The village fondler is not president

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived thru March 2001:The village fondler is not president
By Phouka on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 04:06 pm: Edit


damn I'd forgotten how entertaining you guys can be - I'll have to start lurking here more often again!

(slipping back into the shadows...)

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 02:31 pm: Edit

So that's why Crocodile Dundee was such a lad, because his ancestors were chain-rattlers.

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 11:21 am: Edit

Perfect example. Look at the Crocodile Hunter. Nothing gives him a bigger thrill than teasing crocs from within strinking distance and grabbing spitting cobras by the tail... "Ooops. Forgot to put on my sunglasses. I better wash this venom off my face before I grab this grumpy little guy again." It's those super-criminal genes.


By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 10:56 am: Edit

Penal colonies produce new breeds of vengeful psychopaths.

I didn't know Australians were so dangerous!!!

I'll think twice next time before ordering a drink from an Aussie barman again. As there are more Aussie barmen even than Irish barmen, this will mean a very sad reduction in my alcohol consumption, how depressing.


By Mr_Rabbit on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 07:47 am: Edit

Sure, but would that be a bad thing?

When it happens, kick back with a jigger of absinthe, and tell the super men 'sure, right. It's like that Star Trek episode with that guy Khan. You know. The one where, um... shit. What was I saying? Anyway, you guys want a drink? So you're taking over the world and stuff. Man. Wow. Well, while you're at it, get me some chicks. And don't fuck it up, OK? The world I mean. Yeah, so this episode of Star Trek, this BUG crawled right in Checkov's EAR man, it was freaky! It ate his brian and stuff I think, only he didn't die. Damn russians can operate without a brain. Wait, I think that was a movie. Hey. Hey. No. Hey. Listen. I love you man. Really. I really... what? OK. Sure. I'll swear allegiance and stuff. Seriously. I won't remember tomorrow though, but this episode of Star Trek, this BUG crawled... um... you want a drink?'

By Anatomist1 on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 06:36 pm: Edit

The main problem with a penal colony is that the extreme survival pressures within would result in a breed of super-humans within 3 generations. Unfortunately, they will be obsessed with wreaking painful revenge upon the callous society that put them there. The cortical areas governing cunning strategic thinking and the improvisation of weapons would surely be enlarged. It is likely that they would be capable of moving faster than the human eye could see. We would be doomed.


By Bob_Chong on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 09:11 am: Edit


Maybe it could be tanatmount to death row, or a replacement for execution itself: after all appeals are exhausted, a person guilty of a capital crime would then be sent to the penal colony.

FWIW, the death row average is eight years before execution. That's plenty of pre- penal colony time for appeals and such, IMO.


By Mr_Rabbit on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 08:09 am: Edit

Well, Bob, the problems I see with penal colonies that I don't have solutions for so far:

It would possibly encourage the government to put more people than murderers there (political dissidents, pesky religious leaders etc.) and that it cold end up as an enourmous pool of slave labor.

LH, point taken... :-)

By _Blackjack on Friday, March 02, 2001 - 09:49 am: Edit


If it's true that the U.S. crime rate hasn't changed much since about 1910, can anyone show that the murder rate was affected by the abolition of the death penalty in the '60s, its reimposition in the '70s, or its intensification and "streamlining" since the '80s?

I'm actually putting together, for my own amusement, a graph of the US murder rate with various historical episodes marked. When the moratorium on the death penalty was placed in 1967, the murder rate had already been climbing sharply for 5 years, as I said, mostly due to the baby-boomers' coming of age. It continued to rise until 1974, when it dropped sharply. In 1976, when the penalty was re-instituted, the murder rate again spiked, not falling again until 1981. But keep in mind, all of this movement was between the range of 7 and 10 murders per 100,000.

So, really, it doesn't look like the moratorium had much of an effect on way or the other. This is pretty consistent with other data, showing that states with high execution rates don't really have murder rates any different from those that don't.

By Anatomist1 on Friday, March 02, 2001 - 07:14 am: Edit

OOh. I finally found that exact quote and source... been driving me nuts for a while now.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unfortunately, none of the aftmentioned three apply in this case... I'll try again.

