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Monday, December 17, 2007

New Jersey Abolishes Death Penalty

TRENTON, N.J., USA (AP) — Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law Monday a measure that abolishes the death penalty, making New Jersey the first state in more than four decades to reject capital punishment.

The bill, approved last week by the state's Assembly and Senate, replaces the death sentence with life in prison without parole.

"This is a day of progress for us and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder," Corzine said.

The nation has executed 1,099 people since the U.S. Supreme Court reauthorized the death penalty in 1976. In 1999, 98 people were executed, the most since 1976; last year 53 people were executed, the lowest since 1996.

James: As someone who as opposed the death penalty for years, I am rejoicing today. One of the main pillars of Buddhism is the concept of non-violence. Yes these criminals must be isolated from society because of their choices by spending life in prison without the possibility of parole. However, executing them lowers our collective consciousness to the level of these killers and other criminals and we lose our innocence and peace as a society. In addition, the person who's job it is to execute the prisoner faces their own suffering. You can not engage in killing without losing a certain degree of peace. I can't imagine having to be the executioner and face the terrible dreams that must come with the job. We become desensitized to the very violence we are trying to prevent by killing these offenders. It is up to us to rise above the violence and break the cycle of suffering.

I feel deep sadness for the families who have lost loved ones and for the victims who have suffered immensely from the crimes of these individuals. I have compassion for their suffering and cry with them. That being said, I do not think that exacting revenge helps them heal. I say this because killing these criminals doesn't do anything to bring those loved ones back from the dead. It would seem to me that a person embraces more suffering than happiness by taking joy from watching one be executed. After the execution the criminal is gone but they still haven't dealt with their grief and anger which leaves one feeling hollow inside. Anger prevents us from healing and letting go of the chains that keep us imprisoned. How ironic that the victims and their families end up in a sort of prison themselves by clinging to their anger and bitterness. Anger shackles them (just as it does all of us) and the angrier they (and we) become the tighter the chains dig in.

It reminds me of a great story told by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh which I have mentioned here before. Imagine your house is set on fire by an arsonist, you escape but instead of trying to put out the flames you chase after the criminal fueled by anger and a blinding lust for revenge. You run and run and perhaps you catch the person who did this but in the mean time your house has burned down. The point being that holding resentment and anger in our hearts slowly kills us (literally). We know that all things are connected and medicine has proved that elevated stress levels (which occur from extreme anger and anxiety) can shorten ones life. Anger can build and build until often it is released through violence and by committing violence we have turned into the person that we hated so deeply in the first place.

How can we convince others that killing is wrong by killing people?

The very real chance of executing an innocent person is another big reason why we shouldn't have a death penalty. There are many, many cases of people who have been proven innocent through DNA testing but often only after spending decades of their lives in prisons. It seems quite likely that there have indeed been those wrongfully executed.

Also, the Buddhist principle of impermanence implies that all people have the capacity to transform themselves and we must allow these criminals the possibility of redemption. Perhaps the criminal kept alive could one day write books and give interviews/speeches to help others avoid a life of crime. The example of Stanley "Tookie" Williams comes to mind.

A reformed gang member who committed murder but then wrote books to keep kids out of gangs and help them avoid the terrible choices that he made. Instead we executed him and in doing so lost a credible voice in preventing future crime and that is our burden to carry. We were so consumed with our anger and lust for revenge that it blinded us to the greater good that was unfolding. Allowing the criminal life in prison gives them a lot of time to think about what they have done and think of ways to redeem him/herself. We just never know what benefits change can bring and by executing someone we take that possibility not only away from the families and the offender but also from society as a whole.

While I haven't faced the tragedy of losing a loved one to murder or watched a family member suffer from the pain of being the victim of other heinous crimes, I do know that eventual forgiveness and acceptance is the key to healing.

I hope that I never have to face such a terrible choice but I would hope that through meditating upon compassion and forgiveness that I would be able to let go of such horrible anger and pain. I have told my family that should I be killed that I do not want them to advocate the death penalty for the criminal.

It is time to focus on working toward getting to the roots of violence and therefore help reduce it rather than perpetuate it.

