Re: Is the death penalty Extropian?

John Clark (
Wed, 2 Dec 1998 13:59:55 -0500

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Charlie Stross

>> How could you even set up such a study in the 1860's or today that
>> could even pretend to be scientific? I have no doubt that there are
>>lots of such studies, subsidized by the taxpayer naturally, I just don't
>>see how any of them could be worth a damn, not even the ones that
>> support my views.

>The 1860's study was quite simple, really. Until 1859, hangings were
>carried out in public; they were then moved indoors. Prisoners were
>questioned, and it was determined that more than 90% of those sentenced
>to hang had personally witnessed a hanging for the offense they themselves
>were found guilty of. They must therefore have been aware that
>committing an offense of that type would get them scragged -- but they did so

Let's examine the logic, after a long and expensive study we've proven that psychologists are able to make a living and that hanging does not deter everyone, something any child already knew, from that data we conclude that hanging doesn't deter anyone. As I said, not worth a damn.

     >The execution rate of this period did not significantly increase
     >or decrease with the move to indoor executions.

I don't think closed indoor executions are moral, they should be televised or you shouldn't have them at all.

>replacing [indoor] hangings with strict life sentences didn't
>significantly increase or decrease the murder rate in the UK.

I'll bet the number of hangings declined for many years and became virtually zero long before it was officially abolished. You'll end up comparing the murder rate in two different societies, the UK of the 1920's and the UK of the 1970's. Almost everything has changed, not just the death penalty. As I said, not scientific.

John K Clark

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