The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

I’ll Give You Three Reasons, Ann

Posted on | September 25, 2011 | 42 Comments

by Smitty

I’ve never understood why people who don’t trust convictions agonize over the death penalty but blandly accept life imprisonment.

  1. The bleeding hearts are compensating for their guilt over supporting the butchery of the unborn by piously bleating against the death penalty.
  2. The Iron Law is served by bloated legal bureaucracies surrounding the death penalty.
  3. As I was exploring the other day, the act of feeding otherwise intelligent people contradictory beliefs has some interesting, negative long-term effects. It’s all about the Lefty goal of training people to swallow hooey.

Despite #1 above, I’m not a tremendous death penalty fan. I’m not absolutely opposed, for cases of Timothy McVeigh-level certainty. It’s just not a question about which any exuberance is a Good Thing, in my opinion.


42 Responses to “I’ll Give You Three Reasons, Ann”

  1. Anamika
    September 25th, 2011 @ 4:14 pm


    What gets me is the religious right and neo-cons are mostly Pro-Lifers but most support the death penalty.

    An early foetus has no entity but a condemned man does.

    Incongrous isn’t it!

    I feel ahimsa is the right way and if an abortion can be avoided it should but sometimes the himsa of having a child is worse than aborting a foetus….It is only ever a personal choice…

  2. Rose
    September 25th, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

    Not all Republicans are ‘religious right,’ Anamika. And most people can only tout their anti-death penalty stances from positions of safety and security, never having been faced with a criminal. Let their house be broken into once, and convictions change – they’ll be ready to buy a gun, and chop off the hand of the thief.

    In other words – those who are insulated from reality get to play high-minded games. It has nothing to do with ‘neocon’ except that those so branded tend to be people who live closer to reality.

  3. Dawnsblood
    September 25th, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    The easy way to understand it is to ask yourself this Anamika. If a 1 day old baby and Adolph Hitler were trapped in a burning building which would you save? An unborn child is a totally innocent being just like a 1 day old. Mr Hitler was given his chance at life and spent a large portion of it arranging to remove lots of people in some of the most evil ways possible.

    As someone who struggles with the idea of the death penalty, I find it pretty easy to understand those with no qualms.

  4. Chris Smith
    September 25th, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

     See, there is this thing called due process, which, hopefully, is carried out in a state where capital punishment is in force.
    Not sure where, say, you, would be affording your unborn child such if you to sacrifice that life to Baal or whatever.
    Truly, men ought not to spray their seed about like dogs, in my opinion. If “I’m pregnant” would not lift your soul, then why were you with her in the first place?

  5. Huey
    September 25th, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    Many people who oppose the death penalty do so because of the finality of it coupled with the fact that we know that many people are wrongfully convicted – some of whom were either on death row or had alraday been put to death before their innocence was established. (See, e.g., the Innocence Project).

    Life in prison gives the those wrongfully convicted the opportunity of proving their innocence prior to their deaths.

    There is no dissonance in my mind in opposing the death penalty in most instances – and reserving its use for only those most terrible of crimes – and even then – only in those cases where guilt is 100% assured.

    Some further reading:

    You CAN be conservative and be against the death penalty without being a “bleeding heart” on the matter – rather simply requiring CERTAINTY when we, as a society, kill our own citizens.

  6. Roxeanne de Luca
    September 25th, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

    As my friend Neil likes to say, I’m all in favour of abortion, provided that the unborn get the same 10+ years of appeals that convicted murderers get.

    He also has a very handy graph, showing that we execute about 2,000 times as many babies as convicted murderers.  If that’s not enough, there’s the whole issue of one person is totally innocent of any crime, whereas the other is a disgrace to the human race.

  7. Roxeanne de Luca
    September 25th, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

    Huey: YOU LIE.

    There have been people on death row who have been exonerated, but NOT ONE INNOCENT PERSON has been put to death. 

    What amazes me about you anti-death penalty sociopaths is that you look at the process working and declare that it doesn’t work.  “They, that ten-year appeals process worked, so clearly, the system is broken!” 

  8. JeffS
    September 25th, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    Tsk tsk, Anamika, tsk tsk!

    An early foetus has no entity but a condemned man does” merely describes an opinion versus confirmed fact. 

    An opinion which, I must point out, is based on an arbitrary line drawn by judges and politicians as a compromise between pro-life and pro-choice, and with limited to no basis in fact. 

    Tsk tsk!  Assertions have no place in debates, Anamika.  Tsk tsk!

