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Saturday, 13 October 2007

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I can remember the debates on capital punishment. One lie was repeatedly told by the abolitionists; that "life" would mean life. I don't think that it is only abolition that signals that murder will be taken lightly, it is the meagre little periods served in jail.

Well, we've already established your incuriosity for the particulars of the judicial process - you're on record denying any interest in how society actually deals with criminals, prefering your own fantasy world of absolute justice.

Duff hath decreed in ignorance, thus it shall be so.

So, how does this screed differ from the Microwave argument I pinned on you before?

(Essentially, microwave ownership has increased 1000% since 1975, while the murder rate has increased exponentially - surely not a coincidence!)

Your argument here is just as intellectually vapid, I'm afraid.

I notice that you were asked whether you could name a country where the intro- or re-introduction of the death penalty resulted in a reduction in crime - I didn't see you answer.

Any chance?

Exactly, FR, there appears to be something missing from David's reply here. The terms of Simon Metz's challenge were quite clear:

Try this: Find anywhere - ANYWHERE - where the use of the death penalty today is reducing the crime is is intended to deter. ANYWHERE, David.

I think a response to this deserves at least some effort. If all David has is "I would simply reverse the question and ask them to tell me what has happened in our country in the last 50 years that might have assisted the murder rate to more than double", then he has lost this argument.

Like a pair of automated robots, 'Ratty' and 'Pappy' lumber onto the scene in switched-to-auto mode and their recorded message is repeated, yet again, so we must assume, yet again, that they do not see any problem with 750+/- people being slaughtered in our country every year. Well, we must assume that because they never offer any attempt at a solution. Instead, Dalek-like they keep repeating, "Find anywhere - ANYWHERE - where the use of the death penalty today is reducing the crime is is intended to deter. ANYWHERE, David."

Oh, alright then, if you insist (sucker!) - Texas, USA - murder stats:

1960 824
1970 1269
1980 2392
1990 2389
2000 1238
2006 1384

The death penalty was re-enacted in 1974 but it was not until 1982 that the first execution took place.

The murder rate in Texas is 6.2 per million compared to our own scepter'd Isle which is 15 per million.

So now that *I* have answered *your* question, how about you two robots unplugging yourselves and answering my two questions:

Do we have a problem?
What should we do about it?


Economists and others have, from time to time, tried looking for evidence by comparing the different States in the US. They often seem to conclude that capital punishment does serve as a deterrent. I must say that it used to surprise me a little, since the murderers seem to spend so long on Death Row before they are finally executed that you might guess that the deterrent effect would be diluted. Eventually it occurred to me that it's a rather odd combination of a lengthy jail term and capital punishment. In addition to any deterrence, there must also be the advantage that the executed murderers can't do it again. Anyway, I don't see the relevance of the deterrence effect, if any, to anyone who claims to be against capital punishment as a matter of principle. If you're agin it in principle, it doesn't matter whether it works or not; you should just try to give a clear statement of what that principle is. Most opponents seem incapable of meeting even that mild requirement, preferring just to abuse the pro-capital punishment people as barbarians. The effect of such anti-intellectual nonsense on me is often to persuade me out of my mildly anti- position into a mildly pro- position, on the grounds that if those who are strongly anti- can't come up with anything more than stupid screaming, perhaps they are wrong.

"Most opponents seem incapable of meeting even that mild requirement, preferring just to abuse the pro-capital punishment people as barbarians."

Yes. But unfortunately, that's exactly what mein host is doing when he comes out with accusations like "they do not see any problem with 750+/- people being slaughtered in our country every year."

There's a discussion to be had, but it ain't gonna happen here.

Funnily enough, David, I knew you would have an example - you've mentioned the Americans before in this context.

And look what I found following a twenty second Google search...

States without death penalty fared better over the past decade

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=168&scid=

Oh, and check it - The Death Penalty Deterrence Myth: No Solid Evidence That Killing Stops the Killing

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?&did=2374

There's all kinds of interesting info at that site, you should give it a read.

Turning back to your "arguments" - yet again, that they do not see any problem with 750+/- people being slaughtered in our country every year...

This is silly and counterproductive - yet again, commenters take issue with you, rather than criticism of murderers.

Standard behaviour from you - commenters say David, you're being deliberately disingenuous and trying to sell us a pig in a poke, prompting you to cry Why must you mock the poor, dead little children, you unfeeling liberonazis?

Do we have a problem?

Yes - there is entirely too much violence in Britain.

What should we do about it?

Discuss the problem in a calm and rational way, look at how other countries have dealt with similar situations, then propose solutions through the democratic process.

Under no circumstances should we allow considerations to be rail-roaded by bitter, vengeful cranks who seek to fool us into adopting wrong-headed initiatives with sloppy reasoning, one-eyed propaganda and self-serving appeals to emotion.