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." Oscar Wilde


By Anatomist1 on Friday, March 02, 2001 - 07:01 am: Edit


I think Mencken misused the term 'puritain' in the quote, but I didn't feel like going into it, as this detail doesn't get in the way of the quote's jist. Here's another one for you:

"Meaningless consistency is the hobgoblin of mediocre minds."

...too bad that for you it seems more like the height of your anal-retentive aspirations, not a hobgoblin.

(No offense to LH)


By Bjacques on Friday, March 02, 2001 - 03:55 am: Edit

No, 20 or 30 (or even 40) years sounds about right. Anyway, it saves the state the cost of supporting an old con in the prison infirmary. Here in the Netherlands, prison sentences are generally low, with "ordinary" murders drawing 8-20 year sentences. But then, going to jail is really considered a bad thing, though the jails here are (as far as I know) not as bad as U.S. ones. The penalties for murder vary within the EU, and it's hard to say whether they relate to local murder rates. If it's true that the U.S. crime rate hasn't changed much since about 1910, can anyone show that the murder rate was affected by the abolition of the death penalty in the '60s, its reimposition in the '70s, or its intensification and "streamlining" since the '80s? A sentence shorter than life would benefit the rest of us more than it benefits the killer. A lifer or condemned has nothing to lose and acts accordingly, resulting in a higher security costs. Anyway, 20 years in the slam is no picnic. Most people who think jail, especially a Texas prison, is a country club have never spent time in one.

That said, a penal colony might work, but don't run it by asshole Arizona sheriffs pandering to vengeful voters. Also, keep private industry out of it. A social function, like punishment, should serve society's ends, not those of a limited pool of stockholders. Convicts are still citizens, though their privileges are temporarily suspended. Basically, keep politics out of it.

It also might be a good idea to return the vote to convicted felons after their sentences are up. If they're being returned to society, then, having done their time, they should regain their right to participate in it. Otherwise, they've got no stake.

I recommend "Discipline & Punish," by the late Michel Foucault. It describes the birth of modern penology, from about the 1770s, in France, England, and the U.S. Many of the usual arguments, such as whether cons have it easy in jail, go back to the early days of penitentiaries. Thanks to social attitudes toward crime, jails exist in a state of permanent crisis.

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, March 02, 2001 - 02:21 am: Edit

Mr Rabbit,

"So those who fear killing the innocent often advocate life imprisonment. Prisons suck. A lot. Visit one sometime, or read the memiors of a long time prisoner. It is fooling oneself to think that putting a man in jail for life is somehow not as shitty as killing him. It just stretches it all out, but you have still taken his life."

Mr Rabbit, you miss my point, people like me who oppose the death penalty because of the risk of killing an innocent man, don't oppose it because we think life imprisonment is 'kinder' than the death penalty. Loss of liberty is meant to suck, it's a punishment for someone who has committed a serious crime for God's sake.

It probably is harsher than the death penalty because at the end of the day yes a murderer will die, I couldn't care less whether it's harsher. People who hold a position similar to mine on this issue are not fooling themselves, murderers deserve this fate, they've committed the ultimate crime and they should be punished accordingly. They're the ones who are responsible for their fate, we have nothing to feel guilty about.

If life imprisonment is harder on murderers than a swift death penalty then tough, but at least it gives a chance for those wrongly convicted to be released whereas the death penalty gives the wrongly convicted no chance. We all know that miscarriages of justice occur, and when later this is shown to be the case it's easier to release someone from prison than raise him from the dead. OK we've caused huge suffering to an innocent man but at least he still has his life (scarred as it will undoubtedly be).

Let's not cry any salt tears for murderers, if the state could be absolutely 100% sure that only the guilty were convicted then I'd have no problems with the death penalty. There's nothing inhumane about killing a genuine murderer, we kill members of opposing armies in warfare and these people deserve to live a hell of a lot more than murderers do. The ONLY problem with the death penalty is that we can't be 100% sure of guilt so imprisonment for the rest of their lives will just have to do. It's a sort of insurance policy against miscarriages of justice, nothing to do with being kinder to murderers.