~Peace to all beings~

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21 comments:

twyla said...

wonderful, thoughtful post. I enjoyed it very much.

They call him James Ure said...

Twyla:

Thank-you kindly (bowing).

Ginger said...

word....how's your father doing?

Dream Writer said...

I guess it is a matter of opinion. Why should someone LIVE when they took a life away? Why would they deserve a second chance?

the living mandala said...

"I have told my family that should I be killed that I do not want them to advocate the death penalty for the criminal."

This is an interesting thought. I've never considered this before. Not that my family is likely to have to make that choice in Canada, but for those living somewhere where the death penalty is a possibility, perhaps one should carry a little wallet card, like the organ donor card. :)

A very thought provoking post.

trinitystar said...

quote

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Best wishes and Merry Christmas
trinitystar.

Gary said...

This excellent post brought memories of one of my favorite characters from the Pali Canon: the serial killer Anguliama. This man is said to have murdered 999 people, but upon meeting the Buddha, he renounced his life of crime and became a monk. He even achieved enlightenment despite the multiple homicides that he committed.

If such a person can be redeemed and even become an arahant, then surely everyone deserves the chance to start again. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the bodhisattva in the Mahayana tradition postpone their enlightenment until all sentient beings are awakened? Surely this includes murderers too. And as the Karaniya Metta Sutta states: May all beings be happy!

Great stuff, James!
Gary at Forest Wisdom: http://forestwisdom.blogspot.com

They call him James Ure said...

Ginger:

He's doing better. Thanks.

Dream Writer:

Yeah. It is an emotional issue that's for sure.

TLM:

Good idea on the wallet card. I might just make one of those. :)

Trinity Star:

I LOVE that quote.

Gary:

Thanks!! That is one of my favorite stories too. It shows how we can take something so awful and painful as murder and turn it into something beautiful.

dudleysharp said...

Wether opposed to the death penalty or not, honesty should have some place.

DEAD WRONG: NJ Death Penalty Study Commission
by Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below
5/2007

from http://www.hallnj.org/cm/listing.jsp?cId=3

Summary

The New Jersey Death Penalty Commission made significant errors within their findings. The evidence, contrary to the Commissions findings, was so easy to obtain that it appears either willful ignorance or deception guided their report.

A brief review.

FORMAT: Below, are the 7 points made within the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission Report, January, 2007. The RUBUTTAL presents the obvious points avoided by the Commission and discussed by this author, a death penalty expert.

I was invited to be a presenter, before the NJDPSC, but my time didn't fit their schedule.

1) There is no compelling evidence that the New Jersey death penalty rationally serves a legitimate penological intent.

REBUTTAL:

- The reason that 81% of Americans found that Timothy McVeigh should be executed was justice - the most profound concept in criminal justice, as in many other aspects of life. It is the same reason that New Jersey citizens, 12 jurors, put all those on death row.

- Although the Commission and the NJ Supreme Court both attempt to discount deterrence, logically, they cannot.

First, all prospects for a negative outcome deter some. This is not, logically or historically rebutted. It cannot be. Secondly, those studies which don't find for deterrence, do not say that it doesn't exist, only that their study didn't find it. Those studies which find for deterrence did. 16 recent studies do.

- The Commission had ample opportunity and, more importantly, the responsibility to read and contact the authors of those many studies which have, recently, found for deterrence. There seems to be no evidence that they did so. On such an important factor as saving innocent lives, why didn't they? The testimony before the Commission, critical of those studies, would not withstand a review by the authors of those studies. That should be an important issue that the Commission should have investigated, but did not.

- LIFE WITHOU PAROLE: The Commission considered the risk of innocents executed and concluded that it wasn't worth the risk and that a life sentence would serve sufficiently without that risk to innocents.

Again, the Commission avoided both fact and reason. The risk to innocents is greater with a life sentence than with the death penalty.

First, we all know that living murderers, in prison, after escape or after improper release, are much more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers - an obvious truism ignored by the Commission.

