Talk:Capital punishment

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Death Penalty in the UK[edit]

It is doubtful if it could be reintroduced - given the proportion of people who were born after it was repealed: and how effective would it be in deterring those people who 'wish to kill the one person who annoyed them most' (John Mortimer reference)?

What about drink drivers (they chose to do both, knowing that they could cause death and damage), criminal negligence, corporate manslaughter 'and other cases where capital punishment could have a deterrent effect ('pour encourager les autres')? Anna Livia (talk) 15:25, 3 July 2021 (UTC)

I did my masters thesis on the ethics of the death penalty. Every single study I came across showed there was absolutely zero deterrent effect with the death penalty or harsh penalties for serious crimes in general. In fact, if anything recidivism generally tends to go down as strict and harsh penalties are eased (and a justice system moves towards rehabilitation from retribution). As for the UK reintroducing the penalty? While it wouldn't happen now, now that they are out of the EU it is possible. They would certainly face immense pressure from the rest of the Western world if they did. However support for the death penalty is higher in the UK than in most continental countries and a very effective, nationalistic, fear mongering government could, in theory, if it needed a distraction with "tough on crime" rhetoric whip the people into a retributive panic and bring about the death penalty. I wouldn't bet money on it at the moment, but political trends can change very quickly and things can get very ugly very quickly as we have seen this decade in the USA. I certainly hope the conservative government gets booted out next election as I cannot imagine any other party trying to reinstate it. ShabiDOO 16:21, 3 July 2021 (UTC)
we have a home secretary who is known to be a fan of capital punishment. i feel like if there were plans to, or any public support, it would already be being debated. i cant imagine, with current crime rates, anything that could or would be used to generate fear in the general public that would make the death penalty seem like an answer. its not just that we dont have death penalty, but i dont think we get enough of the sort of crime that would get that sentence to bring it back. terrorists a few and far between thankfully, and even fewer people stashing numerous bodies under the floor boards to suddenly provoke enough sustained national outrage. as much as a bunch of cunts the tories are, im not convinced any of think it would be worth their time. i think support for a reintroduction is 48% and dropping. i think peoples day to day lives have to significantly worsen, blighted by crime for that to really change. and we are quite happy with locking up more people and throwing away the key if a politician really needs the tough on crime stance. AMassiveGay (talk) 17:12, 3 July 2021 (UTC)
If the death penalty had a "deterrent effect", then the US would have a much lower homicide rate than Europe. However what we see is exactly the reverse.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:10, 4 July 2021 (UTC)
Could probably include those too young to be aware of the death penalty before repeal in my comment above (ie 'everybody up to, and slightly over, retirement age). And support for a notional death penalty would probably not translate into ticks in boxes ('Ruth Ellis, Derek Bentley, Birmingham Six... and look at the number of people in the US on Death Row, which causes undue mental suffering to them and their families').
The question is - how could 'the death penalty' be imposed so that it would act as a deterrent (given that if it did there would be almost no executions).
There might be stronger support for 'severe punishment (not being delegated to other prisoners or having to be protected in prison from said prisoners) to those committing certain crimes seen as particularly heinous.'
The 'tough on crime' mantra would probably be countered by 'why not also be tough on the causes of crime?' Anna Livia (talk) 18:52, 4 July 2021 (UTC)
you can counter it maybe but it wont mean some one 'tough on crime' is going accept some wishy washy rehab prog or improved social security safety net. the causes of crime is always choosing to commit crime, the same way poverty is a choice. your poor health is your own poor lifestyle. poverty and associated ills are a moral failing. as my good health and finances show good character, good judgement, good moral fibre. if you are born and stay poor you are lazy and not working hard enough. if you are poor and commit a crime instead of hard work? that is a wickedness that must be punished. im not as heartless as you may thinking. the light of my soul can shine like a beacon and burn away some their wretchedness if they only ponder the example i set as they serve their time.AMassiveGay (talk) 20:41, 4 July 2021 (UTC)
The law of diminishing returns is very severe when it comes to punishment. A one month penalty will do little to deter serious crime. A 1 year will deter it dramatically. Going from 1 year to 5 years will diminish it somewhat. From 5 years to say 10 years will see little if any change, at some point there is no meaningful decline in crime. Jumping to life in prison, life in prison without any chance of parole (a cruel punishment IMHO) or death penalty...there is no demonstrable change. How many criminals are psychologically capable of thinking about the risk/punishment when you are about to murder someone? ShabiDOO 21:57, 4 July 2021 (UTC)
There are many 'causes' of crime, some of which will be more tractable than others - tagging expensive items in shops will reduce shoplifting of those items somewhat, removing some of the quirky or now redundant laws, people being persuaded by various means against drink-driving etc. There is a combination of reasons why people commit crimes - which cover the spectrum from the trivial (from the very trivial - going just over the speed limit on the motorway on a clear day, taking paperclips from the office stationery cupboard etc - to the very serious: and there is a range within murders - accidental/manslaughter, 'assisted suicide and mercy killing' and intentional etc. Is someone who sets up a massive fraud depriving people of their life savings 'better' or 'worse' than someone who kills during the course of a fight?
The point being made is not about the morality of murder and crime but whether it is likely to be reintroduced in the UK should there be a vote on the matter 'present circumstances continuing' (and the drink driving example/'would the instigators of (course of action which led to people's needless deaths) be hanged (no they probably wouldn't)' argument would probably convince some of the possible Yeas). Anna Livia (talk) 10:17, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
The good news is that capital punishment fangrrl and disgraced former International Development Secretary Piggi Patel is no longer Home Secretary. The bad news is that her replacement is the even more stupid Suella Braverman, described – in one of his more flattering comparisons – by Russ “RussInCheshire” Jones as “what happens when a Horcrux gets into a guinea pig”. Braverman probably doesn’t know herself where she stands on the issue. Mr Larrington (talk) 20:04, 8 October 2022 (UTC)

