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kermie November 1st, 2014 3:19am

According to a recent Gallup poll, half of all death penalty supporters list "eye for an eye" or "they deserve it" as their primary reason for support. Is vengeance a good basis for public policy?

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RossDMands Miami Township, OH
11/02/14 12:06 pm

At the risk of quoting a comic book character: It's not Vengeance. It's punishment!

Ernest Make it so
11/02/14 3:56 am

You loose a family member to a murderer and then you tell me you can forgive them and not seek the death penalty. It's not so easy if you ask me.

11/01/14 9:36 pm

No, never.

TigerShark47 Missouri
11/01/14 5:49 pm

Vengeance? No. Realizing that actions have consequences? Yes.

BeachSt Coastal Virginia
11/01/14 8:14 pm

It's juvenile. It's like your 8 year old hitting you in a hissy fit and you hit them back. No, you teach them that hitting is unacceptable; you don't teach them that hitting is sometimes ok by hitting them back.

ladyniner81 no hope for humanity
11/01/14 4:58 pm

I so seriously want to sound like a Republican but I'll shut up

BeachSt Coastal Virginia
11/01/14 2:40 pm

Great question. Shared.


jamichl Seattle
11/01/14 1:54 pm

I'm more practical. Yes many deserve it, but I don't want to waste money on the process trying to kill them. nor do I want the morale weight of the occassional wrong conviction. You can't un-kill someone. Let them rot in jail. It way cheaper.

11/01/14 10:13 am

I think it is a bit of a stretch to say 50% support it for vengeance. "They deserve it" simply implies just deserts, not vengeance. There are various reasons one may think the death penalty is just deserts, vengeance is just one.

11/01/14 10:16 am

Similarly, eye for an eye can also be interpreted in different ways. Gallup themselves have not seen fit to characterize any of the responses as revenge or vengeance.
And according to the GSS, only 6.6% of death penalty for murder supporters have

11/01/14 10:17 am

thought about getting revenge in the past, this simply isn't a very vengeful bunch. In fact, at 8.1%, the death penalty opponents are more vengeful.

lip massholevania
11/01/14 9:03 am

I say leave the convicted with the victims family, let them do with them what they will.

11/01/14 9:00 am

Punishment, not vengeance.

kermie gaytopia
11/01/14 9:50 am

That's what punishment is.

11/01/14 10:59 am

Vengeance implies having an emotional stake in the situation.

kermie gaytopia
11/01/14 11:17 am

Sure, I agree. So does punishment.

11/01/14 11:39 am

I disagree. Punishment doesn't have to be emotional.

kermie gaytopia
11/01/14 11:44 am

The whole idea of punishment is emotional. It's meant for the punisher, not the punishee.

11/02/14 11:47 am

Well, that is an interesting way of looking at things, but I don't agree.

Injectable Mojave Mo Problems
11/01/14 8:46 am

Do you think the response to why you support jail would be any different? It's always about society's need for revenge.

kermie gaytopia
11/01/14 9:51 am

It would probably be similar. I think there's some argument to be made about prison protecting society that doesn't apply to the death penalty.

11/01/14 8:20 am

Rather than revenge, the more accurate description for motivation is justice. In order for justice to be served, a penalty that meets the demands of justice must be applied & met out upon the perpetrator. Otherwise, where is justice?

Wes28 CBus
11/01/14 8:11 am

I have no sympathy for murders, rapists, and pedophiles. Killing them ensures they will never harm others again.

GlockMan1 Alabama
11/01/14 7:40 am

95% of the families left with a vacuum in their lives because someone they loved was murdered and they will tell you the same.

mac Oregon
11/01/14 7:27 am

I tend to vacillate on the DP, usually settle on the side of elimination from humanity- if take the gift of life from a person, and their family- we have no room or desire to house,or keep someone who would take life-they will not serve or contribute

11/01/14 7:04 am

I'm not sure about vengeance, but "they deserve it" must be the cornerstone of any just punishment system.

cowboy Doors of Perception
11/01/14 5:01 am

The death penalty seems fine for a white cop killer that can hide for two months in the woods, but not for a child rapist. USA!

Doopy Remedial Americanism
11/01/14 3:45 am

"An eye for an eye" is not a policy of vengeance.

11/01/14 5:55 am

You don't seem to understand what one or both of those things mean.

Doopy Remedial Americanism
11/01/14 1:38 pm

I understand very well what both mean. I understand them well enough to see the difference.

Doopy Remedial Americanism
11/01/14 1:38 pm

Vengeance is about pulling others down further than they pulled you, to build yourself up. "An eye for an eye" was an unemotive legal policy designed to maintain penalties for crimes, in keeping with the damage done.

11/01/14 8:44 pm

Yeah, that's not what either of those mean.

Doopy Remedial Americanism
11/01/14 9:14 pm

Oh really, perhaps you'd care to venture a definition.

duey in a fools paradise
11/01/14 2:31 am

I think it has to be left up to the families of the victims. It seems in recent years brutality has reached levels unseen before.
This case comes to mind from recent history.

11/01/14 5:56 am

But the death penalty doesn't deter criminals. Why would that be appropriate public policy?

duey in a fools paradise
11/01/14 6:19 pm

Satisfying the families wants. If some one brutally kills your child but rapes, tortures, humiliates and discards them like trash before their death don't you think helping the family get some kind of Justice calls for the needle?

LadyBug237 Florida
11/02/14 1:02 pm

Duey, I like your simple answer of "I do".

EarlyBird Portland
10/31/14 9:14 pm

Kermie- I think you need to get religion off your brain for a few days :-)

kermie gaytopia
10/31/14 9:32 pm

Lol is this about religion? I guess peripherally but I wasn't really thinking about it that way.

