Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

11/8/2010

Death Penalty Again

Filed under: General — Dangerous Dan @ 6:08 pm

A couple of recent news stories have reminded me of why I support the death penalty for the rather crude reason that some people just deserve to die.

The first case is that of Steven Hayes, one of two men in the much-publicized Petit murders.  Hayes and his buddy invaded the home of Dr. William Petit, took them hostage, beat the tar of the father and sexually assaulted his wife and daughters.  After the mother bravely tipped off the cashier at the bank when the bastards sent her in to drain the bank accounts, they killed her, tied the daughters to their beds, poured some gasoline around the house and set it on fire while they tried to make a run for it.

Fortunately, the jury today returned the sentence of death for Steven Hayes that he so richly deserves.  Unfortunately, who knows when Connecticut will get around to it, if ever.

In another case, Dallas-area man Gary Green last year got angry that his wife of just a few month wanted to annul their marriage.  So he tied up the woman's six year old daughter, made the girl watch while he stabbed her mother 28 times, breaking two knives in the process.  He then filled up the bathtub and tossed in the little girl, drowning her.  After showering in the same tub, he picked up the woman's two sons, aged 9 and 12, from church.  He stabbed the younger one in abdomen, but they managed to talk him out of killing them.  He then made the two boys hug and kiss their dead bloodied mother before he made them hug him before he left.

Gary Green deserves to die and since it's Texas, he will.

The death penalty is the most severe punishment we have on offer and it's usually reserved for the really horrendous crimes.  Feel free to peruse this useful site that has the details on all those sentenced to death in the U.S. since 1976, including the crimes that merited the penalty.  It's interesting reading, but you probably won't be able to stomach more than three or four at one viewing.

2 Comments »

  1. I’ve noticed anecdotally that the death penalty is an issue in which people have more difficulty than usual articulating an argument in support of their position. This often speaks to the utter obviousness a claim strikes someone as being. For instance, “torturing an innocent child just for fun is wrong” seems so obviously true that it’s hard for me to muster up an argument for it. What makes the death penalty so interesting to me, though, is that people on opposite sides of the debate feel equally dumbstruck: both “some people just deserve to die” and “no one deserves death as a punishment” seem obviously correct to different people.

    Does this feeling of obviousness hold for you? If so, what do you make of the fact that people have strongly-held intuitions that conflict with your own? Do you think this strong disagreement warrants a lowering of confidence in your own intuition?

    Comment by Sean — 11/9/2010 @ 2:31 pm

  2. Hey, I never said it was a sophisticated position, at least not in and of itself. Now even if it is a moral intuition, that doesn’t mean that it’s not justifiable or that it doesn’t coincide with some kind of moral argument. Let’s say that one person has the intuition that stealing is wrong and another the intuition that stealing is right and each position seems obviously correct to their respective holders (assuming here there are no extraneous factors, e.g. stealing from Hitler to save the life of a man who will cure cancer). One intuition, especially if the two are mutually exclusive, is incorrect and the other incidentally correct. That they’re intuitions doesn’t mean there’s no truth in the matter or that I should take the existence of an opposing intuition to entail falsity of mine. It does mean, however, that the intuition has no justification or argument behind it and requires such to really continue to be held. And that’s likely while you’re properly challenging me on it and prompting me to defend what seems mere intuition. And I’ll do so. But not here or now. A) I don’t currently have the time to do so and B) I think it would make a fine topic for a more extensive actual post. I’ll put it in the hopper.

    Comment by Dangerous Dan — 11/9/2010 @ 4:30 pm

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