Susan (
3 Sep 1996 19:16:28 GMT (ScottCrull) wrote:
>My only thought is that in order to end crime, a society has to have the
>resolve to deal out the worst possible consequence - a death sentence. IF
>everyone thinks that by committing a crime & getting caught will earn them
>this result, then, over time, the idea of crime will be eliminated. Not
>only does this pertain to any one country, but to the world's societies in
>general. "Do a crime & Die!"
>Personal note: I am a conservative & always have been.

This is a nice idea (and I'm not being sarcastic!), but history and
sociology suggest it doesn't work. It's a complex issue (I always seem
to be saying that!), but some of the gist is that the psychology is
wrong. Capital punishment is not an effective deterrent. Statistics
suggest that states who have it don't show lower murder rates, etc.
Plus, historically, when they did kill people for much lesser crimes than
today, crime was at an all time high. Look at the Victorian era, where
people got hanged for relatively minor offenses. But rates of murder,
crime, prostitution, child abuse, etc. were exceedingly high.

As I understand it, the problem is partly that people genuinely don't
think about consequences when they commit at least some crimes. They are
either done in a moment of high emotion, when thinking is just not on the
agenda, or they don't believe they will get caught. Or they deny that
they are committing a crime, believing that people made them do it, or
denying responsibility in other ways. The result seems to be that people
who really believe they might get caught don't commit crimes, as
predicted above. But the rest do, thereby making up the criminal

And that's leaving aside the idea of whether or not human beings would,
if given the power, always apply it fairly, without bias or prejudice,
and would always get it right.

IMO, it always comes down to this: is it better to execute some innocent
people in order to kill most of the guilty ones, or the let some guilty
ones live in order to avoid killing the occasional innocent person.
Because that's what history suggests are the alternatives.




"Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps."
-- Emo Phillips