Maybe you're right, though I'd have to take a break from here because this place is so very religiocized.

droo Santa Barbara
10/31/14 9:41 pm

Hard to do that when virtually everywhere you go religion is causing some time of oppression or destruction, and virtually everyone around you worships and wants you to worship a man in the sky.

Kay41 the Midwest
10/31/14 9:46 pm

drooski, I having been working to get Kermie to see that not all us religious folks are bad people or are forcing our religion in others. I think he is starting to see that is true. I wish you would see that also.

droo Santa Barbara
10/31/14 10:05 pm

I never stated all or even most religious people are evil. I said religion destroys and oppresses on the daily, which is a true statement. I know you're not a part of that oppression, but the oppression happens nonetheless. It's kind of like that

droo Santa Barbara
10/31/14 10:06 pm

saying "love the sinner, hate the sin", but now it's turned on the religious right and it's " love the religious, hate the religion". :-)

Rotavele Alabama
10/31/14 11:46 pm

I agree drooski. We have brothers and sisters (evolutionary) who are killing each other for senseless violence over in the Middle East and in China. Many are sporadic acts of violence in the USA too. It's very troubling.

Praetorianus Fair enough.
10/31/14 8:40 pm

No. The only reason I can come up with in favor of capital punishment is to make sure that person will never have a chance to kill again, because life without parole can be overturned by future changes in policy, an execution is final.

Praetorianus Fair enough.
10/31/14 8:41 pm

However, I oppose it because numerous people have been exonerated from death row, so probably a few innocents have been executed. Even one is one too many.

kermie gaytopia
10/31/14 9:12 pm

Just one of many reasons to be against it, in my opinion. But a good one.

I can sort of also understand keeping someone from repeating a crime. It makes more sense to me than "eye for an eye" at least.

zuko on deck
11/01/14 6:02 am

I agree, for the most part. The only reason the death penalty makes sense is that it assures that person will never commit another crime. Just the possibility of executing an innocent outweighs that reason. Other arguments don't factor much to me.

Arkansas123 Neoconservative
10/31/14 8:34 pm

I oppose the death penalty; but, Kermie, you're not doing anything but name-calling when you say that retributive justice is merely "vengeance."

Call the theory by its actual name, and then argue against it.

Kay41 the Midwest
10/31/14 8:42 pm

How is that name calling?

Kay41 the Midwest
10/31/14 8:46 pm

The article says "the biblical phrase "an eye for an eye," or retaliation, consistently has been named as the No. 1 reason why the death penalty should be applied". Isn't retaliation basically the same thing as vengeance?

Arkansas123 Neoconservative
10/31/14 8:47 pm

Retributive justice is not "vengeance."

Kay41 the Midwest
10/31/14 8:48 pm

But, the article says retaliation. And I still don't see any "name calling" by Kermie.

Kay41 the Midwest
10/31/14 8:49 pm

Here is the definition of vengeance: punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong

Kay41 the Midwest
10/31/14 8:51 pm

I can see your point you are trying to make. I am still trying to see where Kermie name called??

Kay41 the Midwest
10/31/14 8:53 pm

While I agree with some of the article, I still believe that many people see the death penalty as retaliation and vengeance.

Arkansas123 Neoconservative
10/31/14 8:54 pm

He's conflating retribution and revenge, which are distinct concepts in the philosophy of law.

kermie gaytopia
10/31/14 9:13 pm

They're only distinct to people who want to see them that way.

I guess he doesn't want to answer your question, Kay. Is "vengeance" pejorative somehow? You seem very defensive about it.

Kay41 the Midwest
10/31/14 9:27 pm

There may be a difference in law, but in terms of your average person, I believe vengeance is often a reason to be for the death penalty. But, still no name calling.

Doopy Remedial Americanism
11/01/14 3:56 am

"They're only distinct to people who want to see them that way."
I contend the opposite; they are only indistinct to people who want to see them that way.

Doopy Remedial Americanism
11/01/14 1:40 pm

By the way, Kay, as I understand it, the name-calling was directed against the policy, not against any person. It's an unusual way to describe a distortion of an argument, but not necessarily an invalid one.

Kay41 the Midwest
11/01/14 2:15 pm

Hmmmm possibly. If that is the case, I am wondering why he just didn't come out and say so.

Arkansas123 Neoconservative
11/01/14 3:55 pm

I guess we were talking past each other.

I was using "name-calling" in reference to Kermie's unwillingness to criticize retributive justice on its merits.

kermie gaytopia
11/01/14 4:02 pm

I'm so confused. Is "vengeance" somehow considered a bad word? It's a very neutral word to me. I'm honestly lost here.

droo Santa Barbara
10/31/14 8:25 pm

"You have heard that it was said 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth'. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."

Matthew 5:38-40

droo Santa Barbara
10/31/14 8:25 pm

The religious right should abhor the death penalty.

Arkansas123 Neoconservative
10/31/14 8:38 pm

For the record, the Bible does draw some distinctions between private and public morality.

Of government, the Bible says, "It is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer" (Romans 13:4).

droo Santa Barbara
10/31/14 9:02 pm

Maybe you should draw those distinctions between private and public morality on issues like homosexual marriage, then come back and we'll talk.

Arkansas123 Neoconservative
10/31/14 9:06 pm

Except Jesus cites the Old Testament when talking about marriage, calling it the union of a man and woman.

I certainly think it's legitimate, though, to argue that Jesus opposed punishment for sexual immorality.

droo Santa Barbara
10/31/14 9:08 pm

Reread my comment then reread yours. You obviously didn't get what I said.