Not all opponents of the death penalty have a liberal outlook, please don't stereotype us.


By _Blackjack on Friday, March 02, 2001 - 01:33 am: Edit

I think statistics are a very good way of demonstrating that there isn't all that much crime in our society, and they are the best way to demonstrate it isn't increasing.

As far as the relationship between the economy and crime levels, there is something to that, but it's not that simple. As I said, demographic factors, particularly the number of males in their twenties, have a lot to do with it to. For instance, after bottoming out in the '50's, crime rates soared in the mid-sixties as the baby-boomers started hitting their top crime-commiting years. In some cases, the trend actually goes against the conventional economic wisdom. The crime rate was already soaring (in part due to prohibition) when the great depression struck, and started to go down again well before WWII started to turn the economy around. (It did, in fact, turn around almost immediately after prohibition was repealed...go fig...)

Then there are truly bizzare things like what happened between 1903 and 1907. In less than five years, the murder rate jumped more than it ever had in history, almost fourfold, and has never gone back to the pre '07 levels. By 1913 the ten-year increase was sixfold!

For what it's worth, the crime rate was LOW during most of the the '80's, dropping to the lowest levels since the 50's, after peaking in '80. There was a sudden spike again at the end of the decade, in part due to the rise of the crack trade. But ever since '93, the rates have been falling fast, to levels comperable to the '50's or teens. I doubt, even with the economic slow-down, we are going to see things go back to late-70's levels, partially because so much of the population is old. On the other hand, if Bush dismantles enough social services and escalates the drug war, Gen Y is big enough to cause trouble.

And don't insult your grandparents: the depression and the world wars were turbulence we can't even imagine. And they had to walk ten miles to school in the snow...

By Pikkle on Friday, March 02, 2001 - 01:09 am: Edit

Sure... look at the 80's... crime was rising then, the economy was bad, maybe not bad, not so great, people were out of work, blah, blah... then the 90's, the economy got better, so did the crime rate... and now it seems we may be headed for a recession... I'm sure we'll see a rise in crime once again if the economy turns to shit, it only stands to reason, more people out of work, more desperation and what not... as for the grandparents, I highly doubt the society they lived in was nearly as complex and turbulent as ours... there are too many factors to mention but I fail to see where you could draw such a comparison based merely on statistics.

By _Blackjack on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 10:44 pm: Edit

Um, no, Pikkle. The murder rate last year, for the US as a whole, was as low as it has been since 1917. Murder rates in big cities have actually dropped more than those of the country as a whole. The crime rate in general is at similarly low levels. Moreover, a disproportionate number of crime victims (just like a disproportionate number of those in prison) are young black males. If you aren't a young black male, the crime rate is low indeed.

As far as Detroit goes, I don't have the historical data for actual murders at hand, but in 1918 there were 237 homocide ARRESTS when the population was around 800,000. I assume the arrest rate was somehwere near the murder rate, since some crimes go unsolved while others may involve multiple arrests. There were 411 murders in Detroit in 1999, with about a million people. There is a proportional increase, but it is a minor one, considering we're talking about 81 years. And Detroit is indeed a particularly violent city. It's murder rate did not drop nearly as far as those of other cities in the last 5 years. But it did drop.

My point is, crime is not on the rise. Crime, in the US, has stayed within a fairly narrow statistical range snce around 1910. It has peaked and dropped--mostly based on what percentage of the population was in their 20's-- but never gone above or below certain levels.

The streets are safe, or, at least, no less safe than they were for our grandparents.

By Pikkle on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 09:59 pm: Edit

I don't know what suburb you live in blackjack but the streets are far from safe... we average almost one murder a day in Detroit with a population of less than a million people... and that's just the murder rate, there are plenty of other violent crimes that go on here that aren't even reported by the media... your statistics must be provided by whitesville usa or something, I don't believe for a second that it's getting any better out there.

By Bob_Chong on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 09:36 pm: Edit

RE: Puritans

Who said the following?

1. ...I find myself aligning with Puritans...

2. In their day, [Puritans] were remarkably concerned with the cultivation of compassion, an interior life, and generally minding their own business.

