Re: Is the death penalty Extropian?

Max M (
Thu, 26 Nov 1998 17:02:41 +0100

From: John Clark <>
>Max M <>
> >Probably crimes of passion, or done in a moments rage is much harder
> >control, especially if you haven't conditioned yourself not to do
>I agree, that's why it should be punished more severely. I've never
>why committing a crime "in cold blood" was supposed to make it more evil
than if
>it was committed "in the heat of passion". It seems to me the conventional
>has it exactly backwards.

The consequence of this "acting on impulse" theory is that the real problems with sudden violence doesn't happen in the violent act. The real problem lies before that when the agressor convinces himself that violence is the answer. He's making a faulty program for himself.

When you sit quietly at home thinking about what to do if somebody provokes you it is easy to imagine a scenario where you have several options.

  1. Run and escape (if you can). or
  2. Fight back (if there is no escape). or
  3. Fight back no matter what (to save face) or ...

Lots of scenarios can be imagined. If you, because of pride, choose scenario 3) when you are quietly at home, then it is probably more likely that you will do just that when in an agressive situation. If furthermore you decide to carry a weapon there is a bigger risk of using it, because you have actually decided to do it beforehand.

Many criminals pre-program their minds with the twisted meme that they have to kill or mame to be cool. What is important is helping them to get another program running.

Your theory is that the fear of a long sentence will make them think twice about programming themself for violence. This is indeed a logical conclusion. The only problem is that the punishment does not seem to have the wanted effect. Thus the empirical data does not support the theory.

If that is so, what can we do differently to make them run the right program?

# Max M Rasmussen,   New Media Director   Denmark
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