last-ditch emotional plea

No matter how the death penalty is debated, the dialog I often end up in boils down to something like this…

OK Peter, I understand what you’re saying but what if it was your kid that was raped and murdered? How would you feel? What would you want to do?

My response:

I might go insane with anger. Though I feel uncomfortable saying this, I have to admit I may feel like killing the perpetrator while inflicting a painful revenge.

Their response:


My response:

We should adopt laws expressing insanity and rage with the intention of vengeance?


6 Responses to “last-ditch emotional plea”

  1. Kate Olson Says:

    Can a society and justice system exist with no emotional involvement?

  2. Peter Rock Says:

    A society is made up of emotional human beings so it surely cannot. But there is no reason to strive for a society without emotion. There is nothing wrong with emotion in and of itself.

    Can laws (i.e. a “justice system”) be written without emotional involvement? That continuum would depend on each person involved in drafting the law. Regardless, shouldn’t those considering a law’s purpose aim for justice via their conscience and reason – rather than emotion or religious beliefs?

  3. Erudite Redneck Says:

    I am opposed to capital punishment for one reason: I do not the state to have the power to kill its citizens for breaking some “law.” Nope.

    Now, I do underastand such grief and rage and anger that fuels the personal need for revenge. My suggestion is this: If the closest survivor, and only the closest survivor, of a murder victim wants to pull the trigger, push the button to rel;ease the poison, swing open the gallows, throw the switch, or whatever, and do it publicly, maybe there’s an alternative. Details to be worked out, of course. But it could be done.

    I do believe in the He-needed-killin’ Law. But I don’t want the state to be the one doin’ the killing.

  4. Peter Says:

    Erudite Redneck,

    So you support a state that aids and abets what you perceive to be a “personal need for revenge”? I’m not convinced there is a “need” for revenge. Rather, I see it as a desire that the state should not support.

  5. the ethics and legality of torture « GNUosphere Says:

    […] Perhaps. My anger and panic may drive me over that edge. And while a judge may have some degree of mercy on me should I act with such insanity, that should neither provide justice for my action nor sanction it in any moral sense. Arguing the justification of torture (whether moral or legal) on such grounds is simply a last-ditch emotional plea. […]

  6. norway and anders breivik « GNUosphere Says:

    […] the case against Anders Breivik. Imprison him and care for him. This is courageous justice. I have sympathy for, but offer no support to, the Lynch Mob mentality that wants Breivik to suffer and die as “payment” for his […]

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