  9. JeffS
    September 25th, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

    As I see it, the problem with the death penalty is that people view it as a punishment; calling it “capital punishment” is a mistake.

    Rather, a person shouldn’t be executed as punishment for committing a given crime.  That person, if found guilty, should be executed for being the kind of person who committed said crime. 

    Like shooting a diseased animal, it’s a sanitation measure. 

  10. Huey
    September 25th, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

    What amazes me, Roxeanne, is your instant resort to personal attacks based on your disagreement with me. Why you would think, let alone write, that I am a “sociopath” because I oppose the death penalty (with the caveat identified in my original post)? Your instant deployment of such attacks smacks of the worst tactics of the deranged left.

    I suppose that it’s possible that, even though it is a settled fact that dozens of people in the last decades have been exonerated after being sentenced to death, in the preceding years, none were wrongfully put to death – and, to assume that, upon later examination of the current cases, none of THEM will result in exoneration – or that in cases in the future, none of THEM will result in wrongful conviction and possible execution.

    And, pigs routinely fly – and Obama is a conservative.

    As for the notion that none have been wrongfully executed, 5 minutes of research turns up Jesse Tafero in Florida, Johnny Garrett in Texas, Cameron Willingham in Texas. Do your own.

    Are there arguments in favor of the death penalty? Of course. Against? Of course. Can reasonable people disagree without calling into question the very humanity of the person holding an opposing view?

    Perhaps. But, apparently, not here, and not by you.

  11. McGehee
    September 25th, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

    Incongrous isn’t it!

    Only to an idiot.

  12. ThePaganTemple
    September 25th, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

    Yes, by God, damn those fucking fetuses for daring to break into a woman’s womb and take up residence and mooch off her vital resources without her permission. All they are, are brainless leeches. What gives us the right to put them on as high a level as convicted rapists, child-killers and cop murderers,folks who are fully human and with functional minds and bodies?

  13. serfer62
    September 25th, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

    The gifted one speath…

    What has a baby done? And it is a baby. Your rationalization into another word still leaves an innocent baby.

    BUT to protect a vile evil human scum from proper excution speaks more of you then your escape difinitions. And that ain ‘t good. For you.

  14. serfer62
    September 25th, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    Huey, one of the falicies of your kind of people is how many condemned “innocents” had escaped capitol convinctions previously.

    One of the good this about a “jury of peers” is they know you background

  15. ThePaganTemple
    September 25th, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    I look at the death penalty as being far more constitutional than a life without parole sentence. The constitution is against cruel and unusual punishment, and it strikes me that a human being being confined to a prison cell for the entirety of his natural life is a lot more cruel and unusual than putting him to death. Just do it in a humane way and give him a set amount of time to allow him to come to terms with his fate and to prepare for it mentally, emotionally, and physically, and your being far more compassionate to the condemned than he was to his victims in the vast majority of cases.

    Most importantly though is if the death penalty is ever declared unconstitutional-and make no mistake about it, if the left has its way, it definitely will be declared unconstitutional-it won’t be a year before they’ll move on to declaring life without parole equally unconstitutional, and then we’ll be back to prison as therapy.

    You murdered your wife and four kids? Well, we’d better make sure we keep you locked up for about ten years. You need therapy before we let you back out.

    I know. They know it. And unfortunately, so do most criminals, which is why they tend to vote Democrat.

  16. Neil
    September 25th, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    The unborn are completely, 100.000% innocent of capital crimes. They are destroyed for the “crime” of being unwanted.

    Capital punishment is for those who committed 1st degree murder (and usually more) and lost 14 years of appeals.

    FYI: There is an average of one capital punishment per week in the U.S. versus 20,000 abortions.  Which deserves more attention?

    I am OK with unrestricted access to abortions – provided that the unborn get the same 14 years of appeals that condemned killers do.I’m also pro-choice as long as the unborn human being is the one making the life or death decision.  But very few unborn human beings commit suicide.

  17. Anonymous
    September 25th, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

    Coulter is usually right, but she shares the Leftist’s habit of presuming the bad faith of those who disagree with her.  A wrongful prison sentence can be reversed (minus the years already lost in prison.)  A wrongful execution cannot.

  18. JeffS
    September 25th, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

    I don’t agree that life without parole is cruel and unusual punishment, but it is certainly a far worse measure than execution. 

    On this topic, though, YMMV.

