that’s what you do when you have a moral conscience that says – if killing isn’t moral, ethical or legal – that should apply to the governemtn as well. Sorry 007.

    Wade’s concern that keeping adults ( 16+) in prisons for 20-60 years for $50K – $65K per year is valid. I would ask wouldn’t it be better to taek that money out of prison construction and persoiner management and put it into education and your programs to start them out on the right foot. Recent studies have showm that the single most common factor in someone being s successful member of society – ie being able to get a job is …. pre-school. Start with the NPR Planet Money Story …. Either we help kids become good employable citizens – or we keep building prisons.

  • Emery

    This might be an issue where people need to get their own thoughts straight before they have any chance of pushing politicians to a more temperate perspective.

  • Rich

    The biggest problem with the death penalty is that its is an arbitrary and capricious use of the ultimate force of government. Once you go about creating death penalty offenses for one set of crimes there no reason why you just can’t add any other crime. Just think of how nice a society we could have if we just made “X” a death penalty offense. In England in the 19th Century it was not uncommon to hang children for the offense of stealing food because they were starving, The death penalty is the the antithesis of civilization.

  • Clark

    I view it as liquidating unwanted human from society to insure gene poole is terminated. Why is it the looney left never remembers the poor victim

  • GaryF

    With government living beyond it’s means I’d say no.

    Yes, it costs a lot to keep a person in prison all their life. I believe it costs more to execute a person. With the high cost of lawyers and legal system for the endless appeals, the legal costs are higher than just throwing out the keys.

    You can fight over the ethical points all day. I look at it strictly from a money perspective.

  • Jane

    “It serves the blood lust of psychotics.

    Posted by Hiram | September 22, 2011 6:18 AM ”

    It certainly does. Reviewing all the posts since yours this morning, I agree with you, it certainly does.

  • Steve the Cynic

    To paraphrase a famous saying, Let him who is without sin deliver the first drug.

  • barracuda

    Wade: You’ve run into a significant question about the purpose of the penal system. Is it to simply punish, or is it intended to help criminals change their attitude so that they can re-enter society? Yes, I know this isn’t going to work on all of them. But if the only intention of incarceration is to punish people for their crimes, every offense should have a life sentence. Since that is not the case, we need to consider that most criminals will eventually be released. What will they be like when they come out of prison? Will they be able to function as a part of society? If you stuff somebody in a box and give them nothing but bread and water for 10 years, they are probably going to come out of that box with little understanding of the society they enter. Granted, I think the recidivism rate would be lower – at least until they realize they have absolutely no place in the general public, because they have been removed from it for so long that they are unemployable and have to resort to illegal means of feeding themselves.

    Turns out, this issue has no easy solution – we have to find a balance between the punitive and rehabilitative aspects of prisons. Punish them, but also MAKE them learn new skills so they have something to do when they get out.

  • barracuda

    Clark – The trouble with using capital punishment as a means of maintaining the gene pool is that it only works if you get them before they breed.

    That, and it doesn’t cover enough of the population. Because if we’re going to use eugenics as a justification for the death penalty, then we can definitely use it as a justification to address low test scores, rein in health care costs, and reduce the impact poverty.

  • Neil C.

    Clearly it serves several purposes including punishment for the most heinous crimes and an alternative to expensive and also horrible lifetime imprisonment.

    But at what cost to our country?

    Look at a map of which countries still permit and use capital punishment. It is the United States and a relative “Rogue’s Gallery.”

    Like it or not, the US loses moral authority by not abolishing the death penalty and looks downright silly spending billions arguing about abortion without similar levels of passionate debate on this topic.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It’s not just psychotics who are afflicted with blood lust. If blood lust has it’s origin in psychosis, it’s excusable. What bothers me is how many otherwise sane people rabidly demand vengeance by means of the death penalty. When we seek vengeance, we prove ourselves no better than the people we are angry at.

  • barracuda

    But to answer the question at hand:

    I think that capital punishment is appropriate in an extremely small number of situations. Specifically, for a few really heinous repeat offenders who have shown no willingness or ability to ‘change their ways’, I think the death penalty is appropriate.

  • Elizabetty

    I would take a good long hard look at your society and the fairness it practices when it comes to all its facets.

    Is there equal access to food, clothing and shelther? When people lack in these areas they become angry, especially in dense populations.

    If you want to live in a peaceful society then stop the corruption that increases the gap between the “haves and haves not”

  • James


    If someone is obviously guilty.

    Check this story out:

    Audie Fox, is a cold blooded premeditated killer.

    WHY is he still sucking air?

    He has sued the State of MN multiple times, his bunk is too high, his food is not the right temp, his window is too small.

    A public hanging would be too good for this animal.

    For all you “rehabilitation” lib-tards…. Go pound sand.


  • Larry m.

    No. Because when you are dead, you are dead, you are no longer can be punished or be rehabilitated.