3. I'm not willing to dismiss [Puritans] as having nothing to teach me.

4. The Puritans had it right: instead of busying ourselves with coercive schemes designed to change people, we should look within, and carefully cultivate what is already there.

That's right! Our very own forum Mencken himself!

Congrats to all those who played and answered correctly.


By Bob_Chong on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 09:28 pm: Edit


I am sorry for your loss.

Also, I'm interested in your penal colony thoughts. I brought this up two days ago but no one remarked. I have always been pro penal colony.

Seriously, though, would a penal colony work in this country?

That is one thing this great nation lacks--a world class penal colony. Sure, we have Angola Farm and a few tiny places like that, but I'm talking about fencing off a few thousand square miles of North Dakota...

And here's a token pithy quote: "Anti-religious sneers are a hallmark of perpetual adolescents." Camille Paglia--2/28/01--Salon.


By _Blackjack on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 07:15 pm: Edit

Dostoyevskii said that execution is the cruelst form of death, because the condemned man is deprived even of hope. If you are attacked on the street, you can defend yourself, and you have some ope that you will survive, be taken to a hospital, etc. The condemned man knows tha if the rope breaks or the chair shorts out, they will just be killed later. The government's power to impose its will is too great for it to be permitted to chose who lives of who dies.

When people start justifying all of the absurd violations of civil liberties that are now done in the name of "keeping the streets safe," they fail to recognize that the streets are, for the most part, already safe. The murder rate in the US is as low as it was in 1917, when most drugs were legal, there was almost no federal-level law enforcement apparatus, and we imprisoned only one-seventh the portion of our population that we do now (1% vs 7%).

By Anatomist1 on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 06:46 pm: Edit


Sorry to hear about your loss, but thanks for proving that not everyone is who suffers as the result of a crime is transformed into a salivating vengance junkie.

I don't think your "What if it happened to you?" tack will have much effect, for the same reason that Mormons and fundamentalists were blithely unconcerned about the spread of AIDS and cheerfully restrict access to birth control. People like Bob are so comfortably ensconsed in their bunker mentality, play-it-safe life choices and confident righteousness that the possibility that something like a false conviction could ever happen to them is inconceiveable. Only scumbags who make the wrong choices and are pretty bad anyway get mistaken for real crooks. My theory is that jealously of the adventurous partially fuels their stridency. As Mencken said: "The definition of puritanism is the desperate fear that somebody somewhere is having a good time."

But, then again, I like to prod with hyperbole... perhaps too much. I therefore defer to you and BJaques as far more civil and effective standard-bearers.


By Mr_Rabbit on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 04:46 pm: Edit

"I hope that someone close to you is never murdered, or your la-la land would come crashing down around you. "

Shit, Bob. I hope that for everyone. Turn it about though- what if someone close to you is murdered, by the state, for a crime they didn't commit? What if it's you, Bob? Your child? Would you be so draconian then? And before you ask, that la-la land crashed for me some time ago, when my father was murdered.

So those who fear killing the innocent often advocate life imprisonment. Prisons suck. A lot. Visit one sometime, or read the memiors of a long time prisoner. It is fooling oneself to think that putting a man in jail for life is somehow not as shitty as killing him. It just stretches it all out, but you have still taken his life.

Perhaps a penal colony is the answer? A place where the murderers (I dont advocate putting thieves etc in with these guys) can live out their lives as they will, and are trained in survival skills and given such resources as they cannot themselves gain. They can grow their own food, etc... and you just need to make sure they can't get away (someplace like an island seems good.) That way, at least they can live their lives as men, not dogs in a cage. Of course it might get kinda nasty- they would govern themselves. It might not. But that is still preferable to killing innocent people or locking them in a cage forever.

The idea is to make sure they don't hurt anyone else. The question is only what you are willing to do to an innocent person occaisonally that you do to the guilty. So if you are too soft, the killer kills again, too hard, good men die. There is no good answer to that question, IMHO, only the least crappy one. Much better to keep people from wanting to commit a crime, from needing to, than to spend more on your prisons though.

