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I made a post yesterday about the death penalty, and then later deleted it because I wanted to give it some more thought to find out if I still felt the same way today.

I have always been against the death penalty, and have written a few web pages as to why. I suppose I’ll have to delete them because I have definitely changed my mind.

One of the causes I’ve had in my life for a few years have been writing, paying for a weekly subscription of the El Paso Times, and ordering books from bookstores, and visiting every February of the year, inmates at the Kenedy Penitentiary in San Antonio, Texas. I have a couple of inmates I write to who are on death row, also.

Once these inmates complete their time, I will never see them again, and they will never know exactly where to find me, because I have various PO Boxes in this city.

I do not know how the ones on death row will react when I write to them, letting them know about my change of heart; that I am now for the death penalty. I must let them know; otherwise I’d feel like a hypocrite. I’ll also have to tell the others. I most definitely will continue with the newspaper subscription, and sending books from the bookstores, and going over there in February and rent the same inexpensive motel that’s owned by these people from India, that’s closest to the penitentiary. I have one brand new one who has put me on his list for visitation.

I never imagined I’d change my mind about killing a violent criminal, but too many factors, which I won’t go into, have caused me to change my mind. I’ve always looked down with disdain on those who have been for the death penalty, and it saddens me that I’ve somehow become just like them.

On another note, I’ve been watch on TV all the horrible things Saddam Hussein did to so many people. How is it possible for a man to do these horribly diabolical things to so many human-beings?

If he were to be dissected, would a heart be found? I don’t think so.

I will say this for him, he died like a man.


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 30th, 2006 05:27 pm (UTC)
I too am generally against the death penalty, but not in Saddam's case. Though I think I would have been equally happy if they had sent him to the same jail as the Nazi leaders spent their remaining years.

My opposition to the death penalty is the number of cases, death penalty and otherwise, that are over turned years down the road due to new DNA technics or new evidence, or what ever. The supreme courts at one point halted executions because of how many cases were later being overturned. The thing is, once a person is dead, they are dead and there is no way to over turn that death.

I'm all for "an eye for an eye" type punishment system if we can be absolutely sure the guilty party is the one being punished, but we are not there yet.
Dec. 30th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
Dec. 30th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
I always felt that there have been some innocent people executed, and if only one innocent person could be saved by its abolition, then that was good enough reason for me.

Another reason was that I consider myself a Christian, not a very good one, but a Christian, and I’ve always gone by the New Testament, where it says that one must turn the other cheek. I felt that if I called myself a Christian, then I’d be a hypocrite by siding toward the death penalty.

I find that I don’t feel as I did before, because I’ve seen too many horrific crimes committed toward the innocent. I don’t feel good about my decision, but it’s a decision I must accept.
Dec. 30th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
M'dear, the New Testament gives the State the obligation to execute certain criminals. Turning the other cheek was for personal insult; when someone is murdered, they do not have the opportunity to "turn the other cheek", as it were, and nobody has the right to turn their cheek for them.

As far as it goes, it's not as though the majority of us who favor the death penalty feel any desire to bathe in the blood of the condemned. Execution is a very serious statement on the value we place on human life: the price of taking a life is one's own life. If you favor the death penalty, then don't feel bad that you favor it. Rather, feel bad that it is ever necessary.
Dec. 31st, 2006 02:52 am (UTC)
But then, why does the State pay no heed to "Thou shalt not kill?"
Dec. 31st, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC)
I've been advised from various sources that a more proper way of phrasing the commandment is, "Thou shalt not commit murder." In other words, the commandment is not to take innocent blood.

Have you read Exodus? Right after Moses comes down with the commandments, the Levites are rewarded for killing people who were worshipping the golden... thing... that I just can't remember. A bull or something. Keep reading the next couple of books, and you'll see circumstances in which God gives the rules under which certain people are to be executed, and when one person may hunt down and kill another, and on it goes.

So the answer to your question is, because it doesn't apply in these cases.
Dec. 31st, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
Both phrases mean the same thing.

What is murder? Is it now when one kills a helpless person? The death penalty is the act of committing murder, because we execute a helpless man.

