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  • Moral murder?

    Let's talk about killing people.

    This morning I heard on the radio about a judge in Nebraska that had sentenced a convicted baby raper to PROBATION. OK, maybe there were strange circumstances? Was it an 18 year old guy and a 16 year old girl? Nope. It was a 50 year old man and a 13 year old girl. So why did the judge grant him probation after being found guilty of raping this girl on more than one occasion? Because he was short.

    But I heard about this short man's probation AFTER I heard about a judge in Russia that was unable to order the execution of one of the Chechen terrorists that took part in the Beslan school massacre. The talk show that I was listening to mentioned that this man would probably not survive long, regardless of whether or not he's sentenced to death.

    Then the discussion turned to the morality of killing, specifically of whether or not it's moral to kill someone that has committed a capital crime, that is a crime that carries execution as the punishment.

    So, for the sake of this discussion, let's ignore legalities for a moment. If you witness someone maliciously murder someone, you're positive that he did it, beyond any doubt, would it be immoral for you to then kill that murderer? I don't watch 24, but the radio show mentioned Jack Bauer shooting a murderer that was holding a gun that Jack knew was empty. Jack executed a murderer. Illegal? Certainly. Immoral? What do you think? If it's OK for a judge or jury to order execution, does the morality change if it's a single man administering instant justice?

    Another point to work into the discussion: I understand that Oklahoma is considering instituting the death penalty for raping children, and that Louisiana already has it?

    Is baby raping worse than murdering a peer?

    What a convoluted way to open a thread... Ah, well, feel free to take this discussion in any direction you wish...
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  • #2
    Re: Moral murder?

    The death penalty is an important and legitimate tool of society, but one that must be administered very carefully. I would be very hesitant about granting any one person the moral authority to carry out his own death sentances. Killing someone at the scene of the crime should only be an option when the criminal is still in the process of committing more crime, and that's the only way to stop him.

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    • #3
      Re: Moral murder?

      Originally posted by Kerostasis
      The death penalty is an important and legitimate tool of society, but one that must be administered very carefully. I would be very hesitant about granting any one person the moral authority to carry out his own death sentances. Killing someone at the scene of the crime should only be an option when the criminal is still in the process of committing more crime, and that's the only way to stop him.
      Right. I'm not talking about the legality of it, though...
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      • #4
        Re: Moral murder?

        goood thread cing,

        well as you know, we dont have the death penalty in England, and god knows sometimes i wander why. but then i am reminded of so many miscarriages of justice, and i realise that the death penalty really is a dangerous thing.

        the problem is, i can never say i know he killed this person! or even that it was a murder. for me there is no justification to kill another person in times of peace. not even a judicial system. and while I know this directly conflicts with some US states, and possibly people on this forum,ill just give my reasons why,

        like you say forgetting about the legality of killing, i have to say that it is nion impossible to be absolutly sure that someone has killed or mudered another person. even if you see with your own eyes that a murder is taking place. for example...

        i am walking down the street and i see a crazed man with a knife, he repeatedly stabs another man. knowing what i saw, i lunge for the killer and break his neck in a morally justified killing... then i learn the initial casualty was a murdering rapist who just that morning raped and mudered the crazed mans wife... where would this anarchy then stop, because i now deserve to die. or do i? because i was doing what at the time i thought was right... and now we digress into man slaughter.

        i guess what i am so round the houses getting at, is that taking life is never justified in a civil society. god knows i understand the need for retribution in horrific cases of murder on innocent people. but what if you get it wrong.... is the killing of one innocent man woman whatever justified by the killing of 100 guilty ones... IMO no...

        i would much rather lock them up and make sure the only peice of ass these guys see is that big guy sharing their cell...

        as for baby killers, or baby rapists.... i would chop their nackers off, as to eleviate their sexual desire... and lock them up for life anyway.... or leave them in there.... with their nackers so it slowly drives them insanee.... i dont know.... nah... lop the nackers off.... sick sons of bitches deserve it.

        i would on the other hand stop taking this attitude to prison and take away the cable and snooker tables and make them god damned grulling places to live...
        Last edited by CingularDuality; 05-28-2006, 12:39 AM. Reason: language


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        • #5
          Re: Moral murder?

          Originally posted by CingularDuality
          Right. I'm not talking about the legality of it, though...
          Nor was I. Legality is usually designed to reflect morality, though, so they are usually at least somewhat similar.

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          • #6
            Re: Moral murder?

            I agree. I think it's moral to kill when it's an act of state, as an execution or act of war, or to protect from an immediate and serious physical threat. That's it.

            Whether or not someone needs to die needs to be a decision that the community makes whenever possible.

            Is it moral to kill someone for raping a child? Well, I don't have a problem with it, but I don't think I'd vote to set that as the penalty for the act provided life without parole was an available alternative. I think people who commit rthat act forfeit their right to live in society, but I'd be perfectly happy to let them rot in prison if only to make it clear that ending a life is very slightly worse.

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            • #7
              Re: Moral murder?

              So, if a judge issues the death penalty, it's moral, but if any other individual executes a criminal, it's immoral? I fail to see how putting someone through a bureaucratic process changes the morality of their execution.

              Don't get me wrong. I'm fond of the justice system that we have, in that it tries to unsure that the truth is completely discovered about a case. We don't want Dudeman's situation to occur, where vigilantes try to administer justice without knowing all the facts.
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              • #8
                Re: Moral murder?

                I would say that killing another is never moral.