    The cost of sending someone to death row is 10 times more expensive than giving them a life sentence, want to end some government waste, end the death penalty.

  • Rich in Duluth

    No, the death penalty is immoral, barbaric, and inhumane. If killing a person is wrong for individuals, it’s wrong for the state. The state should represent the moral high ground.

    Courts make mistakes. The justification for spending the $50,000 per year to keep convicted murderers in jail is that we avoid killing an innocent person when the court does make a mistake. What is a human life worth?

    If Troy Davis was innocent as he claimed, he and his relatives became victims of the state’s actions. What’s the state’s punishment?

    If Davis was guilty, his death is inhumane to him and makes victims of his relatives. The man he killed is still dead and his relatives are still missing him.

  • david

    If we were a truly enlightened and moral society we could have a reasonable debate on the subject, but we are not. The group of GOP animals now think not being able to afford health insurance should be punishable by what amounts to the death penalty. I’ve lost all hope that this is or ever was the greatest country on earth. The greatest generation spawned spoiled rotten, ignorant, little brats, leaving my generation to clean up their mess. Since that task is so large instead we are uncaring and unable to see the common good. Our silence is deafening.

    This would be a great country if it wasn’t for the Americans.

  • Mary

    No…Capital punishemnt is not worthwhile as it causes great emotional pain for the families, wardens and executors who are directly involved and also it is economically very expensive to the taxpayer.For centuries an “eye for an eye” has been practiced. It is time that we look for a new solution other than killing another human being. Many families of the victims have requested that the killer not be executed, to no avail. Too often we have killed innocent people when the law failed due to racism and poverty. I do not believe justice is served by killing another human being.

  • A culture of retribution is never that useful. Capital punishment is cruel; but so is putting someone in a hole for the rest of his life. So, I don’t really know. On the other hand, I am becoming increasingly more concerned about mercy than about justice.

  • J

    “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

  • Wade

    To GaryF “Yes, it costs a lot to keep a person in prison all their life. I believe it costs more to execute a person. With the high cost of lawyers and legal system for the endless appeals, the legal costs are higher than just throwing out the keys.”

    You point out a huge problem with our justice system. There shouldn’t be any of that. A person convicted of a crime and sentenced to death should be executed that same evening or perhaps the next day. No 20 years on death row, no appeals, no BS.

    Also I think Lawyers should suffer the same fate as their clients. They represent a known killer and loose. The lawyer suffers the same punishment.

    I think you guys against the death penalty are missing a fundamental point. These “people” are NOT people. They are animals and should be culled from the herd accordingly.

  • Wade

    Along these same lines. I can assure you if someone breaks into my home and threatens my and my family I will exact capital punishment on them.

    No trial, no jury, no lawyers. Just a dead piece of garbage on my floor.

  • FaithR

    It’s time to face the fact that the American culture is not very advanced at all. We still live with a Wild West mentality.

    The death penalty is a primitive way of dealing with society’s malefactors. The liberals have tried to starve that beast by making it so expensive with the appeal process that the conservatives will abandon it. That obviously hasn’t worked.

    After 10 years of working in prisons, I know that the death penalty is not a deterrent, is not cost effective, does not satisfy the victim’s families. It just simply feeds our Wild West mentality.

  • kim

    If the death penalty is morally wrong for convicted killers, then how is it that mutilating and murdering second and third trimester babies is somehow a ” Pro Choice act?

    I believe in CHOICE_ i.e., willfully kill another not in self defense, you have chosen to risk the death penalty. Willfully CHOOSE to have unprotected sex, you have chosen to play the odds and become pregnant…..Your choice.

    People have to know there really are consequences for your choices in life. Or_ we an sit around and wait for Obama’s group to decide this issue..he is good at that fascist type of control over America; e.g.

    just as Sheldon Richman in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics wrote;

    “As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalistic veneer. In its day (the 1920′s and 1930′s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and Marxism, with its violent socially divisive prosecution of the bourgeoisie.

    Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices; fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. ”

    For example; ObamaCare is intended to dictate to business and the individual what insurance they must buy, what health care they are allowed to access, and ultimately what behavior is acceptable — all at the whim of a centralized bureaucracy. The Dodd-Frank Bill firmly establishes the concept of “too big to fail” for certain financial institutions, thereby subjecting them to the absolute control of the state while allowing, and in many cases forcing, others to cease doing business, as well as instituting lending and operating policies determined by government regulators.

    So, we can always wait for the Obama administration to decide these issues?

  • Kurt

    The death penalty is immoral and unethical, and never justified in a enlightened society. My opinion, not right or wrong, just mine.

    To all the eye for an eye proponents a question.

    What should the penalty be for pretty, privileged Amy Senser? Here is a women, most likely drunk, who kills an innocent man with her car. Under your logic should she be executed by: lethal injection, hanging, firing squad? remember, an eye for an eye.

    Or does this privileged white women get a pass for her killing, because she feels bad about taking a life.

