1,000 Points of Fright

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And the winner of the great "who will be the 1,000th US prisoner executed since the death penalty was re-legalized in 1977?" is…

A convicted murderer in North Carolina has been put to death, making him the 1,000th person executed in the US since 1977.

The Department of Corrections in North Carolina said 57-year-old Kenneth Lee Boyd died Friday at 2:15 a.m. from lethal injection.

A judge sentenced Boyd to death for killing his estranged wife and father-in-law in 1988.

Something about death row makes inmates into unintentional comics. When faced with his numerical honor, Boyd said "hate to be remembered" as a number–better that he be remembered as a scumbag double-murderer!

More here.

Quick aside before a more-serious point: Was Gary Gilmore the first guy to be executed in the modern period? And all you Norman Mailer fans out there, answer me this: Why did it take him like 1,000 pages to explore Gilmore's psyche while The Adverts were able to do the definitive evocation of the guy in their 3-minute masterpiece, "Gary Gilmore's Eyes"?

I'm against the death penalty. I have no sympathy for murderers like Boyd, or born-again pickaxe queen Karla Faye Tucker. At the same time, I don't think there's any question that innocent people are on death row (or, more accurately, people have been given death sentences for crimes they didn't commit), that the penalty is meted out unevenly, and more.

But the reason I'm against the death penalty is because I think the proper police function of government is to protect citizens from harm, in the least violent way possible. That can and should be done through life imprisonment, not state-sanctioned killing.

Way back in the late '90s–when I was doing time in the Death Penalty capitol of the U.S., Huntsville, Texas–I did a bit about the death penalty for NPR. Audio is online here.

NEXT: You Can Fly With Them, but You Still Shouldn't Run With Them

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  1. Having known the Adverts for years, but having read the first book of Executioner’s Song (Western Voices?) only recently, I can say that the book does better justice to Gilmore’s intelligence and creativity and writing style.

    Too bad he was evil. I guess Mailer figured that out with the next one.

  2. Nick: I’m with you, while I abhor anyone who wrongly kills another individual, I am deeply suspicious of the state’s demand for the power of life & death over the citizens is supposedly directed to protect.

    L. Neil Smith’s Win Bear summed it (in the novel The Probability Broach) up as: “‘I’m against capitol punishment, a useless, degrading practice, except at the scene of the crime, preferably at the hands of the intended victim.‘” [errors are those of my memory].

  3. I’m glad you’re no longer an agnostic.

  4. Lawrence Schiller did most of the dirty work on Executioner’s Song. He did a great job of crafting the whole concept of Blood Attonement with Gilmore’s decision not to fight his execution. Read his brother Mikal Gilmore’s Shot In The Heart as an excellant companion piece to Mailer’s book then follow up with John Krackauer’s Under The Banner of Heaven to get your RDA of LDS.

  5. how about this:

    libertarians don’t trust the gov’t to deliver the mail, and that’s got our addresses on it ‘n’ all. how could the gov’t be trusted with this life and death shit?

    superficial understanding of what Illinois gov ryan did makes that seem like an interesting scenario…

  6. “I don’t think there’s any question that innocent people are on death row (or, more accurately, people have been given death sentences for crimes they didn’t commit), that the penalty is meted out unevenly, and more.”

    If we lived in anarchy, I think fewer innocent people would die, but I can’t understand why lovers of institutions and establishments (archists) don’t relish the thought of errors plus innocents dying.
    I’m thinking of Sherman’s march to the sea: Governments and institutions are at their best by being sloppy and grossly overdoing.

  7. I am only agnostic when I expressly limit myself to science and reason. I try to clear when I am doing that.

    However, there are many contexts where I do not limit my mind to science and reason. In those contexts I am a Catholic.

    Not sure whether this kind of compartmentalization is scary-cool or way-wrong, but it works for me.

  8. If distrust of government in general is reason enough to oppose the death penalty, why is it not reason enough to oppose long-term imprisonment? Do you really want such an inept government to be deciding whether you spend the next few decades of your life behind bars?

    And in any case, the government doesn’t dish out death sentences, juries do.

  9. That can and should be done through life imprisonment, not state-sanctioned killing.

    life imprisonment = state-sanctioned lifelong kidnapping

    Sorry Nick, but if you’re going to spare us the euphemisms, you’ve got to do it consistently.

  10. It seems to me that if the government is going to be granted the power to execute, there must be some tangible good that offsets the distastefulness of killing by the government and the fact that it’s more or less a given that innocent people will be killed. Especially in regard to the second point, we would have to be talking about one hell of a good.
    So far as I can see, no good purpose at all is served by the death penalty. The idea of deterrence is silly. When English law prescribed hanging for virtually any crime, London was hardly crime free. I have never seen any indication of the efficacy of execution as deterrence. (Apart from the smarmy observation that the executed won’t kill again) The idea that justice will be served by execution relies on a model of justice that accepts revenge as a motivation. That’s an iffy proposition at best, and doesn’t come close to justifying execution.