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 11:30 am: Edit

My opposition to the death penalty is on the basis that we risk killing an innocent man. My position is not that killing murderers is inhuman, but if we lock someone up for murder and it later transpires that they recieved an unfair trial or were stitched up then we can at least release them.

Rehabilitation is a good idea if criminals are ever to be released again. It's in our own interests to rehabilitate these people if they're going to be walking the same streets as us again. A brutal prison regime does not help rehabilite these people, and anyway their punishment is loss of liberty, not loss of liberty with a large dose of brutalisation. This doesn't help anyone.

However there's no point rehabilitating murders. With murderers we should increase their length of sentence. A life sentence should mean just that, lock them up for the rest of their lives, (not just for 15 years or so). Murder is a heinous crime, no murderer is ordinary, and no murderer deserves ever to walk the streets again, let the bastards die in prison.

As for cost I'm no expert but if that's a concern of some, I was under the impression that capital punishment was not the cheaper option. Although it does have political benefits for some State Governors.


By Pikkle on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 11:16 am: Edit

Hey, Blackjack, i agree with you, nip it at the bud... but I don't believe for a moment that the tools for making just about every person a beneficial and worthwhile member of society aren't out there all ready. There are so many social programs for the poor and less advantaged as it is, what more do you think we need? I work in a heavy industry, lot's of things break down, old equipment and such and right now, we don't have the money to upgrade and replace it, we just fix it piece meal and keep running... you wouldn't believe the differences in production between the crews I have all running on the same old, half working equipment... one crew regualarly hits their bogie while the other one can't hit it but once a week... what is it? Attitudes... when you can change attitudes then you can get people to start using what's available to them to their best advantage. I love playing the blame game as much as the next person but when all is said and done, the buck has to stop somewhere, you run out of things to blame and you just have to shit or get off the pot. I don't have all the answers but I have a few beliefs and one of them is when a person crosses the line, then there needs to be a punishment fit for that. A person has outlived their useful existance to me when they've taken another life unjustly and that person too should lose their life. I know mine is an unpopular view and I can live with that. I know in my heart if I fuck up to that degree, i am ready to accept such a fate, it is only right to believe.

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 10:51 am: Edit

The issue should be about what is best for the security on our streets, while safeguarding the legal rights of citizens.

The trouble is that this is not how our politicians see it, all they are interested in is adopting a particular political position on the issue in order to obtain maximum share of their particular area or niche within the 'electoral market'.

We deserve better than this. When it comes to security on our streets, more attention needs to be paid to evidence and less to rhetoric.


By _Blackjack on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 10:05 am: Edit

Our modern justice system, whether intentionally or not, does a very good job of disenfranchising a large portion of black males. That alone seems good reason to re-think things.

Pikkle--you say rehabilitation is a joke, and law enforcement is a joke. What, pray tell, do you suggest. You seem to be advocating mandatory life sentences for all criminals. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Rehabilitation is a joke primarily because we make no attempt to rehabilitate criminals. We stick them in prisons even more violent and drug-ridden than the places the criminals come from. We dehumanize the convicts for a few years, do little to address the psychological and educational roots of crime, and then release them to a world where they can't get jobs. And then we wonder why they return to crime.

We know how to reduce crime. There have been numerous studies, but nobody in government wants to believe them because they'd looks "soft." We need to increase education and job programs in poor areas. We need to increase, and properly target, social services for the poor. We need to treat drugs as a medical, not a criminal problem.

Our present system dehumanizes those at risk for criminal behavior; it teaches them they are not part of society, and thus, they have no incentive to follow society's rules. I refuse to accept that everyone in prison is somehow "inherently" criminal. Among other things, that's terribly racist, considering the disproportionate representation of blacks. Historically, it has always been the socially and economically marginalized groups that have committed the bulk of crime; if you want to decrease crime, you need to decrease this marginalization.

By Pikkle on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 09:37 am: Edit

Make the punishment fit the crime... fuck rehabilitation, what a joke, I work everyday with people who've been in and out of jail and they say all you do when you get a bunch of criminals together is make better criminals... we don't need criminals and we're not going to change them... and yes, prisons are a big business and I'm none too happy having to support them. You're not going to prevent the crime, law enforcement is a joke, we all ready know that but we can eliminate the criminal once the crime is committed, criminal convicted and sentenced and know this person will never commmit crime again. House feed and educate? What a reward, if I had nothing else going for me in life, I'd be a criminal too if that's all I had to worry about.

