Why I believe in the death penalty...and you should too!

The great thing about math is that it's NOT open to interpretation. If you think something was left out, fudged, or calculated incorrectly I'll leave it up to you to point out where. Until then, a hand-wavey dismissal isn't going to do much to convince me, or anyone else.

DrunkenSleipnir wrote:

The great thing about math is that it's NOT open to interpretation. If you think something was left out, fudged, or calculated incorrectly I'll leave it up to you to point out where. Until then, a hand-wavey dismissal isn't going to do much to convince me, or anyone else.

Pigpen has a point, although I'm going to twist it for him. I find it more than a little repugnant to argue the worthiness of the death penalty based on monetary concerns alone. Essentially, such an argument distills human lives down to dollars, asking the question: How much money is a human life really worth? Is $34,000 too much to assure a human life? $35,000? $100,000? $0? There's something very, very chilling about asking that question.

I shudder to think that the only reason we hesitate to kill criminals is out of cost concerns. What does that say about our culture? What does that say about where our sense of community and morality has gone? Is even our morality dominated by dollar signs? Honestly, it may not be the most logical course, but I'd rather we decide that we as a culture are too good, morally-speaking, for the death penalty, then to crunch the numbers and find it more cost-effective not to kill. Even though the latter option is the most sound reasoning, the former option makes me feel better about my fellow man.

I'm not addressing the moral argument. Morality is subjective. What I'm objecting to is what I thought I heard, "Well, that's nice research and all, but I'm sure I could find some that agrees with me if I wanted to. So I'm going to ignore it."

Whether practical concerns should or should not be a focus of our ethical choices is a whole different matter entirely, and one worth discussing, in my opinion.

I sort of heard the same thing too. I think the economic argument arose when someone mentioned that he didn't see the morality in caring and feeding a convicted felon for life. It would seem to me that the morality argument then is intrinsically linked with the economic if it can be proven (and it appears to be proven) that executing a prisoner is significantly more expensive than imprisoning him/her for the rest of his/her life.

KaterinLHC wrote:

Essentially, such an argument distills human lives down to dollars, asking the question: How much money is a human life really worth? Is $34,000 too much to assure a human life? $35,000? $100,000? $0? There's something very, very chilling about asking that question.

Insurance companies ask this question all the time--which fact, I suppose, should only further dissuade us from asking it ourselves!

Niseg wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

completely off topic. When I lived in Taiwan, I was practically tripping over Israeli nationals pretty much every day. Granted, I worked at the World Trade Center and the Israeli security forces were there constantly, but I'd see them practically everywhere I went. They were at my gym, my cigar club, and all the restaurants I ever frequented.

Are there really that many of them there? If so, what's up with that?

many israeli company recuirt released soldiers with high level of combat training (called "Rovai" which translate to rifleman) to work as security forces and offer their security services around the workd.

the IDF (israeli defence force ) is probobly the best trained military in the world aspecially in the field of counter terrorism and urban combat. the israeli companies are just using highly trained released soldiers for either security job or military training jobs. recently there was a story in the paper about one company that employed israelis to trained the kurds. they had to pull them out when iran/el-kaida found that out. just check this google search i did http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...

my wife told me that one of her co-workers quit his "hi-tech" job to train soliders somewhere on the planet.

Hmm. I can see that, but most of the Israelis I knew there were English teachers. We used to joke about how easy it was to get a job teaching English if you had a non-Asian face. Some of them had HORRIBLE English language skills. Only about half a dozen of the folks I knew there had anything to do with security.

I did appreciate having them around though when we got jumped by some South Africans at a foreigner haunt called the "45".

DrunkenSleipnir wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

So why should the taxpayer pay for his death? Because it's cheaper than housing the guy for a lifetime that he doesn't deserve.

I alluded to it before, but it is MUCH more expensive to give someone death then to give him life in prison.

OK then, flip that part, and keep the same argument. Again, one option has to be taken - rebutting "why should we pay for X?" with "why should we pay for Y?" is a non-starter.

(Though it's a sad state of affairs when the state can't kill someone for cheaper than a lifetime of meals & housing, when criminals can do it so well for the cost of bullets. Obviously, we need to open source executions)

*Legion* wrote:
DrunkenSleipnir wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

So why should the taxpayer pay for his death? Because it's cheaper than housing the guy for a lifetime that he doesn't deserve.

I alluded to it before, but it is MUCH more expensive to give someone death then to give him life in prison.

OK then, flip that part, and keep the same argument. Again, one option has to be taken - rebutting "why should we pay for X?" with "why should we pay for Y?" is a non-starter.

(Though it's a sad state of affairs when the state can't kill someone for cheaper than a lifetime of meals & housing, when criminals can do it so well for the cost of bullets. Obviously, we need to open source executions)

lol. or "market driven" executions.

Obviously, we need to open source executions

Ok, that would seriously rock.

I would like to see the news event for the first person execute by GNU/Lethal Injection

Seriously.

Wasn't trying to slam you DS - just pointing out, that yes, math and statistics IS open to interpretation. Trust me, with all the Statistics classes I took for my engineering degree, I hate to say it, but yes, depending on which math and statistics you use, I simply take out or add one variable, and I guarantee, I can make the numbers support or destroy any argument/discussion or subject.

Guess that leaves us back to moral land, and yes, its all so murky.

That said, btw...the guys computer showed in the days before he'd been researching ways to kill, suicide, and prostitution places...the guy, is guilty...and death should be his reward imho.

See, Pigpen, in these cases, death seems too easy. If we are taking revenge, let's take revenge. Remember Tim McVeigh? He didn't want to spend life in prison, so...we let him die. Was that a good way to punish him for his acts?

I don't think we should be killing people, in large part because of this, but also because the fact of error is chilling to me. But if we are killing them, how is that more of a punishment than taking away their freedom for the rest of their lives? Seems to me, it's not.