  11. Vmoose,

    Too bad one of the best moves Ryan made had to wait until he was on the way out.

    Any thoughts on Baar-Topinka?

  12. Crimethink-Because people can be let out of prison. Unless Jebus happens to be on hand, there’s no way to undo an execution.

  13. They killed the wrong Gilmore.

  14. All of the complaints about innocent people on death row ring untrue to me–this is a problem with our justice system and not with the death penalty per se. The question of whether someone deserves death for the most heinous of crimes still remains an open one in the face of that.

    I had more to say but I realized crimethink pre-empted my thoughts on this subject. I basically think that alot of the functions we rightfully ascribe to the government are far more ‘violent’ than administering death penalty to the sickest individuals in society.

  15. crimething continues to labor under the fallacy of the false dichotomy.

  16. Crimethink-Because people can be let out of prison. Unless Jebus happens to be on hand, there’s no way to undo an execution.

    Thank-you! You said it much more succinctly than I would have.

  17. I view the death penalty in this way:

    If I agree with the 8th Amendment (and I do)
    And I believe that murder is cruel (and I do)
    Then I cannot support the death penalty. (and I don’t)

    In post-schaivo living will style, my wife and I actually once discussed whether or not if we were murdered, if we would want our killer executed. Now THERE’S a messed up dinner table conversation!

  18. Number 6 – Sure, people can be let out of prison, unless they happen to die there, which is not uncommon. Even if they make it, what do you say to someone who was in prison for five, ten, twenty years by mistake? “Sorry”? “Here’s some money for your trouble”? People keep saying that death is permanent and prison isn’t (necessarily), but that always seemed a little simplistic to me. You can’t give someone back the years you stole from them either.

  19. Human error is an integral part of any human endevor, Wilson. Therefore the problems with the justice system cannot be solved, and the state shouldn’t kill you.

    A life-sentence is, at least, reversible. The death penalty isn’t, and that gives another wrinkle. Also, from what I’ve heard, life sentences are often cheaper than death because of the long appeals process and the cost of the actual execution. Can’t cite any evidence for that, so take it as what you will.

  20. I’m anti-death penalty on pragmatic rather than philosophical grounds. I believe there are people who deserve to die, but I don’t trust the state to figure out who they are.

  21. JD-You’re right, of course, that an injustice is an injustice. My point is simply that death is final and irrevocable. A person unjustly imprisoned for 20 years (NPR had a very interesting intervew with just such a person last week) can be let out. Those 20 years are gone, but at least he hasn’t been killed.
    So, it is simplistic to say that death is permanant and prison is not. At the same time, the first part of that statement is unerringly accurate.

  22. I agree with Nick. However, that purely a moral and philosophical agreement. On the emotional side of the brain some little bastard is in there doing back flips, clanging a bell, and screaming BFD and good riddance to bad rubbish (as well as joke him if he can’t take a screw).

    Yes, Gilmore was the first to be executed after a ten year or so haiatus.

  23. I’m with Number 6. You can’t give years back to a released inmate, but at least he still has time left. The same cannot be said for an innocent man who is put to death.

  24. Thoreau, Crimethink: Christians like you have no business opposing the death penalty. If the Romans didn’t have the death penalty, you wouldn’t even have a religion!

  25. “I’m anti-death penalty on pragmatic rather than philosophical grounds. I believe there are people who deserve to die, but I don’t trust the state to figure out who they are.”

    Josh, you took the words right out of my mouth. And damit, I want them back.

  26. Snarky- Ok, that was funny. Of course, if the Christian story is true, Jesus was the only guy who could make the DP reversible.

  27. Number 6, you are wrong about deterrence, at least in one case. Personal anecdote:

    Years ago my friend Wayne caught his buddy Fat Robb doing his wife downstairs on the couch while Wayne was snoozing upstairs in the bedroom. Well, you can guess most of the rest, and Wayne ended up chasing Fat Robb down the alley at Basin Street Apartments with a Remington 30-30. He got off a couple of wild shots before he finally came to his senses. I asked him why he didn’t kill him. Wayne laughed bitterly and said I had a vision of the gas chamber.

  28. All of the complaints about innocent people on death row ring untrue to me…

    It’s true that in the last 15 years or so DNA evidence has shown that something like a hundred people on death row were innocent. And that’s only since DNA testing’s been available.

    And like Timothy said, you can’t separate the death penalty from the justice system.

  29. Snarky-

    I oppose the death penalty, but crimethink is doing his best to suggest that he doesn’t have a problem with it.

    And the execution and resurrection of Jesus actually makes sense from a libertarian perspective: Some dude comes along with all the secrets of salvation, happiness, love, peace, etc. The state decides that this is unacceptable and tries to kill him…twice. (First Herod, then Pilate.) The second time they’re sure that they’ve gotten it right, but three days later they discovered that the job was botched.

    And the government employees assigned to guard the tomb were asleep.