    I’ll wait for a cogent response.

  • bubba

    I’m all for it, but expanded. I like the idea od culling all the evil from the herd. Not just those that directly kill, but those that indirectly kill, the ignorant and stupid. I’d start with Wade, move on to James, and if she’s still yapping her big mouth finish with Kim. See if it really is or isn’t a deterrent.

  • gita ghei

    I don’t understand why criminals, if working under fair labor standards, are not allowed the chance to work in prison. Would it take away law abiding citizens’ jobs? What’s all the hoopla about how much it costs to keep someone in jail for life, when instead we should bare the shame of possibly killing an innocent person? To me the bottom line is that to use capital punishment as a solution is merely to satisfy revenge lust and destructive impulses…you tell me what is worthwhile about that.

  • John p.

    We do not have the moral right to impose the ultimate punishment until we have perfect justice.

  • Philip

    There is a place for it, but not in the way it is practiced in our country. There are too many “mistakes” that are made in the way it is used.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Wade and James –

    Thanks for providing your alternative opinions, and grist for the debate as to whether or not some people should not be permitted to breed.

  • Sue de Nim

    I can’t help but notice the generally angry, vengeful, vindictive tone of the comments in favor of the death penalty. And the fact that so many pro-death penalty voices in our country also claim to be followers of the one who said, “Love your enemies,” is truly ironic.

  • Carrie


  • James

    @Jim Shapiro , “Bubba” (nice choice)

    A libtard wants to live in a fantasy world (in which life is the way that they WISH IT WAS) as opposed to dealing with life the way it actually is.

    Most libtards subscribe to the notion that “people are basically good”, and build their foundation for activism and “improving the human condition” on that faulty premise. Because they deny the facts about human nature, their “reasoning” is diametrically opposite to common.

    The reality that people have different initiative levels, are basically selfish, and often work for their own interests before helping others. So, when citizens will not voluntarily comply with various libtard prescriptions for “the common good”, then laws must be passed, or force used, to MAKE them comply. (It is the gradual path to totalitarianism).

    Old west had low numbers of repeat offenders.


  • Terri

    If the justice system can prove that those on death row are truly guilty of their crimes. If psychologists can determine that the person cannot be rehabilitated to any functional capacity within our society, and that the criminal will always be considered dangerous to others lives if set free, why should we pay to keep these people confined in prison? I am absolutely for the death penalty in these cases.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “Most libtards subscribe to the notion that ‘people are basically good’,….”

    Leaving aside your slur, James (I have more respect for the developmentally disabled than to associate them with political ideologues), don’t free-market conservatives make the same mistake? Where else does the superstition come from that a jungle-rules economy will somehow magically make everything better for everyone?

  • Bubba

    A lot of people are basically selfish. You’re a prime example of that. Your over use of the word “libtard” shows tons to your character (or lack of). But it is your lack of character, your selfish me first attitude that does make us have to come up with these laws and force society to follow. I don’t know if it stems from a lacking education, or simple inbreeding.

  • bubba

    I made my comment hoping you or wade or kim would speak up highlighting the hypocrisy that is your political parties driving force, well done james!

  • David

    Worthwhile? Absolutely not!

  • Wade


    I don’t know anything about “my political party” as I have none.

    However you are correct. I am a selfish person. I do believe in protecting my own. I do believe that as a high income earner you do not have a right to one cent of what I work for/earn and if someone feels the need to take it by force or by socialism I’m going to fight for what’s rightfully mine.

  • Wade

    I’ll tell you what. In an attempt to not be selfish………………..If you want some of what I have, I’ll give you some.

    My lawn needs mowing. I pay cash.

  • Joan Treppa

    It has never been proven that capital punishment makes a bit of difference. What’s more, as an active advocate of five men in Wisconsin who I know were wrongfully convicted of murder and currently serving life sentences, I have seen how faulty our justice system is as a whole. Because of the back room deals made by certain prosecuters and corrupt detectives who point their investigations in the direction of who they think are guilty instead of following the facts, we no longer have a system that allows a ‘jury of our peers’ to hear all of the pertiment evidence they need to in order to make a well educated decision in many cases. I am grateful that my guys are not in a state that practices the death penalty. I silently wept for Troy Davis and his family along with Mark Macphail and his family this morning.

  • Sally

    It serves a worthwhile purpose for the deluded. Once they wake from the delusion there’s considerable regret.

  • EAL

    Upon his ascension to Chancellor of Germany, paraphrasing an Adolph Hilter speech, “The individual is nothing without the state.”

    Those are chiling words. Thus the state, no matter how hideous the individual, does not have the right to make a life or death decision. The exception to this theme would be for treason. Any individual who wishes to inflict harm on the country should be tagged as cancerous and eliminated.

  • James

    @ “Bubba”

    So if your daughter was abducted, raped repeatedly, tortured then killed…. Would you feel empathy and forgiveness?


