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Old 11-08-2008, 04:41 PM   #15
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Problem is that sometimes the wrong person is accused and found guilty. If the death penalty is then imposed there is no going back and no way the state can make ammends to the poor guy. Compensation paid for years spent wrongly imprissoned is never adequate but it is a whole lot better than an irreversable execution.

IMHO, it is better that 100 murderers are incarcerated for life than one innocent man is sentanced to death.

Aye // Stephen
I fully agree with Stephen. The crime was hideous in this case but overall our emotional response to it should not make us ignore the biggest picture. Life imprisonment, with no frills, is indeed a much worse punishment and is more reversible in case of judicial error.
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:01 AM   #16
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I fully agree with Stephen. The crime was hideous in this case but overall our emotional response to it should not make us ignore the biggest picture. Life imprisonment, with no frills, is indeed a much worse punishment and is more reversible in case of judicial error.
In oz here there is no such thing as a no frills prison. They all have nice bed, colour tv, plenty of room and three meals a day. For me I'd rather see the murderer or drug trafficer or anyone that is 100% guilty without a doubt put to death there is just no way these people should continue to burden law abiding people for the rest of their lifes. How many times do we see murderers, rapists, child molelesterers do their 10 or 15 years only to be let out and do the same thing within days of release.

Here in oz if a dog bites you its taken away never to be seen again.

My opinion only sorry to those that won't agree.

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Old 11-09-2008, 06:39 AM   #17
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I'd rather see the murderer or drug trafficer or anyone that is 100% guilty without a doubt put to death .......................

Kevin
Of course, if there is doubt the guy should not have been convicted in the first place. Unfortunately, as history has shown us, not all who have been convicted have been guilty.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:40 AM   #18
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It's strange but, in the UK, life does not necessarily mean life anymore and the vast majority of criminals here do not serve anything like the term to which they are sentenced - sometimes with disastrous results.

As ever, we are talking balance but I do suspect that western society has somehow developed something of a biased take on the sanctity of human life far removed from our natural, intuitive response.

I, too, am sensitive and, therefore, susceptible, to the arguments about the finality of the death sentence where there is doubt but, on balance and accepting the risks, I am inclined to support it - and, frankly, for a lot more than straightforward(!) pre-meditated murder.

It's all very well talking about the sanctity of human life where criminals are concerned but the problem is that we have forgotten about the lives of otherwise upstanding citizens by increasingly alienating a huge part of our society from the realities of this concept.

Re-instatement of the death penally for the most heinous of crimes is one social statement that needs to be made to redress this balance - along, of course, with, if you want to live within and enjoy the fruits of a "civilised" society, then you'd better be prepared to conform to its norms.

In this regard, my point about self-administered hemlock was more about ridding us once and for all of those who do not deserve our sympathy by offering them an easy way out of no frills approach to incarceration. The suggestion that nitrogen narcosis was an effective and strangely pleasant way to achieve this end was offered only as an encouragement to those who might otherwise be prepared to sit around watching TV for the rest of their miserable lives.

OK, OK, I accept that there are innocents who would chose the option but we're now down into the 0.01% of bugger all so ....
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Old 11-09-2008, 11:10 AM   #19
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..................

As ever, we are talking balance but I do suspect that western society has somehow developed something of a biased take on the sanctity of human life far removed from our natural, intuitive response.

I, too, am sensitive and, therefore, susceptible, to the arguments about the finality of the death sentence where there is doubt but, on balance and accepting the risks, I am inclined to support it - and, frankly, for a lot more than straightforward(!) pre-meditated murder.

It's all very well talking about the sanctity of human life where criminals are concerned but the problem is that we have forgotten about the lives of otherwise upstanding citizens by increasingly alienating a huge part of our society from the realities of this concept. .............
You are absolutely right when you state that our take on human life is far removed from our natural, intuitive response. That is what sets us apart from lower forms of life as well as societies which value life cheaply. Having said that, I too would like to see convicted murderers swing provided that there is an absolute guarantee that no innocent man would go the same way but that guarantee cannot be given.

I agree that our society tends to show more compation for the criminal than the offer of the crime. This, to some extent, is a result of the judicial system whereby guilt has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt - although misscarriages of justice do occur. It also makes good economic sense to "care" for the convicted criminal and try to get him back on the right track. For lesser crimes, I am in favour of such an attempt at rehabillitation - but only one chance. If the criminal continues offending he should be sent to a harsh penal institution. For major crimes, such as murder, rape, child abuse etc. there should be no second chance at all.

