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Re: “The Kenneth Williams' execution thread

Cato, you make a great point about degree. I do struggle with the Nuremberg, etc. question. Add in Stalin, Pol Pot, Timothy McVeigh, etc. Are there crimes that the scale of which is so far beyond our ability to comprehend that we can do no other than execute the perpetrators? What DO we do about genocide?

I'm willing to concede that it does get much more difficult at that point. But I don't think anyone on Arkansas' death row comes close to that scale of evil. Most of these guys, if not all, were let down by family, friends, and the state even as they were growing up, thus making them broken. Their blood, as well as the blood of their victims, is on all of us for not providing the support we should have as a state.

But I'll accede to your greater expertise as a historian as to whether the mass killers such as those convicted at Nuremberg were failed in the same way as these guys. Certainly the scale of their evil eclipses what we can even comprehend.

And I see I've dodged your question. Where's the line? I would concede it lies somewhere between Arkansas' death row and mass state-sponsored genocide. Does that make me inconsistent? Probably. I'm okay with that. I would quibble about McVeigh. I think he should be sitting in a federal prison contemplating his own evil for the rest of his life. But then StevenE would say that I'm cruel for wishing on him a fate worse than death. And StevenE might very well be right.

Sticky business this capital punishment....

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Perplexed on 04/27/2017 at 9:14 PM

Re: “The Kenneth Williams' execution thread

Plainjim, I agree with your points about dehumanization. Certainly the killer dehumanized society when he took all these people's lives. No disagreement from me, plainjim. No disagreement from me that wars are dehumanizing for all involved.

But what value is there in us as a state adding to the terrible toil? Shouldn't we as a society refuse to continue the cycle? Can't was collectively say, "This stops with us."?

You can ignore all the research that shows that there is no deterrent value in executions, but the evidence is the evidence. If there was any evidence that capital punishment was a deterrent for future murders, I would support executions if we could be certain of guilt. I could then make the argument that society has the right to defend itself. I would easily make that argument because in the 80's that WAS my argument as a supporter of capital punishment. It seemed to me that we as a society had the right to defend ourselves, a sort of collective right of self-defense. During those days my children were young and I had a decidedly more conservative view of most things.

But two things have happened for me since then. 1) I've come to realize that so-called conservative values are simply a front for big corporations to screw the rest of us. and 2) Research has shown that capital punishment has no deterrent effect on future criminal acts. We can't support it as a tool of societal self-defense if it's not shown to actually function in that way.

I suppose it might be useful as leverage for prosecutors when negotiating plea agreements. But that's another issue altogether...

In this case, we're killing Kenneth Williams because our own corrections staff was incompetent and allowed him to escape and kill again. I'd like to say, "let's just kill this guy and eliminate him as a threat," but my better angels won't let me.

If we truly wanted to do something about the murder rate, we'd work to address abuse and mental illness, especially among our impoverished populations. That seems to be a common thread among these cases. It was certainly true for Monday's execution-ees.

I greatly respect you and your experience, plainjim, but we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Perplexed on 04/27/2017 at 8:36 PM

Re: “The Kenneth Williams' execution thread

I have no sympathy for this guy and would agree that he deserves to be executed.

My lack of sympathy and his guilt are not the point.

It dehumanizes all of us when the state kills someone on our behalf.

15 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Perplexed on 04/27/2017 at 7:57 PM

Re: “Later today: More on the matter of Judge Wendell Griffen

Ryan D. Davis has hit the nail on the head.

While I wish that Judge Griffen had not participated in the protest the same day he made this ruling, the ruling was not specifically about the death penalty and another judge made exactly the same ruling when the drug company re-filed the case several days later.

Posted by Perplexed on 04/26/2017 at 9:25 PM

Re: “CANCELED Free screening tonight of death penalty documentary CANCELED

Would love to know why it was cancelled. Might it be because somebody wants to wait until after the next execution?

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Perplexed on 04/26/2017 at 3:18 PM

Re: “San Francisco judge blocks executive order defunding "sanctuary cities"

Trump may be swinging and missing at the governing part of being president, but he's likely racking up the $$ by folks, American and foreign, staying in his hotels, buying Trump-labeled products, etc.

I'm thinking that the family will probably take in enough unethical lucre between now and 2010 to totally fund his re-election campaign.

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Perplexed on 04/25/2017 at 7:44 PM

Re: “The Jack Jones, Marcel Williams execution thread

Bill Clinton "saw the wisdom of it" because he's a political animal.

I'm sorry, folks, but bringing up other cases doesn't cleanse us of the fact last night the State of Arkansas, on our behalf, killed two mentally ill people.

That's "justice?"

Their blood is on us all.

We failed them, their victims, and all these families as a state by not providing them access to proper mental health care and then we attempt to wash our hands of that failure by killing these two proven to be mentally ill people.

11 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Perplexed on 04/25/2017 at 6:13 AM

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