if deterrence is so much the cause of people not committing murder[edit]

(short essay)

Most people would eschew murder because it offends their ethical sensibilities, so for them no deterrent is necessary. The death penalty is a deterrent only to those who value their lives and expect to get caught after a murder, be convicted, and then be sentenced to death. The death penalty is then more effective only if its presence is something of which people are made aware of in case they do not know of it or forget it. To that end, jurisdictions that perform capital punishment need make it known at highways entering the jurisdiction "Welcome to State X, where for your safety we have the death penalty", with a place for a U-turn in the event that such scares a potential murderer (in theory anyone who enters that jurisdiction) but not only there: airports, train stations, bus terminals, and docks. Even at that, yacht clubs, in case someone who docks there is warned of the death penalty in case he should decide to commit an armed robbery and shoot someone to death during that robbery. If one truly believes in the death penalty we must even make the people least likely to commit a capital crime aware of capital punishment in the unlikely case that an unlikely person would commit a murder.Pbrower2a (talk) 05:23, 25 October 2021 (UTC)

If the death penalty worked as a deterrent then countries which have the death penalty would see fewer murders. We do not see this. In fact, the US, which has the death penalty in some states, has vastly more homicides then the EU which does not have the death penalty anywhere.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 08:20, 25 October 2021 (UTC)
That's well known. Most violent offenders are stupid or at least stupefied (drugs or alcohol). The bulk of murders involve family arguments, bar-room brawls, armed robberies, and drug trafficking. The best way in which to reduce murders is to reduce the number of circumstances in which murder has a high likelihood of happening. With few exceptions, murderers are not particularly cunning.Pbrower2a (talk) 21:15, 25 October 2021 (UTC)
Then I guess we are in agreement: the "deterrence" argument is totally flawed. So now I'm not sure what your initial point was.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:29, 26 October 2021 (UTC)
"Most violent offenders are stupid or at least stupefied (drugs or alcohol)." @Pbrower2a Could you cite a source for this claim? ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 13:47, 26 October 2021 (UTC)

Permission to rewrite the article[edit]

As the edit history of the article will attest I just got done changing the lede to excise the word "murder", only to discover that the article is rampant with misuse of the term. For reference, "murder" is generally defined as "The unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse." or similar. Please note that murder is definitionally unlawful. This means that executions, as unjust as they may be, cannot be murder without them being part of a violation of the law. Thusly, I seek permission from the community to excise all unnecessary mentions of the word "murder" from the article. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 03:32, 24 January 2022 (UTC)

The three cases where "murder" was used outside of its "definition" is now "homicide", a more fitting term. Done ShabiDOO 03:47, 24 January 2022 (UTC)
@Shabidoo Well, that's that resolved then. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 05:04, 24 January 2022 (UTC)


Could someone explain why so many people who oppose the death penalty are fine with war? Because that's definitely the case with the EU and Canada and Australia and multiple other "civilized" countries that have invaded Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan and sent their own kids to die (sometimes by force) and bombed children and families and killed plenty of soldiers on the other side. (talk) 22:16, 21 February 2022 (UTC)