And if we break only one of the 10 Commandments, we break them all.

It was a golden calf that they worshipped, made from gold earrings while Moses was atop Mt. Sinai, as God wrote the 10 Commandments, which were the first version. The golden calf belonged to Aaron.
Jan. 1st, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
What is murder? Is it now when one kills a helpless person? The death penalty is the act of committing murder, because we execute a helpless man.

Supposing I were to kill a police officer while he was on duty. That officer has a gun, pepper spray, all sorts of neat gadgets that are designed to defend him. He's been trained in all sorts of ways to handle all sorts of things. He's not helpless; yet, I've still committed a murder. Therefore, helplessness is not the criteria to determine what constitutes a murder.
Dec. 30th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
regards to sadddam, a friend and i were discussing his death last night. on one hand, i'm not exactly shedding a tear for him because he was ruthless bastard and death was too good for him. on the other hand, the motives behind his capture and execution are too sinister to ignore.

in regards to the death penalty, i wrote an extensive post on it about a year back and it offers what i believe is a unique perspective. check it out. it's not to change your mind or anything (even though i'm opposed to capital punishment) but just to present some other facts and viewpoints to consider.

click here.
Dec. 30th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
change of mind
Hi, I must say to you it's not a crime to change your mind on this subject because you are right we can see what is happening all over the world there is no excuse for saying i did not know.Evil people are all over the place not just this despot of humanity u say he died like a man i disagree with you these evil people dont kill by themselves they get others to kill and torture for them yes truely evil he is one of many.So we must seek them out and take care of them before they kill and have killed many more innocent people,if you disagree with me i dont expect you to have me killed it's that simple they live by the fear factor.You visit lifers in prison good for you but is that the answer to there crimes do you visit the victimes family probably not we must consider the victim first and foremost in or thought's their family.I say to you this as i know murders who are back on the streets of britain who have not reformed have no simpathy for their victims or their family we dont have death penalty because you can get it wrong sometimes that is a fact but what is the answer to evil killers being back on streets to murder again which is happening more and more often here,we have tried to be liberal to death penalty and people have paid with their lives because of this if not the death penalty life must be life hard time no visit's except from their family to let them see the hidden victim's their own family. BEST WISHES TO YOU AND YOURS FOR 2007.
Dec. 30th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
Sorry sunshine but I cannot find pleasure in any mans death.
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
Dec. 30th, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
Our opinions and feelings are based on how we are raised, the situations we experience as we grow older and the facts we learn. Those opinions and feelings are bound to change as we mature and are able to better understand those things that are put before us and those things that have affected us in the past.

As a Child I questioned everything because of an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. My beliefs on religion, were some that changed drastically. As a Child I could not fathom concepts like Omnipotent, Omnipresence, and Omniscience. As I grew I learned about Faith so I did not question but allowed bling faith to rule. Now as a older man I question everything again in a renewed thirst for more knowledge. Change is inevitable.

Saddam paid for his crimes against his people.
Lets hope that their country is able to get past his terror.
Dec. 30th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
yeah right, hanging is what you do to a criminal...Firing squad is the honorable way for a soldier to be executed....Saddam knew this, that's probably why they hanged him like one of his victims.

I'm not in favor of the death penalty, but some people are just too fucking evil to live and need to be clipped.

Dec. 30th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
I'm firmly opposed to the death penalty simply because I don't trust the state with that kind of power. Yes, we're all reasonably certain that in this case the culprit is, in fact, guilty but the cases where we aren't and someone is convicted in error still can and do happen.
Dec. 30th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
I've never been opposed to Capital Punishment off the bat, but as a Catholic who does liasten to what past popes have said on the subject I do favor alternatives that are not so much merciful but better for our own souls as the punishers.
If someone proposed a way to punish a murderer with complete isolation from everyone for life, it would be a fitting punishment. No murderer should have access to television, weight rooms, correspondence to the outside world. A living death sentence should be carried out in which the murderer no longer has any contact with living beings other than doctors and maybe a minister because no government or man should have providence over another man's soul regardless of his crimes.
Dec. 31st, 2006 12:28 am (UTC)
I have always been opposed to it, but as of late, I’ve found myself wishing death upon those who have committed extremely heinous crimes. The horrible crimes committed by Saddam on so many people have left me feeling ill.