I'm uncomfortable enough with the active avoidance of reviews of executions that I believe we are not handling this issue in a morally defensible way.

In the case of Tim McVeigh, I think we should have sent him to Uzbekistan where we could "waterboard" him into revealing who his co-conspirators were. But we tend not to do that with white supremacists.

Pigpen wrote:

Wasn't trying to slam you DS - just pointing out, that yes, math and statistics IS open to interpretation. Trust me, with all the Statistics classes I took for my engineering degree, I hate to say it, but yes, depending on which math and statistics you use, I simply take out or add one variable, and I guarantee, I can make the numbers support or destroy any argument/discussion or subject.

And yet, you're not. You're stating that you can, but I ain't seeing no evidence here to support your argument. I can re-interpret the events of 9/11 into an attack by the Alien Overlords of Zorbgulon 15, but without stating any proof, i'm just running my mouth and blowing smoke.

Robear wrote:

Remember Tim McVeigh? He didn't want to spend life in prison, so...we let him die. Was that a good way to punish him for his acts?

Moreover, it seems clear to me that our society, most likely, would ultimately benefit from McVeigh not being killed, as eventually he could well have told more, if not all, of the story of his (and his co-conspirators) actions. Even people who aren't "conspiracy nuts" are pretty sure that now we'll likely never get that story complete....

yeah I'm pretty sure there were actually 15 commandments

IMAGE(http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/1302/testamn29yf.jpg)

"God gave me 15 ... No, 10 commandments!"

That scene was hilarious, but always remember, if he had a similar scene with Mohammed in the movie, Mel Brooks would burn at the stake somewhere in the middle east. And thus we get the turnover to the other thread, me FTW ;).

And yet, you're not. You're stating that you can, but I ain't seeing no evidence here to support your argument. I can re-interpret the events of 9/11 into an attack by the Alien Overlords of Zorbgulon 15, but without stating any proof, i'm just running my mouth and blowing smoke.

Namely Prederick, because I have no intention of wasting my time doing this exercise...done it in the past. If you can't see how easy it is, quite frankly, the argument would be wasted on you. In statistics you have different types of mean and averages, you have weighted components, etc. So in the DP vs Life example, I simply change the estimated cost by including additional weighted avg's, whether is the price of counseling to a family, or weight it nationwide based on state costs. Pick a factor, and I can show you how it can be changed around. Again, its no brain surgery - and its practiced every day in politics (looks at the number of interpretation of the nat'l debt - one takes into account projected tax revenue of x, where the other says that is overinflated, and it should be y), it practiced in the boardrooms - whether you account for you inventory now, or write it off when sold, or how you spread overhead over divisions, or how much you factor in as write off costs, or how you interpret future projected sales, and benefits, and thus influence your stock price, which brings in more capital, for R&D or capital improvements, or cash on hand, etc...

Pick another topic, same applies. Any math majors out there. You tell me if when you get into higher math than differential equations, that its so theoretical, that you can move variables and define them differently to change even math. The principles remain the same, but how you define the variables, whether in astrophysics or death penalty discussions is the name of the game. So Prederick, sorry that I don't have time to play the silly little game, but equating basic statistics and definition of variables with saying you can

re-interpret the events of 9/11 into an attack by the Alien Overlords of Zorbgulon 15

is a lame, at best, argument.

I'll tell you what - you pick any argument based on $$ or numbers, tell me what it says, and what you want it to say - pay me a reasonable rate of $40 an hour, and I'll give you all the concrete proof you need, with powerpoint slide presentation to boot! Fair enough?

I'm not questioning your math skills here PP. Obviously, statistics can be twisted around to fit the agenda of whoever it is making them. But it always sounded a little disingenuous to me when someone makes an argument, and then refuses to back it up with anything because "it's a waste of time"/"I'm to smart for you idiots"/"if you can't see how obvious it is you're a moron", et cetera. Like DS said, I thought you were making a hand-wavey dismissal, and not bringing anything to the table to back it up other than hearsay. Plus, I don't have $40. I can offer you a package of Kit-Kats, but that's about it.

That said, "Lies, damned lies and statistics" and all. I cede the point.

EDIT:

Pigpen wrote:
re-interpret the events of 9/11 into an attack by the Alien Overlords of Zorbgulon 15

is a lame, at best, argument.

Really? sh*t. I had a whole documentary I was going to make on it. Me & David Icke man.

Plus, I don't have $40. I can offer you a package of Kit-Kats, but that's about it.

Would I have to pay for shipping?

Nomad wrote:
Plus, I don't have $40. I can offer you a package of Kit-Kats, but that's about it.

Would I have to pay for shipping? :)

No, i'll cover that myself. If you or PP want, I can throw in this totally awesome Janine Garofolo/Ann Coulter Erotic Fanfic I wrote a few months ago. It's a new genre I like to call, "PolitiMantic"

Prederick wrote:

Janine Garofolo/Ann Coulter Erotic Fanfic

Bill O'Reilly wrote:

Giggity

I can throw in this totally awesome Janine Garofolo/Ann Coulter Erotic Fanfic I wrote a few months ago. It's a new genre I like to call, "PolitiMantic"

Sounds like some S&M to me

Anyway, Pigpen, if you don't think an economic argument is important, that's an opinion. No problem. But if you want to convince me that a fact is wrong, such as X > Y, you'll need to show me. Obviously math can be manipulated, but I'd like you to show me how those 6 independent reports are all specifically wrong or in error, and not just say "math can be misleading". Again, if you don't think it's important, that's ok. But if you want to tell me it's false, show me exactly why. If you can't, or won't, that's fine - just drop the condecending attitude with inappropriate comments like "It would be wasted on you."