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Desc:It's a testament to the awfulness of the USA criminal justice system that this argument can be made.
Category:Crime, Educational
Tags:USA, statistics, paradox, death penalty, SisyphusRedeemed
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Comment count is 23
Binro the Heretic - 2013-11-24
Can we arrange to have this guy framed for murder?
infinite zest - 2013-11-24
6:40 Five stars for pure evil

EvilHomer - 2013-11-24
As awful as it is, he does raise some good points.
Oscar Wildcat - 2013-11-24
No, he doesn't. He raises a lot of misleading points to promote his position. That's great debating style, but a piss poor way of getting at the truth. I have no particular opinion about the death penalty, other than that it has had little practical utility in preventing crime and I can think of far worse punishments than death if the point of the system is to dissuade criminal activity. Hell, just life in prison is a worse fate than a few moments of pain and oblivion. Watching this guy somehow try to justify his hate boner though is 5 star worthy.

Also: One of my new neighbors is starting a 4H group, and asked me "Wildcat, do you know any young people interested in horses?" I thought, yeah, there's this guy EvilHomer, just don't leave him alone with the fillies...

EvilHomer - 2013-11-24
Well, what's misleading about them? He raises three points:

1. That focusing on abolishing death penalty on the grounds that it may cause innocents to suffer is emotionally manipulative and misleading, as the death penalty causes far fewer deaths than many other social problems which we are perfectly content to ignore.
2. That statistically speaking, the death penalty saves far more innocent lives than our current punitive "alternative", life imprisonment.
3. That as a result of lengthy appeals procedures, the death penalty is, in practice, rarely anything more than a life sentence, albeit one with a higher rate of exoneration.

I can't vouch for the validity of his statistics, but these are all sensible points, and well-presented. And I don't see him waving around a hate boner at all, at least not in this video (perhaps there's more to this fellow's story than I realize...?)

EvilHomer - 2013-11-24
(also, I do like cartoon ponies, but I'm not fond of horses. In fact, I'm borderline phobic towards the creatures! Growing up, my aunt kept one in our garage, and one night it broke through the wall and smashed my grandmother's legs. They've creeped me out ever since.

Cats and horses, my two biggest fears.)

Oscar Wildcat - 2013-11-24
You forgot the conclusion,

4) therefore, we should put everyone on death row, in order to save more innocent lives.

As opposed to my conclusion which might be

4) therefore we should abolish death row and make a more rigorous legal process for the general prison population, as the actual rates of wrongly incarcerated will surely be about the same for both populations. It's that disparity of appeals processes that makes the stats so unbalanced, and on which his entire stupid argument is pinned.

It is well argued, on that we agree. But when we end up condemning everyone to death perhaps there is an error in our whole argument?

EvilHomer - 2013-11-24
I don't think he said that... did he? I'll have to watch it again, but IIRC he ended the video by saying that he DISAGREED with the death penalty, but that the Argument from Whateverthefuck (forgot the posh term he used for it) was bunkum.

I would agree with your conclusion, Mr Wildcat, but I'd take it a step further, and say that, in order to offset costs (which would be astronomical if all prisoners were given the same level of judicial oversight as that enjoyed by death row inmates), we'd have to first drastically cut down on both the number and severity of prison sentences that get doled out, such as by abolishing the concept of "victimless crimes" - that measure alone would free over 85% of all inmates, thus allowing for almost five times as much time and money to be poured into the remaining cases, all without our even touching the budget!

It's not enough to simply make our penal system safer and more robust, we first have to make it less pervasive.

memedumpster - 2013-11-24
Even if 1 weren't a red herring, 2 would be an example of 1 by its own argument. 3 Equivocation fallacy.

cognitivedissonance - 2013-11-24
I'm suffer from crippling and severe lifelong depression.

So take what I say with a grain of salt.


Everybody and everything dies, eventually, so the death penalty is only really a punishment if there's a class of people somewhere who for whatever reason don't die. THEN death, however administered, is a punishment.

The punishment of the death penalty is not actually the death, it's the administration of one of the last real societal taboo rites we have available. The bell, book and candle no longer sticks. You're booted from the tribe and however long it takes for the tribe to finally kill you is probably the worst part about it.

The tribe kills people all the time, it's actually worse to be told the tribe is going to eject you BEFORE killing you. Even the worst sexual offender is eventually (in theory anyway) allowed to reenter the tribe on a conditional basis. That the tribe frequently subjects this ultimate taboo upon the mentally deficient, racially ostracized and poor actually reflects way worse on the tribe than on the tabooed.
Bobonne - 2013-11-24
We all die, yes, but the death penalty is a punishment insofar as it removes all the theoretical remaining days of life one could have lived if one hadn't been executed. It takes a rather farcical level of disvaluing of life to say that there's nothing relevant to be lost there.

Just because everyone dies, you can't go around killing kindergarteners "because they would've died eventually anyway". Thus, why is it okay to do it to (alleged) criminals? Particularly when even the best criminal justice system on the planet still makes mistakes (and the US system isn't anywhere near that lofty pinnacle)?

And I say that as someone that also suffers from crippling and severe lifelong depression.

Oscar Wildcat - 2013-11-24
But if you _were_ going to kill kindergartners, how many could you take on before you were overwhelmed. And how would you do it?