The UK has a history of establishing penal settlements. It should be re-invoked. Remove the serious offenders from society by sending them to St. Kilda or, better still, to Gough Island. These people must be seperated from society as harsh prison sentences are not effective. In Sweden, where I come from, our criminal sanctions are far milder than those of the UK or the US and our prisons almost luxurious but, despite having a much smaller percentage of the population incarcerated, the crime rates are lower. Thus, one can deduce that harsh sentences are not effective. Of course this is an oversimplification as other issues, such as the social acceptance of criminal activities, also play a role here.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:57 PM   #20
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Of course, if there is doubt the guy should not have been convicted in the first place. Unfortunately, as history has shown us, not all who have been convicted have been guilty.

Aye // Stephen
The inverse applies as well, not all that are guilty have been convicted, 3 examples, they had to go after Al Capone on tax evasion as they could not prove him guilty of murder and there is no doubt that he executed many a person, and the infamous OJ Simpson who is guilty beyond any shadow of a doubt, they had to wait for him to get stupid (or should I say more stupid) and then throw the book at him for a lesser crime. Lastly there was Dimitri Tsafendas who walked up to Hendrik Verwoed who was the Prime minister of South Africa at the time and stabbed him to death in full view of some unkown number palimentarians. Why keep him alive and without going all religious but there is a well followed book that states "An eye for an eye"

The legal system is not infallible, and I am not pro senseless executions, however if there is no doubt whatsoever then lop off his head and put our tax dollars to better use.

Punishment of the guilty was used as a deterrent to crime, and worked pretty well as the punishment was usually so severe that only a few were prepared to commit crime. As we have become more civilised we have taken the teeth out of the penalties.

My quote for the day "If you cant do the time then dont do the crime"
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Old 11-09-2008, 03:57 PM   #21
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there is a well followed book that states "An eye for an eye"
By way of contradiction, that self same book states "Thou shallt not kill". Nowhere, as far as I know, in that book is there a deregation from that rule which would permit an "official" killing.

Your mention of Dr. Vervoed reminds me of an interesting issue which has, thus far, been lacking from this debate. Six years prior to his murder there was an attempt made on his life by a David Pratt who shot Vervoed twice in the face, at close range, with a .22 pistol. Two months after the shooting Vervoed was back in Parliament. Pratt was incarcerated "at the Governor General's pleasure" in Pretoria Central Prison. He was eventually declared mentally disordered and epileptic and later hanged himself at Bloemfontain Mental Hospital.

Pratt, who was a well respected farmer and member of the Witwatersrand Agricultural Society, was a sick man and yet the state did nothing to help him as far as I can make out and, I wonder, how did he manage to hang himself in a mental hospital? Vervoed was, in my opinion, the worst PM South Africa ever had. The man had studied in Hamburg and Berlin in Hitler's Germany and obviously was a supporter of Hitler. He was, as editor of Die Transvaaler, responsible for making that paper nothing more than a propoganda sheet for naziism. He was also ex-Minister for Native Affairs and one of the fathers of the Apartheid system. Under such a regime I strongly suspect that Pratt was at least helped in his suicide.

On 6th September 1966 Vervoed was murdered in Parliament by one Dimitri Tsafendas, a parliamentary messenger, who stabbed Vervoed four times. On arrival in Groote Schuur Hospital Vervoed was declared dead. On 17 October 1966, a summary trial for Tsafendas began. It ended three days later, with the declaration by Justice Beyers that Tsafendas was 'insane and unfit to stand trial'. Beyers ordered that Tsafendas 'be kept in a place of safety where he will be away from society' and he too was confined to Pretoria Central Prison. Tsafendos also had a long history of mental illness. He had been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

In my opinion, if anyone did deserve what he got it was Vervoed.

I am sure many a person suffering from mental dissorders has been executed for murder, particularly in times before our knowledge of mental illnesses was as great as it is now. Just another reason why we should not have the death penalty.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:27 PM   #22
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By way of contradiction, that self same book states "Thou shallt not kill". Nowhere, as far as I know, in that book is there a deregation from that rule which would permit an "official" killing.
I cant argue that, but that book is full of contradictions, or should we say interpretations, so it can be made to mean pretty much what you want, which is why is it such a good book and caters to all

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Your mention of Dr. Vervoed reminds me of an interesting issue which has, thus far, been lacking from this debate. Six years prior to his murder there was an attempt made on his life by a David Pratt who shot Vervoed twice in the face, at close range, with a .22 pistol. Two months after the shooting Vervoed was back in Parliament. Pratt was incarcerated "at the Governor General's pleasure" in Pretoria Central Prison. He was eventually declared mentally disordered and epileptic and later hanged himself at Bloemfontein Mental Hospital.