Secondly, no knowledgeable and honest party questions that the death penalty has the most extensive due process protections in US criminal law. Therefore, it is logically conclusive, that actual innocents are more likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment and more likely to die in prison serving under that sentence, that it is that an actual innocent will be executed.

Thirdly, there has been a recent explosion of studies finding for death penalty deterrence. The criticism of those studies has, itself, been rebutted.

- Therefore, in choosing a life without parole and calling for the end of the death penalty, the Commission has made the choice to put more innocents at risk - the opposite of their stated rationale.

2) The costs of the death penalty are greater than the costs of life in prison without parole, but it is not possible to measure these costs with any degree of precision.

REBUTTAL:

- The NJ legislature's own cost review found that the cost differential was indeterminate. However, based upon their exclusions, LWOP may very well be more expensive.

- For the amount of time and resources allegedly expended by the Commission, this section of their review was unconscionable in its lack of responsibility to the Commission's directive.

- The Commission concludes that the current system in New Jersey is very expensive, without noting the obvious ways in which those issues can be addressed to lessen those costs. Why?

One example, they find that proportionality review cost $93, 000 per case. Why didn't the Commission recommend doing away with proportionality review? There is no reason, legally, to have it and it has been a disaster, cost wise, with no benefit.

Secondly, the Commission states: "Nevertheless, consistent with the Commission's findings, recent studies in states such as Tennessee, Kansas, Indiana, Florida and North Carolina have all concluded that the costs associated with death penalty cases are significantly higher than those associated with life without parole cases. These studies can be accessed through the Death Penalty Information Center." (Report, page 33).

On many topics the Death Penalty Information Center has been one of the most deceptive or one sided anti death penalty groups in the country. While it is not surprising that the Commission would give them as a reference, multiple times, it doesn't speak well of the Commission.

Did the Commission read any of the studies referenced by the DPIC? It appears doubtful, or the Commission would not have referenced them.

For example, let's look at the North Carolina (Duke University) study. That cost study compared the cost of only a twenty year "life sentence" to the death penalty. Based upon that study, a true life without parole sentence would be more costly than the death penalty. Somehow the Commission missed that rather important fact.

These types of irresponsible and misleading references by the Commission do nothing to inspire any confidence in their findings, but do reinforce the opinion that their conclusions were predetermined.

Please see "Cost Comparisons: Death Penalty Cases Vs Equivalent Life Sentence Cases", to follow.

3) There is increasing evidence that the death penalty is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.

REBUTTAL:

The Commission uses several references to prove their point. None of them succeeded.

- The first was based upon polling in New Jersey. The data showed strong support (78%) for executions in NJ, except when asking those polled to choose between a life sentence or a death sentence, for which life gets greater support. The major problem with this long standing and misleading polling question is that it has nothing to do with the legal reality of sentencing. Secondly, that poll shows broad support for BOTH sanctions, not a call to abandon either. The Commission, somehow, overlooked that obvious point.

Jurors have the choice of both sentences in states with the death penalty and life without parole. Therefore, a proper polling question for NJ would be,

A) should we eliminate the death penalty and ONLY have life without parole? or
B) should we give jurors the OPTION of choosing life or death in capital murder cases?

Based upon other polls, I suspect B would be the resounding winner of this poll in NJ.

We know support is 78% in NJ, for crimes similar to those on NJ death row.

Secondly, the Commissions polling speaker avoided the most obvious and reliable polling question on this topic - asking about the punishment for a specific crime, just as jurors have to decide.

NOTE: 78% of NJ citizens support the death penalty for crimes such as those on NJ's death row. (Dec., 2007)

81% of Americans supported the execution of Timothy McVeigh. 85% of Connecticut citizens polled supported the execution of serial rapist/murderer Michael Ross.

Thirdly, poll New Jersey citizens with the following questions. Is life without parole or the death penalty the most appropriate punishment for those who rape and murder children? Or should NJ remove the death penalty as a jury option for those who rape and murder children?

- Two religious speakers spoke against execution. Both are easily rebutted by religious scholars holding different views.