Speaking for myself I am certainly not "fine with war". I regard it to be an occasional horrible necessity, and the world would certainly be better if we could eliminate it. Capital punishment is never necessary and those countries which inflict it could eliminate it to make a better world.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:44, 21 February 2022 (UTC)
I'm not saying I agree with capital punishment. I'm just saying that if I had a choice between killing someone who raped and strangled a 12 year old girl, and some 24 year old kid who's fighting for what his country told him to fight for, that I know who I have more a problem with killing. (talk) 22:16, 21 February 2022 (UTC)
You don't seem to have responded to my answer to your question at all. But now I'm confused: Are you a supporter of capital punishment or not? (And could you please sign your posts)Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 09:03, 21 February 2022 (UTC)
I oppose it due to philosophical reasons, not out of any kind of sympathy for the people who receive it. I simply don't want the government to have that kind of power. But that doesn't mean I think a murderer deserves to be treated any better than he treated his victims. (talk) 22:16, 21 February 2022 (UTC)
I also oppose it because I don't feel that governments should have that kind of power - said governments have, in fact, killed vast numbers of innocent people by mistake. Just one innocent deliberately killed by mistake would be enough to question the the system. But in the United States alone at least 186 people have been killed incorrectly since 1973! That's more than most mass murderers manage. I also oppose it because it serves no purpose: it reforms nobody and it deters nobody.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 09:59, 22 February 2022 (UTC)
the false dichotomy of killing either a rapist or what i assume is meant to be an 'enemy' soldier is as stupid as it is irrelevant. AMassiveGay (talk) 22:17, 22 February 2022 (UTC)
For severe crimes, the death Penalty is necessary. However, it should only be used when all else fails. Think, someone is arrested and causing disruption, and then do the same in solitary, they need to be executed. Or, if they do something like kill a hundred people. Andrew5 mobile (talk) 22:30, 22 February 2022 (UTC)
and that is also irrelevant to this thread. you really cant help yourself can you. AMassiveGay (talk) 22:32, 22 February 2022 (UTC)
or more to the point, your view to matter is not really needed on the subject. considering the furore on your own talk page on the subject. one would think you'd say well enough away, especially when you are just restating the same assertions. AMassiveGay (talk) 22:37, 22 February 2022 (UTC)
I know everyone know my stance. But I just want to put it here. Good bye. Andrew5 mobile (talk) 22:43, 22 February 2022 (UTC)
Is pro-war sentiment common among anti-death penalty supporters? I'm under impression it's not? Those warring actions by the "civilized" countries typically draw condemnation from the same camps that are associated with opposing the death penalty (for instance, progressives and socialists), but I could be under false impression. I don't think you should extrapolate entire country actions to general public opinion. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 06:26, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
i dont even know where this notion even came from that anti-death penalty/state murder types are somehow also pro war. AMassiveGay (talk) 08:01, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
its simply a false equivalence. AMassiveGay (talk) 08:07, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
The majority of arguments I have come across regarding the immorality of the death penalty are relating to issues of justice (unfair application of penalty to certain groups and/or arbitrary application), the possible state homicide of innocent suspects, cost, the devaluation of human life, government overreach and respecting human agency. One can be against the death penalty for any one or combination of these reasons (or others including from some absolutist moral code). Those who tend towards the "devaluation of human life argument" are likely to also be fairly "avoid war at most cost" group. Almost all people I know who are against the death penalty are also in the "avoid war at most cost" group. But this would be a very unempirical argument. Having said that, intuitively I wouldn't even suspect that "most anti-death penalty" people are pro-war. So I'd like to see some fairly strong evidence for this as it sounds pretty absurd to me. ShabiDOO 13:13, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
If you look at the start of the thread the OP was unable to mount any reasonable justification to his argument when challenged. In fact, they seemed to have an Andrew-level of ability to justify their position.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:32, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
[1] this is the best i can find in the subject - the only other article i could find on the subject is blog thats more about christopher hitchens specifically. shit tonne of stuff about the death penalty and abortion, and its support by the religiously inclined in the us. AMassiveGay (talk) 16:21, 24 February 2022 (UTC)

Recent Edit War[edit]

@Carthage Why do you keep reverting my edits? VerminWiki (talk) 10:33, 31 August 2023 (UTC)

Because to be charitable, it's a controversial edit best discussed on the talk page, and to be uncharitable, it's conservative whitewashing. Carthage (talk) 10:35, 31 August 2023 (UTC)
Look it's just bad reasoning, as I explained in my edit. VerminWiki (talk) 10:40, 31 August 2023 (UTC)
@Carthage Can you explain why you think my edit was conservative whitewashing? VerminWiki (talk) 10:48, 31 August 2023 (UTC)
For those wondering about this, the proposed edit was,
From: "In the United States, many Evangelical Christians support the death penalty."
To: "In the United States, many Evangelical Christians support the death penalty despite being "pro-life", making the distinction between "innocent" life and "non-innocent" life."
I'm also not seeing the conservative whitewashing. If anything it's pointing out hypocrisy in maintaining that all human life is sacred in once context, and advocating killing people in another.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:38, 31 August 2023 (UTC)
Vermin removed that text. Compare [2] with, say, [3]. Carthage (talk) 13:43, 31 August 2023 (UTC)
To quote from the edit summary Vermin provided:

(I removed references to abortion in this article. It's not hypocritical to believe that fetuses are people deserving of life and to believe that non-innocent people who commit vile crimes deserve to be executed. Most people believe that when people commit certain crimes they should have some of their freedoms taken away, is that hypocritical because we don't apply that same logic to the innocent? No. The pro-life and pro-death penalty position is simply a more extreme version of that.

With their removal of text as supported by the diffs I posted and this edit summary, I believe I have reason to call this whitewashing. Carthage (talk) 13:45, 31 August 2023 (UTC)
That's conservative whitewashing all right. Spud (talk) 13:48, 31 August 2023 (UTC)
Indeed. Evidently I should have looked closer. I apologise for my mistake.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 16:58, 31 August 2023 (UTC)
@Carthage Why do you think that the conservative position is inconsistent? That's what my problem with the article is. The article is basically saying, "Conservatives are pro-life, but they support death penalty? Hypocrites." I don't think that makes sense, as stated in my edit's summary. I didn't intend to whitewash the conservative position, I don't even agree with it as I stated in the summary of the minor edit I made. I wanted put that in the original summary, but I couldn't because of the character limit. VerminWiki (talk) 04:57, 1 September 2023 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You can't call yourself pro-life and still advocate for the homicide of human beings, no matter how despicable their actions. That's logically inconsistent. Instead call yourself "anti-abortion" or whatever. Otherwise you're gonna rightfully get called out for being insincere. What you're doing is special pleading, which in this case takes the form of whitewashing. Carthage (talk) 05:13, 1 September 2023 (UTC)

The problem with both "pro life" and "pro choice" is that both phrases want to avoid saying either anti or pro abortion. But these euphemisms may leave their users in difficult places. In this case the users of "pro-life" find themselves also having to explain why they are also "pro-death".Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 06:54, 1 September 2023 (UTC)
Being pro-homicide against a criminal is absolutely contradictory to being "pro-life". The stance these people are actually taking are two things: "pro-forcing women to carry and give birth to zygotes and foetuses" and "pro-homicide against people you don't like". If you say you are those two VERY separate things, that is not contradictory. Supporting both of those under the umbrella is "pro-life" is. There is no debate about that. The converse however is not contradictory. You can be "pro-choice" whether you support the death penalty or not. That is because "pro-choice" is not an umbrella term that hijacks some broader claim opening itself up to contractions. In terms of giving birth or not, you are pro letting the mother decide. It is not our fault people cannot come to terms with their contradictory statements. ShabiDOO 10:09, 1 September 2023 (UTC)
My point is that both of these are euphemisms for what the people actually believe. The pro-life users are obviously more prone to being called on it because they also are in favour of killing people. So then they need to explain under what circumstances they are pro-life - and their slogan becomes a lot less catchy.
But you could also ask "pro-choice" under what circumstances? On the side of the road you drive? On how much taxes you pay? There are loads of things over which you have no choice.
In general terms (outside of the abortion debate) everyone would maintain they were both pro-life and pro-choice - that's why these positive-sounding terms were chosen by the respective sides. But clearly everyone knows that these terms really are shorthand for abortion opinions.
I'm just saying that things would be a lot clearer if people stated their positions clearly without either of these terms. (For the recorded, I'm firmly in favour of abortion rights).Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 19:34, 1 September 2023 (UTC)
I agree that both terms are ambiguous, but seriously, "pro-life" takes on a LOT more baggage than "pro-choice" does. It is not as much of a stretch to assume "pro-life" is synonymous with the Christian idea of "all [human] life is sacred". Being pro-choice is a lot less synonymous with supporting anarchy. Agreed, they both could be clearer, I would say that claiming you are "pro-life" is a lot more deceptive if you support homicide in any context. They don't say they are "pro forcing a woman to give birth to a foetus" because that is a lot less palatable than "pro-life". Meanwhile, I don't find saying I am "pro-choice" significantly more palatable than "pro-letting a woman decide if she will abort a foetus or not". ShabiDOO 22:04, 1 September 2023 (UTC)
Then we are broadly in agreement.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 05:48, 2 September 2023 (UTC)