  30. does he not deserve death? certainly he does…and many who have died deserve life. can you give it to them? then be not hasty to give out death.

    Gandalf to Frodo re: Gollum

    or something like that

  31. Christians opposing death penalty = Church of England members opposing divorce = Ayn Rand fans opposing selfish bitches with masochistic sexual tendencies.

  32. Ruthless,

    Sherman’s March actually hastened the end of the war by further crippling the South and striking a massive psychological blow against the enemy. Defections from the CSA’s fighting forces became rampant after and it broke much of the will of the South to fight. Indeed, the destruction of railroad lines by itself (Sherman’s Neckties)throughout the region was important by itself since it cut the Confederacy off from its beef provisions from Florida (Florida being a big cattle state at the time) and thus kept food out of hungry civilian and military mouths.

    _____________________________

    As to the D.P., hypothetically its, in practice its so imperfect that its problematic and should be suspended.

  33. However one feels about the Death Penalty, I’m sure most everone has some qualms about this one.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002659277_singapore02.html

  34. thoreau,

    Read your Bible. Herod was concerned because he was frightened for his throne not because of the miracles, etc.

  35. (Florida being a big cattle state at the time)

    Florida is still a big cattle state.

  36. Every Floridian I’ve ever seen was a total moo-cow.

  37. I’m in favor of the death penalty, but carried out only after a delay of several years for exculpatory evidence to show up. 8th amendment is no argument; death penalties were legal during ratification. Oh, btw, what do you do to a guy who commits murder, perhaps of a prison guard, while doing life without parole in prison?

  38. Isaac Bertram,

    Heh.

    What’s ironic is that Jefferson Davis ordered civilians to carry on a scorched earth campaign as the Union wings advanced, but most citizens wouldn’t poison their own wells, etc.

  39. Isaac Betram,

    I also find it strange that no one complains about Sherman’s march through South Carolina.

  40. I’m evolving on this issue. My former support for the death penalty had much to do with the notion that the power to inflict lifetime inprisonment on someone is only marginally different that the power to end a life. That is not to say I failed to appreciate the death penalty, but more that I think of lifetime inprisonment as a horror of similar caliber. The end of hope and potential is the end of hope and potential.

    These days, I am more receptive to the idea that wrongs of the justice system can actually be righted (I did not formerly believe that actually would happen), as I can see people being let go based on DNA evidence. Now that I can see hope for the wrongly convicted, I’m moving more and more to an opposed stance on the subject.

    I find myself wondering if there is maybe a way to impose a higher evidenciary standard on a prosecutor seeking the death penalty. I don’t have it hashed out yet, but perhaps a requirement of physical evidence that positively connects the accused to the crime. DNA, semen, that sort of thing. I don’t know how feasible or meaningful such a standard would be, but still I wonder.

  41. It’s true that in the last 15 years or so DNA evidence has shown that something like a hundred people on death row were innocent.

    Linky? As stated, this has the ring of an urban legend to me, but I would sure like to know the truth.

  42. Isaac, yeah that execution in Singapore for trading in dope was disturbing. A couple of things, it goes to # 6 and his point that the deterrence factor is slight. I mean, the guy had to know that Singapore would execute him, they’ve done it a bunch of other times to drug traffickers. Of course, it could be the Darwin effect as well.

  43. These days, I am more receptive to the idea that wrongs of the justice system can actually be righted (I did not formerly believe that actually would happen), as I can see people being let go based on DNA evidence. Now that I can see hope for the wrongly convicted, I’m moving more and more to an opposed stance on the subject.

    That’s interesting. You’re actually more likely to oppose an irreversible sanction now that technology has given us more tools for avoiding mistakes?

    I know that without those tools, life imprisonment is effectively the end of hope, but if a person in there for life would really prefer to die, he can always do it himself.

  44. 8th amendment is no argument; death penalties were legal during ratification.

    And eventually made illegal. Then legal again. I don’t see how the viewpoints of the founders regarding the death penalty are relevant to what our society today deems to be cruel and unusual. I’m sure a lot of crazy shit was “legal” as a means of punishment then that are today considered cruel and unusual. So yes, the 8th amendment is still very much a valid point from which to argue against capital punishment.

  45. As stated, this has the ring of an urban legend to me, but I would sure like to know the truth.

    Google “Innocence Project.” It’s true, about the innocent people found on Death Row. (As someone who philosophically supports the death penalty for murderers, it pains me to admit this.)

    From today’s CNN:

    A Florida jury voted 10-2 Thursday to recommend that Joseph P. Smith should be put to death for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. Prosecutor Debra Riva argued that Smith, 39, should receive the death penalty for the killing of Carlie Brucia, whom he kidnapped from a car wash parking lot February 1, 2004, as the youngster was walking home from a friend’s house. The case drew national attention after a security camera showed Brucia being led away by a man in a blue shirt. Her body was found five days later, just miles from where she was last seen.

