Re: Death Penalty (was Re: Didn't need no welfare state)

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 09:03:12 MDT

On Tue, Apr 18, 2000 at 05:37:56PM -0700, Zero Powers wrote:
> Although I tend toward the "bleeding heart" end of the spectrum, I look at
> capital punishment as a cost vs. benefit analysis. You got a human scum
> (say, Charlie Manson) who has amply demonstrated that he will never be good
> for anything except warming a prison cell. Do we keep him alive for no good
> reason until he wastes away, at a cost of umpteen thousand dollars per year,
> or do we put him and us out of our mutual misery by killing and cremating
> him at a cost of a few thousand and be done with it? The answer to me seems
> obvious.

Unless you take into account the possibility that he might be innocent
but wrongly convicted. Here in the UK, they've tightened up the appeals
and miscarriages-of-justice process a bit in the past few years, and
added DNA testing to the battery of forensic techniques available.
The result is that roughly 10-15% of historic "guilty" verdicts are
being overturned, in crimes as serious as murder.

Face it, the judicial system is a system created by human beings. As
such, it is fallible -- even without side-issues like police corruption
and political interference.

Think of that nice warm prison cell Charlie Manson sleeps in every night
as YOUR personal insurance premium against being summarily executed for
a crime you didn't commit.

-- Charlie

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