  • The injustice of executing Troy Davis without sufficient evidence of guilt diminishes us all. It undermines the United States’ commitment to fundamental human rights. The execution of Mr. Davis is yet another appalling reminder that capital punishment is a barbaric act, not worthy of the justice system of a great democracy.

  • Jim Shapiro

    James – Were it not for your use of the term “libtard”, I would say that you appear to be an intelligent individual who for whatever reason is lacking in moral development.

    Lose the drooling descriptors and you”ll fare a lot better in debates with other intelligent people.

  • Stacey P

    The death penalty serves an illustrative purpose. It illustrates to the world that the U.S. is generally spiritually bankrupt. That we are an angry and vengeful people and that we are an ignorant people. This illustration is corroborated by our penchant for war and torture, as well as our denigration of people in need.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Don’t kid yourself, Wade. I have yet to meet a “high income earner” who can truthfully say that the income was 100% earned. Unless you can take credit for having chosen your parents wisely, after carefully researching the matter, and unless you can boast of having selected the best preschool and elementary school for yourself, and having hired the best teachers for yourself, and having placed yourself in a supportive community not afflicted with gang violence and poverty, and having arranged for yourself to be born into a non-oppressed social group, you are willfully blind to the truth if you think your income is entirely due to your own merit with no luck involved. And then there’s the question of whether what you do to “earn” your income is really worth what you get paid. Are you doing something that actually benefits other people in proportion to your income, so it’s a fair trade, or have you merely found a clever way to extract profits from the system? On top of that, let me suggest that your greed does not serve you well. Rather than promoting your happiness, it’s making you resentful. I suspect you’d be much happier if you could cultivate a more generous attitude and take pleasure in the happiness of others.

  • CF

    What I just can’t figure out is: Why are the LibTards so against the ultimate punishment handed down by a court of law in a trial before a jury and proven guilty, (for instance the Seward Market killers or the kid who shot DEAD the store clerks in Iowa), yet not only demand but encourage and favor the execution of the millions of innocent un-born Americans every year.

    This proves all liberals are hypocrites. I wonder, would the LibTards think that humans are basically “good” if their sister, brother, son or daughter was murdered in cold blood? Or worse, raped and tortured to death? LibTards, you can’t be serious. Woe to him who calls good evil and evil good.

  • Scott

    No, it provides no verifiable deterrent effect against criminality, it has massive moral and ethical problems, needlessly tangles our court system, and does nothing to proactively secure justice.

    Backers of capital punishment need to pass a two part test to make its implementation even potentially logically: 1) It must provide the deterrence and public safety they claim it does, and 2) that it meets standard #1 at an acceptable social and moral cost. Given that their is no statistically valid, well controlled evidence that the death penalty is effect at producing the desired public safety effects the moral question is nearly irrelevant – we need not consider a policy that is not effective.

    I firmly believe that the death penalty is profoundly unethical as well and problematic for a society that seeks to be just. In terms of capital punishment we need to look at the company the U.S. keeps in this practice: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other states not known for their commitment to rule of law, individual freedoms or justice.

  • Joanna

    No. State-sanctioned murder is barbaric, immoral, ineffective, arbitrary, expensive, and teaches disrespect for human life to our children.

    There are some people in this comment section who seem to think they are God.

  • Wade

    @ Steve,

    I can’t argue with most of that. My parents made good choices, I have excellent contacts, I worked hard and yes I was lucky to have things fall into place in the right order. Of course I never said otherwise. In fact I claim all the time I’m lucky.

    Also I do my best to help the medical community and every day I’m doing something above and beyond my “job” to make one persons life better (on a cardiac/medical level).

    However despite all that, that doesn’t mean I’m willing to let someone break into my home and steal what’s mine because they been dealt a poor hand in life be it due to bad choices or bad luck.

    Regarding quality of life. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. I spend well over 300 hours a season in my boat chasing the MN state fish with much success. When I’m not doing that I’m with family and friends at one of our cabins on some beautiful piece of MN or WI water eating to much food and washing it down with some Micro Brew. Not sure what’s better than that.

  • Bubba

    See james your lack of an education is showing. You are projecting the “libtard” moniker upon me for the simple fact I didn’t blindly agree with you. If you read my post, I’m all for the death penalty, I went to far as to say I want it expanded.

    I feel it’s ignorance, stupidity, blind allegiance, call it what you will, that causes a lot of the problems so prevalent in today’s society. An argument could be made that a societies decline would cause someone to rape or murder my daughter. But the fact of the matter is once the damage is done, it’s really to late to do anything about it. I instead would rather be proactive, and try to do what ever it takes to stop my daughters harm in the first place. So I propose instead id capital punishment is to be used, then to preemptively kill those causing the decline of society, not the victims is its decline.

  • Jim Shapiro

    CF- When you’re not thumping your bible, you might wanna take a little time off to read the New Testament.

