Again it is up.  This time sponsored by Karen Peterson for Delaware.  Again, Rick Jensen was fanning flames with gasoline soaked pizza boxes.

In considering this issue, there is a smart way and a dumb way…  The dumb way was pursued by Rick Jensen:  Asking what do you believe?

Counter to that, the smart approach would be to ask:  which is the best course to follow?

What you believe is based off your emotions.  As a rule, we tend to believe what we were told, modified by our experience.  Basically if someone tells us that there is a man at the North Pole who flies around the world in a reindeer driven sleigh one night a year, we will believe it until events prove otherwise.  Usually, waking up Christmas morning as a young adult with nothing under your tree, is enough to deter even the most ardent Christmas fan from continuing to believe in such.

So we will get bad data disguised as opinion.

  • People believe death is a deterrent.
  • People believe death is cheaper.
  • People believe death is cathartic.
  • People believe being unforgiving is the ultimate adulthood thrill.
  • People believe killing someone adequately revenges a personal slight.
  • People believe in acting like an asshole is more mature.

As said earlier, what we believe (like an object in space), continues on its same trajectory until it is diverted by another force or object.

Here are facts taken from those who know most about the effects of death on an incarcerated criminal population: US Prison Wardens.

  • The threat of death is not a deterrent; it does not cross the minds of most people in the middle of their crimes.
  • Death is costlier than life imprisonment.  People have to get rich over death too and they do take a pretty penny out of state budgets doing so, whereas the fixed costs are fixed for prison inmates. Their marginal cost is minimal.
  • Death accomplishes nothing for the victims or their survivors.  Instead they feel they have been a part of creating another crime on top of the one originally performed by the now dead criminal.
  • Being a bitch or unforgiving is easy;  it is usually a sign of brain damage.  Fully functioning brains with no dead spaces showing on their CT scans, tend to all opt for forgiveness… which is why it is the basis of the Christian religion; it’s the smart thing to do…  Supporting the death penalty is more in line with Shara Law than with the New Testament.  More to the point is that the entire premise of the Christian religion is based on the wrongness that occurred of using the death penalty to extinguish an innocent man.
  • Revenge is over-rated… That is so 16th Century.  Revenge is more costly to one than no revenge. Yeah, one may want it, but really?  All the perpetual harm it causes?  No one takes out revenge (yet) when one professional team loses to another.  That ideally is how we should all act.
  • It always amazes me that people think acting like an asshole makes them look more important than what they are: acting than a clown. It simply does not..  We need fewer assholes, not more in today’s world.

100% of all US Prison wardens in 1995 said the Death Penalty should be abolished.  Underlying their case was their experience that the remorse felt in old age and the realization one had wasted their golden opportunity on earth, was far more deterrent to crime, than the taking of their life.

People who think death is a deterrent, are thinking of themselves from their own framework… They are not criminals.  Criminals automatically assume they will be killed, and therefore, they need to do as much living as possible before that time comes.  Sort of like knowing you will lose the chips on your roulette table soon, so you had better buy drinks now for everyone off the winnings you have, because you can’t afford them later.

If dying means nothing to you; it is not much of a deterrent. 

Furthermore these wardens cited that having old lifers in the prison mix, increased the calmness of the prison, as opposed to only having young hot-heads incarcerated.  They spoke eloquently that for young kids to see a sixty year old broken down man and realizing they too would be like that in only 30 years, scared more criminals straight than any number of executions of strangers they never saw or cared less about.

Secondly, they all spoke that the appeals process was necessary and overly costly.  Life Imprisonment and having no death penalty gets rid of both.

The ironic argument over which option is worse for the criminal, is quickly brought to a head when one, as do 100% of prison wardens, comes to the realization that all major convicted criminals die in the penitentiary whether sentenced to life imprisoned or to death.  Just in one option, one has  longer time to mull over what one did, and what one could have accomplished, had one never committed the crime for which one was incarcerated.

So life imprisonment is cheaper, and more of an incentive not to commit crime than the death penalty. So why would anyone once knowing these facts, ever decide otherwise, when facts clearly point that abolishing the death penalty is smarter, cheaper, safer, and good policy… Keeping it intact, is the opposite.

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