Thoughts?

You are right, 'DM', and after I had finished my reply above I forgot to add my own similar thoughts along your lines.

If, in matters of war and peace, some one says to me that they are totally pacifist on principle but do recognise the immense dangers that would result if everyone thought that way, then I have no argument with them. Similarly, if any of my interlocutors above began by stating that they are against the death penalty on principle (as I was myself, once upon a time) but equally they recognise that there is a cost to be borne, then one might have the basis of a rational conversation. The cost, of course, as so often is the case when 'liberal principles' are put into practice, is borne mainly by the weak, the poor and the unprotected in our society, well away from comfortable liberal neighbourhoods. So no change there, then!

Well, there you have it, dear reader, you can now see clearly the dilemma I face. In a previous thread whose length was only exceeded by its turgidity, I resolutely refused to mention *my* idea of re-introducing capital punishment, in the hope that my commenters would, first, admit that we do have a problem and, second, offer up their own ideas to alleviate it.

Now in a second post, I have received some more replies. One, from 'NIB', just repeats his usual whines and moans and adds nothing to the conversation. The latest from 'Ratty' is a complete waste of space only mitigated slightly by some deliciously unintentional humour on his part. Asked for his own solution, he provides such an accurate pastiche of 'the Rev'd. J. C. Flannel' that Private Eye should sue! Try this gem:

"look at how other countries have dealt with similar situations, then propose solutions through the democratic process."

Does he mean it? Of course not. Another commenter challenged me to "Find anywhere - ANYWHERE - where the use of the death penalty today is reducing the crime is is intended to deter. ANYWHERE, David." I found such a place. Did that satisfy 'Ratty'? Of course not, he then points to other places where (apparently?) it did not work, so when he pontificates that we should "look at how other countries have dealt with similar situations" what he really means is that we should only look at those places that fit his argument.

Then this judicious savant tells us that we should "propose solutions through the democratic process." Well what do you suppose that I am doing? I may be one lonely little voice on the internet but I am proposing a solution and I am not (yet?) forcing anyone to it at the point of a gun. Some people (not me) reckon that the most democratic process of all is a referendum but a small, wee voice tells me that 'ur Ratty' would not agree to that on this subject!

Anyway, in 'Ratty's' peculiar view of the world, anything which does not comply with his 'liberal' views must, 'ipso facto' (I use the legalism because 'Ratty' is conversant with that sort of gobbledegook), be held "by bitter, vengeful cranks who seek to fool us into adopting wrong-headed initiatives with sloppy reasoning, one-eyed propaganda and self-serving appeals to emotion".

The inference is as clear as a coppers cosh, that such people should shut up and do what their liberal betters tell 'em!

So much for "democratic process" and good-bye conversation. Anyone care for some humbug?


...anything which does not comply with his 'liberal' views must, 'ipso facto' (I use the legalism because 'Ratty' is conversant with that sort of gobbledegook), be held "by bitter, vengeful cranks...

And again - you know full well that I was calling you a bitter, vengeful crank.

And your response? Why must you mock the decent, hard-working people of Britain, Liberonazi?

Debating with you is a Sisyphean ordeal, David, it really is. You're the perfect product of our modern media age, crammed full of outrage and aggreived victimhood, pumped up with emboldened stupidity.

You ask your readers to debate an astoundingly complex question, but whenever that complexity is addressed you spit the dummy by shouting Don't give me any of your lawyerly weasel-words!

It's like trying to answer a spoilt child who wants to know why the sky is blue and keeps throwing tantrums when you use words like "Atmosphere" and "Sunlight".

Well, stick with Dearieme - you can share your heartbreaking tales of victimisation at the hands of evil liberals and PC fanatics, while outside the world continues to turn untroubled by your paranoias and persecution complexes.

Yeah, thanks for proving my point so quickly, Dave.

By the way, did I missed the memo about repetitiveness and not adding to the debate? Isn't that what this blog is all about?

"whenever that complexity is addressed"

Well it has yet to be addressed by you, 'Ratty', apart from waffle about looking at other countries, er, that is those countries who do what I, 'Ratty', think is right. Never mind other countries, 'Ratty', take a look at your own!

Come on, man, the situation in the UK has been in existence for decades you must have some idea what you would do about it. If it is more of the same then come out and say so. At least I don't hide my opinions.

None of the above applies to you, 'NIB', because based on your various contributions to this blog over the years, you haven't had an original idea since you decided to wear long trousers instead of short - and your Mum decided that for you!

I have ideas, david, but i'm buggered if I'm wasting my time expressing them here - and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's made that decision. Much better to simply annoy you, frankly.

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