- Another alleged example of this evolving standard is based upon the fact there has been a reduction in death sentences. Such reduction is easily explained by a number of factors, other than some imagined "evolving standard of decency".

Murders have dropped some 40%, capital murders have likely dropped by even a greater number, based upon other factors. This, by itself, explains the overwhelming percentage of the drop in death sentences.

In addition, many prosecutors, such as those in NJ, know that their courts will not allow executions, leading to prosecutorial frustration as a contributing factor in any reduction - not an evolving standard of decency, but an evolving and increasing frustration.

Please review: "Why the reduction in death sentences?", to follow.

4) The available data do not support a finding of invidious racial bias in the application of the death penalty in New Jersey.

CLARIFICATION:

In fact, there is no data to support any racial bias, invidious or otherwise. The Commission must have read the series of NJ studies.

5) Abolition of the death penalty will eliminate the risk of disproportionality in capital sentencing.

REBUTTAL:

Yes, Commission, and the abolition of all criminal sentences will eliminate the risk of disproportionality in all sentences, as well. This is hardly a rational reason to get rid of any sentence. Get rid of the expensive and unnecessary proportionality review.

6) The penological interest in executing a small number of persons guilty of murder is not sufficiently compelling to justify the risk of making an irreversible error.

REBUTTAL:

- The risk to innocents is greater with life without parole than with the death penalty. See (1), above LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE.

7) The alternative of Life imprisonment in a maximum security institution without the possibility of parole would sufficiently ensure public safety and address other legitimate social and penological interests, including the interests of the families of murder victims.

REBUTTAL:

This Commission statement is quite simply, false.

- Life imprisonment puts more innocents at risk than does the death penalty.

- Justice, just punishment, retribution and/or saving innocent lives, among others, are all legitimate social and penological interests all served by the death penalty.

- 81% of Americans supported the execution of Timothy McVeigh. 85% of Connecticut citizens polled supported the execution of serial, rapist/murderer Michael Ross.

The overwhelming majority of those polled did not have family members murdered.

Is the Commission trying to tell us that a poll of NJ murder victim survivors would show a majority opposed to the death penalty? Of course not, that would be as absurd as the Commissions conclusions in this section.

Conclusion:

Almost without exception, The Commission accepted the standard anti death penalty position, without presenting the easily accessible rebuttal to that position.

Enough said.

-----------------------

NJ Death Penalty Study Commission

It is alleged that the Commission had fair hearings, with both sides adequately presented.

Alleged fair hearings mean nothing, if decisions are predetermined, as this one was.

11 of the 13 committee members were either known or leaning anti death penalty. The contempt for and discounting of pro death penalty positions in both the hearings and final report confirm that.

All the prosecutors on the Commission were up for reappointment - by the staunchly anti death penalty Governor. Would any of them sacrifice their livelihood to fight for the death penalty? Of course not and they did not.

One committee member - one - was confirmable as pro death penalty.

Most, if not all, of Committee Chairman Rev. Howard's previous affiliations were anti death penalty.

Rev. Howard's fairness is best shown by the Commission's final report, which was laughable in its exclusion of pro death penalty positions, positions which would have either overwhelmed or neutralized the anti death penalty, predetermined conclusions of the panel, had those pro death penalty positions been given a fair showing in that report - which they weren't.

The Commission hearings and final report were, as all show trials, a farce.

copyright 2007-2008 Dudley Sharp
Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

dudleysharp said...

The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

Death penalty opponents say that the death penalty has a foundation in hatred and revenge. Such is a false claim.

A death sentence requires pre existing statutes, trial and appeals, considerations of guilt and due process, to name but a few.  Revenge requires none of these and, in fact, does not even require guilt or a crime.

The criminal justice system goes out of its way to take hatred and revenge out of the process.  That is why we have a system of pre existing laws and legal procedures that offer extreme protections to defendants and those convicted and which provide statutes and sanctions which existed prior to the crime.
 
It is also why those directly affected by the murder are not allowed to be fact finders in the case.

The reality is that the pre trial, trial. appellate and executive clemency/commutation processes offer much  greater time and human resources to capital cases than they do to any other cases, meaning that the facts tell us that defendants and convicted murderers, subject to the death penalty, receive much greater care and concern than those not facing the death penalty - the opposite of a system marked with vengeance.