    Killing this man won’t bring back the little girl he kidnapped, raped and murdered, but it will at least make her mother feel a little better. Good enough for me. And if he’s dead, then we know for certain he will never be released from prison because they need his bed to lock up the big scary pot smoker they just arrested.

  46. Downstater:

    back to the Prairie State GOP:

    i’m looking at Dan Rutherford for secretary of state. he has some good ideas, and appears to be a “business” GOP’er, not a fundie GOP’er.

    Josh and Six (i read all your postings in the 1980s Battlestar Cylon voice), see “deliver the mail” objection to c. punishment above 🙂

  47. RC Dean-Try the Innocence Project. http://www.innocenceproject.org, I think but google will get you there. Those are the folks who have been leading the charge on the whole exculpatory DNA thing.

  48. Snarky, being released from prison is a very real problem. The worst serial killer in the nation’s history was released by those tough bastards in Texas after serving only ten years for the brutal and systematic murder of his infant son. He was a model prisoner (so fucking what says I). He then came to my town and killed somewhere between 60-100 women before he was caught and imprisoned once again. He’s on death row in Californicate. This is the part where I say (well I wanna say fry his ass) why was he paroled in the first place? It’s also where I say that the entire parole board should be locked up for life right next to him. And this is why death penalty proponents don’t buy off on the whole life in prison alternative.

  49. The problem with the Eighth Amendment (which is echoed in the commentary of the Congress, etc. when it was debated) is that the standard it sets forth is far to amorphous.

  50. TWC–

    ALl the more reason for the death penalty, for murderers. (Only when there is actual physical evidence, though; none of this executed-on-the-word-of-an-eyewitness nonsense).

  51. Whoopsie! I forgot to change my name back; I may be ‘snarky’ but I am not really “Snarky.”

  52. Regarding the Constitution, please note that it forbids punishments which are cruel AND unusual, not cruel OR unusual.

  53. Good enough for me.

    If my daughter was killed, I might feel better if her killer was flayed. Does that satisfy your flaying requirements? After all, I feel better.

    Don’t get me wrong, It’s difficult to sympathize with anyone more than a victim’s family in such a situation. My heart would go out to any of them. I couldn’t fathom that sort of anger or grief. But that is not a sound way to direct a punishment. That is ad misericordiam.

    please note that it forbids punishments which are cruel AND unusual, not cruel OR unusual.

    murder is not cruel AND unusual?

  54. Not to make an atrocious pun, but while I support the death penalty, at least in the abstract…I could live without it. Imprisoning people for their natural lifespans (at least, in jurisdictions that have such sentences) achieves most of the goals of the death penalty.

  55. V moose the twaddlenock,

    I use the “By Your Command” line for my recycle bin. 🙂

  56. Snark, thanks for making me spit coffee all over the monitor. It was on Jacob’s thread about two-year-old terrorists.

  57. Ah, so if we just make being sewn into a sack full of wolverines and tossed into a river a common punishment, we’d be ok?

  58. The 1,000 guy to be juiced was a fucking animal. He shot bullets into his ex-wife as her body covered their son. He also murdered her father.

    As far as I’m concerned, there is no “Yeah, but..” in this particular case. The only injustice is that this guy fouled the earth with his existence 20 years after the fact.

  59. Here’s my take on it: I think the death penalty is absolutely justifiable in a moral sense. How anyone can read things like the stories of serial killers and not think that these people deserve to die is beyond me. I never bought the “it cheapens human life” argument (which, BTW, I would like to note I have not seen mentioned here). To my mind, treating someone who’s committed murders, even multiple murders with extreme cruelty, the same as a nonviolent criminal is what cheapens life, not the death penalty.

    As a libertarian, I am sympathetic to the state power argument, that we shouldn’t trust the state with that kind of power over life and death. The problem with it is that A) the accused do get jury trials, so it’s not just the state at work (although I would be happier if the jury had the ability to veto a possible death penalty, and could elect for it but not unilaterally impose it) and B) the state does effectively have power over life and death in other ways – what’s an army, after all? Furthermore, it looks to me like the argument is equally appropriate to all punishments: if you don’t trust the state with the death penalty, why do you trust it with life imprisonment, or million-dollar fines? But if we follow that argument to its conclusion, there can’t be any criminal penalties at all. That’s OK if you want to be an anarchist – it’s a philosophically consistent position – but I don’t think it works in a world of realpolitik.

    I’ll just conclude by saying that I’m not really wedded to the death penalty, though. While I think it is appropriate in some cases, I also recognize that it’s been abused. If I were king of the world, I’d only impose it on multiple murderers where there was some aggravating factor like rape, torture, etc., and where guilt was extremely well-established. In practice this would mean a very small number of executions, so I’m not too bothered by no executions either.

  60. If my daughter was killed, I might feel better if her killer was flayed. Does that satisfy your flaying requirements? After all, I feel better. Don’t get me wrong, It’s difficult to sympathize with anyone more than a victim’s family in such a situation. My heart would go out to any of them. I couldn’t fathom that sort of anger or grief. But that is not a sound way to direct a punishment. That is ad misericordiam.

