DEATH PENALTY DIALOGUE (Facts and Figures)
FOLLOWED BY ABORTION DIALOGUE
When those racists in Texas hooked that Black man up to their truck and dragged him to his death, the people of Texas (without hate crime legislation) showed their disapproval of violent racism by giving the killers the ultimate penalty.
ED: Texas also showed its disapproval of retarded murderers by executing them too. Texas is an equal opportunity executor. Has been for over a century. Back in 1930 Texas led by executed 633 people. Next closest state was Georgia with 402 executions. Then in 1977 Texas executed 336 people. Next closest state was Missouri with 61.
But even being the leader by far in executions has not made Texas the safest state to live in.
Most dangerous states to live in, in 2005: Texas is the 11th most dangerous state out of 50.
In the year 2000 Texas had the 8th highest total Crime Index [per capita].
For Violent Crime Texas ranked the 13th highest occurrence for Violent Crime among the states.
As of 2003 The Texas murder rate was 6.4, tied for 8th highest murder rate in the nation, while the states with equal or higher murder rates were:
All the other states had lower murder rates in 2003.
Here's some more interesting figures:
Serious violent crime levels have declined since 1993.
The number of prisoners under sentence of death at year end 2003 decreased for the third consecutive year.
In 2004, only 59 inmates were executed in the entire U.S., 6 fewer than in 2003.
TIM: 70% of America supports the death penalty!
ED: [from the web] Of the 38 U.S. states that employ the death penalty, Colorado has executed one prisoner since 1976 (the year that the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty), while Texas executed 309 in that same period.
Since the Supreme Court decision in 1976, 506 inmates in 12 southern states have been executed, compared to 121 elsewhere in the nation, according to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C.
Texas leads the nation with 211 executions and 458 death row inmates, followed by Virginia with 76 executions and 32 inmates and Florida with 46 executions and 393 death row inmates, as of March 31.
The other Southern states are Louisiana, with 25 executions and 85 inmates; South Carolina, 24 and 69; Georgia, 23 and 130; Oklahoma, 23 and 152; Arkansas, 21 and 41; Alabama, 21 and 182; North Carolina, 15 and 221; Mississippi, 4 and 62; and Kentucky, 2 and 39.
Studies have shown that southern states support the death penalty because of a biblical belief in retribution or vengeance.
Southern states perform 80 percent of the executions in the country and repeatedly have the highest murder rate, according to federal Bureau of Justice statistics. The Northeast, which has less than 1 percent of all executions in the U.S., has the lowest murder rate, the BOJ reports. In 1997, the last year that the statistics cover, the South's murder rate was 8.4 per 100,000; the Northeast's was 4.8 per 100,000.
Does it prevent crime?
Some studies suggest that the death penalty may actually increase the number of murders rather than deter them, according to "Homicide Studies," a 1997 publication.
A 1995 study by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice found the average annual increase in homicides in California was twice as high during the years executions were carried out than in years when no one was executed.
The study compared homicide rates during 1952-1967, when an execution occurred on an average of every two months, with the homicide rates between 1968 and 1991, when no executions occurred. The study showed that the average percentage increase in murder rates was 10 percent when executions were occurring and 4.8 percent when they were not.
Another study of executions in New York from 1907 to 1963, when the state was executing more than any other state, found that, on the average, homicides increased in the month following an execution, according to "Deterrence or Brutalization: What is the Effect of Executions?"
TIM: Critics of the death penalty say that it has not lowered crime in America, but that's because America does not use the death penalty in such a way that it would lower crime. Only a very tiny fraction of convicted killers is given the death penalty, and even then, it usually takes 10 years or more to kill the guy, long after most everyone has forgotten about the crime (except, of course, for the victims' families). Even then, liberals amass enormous legal, media, and economic forces to prevent the execution.
ED: You want people executed quicker and more often and for all to see? That was tried already. Public executions for everything from stealing to murder were the sole most grisly form of public entertainment for much of human history. Yet crimes continued, as did wars, torture, etc.
As for quickening up the pace and number of executions, you don't want the wheels of justice to move so swiftly that somebody gets lynched an hour after each murder in town is committed? There has to be some happy medium as to how fast or slow the wheels of justice turn and how justly and thoroughly each case is examined by judges, lawyers and forensics experts, right?