By Bob_Chong on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 09:06 am: Edit

What's wrong with life sentences? Why should sentences be reduced? What makes murder "ordinary"?

Ignore the black clothed "artiste" and get to it.


By Anatomist1 on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 09:00 am: Edit

Ahh yes: what makes you feel good personally in a moment of extreme passion is a perfect template for making rules that everyone in society should live by. This is the true reason people support the death penalty, behind all the pretexts: it satisfies their bloodlust for revenge, and the vengeful rage they imagine they would feel (and clamor to live vicariously so many times on screen) if they were a victim.


By Bob_Chong on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 08:35 am: Edit

Reduce the penalty for murder to 20 or 30 years, subject to variation according to severity, so ordinary, one-time killers might live to see daylight

Fuck those people, and fuck you for supporting them. A murder is never "ordinary," you liberal, fuzzyheaded piece of shit. The victims will never see daylight again: why should the murderers?

I hope that someone close to you is never murdered, or your la-la land would come crashing down around you.


By Bjacques on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 06:05 am: Edit

Who's complaining about the high cost of punishment? Not the small rust-belt or sawdust-belt towns whose only industry is a supermax federal pen. Not private prison contractors like CCA and Wackenhut, doling out the campaign bucks to turn jails into "profit center" factories. Certainly not the voters who want "tuff on crime" congresscritters but don't care about the details. Nobody else counts.

The jails are overcrowded thanks to mandatory sentencing laws and "three-strikes-you're out" policies. the rise in crime isn't enough to account for the increase in convicts (violent crime has fallen in the last few years). Enacting new capital crime laws and broadening of old ones instantly puts more people on death row. The death penalty is 100% irreversible but the justice system is imperfect and subject to politicized tinkering. Defenses are often a joke. A few years ago, the Supreme Court allowed an execution to proceed even if evidence of innocence may have appeared, because the state had done its job "correctly." Thus, the people serve the Law, instead of the other way around. Thus, we've calculated that we can afford to fry X number of innocent people. *That* is murder. Want evidence? Illinois had to delay a dozen executions because the prosecution basically went unchallenged or solid evidence of innocence could not be ignored. DNA tests finally exonerated one death row inmate recently. Convicts sit on death row because with those numbers, we owe them at least one appeal.

Public executions aren't any deterrent. They were entertainment and an occasional flashpoint for riots. Deterrence at the micro level sounds great, but it's no base for a policy that must deal in large numbers.

If you want improvement, empty the jails of criminals-by-definition, especially petty drug felons. Do away with "third strike" life sentences for nonviolent offenders. That leaves plenty of room for the real hardcases. Reduce the penalty for murder to 20 or 30 years, subject to variation according to severity, so ordinary, one-time killers might live to see daylight. Grant time off for restitution. When they get out, they'll be to old to get their blood up, but not to old to be useful.

But (again), since nothing's gonna change overnight, let's try to be less promiscuous with the death penalty.

By Pikkle on Wednesday, February 28, 2001 - 11:57 pm: Edit

I'm not looking to deter anything... just to eliminate. The prisons are overcrowded as it is and the more space we can free up, the less we all have to pay to house and feed and educate these often times violent, habitual and incorrigable offenders. I have no sympathy for one who takes a life, none, there is no excuse save for self defense. There is nothing wrong with an eye for an eye in my book... a toenail for an eye, that's what we have now and it sucks big camel balls. I'm all for the death penalty and then some, swift and just... sorry if I'm not politically correct but I'm not sorry for how I feel. Good night Gracie!

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, February 28, 2001 - 08:38 pm: Edit

The death penalty as a deterrent: puh-leazze. If you really want to deter crime, the key is enforcement efficiency, not draconian penalties. Consider two scenarios: one in which you have a 50% chance of getting caught and getting caught means death, another in which you have a 99% chance of getting caught, and getting caught means a guaranteed 10 years in prison. In which scenario would you "risk it"?