  • Wade

    @ Steve,

    I can’t believe I forgot to mention. I provide my boat/expertise once a year to a group who takes city kids (under privileged kids) for a day of fishing.

    That’s giving back isn’t it. Hopefully a kid that finds the outdoors/fishing won’t become a death row inmate.

  • Gary

    Capitol punishment does not make me feel more secure, but it does make me feel a bit diminished when I hear it has been carried out. Rather than believing that justice has been served, it seems as though we have all failed in some way.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “I can’t believe I forgot to mention. I provide my boat/expertise once a year to a group who takes city kids (under privileged kids) for a day of fishing.”

    Be careful not to pull a muscle while you’re patting yourself on the back, Wade. I’m sure it salves your conscience to know you’re giving disadvantaged kids a small taste of the luxury you bask in that they could never dream of. Do you include a lecture about how their disadvantages are due to their lazy, deadbeat parents and how if they don’t pull themselves up by their own bootstraps they have only themselves to blame if they don’t become as wealthy as you are?

  • david

    Wow the nations worst generation is well represented here. Me first and don’t take what’s mine seems to be a common theme. Hypocrisy rules, ethics drool.

    Since when does taking a kid fishing once a year make up for taking away his reduced lunch the other 364?

  • Wade

    You are the one who said I don’t give back. I was simply proving you wrong. I’m so sorry it’s not good enough for you.

    I let them figure out on their own why their parent’s can’t take them outside the city limits themselves.

  • Craig

    The death penalty debate reveals how differently we (our genes) see in-group versus out-group killing. When the risk is was low (unless you were a soldier) and the reward was high we decided to kill 100 thousand people from outside the group with only a little bit of pre-textual debate. Yet we wring our hands over a comparatively small number of in-group executions.

  • Jan

    No, capital punishment can never be corrected. If you have made a mistake, it is too late. Even for someone who is guilty of murder, compounding it with another murder does not resolve anything. Not to mention the guilt that some people may feel in their participation in such an event.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “You are the one who said I don’t give back. I was simply proving you wrong. I’m so sorry it’s not good enough for you.”

    No, Wade, I didn’t say that. I only raised the question. If you thought I said that, maybe the shoe fits. But I’m not the one you have to explain yourself to. If you sincerly believe that you’re doing your part to alleviate poverty by giving inner-city kids yacht rides, I’m glad you’re doing at least that. At least it shows you have a conscience that needs salving.

  • P. Nielsen

    All capital punishment laws should be removed from the books of every state that still practices it. And, the federal government should banish it, too. It is nothing more than legalized murder and solves nothing but the need for revenge and retribution. Judgment belongs to the Lord in these instances, not humans and their urge to get even. This evil practice does not keep others from doing horrid things either and does not reduce the number of crimes. It solves nothing.

  • Wade

    “Not to mention the guilt that some people may feel in their participation in such an event.”

    Then hire someone who’s got the pills for the job. I’m game.

  • Richard Rackliffe

    The death penality is a barbaric practice that should be retired to history. The number of prisoners who have been released due to DNA evidence shows that our court system is not perfect, but someone who has been executed cannot be brought back to life if it is found later that they were actually innocent.

  • Chris

    While Studing at Univ of St Thomas, Profs taught us students that capital punishment costs States MORE than keeping an inmate in prision for life due to legal appeals. Ironic that so called financial “Conservatives” seek death penalty statis quo.?

  • Bubba

    Then hire someone who’s got the pills for the job. I’m game.

    Would those pills be Haloperidol you’re taking wade? Would explain a lot, but I think they need to up the does.

  • Wade

    “But I’m not the one you have to explain yourself to. ”

    True that!

  • andrew

    It’s disappointing to see this much stupid condensed in on place. For second I thought I was in the comments section of a youtube video.

    CF says:

    This proves all liberals are hypocrites. I wonder, would the LibTards think that humans are basically “good” if their sister, brother, son or daughter was murdered in cold blood? Or worse, raped and tortured to death? LibTards, you can’t be serious. Woe to him who calls good evil and evil good.

    That first sentence tells us that the rest of what you’re going to say has no real value.

    david joins the fight from the other side, with:

    Since when does taking a kid fishing once a year make up for taking away his reduced lunch the other 364?

    That’s so idiotic that I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll leave it at “idiotic”.

    This is basically a “I know you are, but what am I?” playground fight. It’s pathetic. After reading through all the comments, I think I found a half dozen of them that don’t qualify as personal attacks, baseless rhetoric, and childish all-or-nothing thinking.

    What would be great would be if an online forum could include thoughtful consideration about the issue – What is the purpose of the justice system, and how should it go about achieving that purpose? At what point do we consider a criminal “unsalvageable”? What are the ethical implications of killing a killer?

    But no, we got our guns and baby jesus, and our self-righteous indignation about the unfortunate inequalities of life, and let’s all reduce ourselves to squawking parrots, shouting catchphrases without thinking about what we’re saying or, more importantly, what those things say about us and our society.