    The way I see it, killing Joseph Smith (who did, absolutely, do it; there’s plenty of physical evidence and so we can be quite sure we wouldn’t be killing an innocent man here) has multiple advantages: gets a rabid killer out of society, helps the little girl’s mother get a feeling of Closure or whatever the current buzzword is. . . . personally, I’ve often though that in death-penalty cases, the victim’s family should, if they so choose, be allowed to administer the execution themselves. That would probably help that child’s mother more than a decade of therapy would.

    I understand the theory of prison time as rehabilitation, but I also think some people are beyond rehabilitating. And a man who would kidnap, rape and strangle an 11-year-old, and refer to what he did as simply “having rough sex with the girl,” is one of them.

  61. Also, I think the phrase “killing murderers cheapens respect for human lfe” makes about as much sense as “imprisoning kidnappers cheapens respect for freedom.”

  62. Also, I think the phrase “killing murderers cheapens respect for human life” makes about as much sense as “imprisoning kidnappers cheapens respect for freedom.”

  63. thoreau:

    “That’s interesting. You’re actually more likely to oppose an irreversible sanction now that technology has given us more tools for avoiding mistakes?”

    The thought process is that prior to the technology, there were two ways to end hope, now there is only one way to end hope.

    That is perhaps a naive way to look at the difference between living in a cage forever and dying. Looking inward, I find myself shuddering equally at those options. Certainly, if it came to dying time, I might have a different take on it, but I don’t know.

    I try to think about these things as honestly as I can in public spaces because I find that putting incomplete thoughts out here keeps me honest about my motivations in a wierd sort of way. I may now be merely rationalizing a formerly strong support for the death penalty that I currently feel was too strong to be rationally consistent with my values.

    What I can identify as a changing point was the release of prisoners for DNA reasons. More introspection is probably needed to figure out the details of my position.

  64. Contra Jennifer, I don’t recognize the current prison system as having any powers of rehabilitation whatsoever. Prisons serve as deterrents to people on the outside and pratical ways to keep dangerous people off the streets.

    The most important change anyone could make in our justice system would be to draw a bright line between violent criminals and everyone else. Up to that line, reform strategies can be persued and balanced with deterrent strategies, past that line we are talking primarily about deterrence and removal from society. Humans on one side and animals on the other. If you mix the groups as we do now, you just create more animals.

  65. Couple of thoughts:

    First: Murderers forfeit their right to live.

    Second: I am against the death penalty.

    I am opposed to the death penalty based on the following:

    >>I am opposed to the state having the power to take a life. I do not think that the state is very good at much of anything and the justice system is one of those things it really isn?t very good at. I also think the political incentives surrounding the application and execution of the penalty are all wrong (more below).

    >>There have been and will be mistakes in its application. I cannot fathom why certain pro-death penalty advocates would say things like: ?Well, even if a couple of innocent people do get fried, it?s worth it because we still need the death penalty as a deterrent and to deal with those who do deserve it.? Such an argument seems ethically bankrupt to me and wholly indefensible. But then again, I think society is made up of individuals rather than being some entity of which individuals are merely members.

    >>It is biased in its application. The richer and whiter you are the less likely you will get the chair for an identical crime. Blacks and Hispanics are clearly more likely to be put down like dogs. Sure, white serial killers are often sent to death row, but face it: whites make up the vast majority of serial killers. I am talking about the more ?mundane? cases.

    >>The poorer you are, the more powerful the prosecution is vis-?-vis the defense. Public defenders don?t get many kudos for getting a suspect off compared to the props a prosecutor can get for a death-penalty conviction. Want a career in politics? It?s much more advantageous to have sent a couple of bad guys to death row that it is to have gotten them off. And if you are a public defender, why would you take the risk that the fellow you are defending might go out and kill again? If you had any doubt at all about guilt or innocence you would put up a more lackluster defense than otherwise.

    But if you are rich, you can buy a defense team that will work hard for you. Do you think O.J. would have walked if he were poor and not a celebrity?

    So in all, the death penalty is not applied fairly and may be imposed wrongly at times. For that reason, I am in favor of individuals using deadly force to protect themselves from harm.

    But we should take Chris Rock?s advice: make bullets cost $1,000 a piece. That way if someone does get shot, you know they needed to get shot.

  66. A killer like this deserves every aweful atrocity, but we should not respond with in this way because we are not like him.

  67. Contra Jennifer, I don’t recognize the current prison system as having any powers of rehabilitation whatsoever

    Oh, I agree with you, Jason. When I talked about “rehabilitation” I was thinking more of theory than reality; I was also alluding to an anti-death-penalty argument I’ve seen in various places (though not on this particular thread).

    I also fully agree that our system needs to distinguish between violent and non-violent criminals; it is immoral and insane, the way our system will put a shoplifter or a drug user in the same cell as a murderer or rapist.

  68. awful, not aweful as in full-of-awe.