In my opinion, if anyone did deserve what he got it was Vervoed.
I did not really know much about Verwoed, as I was very young when he died (born 1955) but my what I have read about him, I too agree that he got what he deserved, but isnt that the jist of this discussion, though he was on the other side of the coin. Put to death just not state assisted.

What is REALLY interesting to me that in both people that attempted to kill Verwoed were found mentally disordered, maybe the governement could just not believe that sane people would want to kill such a fine man.

and YES, I too believe that David Pratts suicide was shall we say, State assisted, just like those guys that fall off the chair during police interviews and have 7 broken ribs. What did surprise me though is that Tsaphendas lived until 1999. I figured he would be bumped off.

BTW: OJ simpsons appeal was denied on Friday, he is now filing an appeal with the Nevada superior court while sentencing is sometime early December.
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:49 PM   #23
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What is REALLY interesting to me that in both people that attempted to kill Verwoed were found mentally disordered, maybe the governement could just not believe that sane people would want to kill such a fine man.
I had to laugh at that. Maybe you are right there.

I digress a little but Tsaphendas is interesting as he was a bit of an anomoly in Apartheid South Africa. He was born in Mozambique, the son of a Greek father and a black mother. Victimised at school for his mixed blood (he was given the nickname "blackie"), he left Mozambique to sail the world as a merchant seaman. At times he seems to have been little more than an international crazy tramp, bouncing from asylum to asylum.

He returned to South Africa in 1964, fluent in eight languages, and somehow, despite his mixed parentage, status as an illegal immigrant and history of mental instability, secured a post in the whites-only parliament as a messenger, exploiting his privileged position to stab the prime minister to death.

By the time he assassinated Verwoerd, Tsafendas was a seriously unbalanced man. He had been raging publicly for years against apartheid's chief architect. Tsafendas yearned, he told friends, for a ''rainbow nation.'' He abhorred the laws that forbade sex across the colour bar. A few weeks before stabbing Verwoerd, Tsafendas had filed to be reclassified from white to coloured, hoping to live legally with the mixed-race woman he loved. How on Earth the security services missed that obvious threat to state security we will never know. Of course, it was pre-BOSS.

Tsafendas was at first given a cell on death row in Pretoria Central Prison, next to the room in which men were hanged, sometimes several at a time. After he had been certified as insane, which anyone would become living next to the death cell, he was, I believe, incarcerated at Weskoppies, a Pretoria psychiatric hospital. He remained there for nearly thirty years

Tsaphendas died in October 1999 at the age of 81, still incarcerated.

All this really serves to indicate that the issue is not black and white or, to avoid confusion with the apartheid issue I should perhaps say not completely right or completely wrong. Verwoerd got what he deserved, it is just that no man has the right to take the life of another, whereas Pratt and Tsafendas were sick people and were ill treated by the state.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-10-2008, 04:53 PM   #24
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Tsafendas yearned, he told friends, for a ''rainbow nation.'' He abhorred the laws that forbade sex across the colour bar. A few weeks before stabbing Verwoerd, Tsafendas had filed to be reclassified from white to coloured, hoping to live legally with the mixed-race woman he loved.

Aye // Stephen
My thought about Tsafendas is, as crazy as he came across, he was one of the fathers of the anti-apartheid movement, though he may not be recognized as such. Eliminating Verwoed was a huge step forward, could you imagine where South Africa could have gone with an extended rule by a figure like Verwoed

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Old 11-10-2008, 05:12 PM   #25
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Had South Africa had a more moderate figure at the helm and had MacMillan been more reasonable in his "Winds of Change" policy then South Africa could have gone down a totally different route, stayed within the Commonwealth to the benefit of everyone and had today, perhaps, been a little lesss polorised and crime free.

Having said that, I still love the place and intend to go back next year but just for a visit.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:45 PM   #26
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Had South Africa had a more moderate figure at the helm and had MacMillan been mopre reasonable in his "Winds of Change" policy then South Africa could have gone down a totally different route, stayed within the Commonwealth to the benefit of everyone and had today, perhaps, been a little less polarised and crime free.

Having said that, I still love the place and intend to go back next year but just for a visit.

Aye // Stephen
I go back regularly and love the place. I thought that it would get bad, but it is all relative, there are bad places in every city in the world. You just have to know where to go and when, or more importantly where not to go and when not to go.

The People there for the most part are all gracious no matter what the ethnicity
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Old 11-10-2008, 06:04 PM   #27
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I go back regularly and love the place. I thought that it would get bad, but it is all relative, there are bad places in every city in the world. You just have to know where to go and when, or more importantly where not to go and when not to go.

The People there for the most part are all gracious no matter what the ethnicity
Very, very true!
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:52 AM   #28
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Ah yes. Capital punishment;

You have the capital ------ or you suffer the punishment.
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