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Should extraordinary crimes be given extraordinary punishment?

The Norwegian terrorist and mass-murderer that shot 150 people in cold blood, mostly teens, and detonated a large bomb in downtown Oslo, is facing 21 years of imprisonment in what many criminals would consider nice surroundings. Should a social democracy change it's current judicial system parameters to hand out a more severe punishment, when faced with such pure evil?

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    Jul 25 2011: Someone who commits such an horrific act is clearly insane. It is entirely understandable that those effected will desire vengence and demand harsh punishment. However, as educated people, we need to recognise the mental health issues and look at the root causes of such incidents, and examine how we could better spot these people earlier in their development, so as to treat them before they commit an atrocity.Once you have someone in custody, punishment serves no purpose. It is obvious that criminals do not become better people because you punish them. To make someone suffer purely for revenge is a base, ignoble instict that does not belong in a truely civilised society. I, like all people, feel these instinctive impulses, but they come from the lower brain, useful when the only options were to kill your enemy or hurt them so badly they wouldn't bother you again. With modern, organised institutions, the only concerns should be keeping dangerous people restrained (to protect the innocent, not for the sake of punishment), rehabilitation through education if the person is amenable to this, and mental health care.Of course, trying to correct people is very difficult; most thinking time and resources should go into positive measures to improve society and our connection to each other, so it would become increasingly less likely that anyone would become so disaffected, crimal or insane (and this remain undetected) that they then hurt us.To put it in a more practical way, we'd be better off improving schools, reducing inequality, eductating people about drug and alcohol abuse, researching mental health and developing social networks that engage the population in positive projects, than we would be if we went back to burning people at the stake!
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      Jul 25 2011: Ian................You have said it very well. There is nothing I can add.
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    Jul 24 2011: No, never.
    To do so would be a step in the wrong direction.

    The dead will rest
    the wounds will heal

    But you have to live with the punishment you hand out.
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    Jul 24 2011: I'm filled with too much empathy for the victims to be objective at this time, but in principle I'm against capital punishment. Then again, how can society ever forgive or reintegrate such an evil and cold psychopath?
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      Jul 24 2011: Hi Martin:

      First of all my condolences…

      Second, I agree with you, the law should be respected, and that is one of the things that makes us different from criminals.

      How did this guy came to existence? Is he going to succeed as previous terrorist before him in eroding our trust in each other? How can we prevent this and still be safe?
      Can we “take advantage” of the fact that he is alive to understand what’s going on in his head?

      There are so many wonderful things getting us closer, is this an example of the effort in the opposite direction?

      Regards, and my sincere condolences again…

      JB
  • Jul 25 2011: They should take this opportunity to open discussions on future laws. They should be discussed and a decision should be made. The discussion should take place soon enough so that the current event is still fresh in their mind but far enough in the future that the raw emotion shown in your question doesn't sway the outcome. I am against any government changing a law/punishment after the crime has occurred.
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    Jul 25 2011: Hi my friend
    I'm not profession at the laws,,but i can just say that if our education and our media for right culture have been right,, but still there are big crimes you must be give extraordinary punishment..and it does not show that you have bad judgeship. of course it show that you are strong and people can live in peace and security and nobody can YAW.
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    Jul 24 2011: YES is my answer when I face such horrible situation that happened in Norway or Tyranny that Gaddafi doing for quite sometime.