TED Conversations

XIong Caroline

Student, education

This conversation is closed.

When capital punishment can be viewed as a valid punishment for crime?

At present,there are increasingly terrorist activities.Do you think the capital punishment is needed? And what kinds of criminals should be executed capital punishment?

Topics: crime
Share:
  • Apr 22 2013: A much better solution would be to use them form medical experimentation. Currently medical research is expensive in some measure because tests of experimental drugs in humans is forbidden so it has to go through a lot of steps that would be unnecessary otherwise. What if the medical community could have a pool of human specimens in which to test such drugs and other medical treatments, of course those specimens would be people how had being convicted with almost 0% chance of being innocent.
    • Apr 23 2013: When you do your calculations about just how many innocent people would have to be sacrificed to a "medical" death for the dubious benefits of untried procedures, how didi you arrive at your ratio? Are you OK with being one of the potential victims? I trust that you have heard of Dr. Mengele, a Nazi doctor doing more or less what you are proposing. I don't remember hearing of a single person who thought it was any less than monstrous.
      • Apr 23 2013: First of all, if you read carefully I never said this should be applied for all, only for those who are convicted far beyond any "reasonable doubt", that is: there should be no evidence of innocence nor regret, and be declared guilty not only by a majority of the jury but unanimously.

        Secondly: There is a very huge difference between injecting people with a substance which in advance is known to be poisonous just to see what happens (Dr. Mengele) and giving them a drug specifically designed to heal a disease they have with the hope of healing them. Again, there is a huge difference between trying to induce pain and trying to relieve pain. Two completely opposite things.

        I don't see this as a "punishment" I see it as a way in which the criminals can repair in some measure the damage the done to society, in most cases while getting some benefit from it.
    • thumb
      Apr 23 2013: I think it is too brutal than capital punishment.Those victims have to suffer from both psychological burden and physical pain.I found that a crimials could be sentenced of 100years in U.S or other countries ,I don't believe it is more efficient than the capital punishment.
      • Apr 23 2013: I am not talking about punishment, I am talking about a way in which the criminals can repair in some amount the damage they done, while at the same time getting the benefits of the latest medical research. If you peer a little bit beyond prejudgment you will realize that the "punishment" might become a reward in some cases, for the convicted person in the first place, as well as for the rest of human kind as a final result.
  • Apr 24 2013: Capital punishment exists in an ancient way of reasoning that our global community has been steadily progressing away from for centuries. Why, in our justice system (of the west) do we not sever the hand of a thief, castrate a rapist, stone the unfaithful or any number of other punishments that can be imagined by the human mind. Is it our morals? Is it our religion? Is it the doubt in us and our abilities? Is it the uncertainty in the justice system?
    In my view, it’s the disassociation between the community and the justice system that poses the greatest problem. It’s the textbooks filled with page after page of loopholes and legal jargon that make it nearly impossible for the layman to navigate. The exact same crime can be tried by two different judges in two different courts with the same exact evidence and because of a minor loophole one of the two may walk, the other may face life in prison or even death. This in my view shows the injustice in the law and the inequality amongst each other. The scales of justice are imbalanced, causing me to believe that no person, no matter the heinousness of the crime should be killed. It’s almost like the death penalty endorses sweeping the problem under the rug to forget about our hurt and pain. We should learn from these people, understand the how and the why because only then can we make the changes that actually matter.
  • May 4 2013: "As a valid punishment" is incredibly subjective. We must try and qualify and quantify "how much violence is enough to deserve death". That in and of itself is laden with subjectivity. For some, if a family member dies that is enough. For others, a single death is not enough based on how disconnected they are from the person. For others, it is dependent in the violence and nature of the crime. The mere idea of "did you plan it or not" raises the level of the crime.

    Also, the nature of the crime. Some feel there is a significant difference between crimes against adults and crimes against children. Crimes against women is another area where there is a great deal of difference of opinion and belief.

    So, there really is not a cut and dry easy answer to said question.

    In regard to terrorism, they issue becomes even more challenging. As the violence is random and many of the terrorists feel that death raises them to martyrdom status, there is a political and social component as well. We must ask the question, does killing this person serve the purpose of what we are after.