The question becomes a balance between reducing crime and quality of life. Do you really want to live in a society where you get caned for j-walking... EVERY TIME? Personally, I think that when the rubber meets the road, inefficiency of law enforcement is the barometer of freedom. Crime is much less of a problem than the fascist measures that would be required to reduce it to zero.


By Mr_Rabbit on Wednesday, February 28, 2001 - 07:49 am: Edit

I think televised execution would lead to desensitization. To kill a person on purpose is a solemn and terrible thing, not a prime-time-hey-here's-bob-with-the-DeathCam(tm) thing.

Let us pray whatever gods we all serve we never have to see Ronald fucking Mcdonald hawking big mac's for thirty seconds between gassings.

'Yes, Billy, they really did kill the bad man. No, Billy, you can't kill your sister because she stole your french fry. Put that down.'

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, February 28, 2001 - 07:36 am: Edit


I understand the arguments in favour of the death penalty. I have a lot of sympathy with these arguments, but happen to disagree with them.

What I don't have any sympathy for is the idea that the death penalty should be televised. Turning it into a snuff movie may boost TV ratings and no doubt TV channels would be fighting each other for the rights to broadcast this, but it sure as hell wouldn't result in a more decent and law abiding society, it'd just satisfy sick voyeurs.

Sorry Pikkle you're a decent bloke but you're wrong on this one.


By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, February 28, 2001 - 06:09 am: Edit

The death penalty, carried out on prime time or as 'privately' as it is now, with just the penal system and the occasional family and jury members as witnesses to the barbiturate drip or gassing or hanging or firing squad or electric chair...may not be a great deterrant BUT it sure as shit does cut down the recidivism rate, at a micro level. THAT guy/gal isn't going to do it again.

Incidentally my father is an old pal of Sister Helen Praejeaun, played by Susan Sarandon opposite Sean Penn in the well known polemic about the death penalty...

What do anti-death penalty advocates say to the case of the black female NOPD cop who killed her own partner and a Vietnamese couple in an armed robbery -- in uniform? If there was ever a bitch who deserved to burn, she's the one. If we didn't already have a death penalty we'd have had to invent it for an animal like her. Anyone want to make her into Joan of Arc? Anyone think society made her do it?

By Bob_Chong on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 10:55 pm: Edit

and it ain't all it's cracked up to be

Wow. Pretty bleak there, bud. Maybe you should move somewhere with a shorter winter. ;-)

Plus, I don't remember hearing a lot of buzz and hype back in the womb, only to be disappointed when I got out.


By Pikkle on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 09:47 pm: Edit

Yes LH, I'm from Detroit, we all witness violent death here, blood, pain and all that, just like in birth... and if a baby had consiousness before it was born, you could liken it's birth to the death of it's life before it was born, taking away all it has ever known and thrusting it into a cold harsh world. No one really knows what lies beyond death but we all know what lies beyond the womb and it ain't all it's cracked up to be. Don't knock death until you try it.

By Bob_Chong on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 09:15 pm: Edit

Seriously, though, would a penal colony work in this country?

That is one thing this great nation lacks--a world class penal colony. Sure, we have Angola Farm and a few tiny places like that, but I'm talking about fencing off a few thousand square miles of North Dakota...


By _Blackjack on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 03:52 pm: Edit

Barring elimination of the death penalty (which would be my ideal), I'd like it to public, televized, brutal, and performed by the jury and judge responsible for it. That might make people a little more reluctant to have the government kill people. I would hope, anyway.

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 11:46 am: Edit


Witnessing a birth is a whole lot different from witnessing a violent death. With such a blase attitude to violent death I hope you've never actually witnessed someone dying violently.

And being born does not mean having everything you are is taken from you and you are totally wiped out of existence.

And as for moralising,

"Let all the little would be offenders out there watching prime time smut and violence see what fate really awaits them."

Sounds like a bit of right-wing moralising to me.