I’ve always suspected that many innocent people have been executed here in the U.S., and this has been one of the reasons I was against it. I’ve also noticed that money is what weighs the scales of justice. Money often times buys freedom because the accused has the means to pay for the best attorney’s, while the poor do not.

The Bible has had much to do also, in my opposition to the death penalty: "Thou Shalt Not Kill." I have suddenly found myself with a change of heart, a change in desiring revenge against those many that are causing such violent death upon so many people. I don’t like this change in me, but I can’t help it anymore. If this is the way I now feel, I must now admit it to myself.

Life in prison, without the possibility of parole is a most befitting punishment for most. When we encounter a rabid dog, we put it to death; the same thing should and must be done to rabid human beasts.

The only ones who I feel should be spared death are those who sexually abuse children. I believe they should be castrated, AND have both arms chopped off.
Dec. 30th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
People in this country can preach for and against the death penalty, that is their right, won by the deaths of thousands of soldiers over the years.

They have not ever felt the thumb of a criminal such as Sadam, the terror he caused, the death to innocent people all around them. It went on and on in their lives forever.

The one thing you can say for the death penalty is that he will kill no more. Now it is up to God, he will have the final say.
Dec. 30th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Personally I have rather strong feelings about the death penalty - but believe it or not, neither for nor against. Go figure. . .I've never claimed to be simple with anything. **laughs** But I will keep them to myself for now.

I am curious as to what exactly changed your mind, though.

Sometimes charity to someone has nothing to do with deserving or not deserving, but it's about compassion. You have an incredibly compassionate heart. That compassion does not take from anything - it adds. Even if no one else understands. . . it adds.


Dec. 31st, 2006 03:18 am (UTC)
The change has been creeping up on me slowly. I find that I’m only interested in watching true life programs and stories dealing with violent crime on television. I’ve watched and heard the devastation of the victim’s families. I continue to watch the news, and I continue to read the newspapers from across the border I live in. I’ve been watching all the atrocities Saddam committed against men, women and even children. Most importantly, what I experienced in my past continues to haunt me more viciously than ever. As time passes, I can feel my heart become harder and colder.

Perhaps I need to go to church and start praying for the return of that compassion I once felt for all living things. All in all, I don’t like what I’m becoming, but I can’t seem to help it.
Dec. 30th, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC)
I've always had mixed feelings about the death penalty. I think probably it is something that is best determined by a jury of people who are open to discussing the penalty for any given crime.

I am opposed to punishing by isolating and depriving a person from human contact for the balance of their life. To me, this is much more harsh than the death penalty. It is torturous.
Dec. 30th, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)
I've generally been against the death penalty because of innocents placed on death row and because of all the expenses of keeping someone on death row.

Seriously, prison guards making more money than doctors? That says something.
Dec. 30th, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC)
I am against the death penalty.

Does killing Saddam make the world a better place? A safer place? I don't think so. I am not saying he was not a bad man - I doubt there are many who would argue that, but more needless, senseless death? Also, this trial.. was he guilty? of that I have little doubt, but if there was ever was a trial that needed to be conducted according to the book in an unbiased manner, it was this one. At the same time, how was one ever going to find unbiased people to conduct the trial.

He got deposed by the invasion of Iraq. An invasion for those weapons of mass destruction that never got found. Doesn't that mean that the US and allies committed acts of war as well? Are any westerners on trial for death for their war crimes? For the invasion of another country?