Neither is justice "simple" when wealthy people are being tried. They can pay to have the "most" justice, the most thorough lawyers, the best counter arguments.
As things stand, crime has gone down since 1993, not up, and the rate of executions has likewise gone down, as I pointed out above. At least we can both be happy about those figures.
Let me add that in the great ages of faith, execution (preceded sometimes by torture to make the person confess) was used for not only murder, but for other crimes as well, including theft; not showing one's lordship the correct respect; blasphemy; or being a witch. They didn't have large prisons to keep people interred for a long time. They tortured you and/or killed you, and that was that. Did it lower crime? Travellers continued to be set upon by thieving highwaymen who might kill them so the highwaymen couldn't be identified and convicted of the crime, the streets had roving bands of theives, the poor revolted against their lords even in Luther's day during the Peasant uprising. And in the 17th century Christians killed Christians in the greatest (death per capita) war that Europe has seen to this day.
Moreover, if a person hates another person so much, or is so demented as to think murdering others is a turn on, or is so desirious of killing others for either their wealth, or to "even the score," or to "set justice right," then I don't think that fear of punishment, eternal or otherwise, is going to deter them.
As I said, the death penalty was more widely used during the great ages of faith, yet there was still criminality back then, even with PUBLIC EXECUTIONS, which also where the only major form of grisly entertainment back then, since they didn't have adventure movies, or horror movies or shoot and slash video games, and few could read back then. Besides even if you could read and/or write, the church and governments both censored books and burnt the ones they found disagreeable.
QUOTE: Salvianus, a priest of Marseilles of the fifth century, deplores the vanished virtue of the pagan world and declares that "The whole body of Christians is a sink of iniquity." "Very few," he says, "avoid evil." He challenges his readers: "How many in the Church will you find that are not drunkards or adulterers, or fornicators, or gamblers, or robbers, or murderers--or all together?" (De Gubernatione Dei, III, 9) Gregory of Tours, in the next century, gives, incredible as it may seem, an even darker picture of the Christian world, over part of which he presides. You cannot read these truths, unless you can read bad Latin, because they are never translated. It is the flowers, the rare examples of virtue, the untruths of Eusebius and the Martyrologies, that are translated. It is the legends of St. Agnes and St. Catherine, the heroic fictions of St. Lawrence and St. Sebastian that you read. But there were ten vices for every virtue, ten lies for every truth, a hundred murders for every genuine martyrdom.
--Joseph McCabe, How Christianity Triumphed
TIM: Any punishment, to be effective, must be consistent, and it must come as soon after the deed to be punished as possible.
ED: Then I guess fear of eternal hell is not a major deterent since it comes too late, after the murderous deeds are already done, and only at the very end of one's own life. Actually fear of hell serves mainly to keep people in whatever religion they belong to, more than anything else.
TIM: Convicted murderers who are released from jail or on parole are more likely to kill than anybody else. Moreover, convicted killers can, and have, killed prisoners and/or guards in prison. By not putting a premeditated killer to death, we risk the lives of every person that killer comes into contact with, even when we send him to jail.
ED: That's a great question. Though some guards are probably killed by people sent to prison for crimes other than murder, or killed during general prison uprisings when lots of prisoners go ape at once. As for murderers that murder guards, who ever said being a guard was easy, or that the prison system in general was easy? It's like being a combat soldier, and nobody is forced to be a prison guard.
TIM: But forgiveness on the personal level does not absolve the state of administering due justice. Surely no one would argue that there should be no more jails, because for now on all the victims should just forgive the criminals!
ED: That's common sense of course. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin would agree that trying to turn Jesus's commands to love one's enemy, not store up treasure on earth, give to all who ask, and ask nothing in return, into LAWS, doesn't seem possible. However the Old Testament commands were expected to suit an entire nation.