  69. Most of you seem to have a hard time visualizing how justice in anarchy would be much more precise. But, if you want to stick with government “justice,” most of you want what is mutually exclusive. Namely, sloppy justice better serves the interests of government because of the intimidation factor, therefore that is the only kind of justice it will produce–to perpetuate its meme. Yet you want government to render precise justice.

  70. Most of you seem to have a hard time visualizing how justice in anarchy would be much more precise

    Ruthless, I’m still wishing some nameless anarchist would please answer my repeated questions of how, in your world of family-over-all, justice would be served in regards to people like daughter-rapin’ daddies or baby-drownin’ mamas. Especially in cases where members of the extended family are either nonexistent, or just don’t care.

  71. I am opposed to the death penalty. I oppose it for all the usual reasons but most of all I oppose it because it perverts our judicial system. The death penalty promotes the idea that the judicial system is about vengeance and retribution. I am appalled by those who so smugly assert that they need not recognize another?s humanity.

    The aim of the judicial system should be to protect and secure the rights of the people. Pretending we are enlightened enough to dispense divine justice is more than arrogant, it?s just wrong and it leads to a more depraved society.

  72. Jennifer,
    Simple.
    Just imagine cases like that are in Outer Mongolia, and that’s why you could give a shit less.

  73. I’m surprised at the level of logic in the assertion that because there existed a person who knew the penalty for drug trafficking was death and still did it, then the DP has no deterrent effect.

    And thank you Jennifer for shredding that inane “killing murderers cheapens respect for human life” BS.

  74. Jennifer, Simple. Just imagine cases like that are in Outer Mongolia, and that’s why you could give a shit less.

    Which, by an astonishing coincidence, describes just how I feel about any philosophy based upon the moral credo “Just so’s I’m okay.”

  75. The aim of the judicial system should be to protect and secure the rights of the people.

    Yes, and if someone wanted to be rudely snarky they could say “nobody has a right to not have their daughter kidnapped, raped and murdered.” I will say the following, however, in all seriousness: in the case of the story I pasted here, we protected and secured the criminal’s rights by giving him a fair trial, not torturing him to get a confession. . . all that stuff the Constitution demands (and which I think should apply in the War on Terra, but that’s another topic).

    Now that the criminal’s rights have been properly seen to, I am concerned about the victim and her family.

    Cartman, de nada.

  76. Incidentally would someone please, without cliches and rhetoric, explain to me why the desire for retribution and revenge is so easily dismissed as wrong, as opposed to other human desires we generally consider valuable and worth facilitating and protecting in the context of a society and its institutions?

  77. “Which, by an astonishing coincidence, describes just how I feel about any philosophy based upon the moral credo “Just so’s I’m okay.””

    Yeah me too.

  78. cartman,
    For society’s meme to evolve in a good direction, humans need to cooperate, not be emotional.

    And why did you want to protect institutions?

  79. Incidentally would someone please, without cliches and rhetoric, explain to me why the desire for retribution and revenge is so easily dismissed as wrong, as opposed to other human desires we generally consider valuable and worth facilitating and protecting in the context of a society and its institutions?

    True anecdote: one year, when I was in college, a friend gave me an opal ring for Christmas. But the opal was cracked, so my friend took the ring back, intending to exchange it for one with an undamaged stone.

    That night while my friend was out, some slimeball broke into my friend’s apartment and stole various things, including my opal ring. The cops were able to find the guy, though, and my friend testified and he got something like seven years in prison.

    My friend and I never did get our stuff back, nor did we get any financial compensation for our losses. . . . but we did feel better, knowing the slimeball was in prison. Even though his being in prison made no material difference to us.

    Did this make us evil and vindictive, or normal human beings, do you think?

  80. Ruthless, I have never imagined myself the brightest bulb on the chandelier but I can’t see how that answers the question at all.

    Also, where did I say anything about wanting to protect institutions?

  81. Incidentally would someone please, without cliches and rhetoric, explain to me why the desire for retribution and revenge is so easily dismissed as wrong, as opposed to other human desires we generally consider valuable and worth facilitating and protecting in the context of a society and its institutions?

    I’ll give it a shot. Desire for retribution and revenge is driven by hatred and a desire to do harm to someone else. It’s also clumsily subjective. Revenge for rape can mean raping the rapist. Revenge for killing someone’s child can mean killing the killer’s child.

    I’m not sure which other desires you’re talking about, but I suspect they don’t involve doing something harmful to someone else. Retribution and revenge have been the root causes many of the worst atrocities throughout history.

    I don’t look at imprisonment as revenge or retribution, but rather in terms of public safety (I’m not sold on it as a deterrent).

  82. Jennifer,
    But the victims are not served by killing the criminal. The daughter can not be unraped or children undrowned. If the victims are made to feel better because their attacker is put to death, that is a tragedy and not something that should be celebrated.

    cartman,
    It is because the central role human suffering takes in retribution and revenge. It is wrong to wish suffering on another.