By Pikkle on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 10:29 am: Edit

LH... that's fine by me, death is just as much a part of the life cycle as is birth, and both are disturbing to view in my opinion, bloody and violent. I'm sure if you think about it, no one likes being born, brutally thrust into this cold cruel world from the warmest most comfortable place they've ever known. And it's basically the same with death, just another transition that we always don't have a say in when it's going to happen. So please save the moral stuff for someone else, i'd be more than happy to witness an execution if it pleases you, about as happy as I would be to watch a c-section.

By Mr_Rabbit on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 07:22 am: Edit

Tonight on the Discovery Channel- what happens when a pit full of rabid chihuahuas meets condemned killer 'mad dog' mcgurk?

Find out at 9 oclock!

Mcgurk will be provided with a machinegun, but what he doesn't know is that his bullets are made of Nerf(tm) foam rubber.

Kathie Lee Gifford hosts.

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 02:03 am: Edit


You should go and live in Saudi Arabia, just your sort of regime.

You'd not just be allowed to watch frequent public executions in the flesh, but as a Westerner you'd be forced to stand at the front of the crowd and watch some poor sod getting his head chopped off, you'd even be close enough to smell the blood.


By Pikkle on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 11:46 pm: Edit

Swift and public... I'm all for it. Televise it. Let all the little would be offenders out there watching prime time smut and violence see what fate really awaits them. I'm sure Vince McMahon is looking for a new vehicle since his XFL is going so well...

By Bob_Chong on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 07:55 pm: Edit

When has an execution ever been "swift" lately? McVeigh has requested the fast track. But look at someone like Gacy--it took 20 years to kill that guy. Not too swift, really.


By Marc on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 02:45 pm: Edit


Bob likes to have both ways: uptight on the one hand, than using naughty language to appear to be openminded.

Hey Bob, it's okay to be square. Or as Huey Lewis would have it, its darnright hip!

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 11:06 am: Edit

"LH... you forgot 'and a swift execution'."

Very sorry Pikkle I'll amend my statement accordingly. I wouldn't want to displease you.

"The concept of Presidential pardon makes about as much sense as the Queen of England being immune from prosecution for anything, (as is the case). This concept, as well as the concept of a swift execution, is Medieval and should have no place in modern society."


By Pikkle on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 10:28 am: Edit

LH... you forgot 'and a swift execution.'

By Anatomist1 on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 10:23 am: Edit


Rational my ass. Disingenuously rationalistic is more like it. Your joke was about prudishness, not hygeine, and you know it.


By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 05:57 am: Edit

Nobody deserves a pardon, only a fair trial and a decent right of appeal.

If they have actually recieved these and they're found guilty then they should serve their sentence accordingly, with no exceptions. If they have recieved an unfair trial (as many often do), then due process should take it's course, their sentence should be overturned and they should be released as innocent men. A very different thing from a pardon.

The procedure of granting pardons to any convicted criminal makes a complete mockery of the justice system, and of jurors. The Presidential pardon system more or less says that "the justice system of the country and trial by jury are basically a load of bollocks because the President knows best".

The concept of Presidential pardon makes about as much sense as the Queen of England being immune from prosecution for anything, (as is the case). The concept is Medieval and should have no place in modern society.


By Bob_Chong on Sunday, February 25, 2001 - 09:53 pm: Edit

There is a time and a place for everything.

Taking public books into the shitter doesn't jibe with that sentiment. Not wanting someone's spooj, urine, or fecal matter on a book or magazine doesn't make me a square.

Of course, not being into drugs, having short hair, being married, believing in Jesus--those things may make me seem "square" to you. That's cool.

Just don't confuse square with rational.


By Marc on Sunday, February 25, 2001 - 09:44 pm: Edit

"could be the first library that encourages taking reading materials into the bathroom".

What's wrong with that.

Absinthe forum is full of squares.

By Bob_Chong on Sunday, February 25, 2001 - 09:28 pm: Edit

Blackjack--you brought up a great point about who deserved pardons and who didn't by showing that Lisl whateverhernameis case. The people who have truly been unjustly accused rot in jail while library donors go free.

And speaking of the Clinton library, I wonder which periodicals they'll have. Could be the first library that encourages taking reading materials into the bathroom.


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