I might add that just as you pointed out that "forgiveness on the personal level does not absolve the State from administering due justice," Luther and Calvin pointed out that "forgiveness on the personal level does not absolve the State from administering due justice to heretics and blasphemers." They said that the Sermon on the Mount did not apply to the necessity of killing blasphemers and heretics as ordered by God in the Old Testament. Luther even said that he could forgive his personal enemies for hating him as a person, and that he would even hand his personal enemies a drink if they were dying of thirst to help spare their lives, exactly as he was taught to do by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. BUT... if that person should not be merely a personal enemy, but also be an enemy of God or a blasphemer of the Bible, then it was each Christian's duty to serve God rather than serve man, and not help God's enemies in any physical way, but lay Biblical curses upon them, since to help blasphemers and heretics was tantamount to helping evil to fourish, which would lead to God being insulted and more people damned. Also, since the Old Testament says that a father may kill a man threatening his son's physical life, how much more justified is a Christian in killing a heretic who threatens the ETERNAL life of his son by spreading lies about God and his holy word?
I cite the verses from Luther and Calvin where they say such things, and interpret the Sermon on the Mount that way in chapter two of Leaving the Fold, "Fundamentalism's Grotesque Past." Calvin and Beza his student in Geneva each wrote books on the necessity of public magistrates to punish heretics according to the teachings of the Bible.
ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT idea to consider concerning the death penalty is that having the authority to execute people is having a form of absolute power over people's lives, and like all such power it can corrupt. Having such power over others' lives or deaths can indeed corrupt those who wield it. Evidence can be manipulated to get the "right" people executed.
Hitler was at first praised for instance for clearing the streets of Germany of all its criminals. Even Southern Baptists praised Hitler, which I read in an old issue of the Baptist Courier. Even people in America and Britain at first praised Hitler. Later, whomever Hitler designated as a "criminal" was cleared from the streets. Such a temptation is diminished only if the authority to execute other people is diminished, and the civil power remains questioned by others, and if people in prisons are allowed to continue to live and speak and present new evidence.
TIM: If murdering millions of innocent children is not a crime, then what is?
ED: If there is "murdering" of millions of "children" taking place, please keep in mind that nature "murders" far more "children" than therapeutic abortions do. The pro-lifer, Dr. John Collins Harvey, admits, "Products of conception [often] die at either the zygote, morula, or blastocyst stage. They never reach the implant stage but are discharged in the menstrual flow of the next period. It is estimated that [this] occurs in more than 50 percent of conceptions. In such occurrences, a woman may never even know that she has been pregnant." Yet do I hear pro-lifers moved by that inconceivably hudge natural disaster just as everyone is whenever children are murdered by other natural disasters, like tsunamis and earthquakes? Do pro-lifers struggle with the natural disaster that continues to befall billions of zygotes each year around the world? I haven't seen anyone crying about all the "murdered children" in that case, nor raising their eyes to heaven and saying, "Why, God, why?" Does Jesus really "love all the little zygotes/children in the world?"--apparently only enough to give far less than 50 percent of all conceptions a whole and healthy start in life.
Do pro-lifers picket fertility clinics where they store thousands of frozen zygotes and demand that they all be removed from the freezer and implanted inside women, and given birth? Do pro-lifers complain that the fertility clinic that gives previously infertile couples new pregnancy options, has to fertilize lots of eggs at once and simply tosses away a lot of fertilized eggs in the process of fulfilling each couple's dream of conceiving a child of her own? No, apparently not.
However Pro-lifers DO cry out or weep whenever they see pictures of late term therapeutic abortions, pictures that they prize like manna from heaven. Well, I'm moved by such pictures too, but at least I know that late term abortions are the rarest kind, and those pictures do not reveal what health problems drove the women to have a late term abortion, because late term abortions are dangerous, and normally only performed if the woman's own health is in sufficient danger.
Conversely, most therapeutic abortions are first term abortions, and the woman's chances of dying from them are statistically lower than dying from carrying a fetus to full term.
And with morning after pills there is even less risk statistically of a woman dying than in the case of a first term abortion or carrying a fetus to full term. Morning after pills that make it so that the zygote never attaches to the uterine wall in the first place. It's a ball of cells at that point. No memory, no feeling of pain, and not a "child" except in chromosome number. Neither is it an individual at that point, because up till about 14 days after conception is when most twinning takes place. Each zygote is a potential pair of individuals or even six individuals, rather than being a potential individual. So we can't even say a zygote is an individual.
ALL FOR NOW.