  19. Anonymous
    September 25th, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

     The sentence of life with out parole is given often enough to not be unusual.
     The miss-comprehension of the meaning of the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment astounds. The notion that the constitution meant to make capital punishment painless is nonsense. It’s purpose is to prevent the state from invoking penalties for certain crimes that are deliberately meant to cause more pain than necessary achieve the purpose of putting a criminal to death. It was still common at the time of the founding for crimes such as treason to have horrific penalties designed as hyper deterrents by maximum inflictions of pain.
    The left has already succeeded once in having the death penalty struck down as it was being implemented at the time. That’s what has led to the ridiculous multiple levels of appeals. The notion of some that the death penalty is unacceptable because it can’t be implemented perfectly, is to assert the point that there should be no justice unless it can be prefect justice. The constitution is meant to guarantees equal justice not perfect justice.

  20. Joe
    September 25th, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

    If liberals think there is something good in killing their own children, what can I say. 

    I am not an absolutist.  I do not think you should be forced to carry a child of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is truly endangered (which is actually pretty rare).   In those circumstances I understand about choice.  But let’s face reality here, an abortion is 99% of the time about convenience. 

  21. Joe
    September 25th, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

    I am with Smitty on the death penalty–it should be allowed but rarely used.  Human institutions are flawed (no matter how good) and mistakes will happen. 

      But I do know many pro life people who take it to mean no death penalty and no euthanisia too. 

  22. Joe
    September 25th, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

    Come on Roxeanne, not one inn0cent person has been put to death?  I will give you that since the 1970s, probably no innocent person has been executed, but that is not absoultely known.  Arguably there have been a few executions that should probably not have gone forward. 

    We know very well there were lots of mistakes historically with the death penalty before recent times.  But given how expensive a death penalty is, I would suggest we save it for the worst of the worst. 

  23. Joe
    September 25th, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

    JeffS, I agree, yet it is amazing how most (not all, Gary Gilmore for example) still try to live. 

  24. ThePaganTemple
    September 25th, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

    I think the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment was perhaps mainly meant to prevent inappropriate punishments for relatively minor crimes. For example, hanging somebody for stealing food. In some cases it might not have had anything to do with the death penalty, but to prevent excessive amounts of prison time, like a twenty year prison sentence for stealing ten dollars. This bullshit against the death penalty is just another example of how the Left twists the words of the constitution to suit their own agendas.

  25. Anonymous
    September 25th, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

    You would be incorrect.

  26. Left’s faith in government ends in the courtroom « Don Surber
    September 25th, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

    […] trust convictions agonize over the death penalty but blandly accept life imprisonment.” Smitty gave three reasons, except the obvious one: The “I AM troy Davis” crowd knows Troy Davis is guilty as sin. […]

  27. Huey
    September 25th, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

    I don’t pretend to understand what you said, serfer62. It was utterly incoherent.

    Again, I’m not opposed to the death penalty when there is 100% certainty of the guilt of the criminal – for heinous crimes.  (McVeigh, for example – serial killers where the evidence is certain (especially confessions)

    I just don’t think that, knowing that there are sufficient examples of prosecutorial misconduct, jury miscarriages, incorrect eyewitness testimony, experts who concoct evidence (see my links) – and top that with the FACT that we KNOW that many people WERE on death row and ARE INNOCENT – as conclusively established by subsequent evidence – that we, as a society should ASSUME that there aren’t OTHERS who are LIKEWISE innocent – but as a result of any of the factors I’ve listed (or any other) are CURRENTLY on death row or will be placed there in the future.

    This is an area (the killing of a person) where, if error is to be made, it should be on the side of caution.

  28. Dawnsblood
    September 26th, 2011 @ 12:05 am

    The quote is from Ann Althouse not Ann Coulter.

  29. Jorge Emilio Emrys Landivar
    September 26th, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    To play the devil’s advocate, you can give back a portion of life imprisonment, but once you have killed someone its final.  You can’t take back a portion of  an execution.

  30. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2011 @ 12:31 am

    You would create a different standard of guilt or innocence for those who have been accused of murder? The standard has always been beyond a reasonable doubt for good reason, that being, the standard is reasonable. Applying a 100% standard of guilt is to eliminate guilt. Why is it more or less acceptable to punish the innocent if they will not be put to death then when they may be. Justice is administered by humans it will never be perfect.

