14th September 2008

“One of the more astonishing and dismaying public statements ever made was made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia… in which he said that God has the power of life and death and therefore governments, who derive their power from God, have the right to dispense life and death too. This is a horrifying thought.”

Susan Jacoby

8 Responses to “14th September 2008”

  1. Bornagain A. Theist Says:

    It is a horrifying thought in that “God” is involved in the equation and that a person who potentially wields so much power has invoked his name in public.

    It is NOT horrifying that governments dispense death. There are far too FEW executions in the world now. Every person who has been convicted of murder, rape, arson, armed robbery, child abuse and any other crime which places or threatens to place an innocent person in harms way should be executed immediately.

    Fools say that the death penalty is not a deterrent. Of course it isn’t under the way that it is currently administered, but if death was swift and certain, there would be a sharp decline in violent behavior. It is the ultimate deterrent.


  2. chris Says:

    Hey BAT – I’ve gotta disagree with you here. Given that DNA evidence has exonerated a large number of inmates convicted of horrible crimes and that we KNOW that eyewitness testimony alone can be very unreliable, it is incumbent on us as a society to be very careful with how we use this punishment. If you simply execute those convicted, perhaps 25% of the people you kill would be innocent of the crime they were convicted for. Many of the executed would have committed no crime at all. Would you pull the lever on a randomly selected convict knowing this? I couldn’t. No other advanced society has the rates of violence and incarceration we have and yet we are the only “advanced” society that still executes. We do have a problem but killing more convicts won’t solve it.

  3. chris Says:

    Here is a link to The Innocence Project which has worked to free many people wrongly convicted of capital crimes. You can see from the map that the quality of the justice dispensed depends greatly on where your case was heard.


  4. John Sutton Says:

    I think it is about time the UK distanced itself from this country of lunatics.

  5. Bornagain A. Theist Says:

    My views may seem extreme, but as much as folks may disagree with my methods, I would love to see a rational explanation of how society should deal with someone who would rape a baby or cut a 7-11 attendant in half with a 12 gauge or slit your mothers throat in front of your father before stabbing him repeatedly and then bashing in your little sisters head with a hammer.

    Yes, I made up that precise scenario, but don’t even think for a minute that something equally foul has actually taken place. Do we just keep those folks locked up at tremendous cost, or do we dispose of the scum as the garbage they are? Without death to this hypothetical criminal, there is no justice. What answers can you offer?

    “In Cold Blood” comes to mind…


  6. Alton Says:

    Meanwhile, back on the original quote . . .

    Is it just me or have we found a profound example of a pure non-sequitur?

    But then again, by extension . . . God kills => Government kills => postal employee kills. Hey, maybe it works after all.

  7. Bornagain A. Theist Says:

    Trust me folks, I am indeed and atheist. I do not presume the existence of a higher power other than those imposed on me by my government. I fear that some of my fellow atheists give way to the idiotic expectation that we are immoral (as an extension, to borrow your term, of being atheists) by bending over backward to prove that we are not.

    It is NOT wrong for you to wish for a person who mutilates your best friend to pay with his life – and swiftly, nor is it wrong for the governing authorities to support you in such a wish.

    If that seems wrong, teach me why.

  8. chris Says:

    BAT – I don’t have any overly strong feelings about executing people guilty of horrible crimes. My issue is with executing people that didn’t, in fact, commit the crimes. We don’t have a strong track record on this of late. Until a better way is found to insure the outcome of a trial is free of the possibility “innocenticide” then life imprisonment is a far more morally defensible position.