The pro death penalty position is based upon those who find that punishment just and appropriate under specific circumstances.

Those opposed to execution cannot prove a foundation of hatred and revenge for the death penalty any more than they can for any other punishment sought within a system such as that observed within the US - unless such opponents find all punishments a product of hatred and revenge - an unreasonable, unfounded position

Far from hatred and revenge, the death penalty represents our greatest condemnation for a crime of unequaled horror and consequence. Lesser punishments may suffice under some circumstances. A death sentence for certain heinous crimes is given in those special circumstances when a jury finds such is more just than a lesser sentence.

Less justice is not what we need.

A thorough review of the criminal justice system will often beg this question: Why have we chosen to be so generous to murderers and so contemptuous of the human rights and suffering of the victims and future victims?

The punishment of death is, in no way, a balancing between harm and punishment, because the innocent murder victim did not deserve or earn their fate, whereas the murderer has earned their own, deserved punishment by the free will action of violating societies laws and an individuals life and, thereby, voluntarily subjecting themselves to that jurisdictions judgment.

copyright 2001-2009   Dudley Sharp, Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.


Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail  sharpjfa@aol.com,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
 
Pro death penalty sites 

http://homicidesurvivors.com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

www.dpinfo.com
www.cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
www.coastda.com/archives.html
www.lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
www.prodeathpenalty.com
http://yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2   (Sweden)
www.wesleylowe.com/cp.html

dudleysharp said...

The Death Penalty Provides More Protection for Innocents
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below
 
Often, the death penalty dialogue gravitates to the subject of innocents at risk of execution. Seldom is a more common problem reviewed. That is, how innocents are more at risk without the death penalty.
 
Enhanced Incapacitation

To state the blatantly clear, living murderers, in prison, after release or escape,  are much more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers.
 
Although an obvious truism, it is surprising how often  folks overlook the enhanced incapacitation benefits of the death penalty over incarceration.
 
Enhanced Due Process

No knowledgeable and honest party questions that the death penalty has the most extensive due process protections in US criminal law.
 
Therefore, actual innocents are more likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment and more likely to die in prison serving under that sentence, that it is that an actual innocent will be executed.
 
That is. logically, conclusive.
 
Enhanced Deterrence

16 recent studies, inclusive of their defenses, find for death penalty deterrence.
 
A surprise? No.
 
Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
 
Some believe that all studies with contrary findings negate those 16 studies. They don't. Studies which don't find for deterrence don't say no one is deterred, but that they couldn't measure those deterred.
 
What prospect of a negative outcome doesn't deter some? There isn't one . . . although committed anti death penalty folk may say the death penalty is the only one.
 
However, the premier anti death penalty scholar accepts it as a given that the death penalty is a deterrent, but does not believe it to be a greater deterrent than a life sentence. Yet, the evidence is compelling and un refuted that death is feared more than life.
 
Enhanced Fear

Some death penalty opponents argue against death penalty deterrence, stating that it's a harsher penalty to be locked up without any possibility of getting out.
 
Reality paints a very different picture.
 
What percentage of capital murderers seek a plea bargain to a death sentence? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
 
What percentage of convicted capital murderers argue for execution in the penalty phase of their capital trial? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
 
What percentage of death row inmates waive their appeals and speed up the execution process? Nearly zero. They prefer long term imprisonment.
 
This is not, even remotely, in dispute.
 
Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
 
Furthermore, history tells us that lifers have many ways to get out: Pardon, commutation, escape, clerical error, change in the law, etc.
 
In choosing to end the death penalty, or in choosing not implement it, some have chosen to spare murderers at the cost of sacrificing more innocent lives.
 
Furthermore, possibly we have sentenced 25 actually innocent people to death since 1973, or 0.3% of those so sentenced. Those have all been released upon post conviction review. The anti death penalty claims, that the numbers are significantly higher, are a fraud, easily discoverable by fact checking.
 