    I guess the real question might be simply one of justice. At what level does capital punishment serve as the appropriate level of justice for the crime? That has been debated and changed through history.
  • thumb
    May 1 2013: Capital punishment should be given in 'rarest of the rare ' cases when the crime committed is heinous , the criminal doesn't exhibit any guilt and there are chances that he might continue doing such crimes. Else, what punishment can we give to a criminal who is imprisoned for life for murdering 10 people and he after being jailed kills the jailor / prison guard?
  • Apr 28 2013: Interesting question. Having lived in countries with + without capital punishment I do not necessarily see a difference on crime rates. You indicate above the increasing terrorist activities and perhaps linking this with capital punishment. I do not believe this would deter terrorists as they will then be seen as matryrs for their cause and will be happy to die in this manner. If anything, capital punishment may actually make the situation worse.

    My personal opinion is that before looking at the punishment, perhaps we need to look more at the root cause. The sad thing is that there is rich source of disgruntled and disaffected people who suddenly find that the extremists have the answers they seek. The extremists have the answers because those (e.g. govt, healthcare facilities, police) that are suppose to help/support no longer do so - everything from able to see a doctor to having a job, roof over their head, food in their belly. The offer of these things will persuade the downtrodden to at least listen. (NOTE: this is not reflecting any particular religion or organisation. I use extremists because this covers all denominations and activities). The extremist message is often a perversion of truths which is personalised to link the individuals experience to a focused target/enemy.

    Terrorism is a crime however history will always view this differently. Today's terrorist is tomorrow's freedom fighter. History is littered with this - every country's fight for independence will recount the liberators as nationalists but I am quite sure they could also be termed as terrorists at the time - depending on the side of the coin you sit.

    As for what kinds of criminals should be executed... my personal thought is that no person has the right to take another life. There are some atrocities - agreed but capital punishment is the quick way out. The victims suffer and so should they. I think removing some of the mod cons in prison might make the punishment more fitting.
  • thumb
    Apr 24 2013: Generally the argument for and against capital punishment rests on several principals, such as the severity of the crime, how effectively it deters others from committing similar crimes, the legal systems ability to prove unquestionably the guilt of the suspect, and to a lesser extent the theology of a society (whether they believe the person will be punished in an afterlife etc).

    In regards to these topics most modern secular societies/individuals (myself included) reject capital punishment as an ineffective deterrent that is seen as an easy out for the criminal as he/she will not live with the guilt and lack of freedom for the rest of their life, while also potentially taking the life of an innocent person if wrongly accused.

    However in aid of a varied discussion on the subject and approaching the question from a different perspective, I propose the question, that in a world of overpopulation and chronic food, water, energy and space shortages associated with human consumption, is it/or should it be acceptable to keep someone alive who has committed such a terrible crime that society has decided they will never be rehabilitated and released. In these cases where incarceration is final, death may be seen as more humane as the individual will never be released and therefore has nothing to live for. It also may be morally preferable to deliver a lifetimes worth of food, water, heating, clean clothing, electricity, accommodation and other luxury’s that these prisoners would have delivered to them and paid for by the state, to those in society who are morally good but destitute.
  • Apr 23 2013: ZX: If I understand you correctly, you are expressing the ancient idea of repayment, or balancing out of atrocities called "an eye for and eye, and a tooth for a tooth." . This idea generally faded out of fashion thousands of years ago. Why revive it now? If carried out,does it really make victims feel better, or what? i think most victims would prefer to see their attacker spend time in jail. I agree with you that C. P. does not actually deter crime. But I don't see "Slave Labor" as a feature of a civilized country either.
    • May 3 2013: Actually, in most civilized societies, slave labor was prevalent in some form, as was capital punishment, until only recent history. In some societies, slaves were considered a valued position. That being said, slavery, like capital punishment, has only gone out of fashion in recent history.
  • Apr 23 2013: It has always been considered that Capital Punishment does not actually deter anyone from committing crimes, at least since medieval times, when it was observed in England that, at Public Executions,( a popular entertainment of the time) it was found that pickpockets (a Capital Crime) were quite active in the crowd watching the Public executions. As for crimes committed by totally mentally ill people, or suicidal ones, that is not contructive either.
    But the main arguement against it is the impossibllity of avoiding the execution of innocent people, which happens all the time. We rightly feel that such a thing outweighs all the supposed "benefits" of executions.. Although this was known before the use of DNA evidence, as people rightly suspected that publicity seeking Prosecutors , and Police trying to "fill their quotas" of arrests, were actually railroading innocent people to jail just to make themselves "Look good", the use of DNA evidence proved it , on such a large scale, that an Illinois Governor some years ago cancelled totally Capital Executions in his term, because there was such fraud. The simplest, most unerstandable standard is to make killling people illegal , period , across the board.