    I have a suggestion – no, a request – for MPR: Please discontinue this feature. As we can see here, the peanut gallery has nothing helpful to say – they just like being outraged.

  • andrew

    Oh, and in anticipation of the cries of “CENSORSHIP!!” that are sure to follow my suggestion that the Daily Question be retired… well, I can’t think of a way to respond that those folks would understand.

  • CF

    @ Jim Shapiro

    People like you are obviously totally illiterate on Biblical knowledge. Funny how you claim to know what the Bible says but have never read it nor believe in what it says. But I digress.

    The Bible (and I mean the whole Bible, not just your pick-n-choose snippets taken out of the NT whilly-nilly), ENDORSES capital punishment when done in a just manner (Ex 21:12-24, Lev 24:17,21). Nothing written in or spoken by; Christ, His disciples or the Apostles nullify what the OT says about capital punishment.

    So take your side, (even if it’s on the side of a murderer who would bury alive a 7-yeard girl with her teddy bear after raping her numerous times), but don’t mis-quote the Bible. It only makes you look stupid.

    Actually the death penalty is far cheaper than life in prison. Say 25 cents for a couple .22 cal. bullets or a few feet of rope is all that’s needed.

  • Wade

    “Actually the death penalty is far cheaper than life in prison. Say 25 cents for a couple .22 cal. bullets or a few feet of rope is all that’s needed.”

    Probably the best comment out of all the posts below!

  • Sue de Nim

    CF, your latest comment exudes so much compassion and mercy and is so filled with the love of Jesus, I just feel compelled to be a part of the church you belong to, so I can cultivate similar attitudes in myself. NOT!!

    Actually, it’s that kind of attitude that gives Christianity a bad name these days.

  • CF

    @ Sue de Nim

    What gives Christianity a bad rap these days is the smarmy mamby-pamby, “all you need is love” image of Jesus. Apparently you know about as much of the Bible as that last guy or if you go to church it’s one that preaches some lame watered-down lukewarm interpretation of the Word.

    Anyway, I’m a good sport. You show me in Scripture where the lawful administration of the death penalty is not allowed, then I will believe it. Assuming I don’t find appropriate Scripture to counter your argument, I know I will.

  • Neil C.


    I agree that today’s discussion has hit new lows.

    Fortunately, frequently the discussion is more interesting, more intelligent and has far fewer personal attacks.

    After days like this, I often take a day or two off and read a little more news and a little less opinion.

    What I really wish is that at least the fequent contributors (Wade, Steve, Clark, etc.) had the nerve to sign their full, real names.

    I believe anonymity is the real problem here, not the notion of a daily online discussion of significant issues.

  • CF

    “Neil C.” what’s your full name, first and last? Or don’t you have the “nerve” like Wade, Steve, Clark, et. al. Neil, you go first. Please, if you have the nerve we want you to set the example.

  • Phil

    I don’t know, but it does give TEA party people a reason to cheer.

  • Jim Shapiro

    CF – You’re a pathological moron, but God loves you anyway.

    It’s nice that you have access to the internet wherever you’re confined.

  • Neil C.


    Candidly I don’t have the nerve. People like you really frighten me.

    However, if it becomes the norm, count me in.

  • Sue de Nim

    CF, my opinions of what God wants are not based on a few proof texts from the Bible. With proof texts, you can’t even demonstrate that the abolitionists were right, but would have to agree that southerners should have been allowed to keep their slaves. That said, I think Romans 12:19, John 8:7, and Matthew 5:44 bear on the question of capital punishment.

    And you’re right about some folks being turned off by the “mamby-pamby” picture of Jesus. That has always been true, because people are more impressed with spectacular displays of power than with acts of self-giving love. That’s why Paul had to explain the scandal of “Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:18ff and Philippian 2). The crowds shouted “Crucify him!” because they wanted a victorious military leader, not a mamby-pamby guy who would submit to crucifixion without a fight, even praying for the forgiveness of his executioners. I wish Bible thumpers would read the Bible more than they quote it.

  • david

    I don’t know, but it does give TEA party people a reason to cheer.

    Like they cheer when a poor person dies because they can’t afford medical insurance. Real civilized society we have ourselves isn’t it.

    Answer the question

  • Steve the Cynic

    I use a screen name to protect my critics. As long as their screeds are directed at a pseudonym, they can’t be sued for libel.

  • sj

    My father was killed by a man who was charged with first degree murder for the crime, a crime which would have qualified him for the death penalty in some states. Yet, executing this criminal would neither have brought my father back, nor have decreased my family’s grief one iota. In addition, executing this man would have cost the taxpayer MILLIONS–yes millions– of dollars in legal fees beyond the cost of incarcerating him. Capital punishment is extremely expensive, proven ineffective in deterring crime, and ineffective in consoling the grief of victims’ families. What then, is its purpose? REVENGE. Repeating a violent act. What about repeating a violent act–save self defense–makes it more ethical than the first act? Exactly where do we stop the madness?