The innocents deception of death penalty opponents has been getting exposure for many years. Even the behemoth of anti death penalty newspapers, The New York Times,  has recognized that deception.
 
To be sure, 30 or 40 categorically innocent people have been released from death row . . . (1) This when death penalty opponents were claiming the release of 119 "innocents" from death row. Death penalty opponents never required actual innocence in order for cases to be added to their "exonerated" or "innocents" list. They simply invented their own definitions for exonerated and innocent and deceptively shoe horned large numbers of inmates into those definitions - something easily discovered with fact checking.
 
There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900.
 
If we accept that the best predictor of future performance is past performance, we can, reasonably, conclude that the DNA cases will be excluded prior to trial, and that for the next 8000 death sentences, that we will experience a 99.8% accuracy rate in actual guilt convictions. This improved accuracy rate does not include the many additional safeguards that have been added to the system, over and above DNA testing.
 
Of all the government programs in the world, that put innocents at risk, is there one with a safer record and with greater protections than the US death penalty?
 
Unlikely.
 
Full report -All Innocence Issues: The Death Penalty, upon request.
 
Full report - The Death Penalty as a Deterrent, upon request
 
(1) The Death of Innocents: A Reasonable Doubt,
New York Times Book Review, p 29, 1/23/05, Adam Liptak,
national legal correspondent for The NY Times
 
copyright 2007-2009, Dudley Sharp
Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.
 
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS, VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
 
Pro death penalty sites 
 
http://homicidesurvivors.com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx
 
www.dpinfo.comwww.cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
www.coastda.com/archives.html
www.lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
www.prodeathpenalty.com
http://yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2   (Sweden) www.wesleylowe.com/cp.html

dudleysharp said...

Killing equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of death penalty opponents
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

There is a very common anti death penalty slogan:
 
 "Why do we kill people to show that killing people is wrong?"

We don't. Even with no sanction, most folks know that committing murder is wrong.

We execute guilty murderers who have murdered innocent people.

The difference between crime and punishment, guilty murderers and their innocent victims is very clear to most.

The moral confusion exists when people blindly accept the amoral or immoral position that all killing is equal.

The anti death penalty folks are looking at an act --  "killing" --  and saying all killings are the same. Only an amoral person would equate acts, without considering the purpose behind them.

For those, like some anti death penalty folks,  who believe all killing is morally equivalent, they would equate the slaughter of 6 million innocent Jews and 6-7 million additional innocents with the execution of those guilty murderers committing that slaughter. They would also equate the rape and murder of children with the execution of the rapist/murderer.

This is what the anti death penalty folks do, morally equate killing (murder) with the punishment for that murder, another killing (execution).

For such anti death penalty folks to be consistent, they must also equate holding people against their will (illegal kidnapping) with the sanction for it, the holding people against their will (legal incarceration) or the taking money away from people (illegal robbery) with a sanction for that, taking money away from people (legal restitution).

Most folks understand the moral differences.

Some anti death penalty folks are either incapable of knowing the moral differences between crime and punishment, guilty criminals and their innocent victims, or they are knowingly using a dishonest slogan by equating  killing (murder) with killing (execution).
 
Either way, it's time to stop it.  It is just too grotesque a tool.

copyright 2000-2009 Dudley Sharp: Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail  sharpjfa@aol.com,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
 
Pro death penalty sites 

homicidesurvivors.com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspxwww.dpinfo.com
www.cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htmwww.coastda.com/archives.html see Death Penalty
www.lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm www.prodeathpenalty.com
http://yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2   (Sweden)
www.wesleylowe.com/cp.html

They call him James Ure said...

Dudley:

I don't agree with everything that you posted but I don't want to go into all of the points you dumped here. I simply don't have enough time to go through it all.

Let me just say that it all comes down to my religious beliefs for me. I simply do not believe the death penalty is something a civilized society should be doing.

dudleysharp said...

We disagree.

I didn't just dump essays, here. Each one was specific to a comment you made.

Being inaccurate is not a tenant of Buddhism. Just the opposite. Many of your comments show a lack of knowledge and understanding. It was in that spirit that I responded.