Me, I'd grab one by the legs, and use him as a club to beat the other ones to death. I suspect I could hold off a good many, perhaps 100 or so, before I was overwhelmed by sheer mass.

Assume a open field here, I don't want any Spartans @ Thermopylae type arguments where you can destroy an infinite number by preventing flanking actions.

exy - 2013-11-24
Well, if lifelong severe and crippling depression is good for credibility... I abandoned the suicide project years back because I realized that, no matter how bad and pointless everything might seem, how little joy life might be expected to bring (which picture is substantially altered post-adolescence), life is all there is. The pointlessness of it all is actually liberating when you get down to the bottom of it. Anyway, I'm pretty sure the punishment of the death penalty is the fact that you don't get to have any more experiences. Because you're dead. Not that death isn't a release, and preferable to torture, etc., but I've never heard anyone proposing prolonged torture as a punishment, thank goodness.

Protoseth - 2013-11-24
I think a major point that he's ignoring is the fact that when innocent people are killed on the job, or, I guess by accidents in relation to dangerous workplaces, in most of those cases the people killed had a reasonable expectation that they were putting themselves in danger. No one is surprised by the fact that a construction site is dangerous, or that car crashes exist; the victim in those cases had fair warning.
kamlem - 2013-11-24
I guess his response to that would be that a premeditated murderer in a capital punishment state would also have those expectations.

My problem with comparing road tolls to capital punishment is that one is deliberate, specific state sanctioned murder, while the other is dealing with probabilities and risk.

Sanest Man Alive - 2013-11-24
His comparison to driving-related fatalities is laughable, too. The issue isn't "well WAY more people are dying from x than from y!", it's that these are not activities specifically designed and performed to kill people. When I get in my car, it's because I'm going to work, or school, or the supermarket, or even the truckstop on the edge of town for gloryhole shenanigans. I don't turn the ignition thinking "Hmm, today it looks like I'm scheduled to run over a kid who doesn't look both ways before crossing and a hiker walking too close to the shoulder. Well, of course the sick fucks deserve it, and at least they won't hurt anyone else now."

Yes, there is a staggering number of people killed every year in car accidents in this country, but the reasons for that have little to do with wrongful executions.

StanleyPain - 2013-11-24
Nice of him never to address the actual, real reasons that many people, like myself, are opposed to the death penalty, which has nothing to do with arguments from emotion, but rather the factual understanding that
1. The death penalty does nothing to effect crime rates.
2. It is applied unevenly across the social spectrum, with minorities and poor people being sentenced to death far more for similar crimes.
3. It is a permanent punishment that cannot be altered or changed in the event that the convicted person is innocent or whose due process has been corrupted, which goes nearly hand-in-hand with the problems relating to point 2.
EvilHomer - 2013-11-24
I don't think he supports the death penalty, and he even offers Point 2 as one of his rationales for opposing it. Point 3 is tangentially addressed in his own second and third points, which is that the death penalty is rarely ever an actual "death" penalty, and that it offers a FAR higher rate of exoneration than life imprisonment does, due to the much better level of care and legal oversight your case receives. If you're innocent and you want to survive your stay in prison, paradoxically, you're much better off being sentenced to death.

exy - 2013-11-24
It's also certainly true that the death penalty is excruciatingly expensive, because the appeals process (at least here in CA) takes years to complete--and you can bet just about every guy on death row is going to extend his life by a decade or two by going back to court. It's a complete failure.


Prison guards I've talked to (whose damnable union is CA's strongest lobbyist) think that without this ultimate threat to hang over the inmates, they won't have any way to control the population. Because they are cops and they have no idea how to use carrots and are impervious to logic.

Sanest Man Alive - 2013-11-24
Homer, his point comparing rates of exonerations is deliberately skewed. Prior to that he's going on only about life sentences vs. death row, then decides to lump the whole populace into this one (which would include the guys doing five or less, who would just get laughed out of any appeals to the board anyway [not to say that there aren't weekenders getting locked up without a second glance for any actual wrongdoing]) just so he can say "See?! You've got a much better chance proving your innocence while you're waiting for the state to kill you than just sitting around in the joint!"

dairyqueenlatifah - 2013-11-24
The difference between automobiles and machine guns, and the death penalty:

Two are made for the sole purpose of killing people. One is not.

You can argue over the moral and legal legitimacy of either, but I'm so fucking sick of these people who make the bullshit argument that "WELL CARS, KITCHEN KNIVES, AND HAIRDRYERS ALL KILL PEOPLE TO, SO WHY NOT MAKE LAWS CONTROLLING THOSE HUH HUH CHECKMATE!" and think they're a genius for making it.

I had to turn this smug bastard off five minutes in.
misterbuns - 2013-11-24
04:08 "now, whether you agree that there are moral and material benefits for having the death penalty is not the issue."

Yes it is. Unless of course this is going to be some mouthbreathing semantic wankfest. Oh it is?

Okay then.

Also have some self respect and shave your head. You look like a wrinkled baby.

memedumpster - 2013-11-24
Nonsentient ape-shaped stunted animal says what? Spouts logical fallacy after logical fallacy to justify revenge ape noises in the name of revenge ape.
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