  • CF

    @Sue de Nim

    What Rom 12:19 is referring to is personal revenge, not legal justice. The death penalty, properly administered in a court of law, where the verdict is rendered by a jury of peers substantiated by lawful evidence as outlined in the Constitution is not “revenge”. Rom. 12:19 speaks of people “getting even”. Capital punishment has nothing to do with revenge. Considering a life sentence in the end is still a death sentence, is it not? It only takes longer.

    John 8:7. Oh I was waiting for this one. An oldie but goodie. Clearly as indicated in preceding verses, this event was intended to entrap Jesus and provide a convenient excuse for His arrest and has nothing to do with the morality of lawful capital punishment as allowed under the Constitution.

    Matt 5:44. And this has to do with lawful Constitutional justice how???? You mean that we should just love murderers and let them go free? I know, let’s close all the prisons and jails and have no laws at all. No courts or judges. Let’s just let our “enemies” be free to commit crimes. Then again, was this verse speaking of criminals who have violated civil law or just those who call us names or steal our lunch money?

  • Sue de Nim

    I love a good discussion about the Bible, CF.

    Romans 12:19 is relevant, because so much of the rhetoric in support of the death penalty is clearly motivated by a desire for revenge, including what you wrote earlier. If the question is what works to deter crime and remove the irreformable from society, life-without-parole is just as effective and doesn’t have the downside of being irreversable if the judicial system discovers a mistake. Apart from revenge, there’s no reason for capital punishment.

    John 8:7 is relevant, because it it points out that, even if the death penalty is theoretically legitimate, no one is qualified to carry it out.

    As for Matthew 5:44, try reading it in context of thw whole Sermon on the Mount. It doesn’t stand alone. As I said, it’s not about the proof texts. It’s about the big story, the whole message. The blatant vindictiveness behind the pro-death penalty forces in this country is at odds with the message of Jesus Christ.

    And even if we grant that the Bible allows the death penalty, that doesn’t mean our country must have it. We’ve outlawed slavery in this country. Was abolition a mistake, because the Bible appears to allow slavery?

  • suzie

    Capital punishment should be banned, but that doesn’t mean that offender should have a good life inside.

    Solitary confinement, (23 hours in an inclosed cell and 1 hour to shower and walk the yard or watch tv or do you laundry etc) – only one visitor a month for a half hour, mail restricted (both in and out), no phone calls or computer access, tv and radio severely restricted, simple meals, and no life-saving, at all costs medical treatments. Maybe only four such prision in the country. After they die of natural causes, they will be cremated and buried in a unmarked grave unless their family wishes to fund an alternative burial.

    And now to you few who have taken over this opinion forum – get a life! I used to like reading this site, but the last few times it seems to be dominated by just a few who think their are “special”. Please, only one post per person.

    And for some of you who have on opinion on everything and believe you are always right – why don’t you run for political office and then the country will be perfect.

  • CF

    The death penalty is not about vengeance. Nor is it somehow supposed to “bring back” the victim of the crime.

    What our justice system is based on, (or is supposed to be anyway), is restitution. That is, if I throw a brick and smash your car window, justice should declare that I pay to have the car window replaced. And perhaps do time for the act in of its self. Thus the only restitution that one can pay for the ultimate crime is to forfeit one’s own life as the ultimate restitution.

    For those who advocate the “clean Hell” approach, that is an 8×10 concrete cell in a Supermax prison where we send terrorists to die a slow death in complete isolation only after going totally insane, I must say THAT form of punishment is more inhumane than the firing squad.

    Sounds like Suzie is more “vengeful” than I am.

  • Sue de Nim

    If the death penalty is not about vengeance, CF, where does the vengeful tone in so many of the pro-death penalty posts today come from? Some of them were even in your posts. (And did Jesus tell you to use the slur, “libtards”?

  • Jim Shapiro

    CF- In spite of of your childish, sadomasochistic interpretation of the New Testament and your severe lack of moral development, you’re clearly capable of rational thought and human kindness:

    “For those who advocate the “clean Hell” approach, that is an 8×10 concrete cell in a Supermax prison where we send terrorists to die a slow death in complete isolation only after going totally insane, I must say THAT form of punishment is more inhumane than the firing squad.”

    There’s still hope for you, my friend. Give your heart to Jesus, find a compassionate Christian therapist, and this hell that you are living, too, shall pass..

  • CF

    @ Sue de Nim

    “Vengeful tone”? I don’t know where that could have come from. All I am is a proponent of justice as demanded in Scripture and outlined in the Constitution. What’s vengeful about restitution?

    Nowhere did I say “I hate murderers, I want them to burn in Hell for eternity”. All I’m saying is that if you take a life as an act of crime, the only earthly punishment, (or restitution), suitable for your crime is for you to give up your own life and let God judge your heart.