You seem to have just blindly accepted things without study.

They call him James Ure said...

Dudley Sharp:

Yes we do disagree and there is nothing wrong or "unBuddhist" about having disagreements. As for all the information I read much of it and skimmed through the rest. I'm heard a lot of these arguments before. You cite studies and well, I can cite my own studies on the matter.

I haven't just blindly accepted the anti-death penalty side without study. I have taken several classes revolving around the issue.

One being a sociology class about the issue and another being a criminology class specifically about the death penalty itself.

That class simply solidified my positions against the death penalty. And outside the classes I have studied the issue and contemplated upon it in depth.

Now if you want me to address each of the many points that you addressed here then It will take me some time.

It's hard to respond to a shot gun spray of points and issues to debate. Maybe you could start with the points that you think are the most important and I'll do my best to respond.

I don't think I'm being inaccurate. I'm simply taking an opposite position to you. Just because someone disagrees with a position doesn't make them inaccurate.

dudleysharp said...

Based upon my extensive experience, both your sociology and criminology class were, most likely, anti death penalty based.

For example, The American Society of Criminology -- the subtitle to their death penalty resources page was "Anti-Capital Punishment Resources".

Now their links are all anti death penalty

http://www.critcrim.org/death.htm


The American Sociology Association is, officially, anti death penalty

http://www.asanet.org/cs/root/leftnav/centennial/centennial_publications/a_history_of_the_asa_1981_to_2004/history_update_chapter_1_part_4

dudleysharp said...

the asa link was cut off. If it cuts off, again, just go to their main site and search.

http://www.asanet.org/cs/root/leftnav/centennial/centennial_publications/a_history_of_the_asa_1981_to_2004/history_update_chapter_1_part_4

They call him James Ure said...

Dudley:

That's a big assumption to make about my classes considering that you weren't there and you're only going on the scant information that I gave you in the previous comment.

Actually, the professors of BOTH classes NEVER told us which side of the argument they agreed with.

AND the class at the end was nearly evenly split on the final decision if you support the death penalty or not with a slight edge toward anti-death penalty.

And just because those two organizations are anti-death penalty doesn't make their positions wrong. They just don't agree with your positions.

dudleysharp said...

I don't think you understand what I was saying with those two organizations. There are very strong positions for the death penalty. Both of those groups don't even have links to them. I don't care if the groups are pro or anti death penalty. Academia is supposed to have a higher standard than just being an advocate for one side, but that is, exactly, what they are.

Just because your professors never made a statement either way, doesn't tell us if their presentation was biased or not.

I appreciate your skepticism and you make the right call - I wasn't there. But, as I said, based upon my extensive experience,it is a one sided anti death penalty presentation.

Where did you take your classes?

I have been active, for years, in attempting fairness in various high schools and colleges throughout the US, regarding a balanced presentation of the death penalty. I have never seen it done.

I can only hope it has been.

They call him James Ure said...

I don't think you understand what I was saying with those two organizations. There are very strong positions for the death penalty. Both of those groups don't even have links to them. I don't care if the groups are pro or anti death penalty.

I don't mean to sound rude but you seem to contradict yourself here. If you don't care whether these groups are pro or anti death penalty than why do you care if they present both sides?

We both have biases no doubt that come into our views on the death penalty but the bottom line is that you're not going to change my views and I'm not going to change yours. I have done my own extensive studying and contemplation on this matter.

The school I attended was University of Northern Colorado. I must say that in the death penalty class in particular they put us in groups of varying degrees on our views and then we had to go around and sit in each of the different groups and listen to their points.

If the class was tilted toward the anti-death penalty crowd then I didn't see it because all of the folks FOR the death penalty stayed that way after the class was done.

So i admit that both sides have points to be made but in the end for me I side with the anti-death penalty groups.

dudleysharp said...

I am not contradicting myself.

Academic groups have an obligation to present, at least, two sides. When bias is so great that you only show one side, then you have become an advocate, argueably the opposite of an academic.

You said you have educated yourself, sufficiently, yet, it was easy to contraduit three of your statements.

That was my point

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