                Necessary maybe.

                What is morality? It is a slippery sucker that generally comes down to "what is good for the individual" and what is good for the individual cannot be sectioned off from what is good for those around the individual.

                In times of war the people shooting at each other have come to an unspoken understanding with each other. "We have lost our morality at this moment so that those things we believe are moral can continue." Thus the cliché "War is hell". Hell being the place that no morality exists.

                I am against the death penalty. Period.

                Some have asked me what if my daughter was the victim of one of the atrocious crimes. I simply say that I would not want the state, the jury or the judge to do what I would have to do. I would be the one to violate the morality and would pay the penalty for that violation. I would not consider myself justified in what I did nor would I expect any consideration for the circumstances of my violations. To ask those that I live with to suffer further would just extend the immorality of the act.

                Now why didn't the people I live with do more to prevent the initial act from happening to begin with, that being another thread.
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                • #9
                  Re: Moral murder?

                  Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande
                  What is morality? It is a slippery sucker that generally comes down to "what is good for the individual"
                  Who on earth gave you that definition? I've never heard anything like it. Even without resorting to religious-based definitions of morality, most secular definitions at least include the concept of "good for society" as being (as important as/more important than) "good for the individual".

                  Think a little more about your definition of morality, and what you base it on, and then maybe you'll see the death penalty in a new light. Or perhaps not...but even so, the death penalty is really kind of unimportant compared to your overall view of morality.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Moral murder?

                    Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande
                    What is morality? It is a slippery sucker that generally comes down to "what is good for the individual"...

                    Yeah, I've never heard anyone try to define morality in such a way, either. Google pops up this little page on morality from Stanford U's Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Moral murder?

                      First you have to differentiate between murder and homicide.

                      Murder eludes to an unlawful act of killing another human being. From a legal standpoint, this has a far range. Under morality though, I would consider it an unprovoked ending of someone's life. Then it would always be "immoral" or unjustifiable.

                      Homicide is the killing of another human being. It's a gray area (as are most of our decisions in life). I find that the killing of any person (and even some animals) is immoral in of itself. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be an option.

                      The reason the state or federal government can legally execute criminals is because of the social contract it has with it's society. For general safety of the community, the civilian populace gives control of the law to a governing body, thus reliqueshing themselves of responsibility for it.

                      I believe strongly in the death penality. I do not believe strongly in the way the death penalty is handled in any capacity in the entire world. There is no country that has a 100% reliable conviction rate. I've seen to many cases just here in Texas that were so many shades of gray, I have to wonder how the DA and Judge sleep at night. Although, they are lawyers, so they probably aren't burdened with morality.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Moral murder?

                        You know, I thought this thread would light up far more than it did. Personally, I think it's a great thread, and I have some views I'd like to share on the subject. Unfortunately, every post I've tried to assemble has resembled more of a frankenpost than a coherent thesis. Maybe I'll add my thoughts later.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Moral murder?

                          I liked one of West Wing's episodes (Take This Sabbath Day; Season One). It dealt with the death penalty. Below is an excerpt, in which we find one of the main characters speaking with his rabbi:
                          TOBY
                          The Torah doesn't prohibit capital punishment.

                          RABBI GLASSMAN
                          No.

                          TOBY
                          It says, "An eye for an eye."

                          RABBI GLASSMAN
                          You know what it also says? It says a rebellious child can be brought to the city gates
                          and stoned to death. It says homosexuality is an abomination and punishable by death.
                          It says men can be polygamous and slavery is acceptable. For all I know, that thinking
                          reflected the best wisdom of its time, but its just plain wrong by any modern standard.
                          Society has a right to protect itself, but it doesnt have a right to be vengeful. It
                          has a right to punish, but it doesnt have to kill.
                          I can't vouch for the accuracy of the Torah references, but that last paragraph seems reasonable enough to me.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Moral murder?

                            Taking the life of another individual who does not wish to die is immoral, or wrong. I would argue that taking someone's life in defense of your own or that of another is a moral act because you are preventing an otherwise immoral act. However, after the fact, even if someone had just comitted an immoral act, that does not make it moral/right to commit that same act upon them.

                            The concept of morality itself is somewhat two-sided, some believe that it is the outward face of egoism and selfishness, while others believe that it is more like natural self-preservation. Under either definition, killing someone out of punishment or revenge serves no moral purpose and is therefore immoral.

                            The moral reasoning behind capital punishment is that individuals can be deemed so dangerous to society (based upon a crime comitted) that their death is an act of moral self-preservation on behalf of the society's government. This reasoning is obviously subject to quite a bit of debate, but is logically sound. The largest flaw is in the determination that such extreme measures are necessary.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Moral murder?

                              I've known a few murderers. Some have been my friend. And I've had friends who've been murdered. But until recently I've never known someone who had a family member murdered.

                              A coworker's brother was shot in the face during a robbery in 1982, when he was 24. The murderer was up for parole last year, so his entire family had to haul themselves out to CO to attend the hearing, which I'm sure was super peachy for Mom and Dad.

                              Notwithstanding his offense in 1982, Mr. Turdbucket has committed a number of acts in prison that will help ensure that he remains behind bars. In prison, he can kill again. He can harm and influence people who are serving time for lesser crimes. And now, every couple of years, he can cause an entire family to travel to a distant state to sit in the same room with him, the living healthy man who killed their son who would be 48 today, and consider the life he took from them.

                              No, I say that when you kill another unlawfully, you need to go. Some other crimes too.

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