  83. Incidentally would someone please, without cliches and rhetoric, explain to me why the desire for retribution and revenge is so easily dismissed as wrong, as opposed to other human desires we generally consider valuable and worth facilitating and protecting in the context of a society and its institutions?

    What other human desires directly involve taking the life of another?

    Incidentally, I don’t find the desire for revenge or retribution to be wrong per se. It is a basic human feeling that everyone experiences and perhaps rightfully so.

    However, I find mercy to be the mastery of such a primal desire. As such, one who is merciful is more free than one who is a captive to their instincts. Same goes for a merciful society.

    And nothing worth doing is easy. 😉

  84. In general, I second JDs stance on the subject. Jennifer’s comment,

    I’ve often though that in death-penalty cases, the victim’s family should, if they so choose, be allowed to administer the execution themselves.

    reminded me of an angle I don’t think anyone’s mentioned yet: one of the justifications for the state taking a life is that it’s somehow more civilized than letting the family do so. It’s cold revenge by proxy. Moral or not, that’s part of the argument.

  85. Jennifer,
    Re:your anecdote. It is fitting and proper that the criminal be imprisoned. While he is serving his sentence he can not rob others. And his suffering my serve as a deterrent to other would be criminals. However, to the extent that you enjoyed “putting the slimeball behind bars” I say yes, that is an unworthy emotion and it is the source of evil. I weep that you are so comfortable with it.

  86. Did this make us evil and vindictive, or normal human beings, do you think?

    Very normal. There’s nothing wrong with desiring revenge and retribution, but letting that desire guide your actions is different. Then again, if you hired another prisoner to steal the thief’s stuff, would that be wrong or an amusing cherry on top?

  87. aha, I have now identified the tongue in Ruthless’s cheek. I also realise that my last post proved itself 😉

  88. I tend to think that we put to death fewer murderers then we release. I am in the minority in believing that this is probably a good thing as I think that the opposite balance is a failure we’re trying to avoid in our system. Perfection is unattainable.

    I’ve never had much problem with Capitol Punishment, but for the cost. Each sentence should be rendered such that each convicted murder shall be held for life imprisonment until it’s cheaper to execute them.

  89. Warren, Les and others:

    There was a study done about a year or so ago; I remember reading about it on BBC and also some print pop-science magazine like Discover; apparently the desire for revenge, and the tendency to fell indignant at “unfair” treatment, is innately wired in us, part of our having evolved as social animals–we don’t like people who get ahead by breaking the rules.

    The way the experiment worked was this: let’s say you and I were the test subjects. I’d be given a hundred dollars (in real money, by the way; at the end of the test we got to keep whatever we made).

    I made a suggestion for dividing the money between us. If you accepted my bargain, we made the divide and kept the money. (In other words, if I said “we’ll split it fifty-fifty” and you agreed, we’d each get fifty bucks.) If you rejected my bargain, the hundred bucks went back to the testers and neither of us got anything.

    So you’d think that everybody accepted nearly every bargain, right? I mean, even if I made a really unfair deal like “I’ll take 97 dollars and you can have three,” you’re still three bucks ahead of where you are now, right?

    But no–very few people accepted deals that were perceived as being too unfair. People might accept 60-40 deals, but they wouldn’t accept 90-10 deals, even though their refusal to play along cost them actual money they could have made.

    You can call this disturbing; I call the lack of it disturbing. Same way I’d be disturbed by someone with so little empathy that they’d say “Well, this little girl is nobody and nothing to me, so why should I give two shits if she’s killed?”

  90. I do not necessarily accept that human capacity for revenge and retribution have caused more suffering/killing etc. that it has prevented. I find it hard to imagine that anything but suffering/killing could happen to a hypothetical race that evolved without that capacity.

    Also, I do not necessarily accept the opinion that R&R are driven by hatred. My opinion would be that it is driven by a sense of justice, though obviously one will hate the person one wants R&R against.

    Trouble someone I care for and I guarantee I will hate you for it. I would think me and mine would be worse off if I lacked that capacity to hate. Imagine whatever utopian Care Bear world you want but I don’t buy the whole good/evil routine. We are competing as well as collaborating animals and we need all the tools that implies.

  91. Revenge is Old Testament.
    Turning the other cheek is New Testament.
    That doesn’t work
    Punishment doesn’t work either per B. F. Skinner.
    Zen, sin, and Sen-Sen are the answers?

    Hey, let’s form a committee to write a new New Testament.

    Warren, snap out of it. Stop weeping.

  92. Those of you who pooh-pooh retribution and the desire for revenge, here is a sincere question (and fuck anybody who squeals “Godwingodwingodwin”). Did you disapprove of those Jews who, Javert-like, spent their own time and money hunting down former concentration-camp guards? I mean, seriously, it’s not like Eichmann would have had the chance to open a new Dachau down in South America, and killing or imprisoning the likes of him, especially in the 80s and 90s when these guys were all super-elderly, did nothing to prevent future genocides; it only satisfied a desire for revenge. Was it wrong? I thnk not. I think an attitude of “The hell with it, let bygones be bygones” is the bad one; such an attitude can only perpetuate evil, not nip it out.