    And no, Jesus didn’t tell me to call them “LibTards”, did Jesus tell them to call be a “Bible thumper?”, (of which I am by the way, in case you haven’t noticed.) But that’s OK. I think it’s hilarious. I got a real laugh out of Jim’s comment.

    CF – You’re a pathological moron, but God loves you anyway. – It’s nice that you have access to the internet wherever you’re confined.

    I wasn’t offended, I thought it was really funny. That’s what I like about this forum.

  • Jim Shapiro

    CF – I’m truly glad you thought it was funny.

    Let me be the first to offer to agree to disagree about the nature of Jesus’ true message, and return to hopefully learn from each other another day.

    If someone intentionally harmed someone that I love, I would likely eliminate them, and possibly make them suffer while doing so.

    I would like to think that I would have the extremely advanced spiritual strength of forgiveness, but I might have to settle for forgiving myself for eliminating the human turned monster.

    But the State shouldn’t do it for many reasons, not the least of which being because it is proven to be prone to error and prejudiced against poor minorities.

  • CF

    If we do not have the State, (aka Government), as established in the Constitution to dispense justice, then who is the arbitor of justice in a civilized society? Then what, anarchy? Vigilantism and lynchmobs?

    The Bible calls for, (see previous post), and the Constitution allows for the death penalty in crimes of capital murder.

    Many anti-death penalty advocates argue justice is flawed and may, (or does as possibly the case in Georgia), but that is an issue with the criminal justice system, not the concept of the ultimate restitution.

    Do Negroes and other minorities get less fair justice than rich whites? Damn right they do. BUT that does NOT negate to call for justice when there is a PROVEN with out the shadow of doubt that the convicted has committed the ultimate crime. Whatever the color of his skin.

    And that should be our objective. That everyone is given a FAIR trial as mandated by the Constitution and that any corruption in the legal system should be addressed with equal severity.

  • Jim Shapiro

    CF –

    I thought I was giving my age ( and anti-pc attitude) away by referring to our melanin-advanced brethren as “black”. Then you use the term “negro”, and I have flashbacks of Dobermans and fire hoses.

  • CF

    @ Jim Shapiro

    Well I didn’t use the “N-word” did I?

    You see PC is always changing. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. It is this today, something else tomorrow. To me PC will always stand for Personal Computer. I don’t believe in PC because it’s totally arbitrary.

    But to keep on topic, back in the 70’s the Supreme Court ruled out capital punishment. (Only to re-instate it a few years later, realizing the Constitution declares the STATES determine capital punishment). Ironically at the same time the Supreme Court also allowed the execution of the innocent unborn. So… they [potentially] spare the lives of convicted killers as tried in a court of law, but condemn the unborn to death by the whim and will of their so-called “mothers” at the behest of Planned Parenthood. Who by the way TARGET minorities, especially the Afro-American population.

    Did I just show my age again?

  • Sue de Nim

    Maybe it was my imagination, CF, but your post of 2:23 this afternoon sounded vengeful to me. As for the tone of the discussion, I think all the self-professed Christians posting here would do well to consider Matthew 5:22.

  • CF

    @ Sue de Nim

    Now come on, do you really think that such a violent killer as I described in that post, if convicted in a court of law under due process, should be allowed to cherish life that he had such total disregard for? What if the 7-year old girl was YOUR daughter? What if the victim was YOU? You have a strange and twisted sense of justice. (Or lack thereof).

    And as far as Matt 5:22, you got to be kidding. Do you really think that verse addresses capital murder as proven in a court of law?? Matt 5:22 is referring to relationships of the brethren and perhaps within the family, (or even general society at large for that matter), and goes farther to declare if you call someone a fool you have committed murder in your heart. Referring to the 10 Commandments and our inability to keep them. A far cry from the actual killing with a gun in the act of robbing a package store. Although god’s judgment may be the same, it’s still clear that capital crime is not the intended purpose of this verse.

  • Sue de Nim

    Well, CF, your latest reply certainly fits my understanding of what “vengeful” means. As for Matthew 5:22, I mention it not in connection with today’s question on the death penalty, but to the way folks have been talking about it here. Name-calling (whether “libtard” or “pathological moron”) is not appropriate behavior for Christians.

  • Jake

    It seems to me that a lot of people miss the fact that there are really two distinct questions here:

    1) Does someone who’s done x, y, z deserve to die? (I’d say, maybe.)

    2) Should we give our government the right to decide who lives and who dies? (I’d say absolutely not.)

    It’s pretty ironic to me that the right-wing (who claim to want less government) tend to also support giving the government the greatest power of all – deciding life and death.

    Bottom line for me is, no matter what these people deserve, I don’t trust any government to make that kind of decision. Imagine having your life in the hands of Rick Perry…it’s really hard to understand how our country can still be so backwards in so many ways.

  • Patrick

    It appeases revenge and installs a false sense of security and victory. Sooooo american.