  31. Huey
    September 26th, 2011 @ 1:02 am

    No. I would create a different standard for the SENTENCE phase of the trial. Guilt/innocence would remain “beyond a reasonable doubt.” (The “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard  is an amorphous standard, one which is frequently misunderstood even by the jurors charged with applying it – even after they have been instructed by the Judge as to its meaning and application.)

    No. 100% certainty of guilt isn’t impossible. There are many cases where the guilt of a criminal is certain.

    Why do you think I believe it is “acceptable” to imprison innocents just because I think it’s unacceptable to KILL them? At least if they’re alive, they have the possibility of proving their innocence.

  32. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2011 @ 1:27 am

    While you are correct that juror’s misinterpret reasonable doubt and when they do they usually take it’s meaning to be much more stringent than it is. Our use of a jury of ones peers is or was about as perfect as we can make it. The various fads, separate trial phases for sentencing etc. haven’t made it more fair or more just but merely more political and much much worse more politically correct. 

  33. Thomas Knapp
    September 26th, 2011 @ 2:15 am

    I support the death penalty when administered by the victim or the victim’s protector, in self-defense at the scene of a violent crime. In emergency situations, you do what you have to do.
    Trusting the state to premeditatedly kill at leisure when there’s no necessity that it do so? Not a chance. If I can’t trust the state to deliver the mail on time or balance its checkbook, how can I trust it with something like that?

  34. ThePaganTemple
    September 26th, 2011 @ 2:40 am

    Maybe, but I doubt it. Check out some of the punishments of the day, and think Europe. What do you think Les Misrables was based on? I can’t think of the name of the guy who wrote it, but whoever it was, he didn’t dream it up out of thin air. One thing I do know, the founders was not meaning to exclude the death penalty in all cases.

  35. Adjoran
    September 26th, 2011 @ 2:41 am

    I rise to Anamika’s defense!  She might not be an idiot – can you so casually discount the possibility she is just pure evil?

  36. ThePaganTemple
    September 26th, 2011 @ 2:44 am

    But of course, you no doubt trust the state implicitly and without reservation when it comes to levying taxes on “the rich” in order to assist “the poor” and in implementing any number of social policies, or in regulating business and energy sources and production, in deciding the best way to control our children’s education, and etc., etc., etc.

  37. Adjoran
    September 26th, 2011 @ 2:56 am

    In no case should a death sentence be a cause for celebration.  In certain cases it can certainly be just, and I have always supported it in those cases, but it gets harder all the time.

    Law provides for counsel for the accused, and the defense in death penalty cases is never cheap.  Before a condemned man is executed, the state may have spent several million dollars on his defense and appeals.  While some states have expedited the process (in itself not without flaw), often it is many years after conviction and sentence that the execution takes place. 

    So I am gradually moving to the position that the death penalty be reserved only for the most depraved and mass murderers, and use life without parole for the rest.  It’s just cheaper.

  38. Thomas Knapp
    September 26th, 2011 @ 3:10 am


    “But of course, you no doubt trust the state implicitly and without reservation when it comes to …”

    That statement is false with respect to any activity to which it refers. There’s nothing I trust the state to do, and nothing I prefer it versus other entities to do. 

    And, as best possible, I practice what I preach on that, including homeschooling my two sons.

  39. ThePaganTemple
    September 26th, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

    No its not cheaper. The older a convicted felon gets the more medical care he is going to require. The way I see it, if somebody has done anything to warrant locking him up in a prison cell for the entirety of his natural life, its probably equally just and valid to execute him, and as far as I’m concerned a hell of a lot more humane. But owing to the absence of any professionally verified DNA evidence confirmed by a respected second party, I’d agree to a life w/o parole sentence on the extremely unlikely chance new exculpatory evidence might emerge.

    But let’s face it, there are some cases where you absolutely know, not just beyond a reasonable doubt, but beyond any shadow of a doubt, that you have the guilty party, so why bother with semantics? Why does someone who has purposely ended a life deserve any more consideration than “the most depraved and mass murderers”? During the last few seconds of the victims life I would suggest he or she probably would not appreciate the distinction.

  40. Philip Hahn
    September 26th, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    A Libertarian friend of mine argues that if they are imprisoned, they still have freedom. To which I would argue no, they do not…

  41. Tennwriter
    September 26th, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

    Before the Victorians, there were something like 260 crimes that led to death, including 13 year old boys stealing bread.  The Victorians brought back moral behavior among the wild populace, and decreased teh number of crimes that led to death by more than two hundred.

    I’m thinking PT is correct here.

  42. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

    I don’t think she’s that good.