I don't believe in 'an eye for an eye' (I have been reading everyone elses comments) because where does it stop???

bah. I think you already knew where I stood :)
Dec. 31st, 2006 05:53 am (UTC)
I must say I agree. You make a GOOD point with where does it end. If one man kills another and the other mans family kills him then they still aren't even because it was a different person from the family who pulled the trigger. It's sad people can't see that. It's a basic rule from childhood... 2 wrongs don't equal 1 right!
Dec. 31st, 2006 04:18 am (UTC)
Let's see if everyone's opinion remains the same in the event all-out civil war (which in the opinion of many has already broken loose) breaks loose in unhidable fashion in Iraq, to the point at which it is noted that his death more or less officially kicked it off.
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, we shall see.
Dec. 31st, 2006 05:45 am (UTC)
Strange as it may sound I am against the death penalty, even seeing things Saddam did first hand through arab friends and military relatives, because I think by killing someone who killed we are hypocrites. If it is wrong to take a life then it is wrong to take ANY life no matter how horrible that life was lead. I don't have any more right to kill Saddam Hussian then he had to kill anyone else. For me it isn't anything religious, political, or otherwise nobel. It is simply a matter of 2 wrongs don't equal one right. The people doing the killing for their states and countries are equally as guilty of murder as the person they killed. I guess I am stronger than most in that I don't crack or change my beliefs because of the horrors CNN puts in front of me or because the email of a friends chared baby sisters body sits in my inbox. I still, as much as I want them dead, don't feel that anyone but God has the right to take a life. Guess thats just me tho!!

Side note completely unrelated... I DID get your Christmas card and it made me SO happy. What I love about you is everything that makes you you!! And to even be a minor part of your life honors me. The card was ABSOLUTLY ADOREABLE!!! Thanks to you, bella, for sending a little sunshine my way!! I hope you Christmas was wonderful too!!
Dec. 31st, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
I'm against the death penalty because it's too expensive. The cost of keeping a man alive in prison for the remainder of his years is only about $700k. The cost of appeal after appeal and all the other countless legal proceedings utilized to execute a criminal exceeds a million dollars. That's money wasted just to see some kind of eye-for-an-eye vengeance. I don't mind criminals getting executed rather than getting turned loose in the merry-go-round prison system we have (due to overcrowding), but not on the taxpayer's dime. There's many things our various states need much more than dead criminals. The money could be spent on various special interest groups, whatever. It just could be better spent than executing one man. Life is cheap, unless you're on death row.
Jan. 1st, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
I used to doubt the death penalty like you. The story of Jack Henry Abbott is the one that finally sold me. Look him up on wikipedia.

Since he was a published writer he has many quotes, in one of which he describes killing people with knives (not on wikipedia). He says something like "when you take em down, and you're on top of em just about to finish em, they always look in your eyes and say 'please'."

Something about that statement forever removed any doubt in my mind about the necessity death penalty for some. Human life is to precious to allow those inclined to take it - for nothing or some absurd reasons of their own - life themselves. The better of two evils.
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link. I’d never heard of Abbott.

I’m still in shock at how I’ve found myself suddenly for the death penalty. For as long as I can remember, I’d been totally against it, and pray to God that all who will be executed in the future are truly guilty.

This year, I saw to many atrocities committed against the innocent, and have slowly been finding myself wanting those who have taken away the life of so many, dead.

I go once a year to visit some inmates who have no one to care for them. I try to talk to them and give advice. These guys made a mistake in their lives, and I honestly believe there is hope for them. But there are some I see in the next windows of the penitentiary, who have the eyes of a born killer. These are the ones who not only are a danger to society, but too many of the inmates that are incarcerated, too.

I believe there is such a thing as a BORN killer, and nothing on earth will ever change them.

Abbott was obviously a very talented and intelligent man, and what a waste, because he might have grown to do great, good things in this world, but I see it was impossible, because I believe he was born to kill.

I was in the Army, and we were taught to kill, and I know for a fact I could kill, but only to if I had to for my country, and to save my own life. In my civilian life, I have firearms, and I know I could use them, if a stranger entered my home with the intent to kill me. But to kill an innocent person, I know I’d have to chop off my own arm. I can’t even kill an innocent little but, much less an innocent, helpless person.

I do believe that when we execute a convicted murderer, we are also committing murder in a way, because when you kill a helpless person, as is the one who will be executed, he never had the means to defend himself.

I never thought the day would come, when I’d someday have to explain to God, that yes, I committed murder by being for capital punishment.

Perhaps one day I’ll share those many pages I created, stressing my views why I was so against the death penalty.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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