  93. Jennifer,
    Nature is what we are born to rise above

    -Rose Sayer

  94. Jennifer for President!!!

    …and Jeff for First *uhm* Gentleman?

  95. Jennifer,
    Nature is what we are born to rise above -Rose Sayer

    So stop having sex with people, stop having friends, and abandon any love you may feel for family members; you only have these weaknesses because you’re wired to have them (being as you are a member of a social mammal species).

  96. Regarding the Constitution, please note that it forbids punishments which are cruel AND unusual, not cruel OR unusual. … Bleepless

    Moreover, the Constitution explicitly contemplates capital crimes in the Fifth Amendment:

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime…nor be deprived of life….without due process of law

    So you can be deprived of life as long as you get due process. The Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unususal punishments meant that when executions took place, the state would use a firing squad or the gallows, instead of, frex, drawing and quartering.

    I suppose some would want to redefine “capital crime” as one to which life-without-parole attaches, but that’s not very respectful of the original text.

    BTW, I would favor a Constitutional Amendment banning the death penalty. Wrongful execution is irreversible error. Someone imprisoned wrongly for years can at least receive a monetary settlement once he is released, and while that doesn’t undo the harm done to him it can mitigate it.

    Kevin

  97. Cover your eyes, Warren.
    Jennifer, the story you just told confirms what I’m saying about how anarchy holds the potential to be surgical in the removal of that one percent of humanity that needs killin’.
    Notice my lack of emotion as I say this.

  98. Jennifer, the story you just told confirms what I’m saying about how anarchy holds the potential to be surgical in the removal of that one percent of humanity that needs killin’.
    Notice my lack of emotion as I say this.

    How?

  99. “Now now, little girl, even if Suzy cheated on her test it hasn’t hurt your grade at all, so there’s no reason for you to be upset over it. In fact, you’re a bad, bad girl if you feel that way.”

    “Now now, little boy, if Johnny pushed that little girl in the mud it doesn’t hurt you at all no matter what happens to her, so there’s no reason for you to feel angry at Johnny. In fact, you’re a bad, bad boy if you feel that way.”

  100. Jennifer,
    Somehow this place is a chat room for you.
    It takes me ten minutes to compose and another ten for the H&R squirrel to do his duty.

    Anyway, to answer, it was the fact they used their own time and money to track down the varmints.

    I had something else cute to say too, but the squirrel ate it.

  101. Anyway, to answer, it was the fact they used their own time and money to track down the varmints.

    What has this to do with my story? My friend and I could never have even found him on our own, let alone caught him. We could have easily found boyfriends or admirers willing to do the guy in for us, of course, but I think such a world would be more uncivilized and result in a worse scenario for the majority of people.

  102. The Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unususal punishments meant that when executions took place, the state would use a firing squad or the gallows, instead of, frex, drawing and quartering.

    You’re not going to make friends with gaius this way.

    In any event, an Original Meaning interpretation does not allow for this. The common understanding of the concepts of “cruel” and “unusual” is much different than the classification of specific activities as “cruel and unusual”. The purpose of the Judiciary is to classify specific activities, and they are free to rely on precedence and current moral philosophy.

  103. I think an attitude of “The hell with it, let bygones be bygones” is the bad one; such an attitude can only perpetuate evil, not nip it out.

    A show of mercy is not the same as letting bygones be bygones. Neither is forgiveness for that matter.

    If a less squishy argument is desired, I’d say that arguing for an action out of a desire for revenge is an ad odium fallacy.

  104. A show of mercy is not the same as letting bygones be bygones. Neither is forgiveness for that matter

    Forgiveness does not apply in cases of murder; murder is the one unforgivable crime for the simple reason that the only person who can grant forgiveness for a crime is the one against whom the crime was committed. If somebody steals your stuff, I don’t have the right to forgive him; only you do. And if someone beats you up, I don’t have the right to forgive him; only you do. And if someone kills you I don’t have the right to forgive him; only you do.

    Except you cannot, because you are dead.

  105. So if family members do not have the standing to forgive the killer of their relative, then how do they have the standing to have someone put to death for their comfort?

    (i’m also not saying that they should be forgiven, I should’ve left that whole forgiveness part out as it was only secondary to my post.)

  106. So if family members do not have the standing to forgive the killer of their relative, then how do they have the standing to have someone put to death for their comfort?

    Legally, it is not for the family’s comfort; you can get the death penalty even if you kill someone with no family willing to push for it. But the comfort of the family is a benefit.

  107. Yes I know you can. But we’re saying that putting a killer to death will not bring back the deceased, but if it gives comfort to the family, then it is okay. If only the deceased has been harmed (supported by the presumption that they are the only one with standing to forgive the killer) then the comfort of the family is immaterial to the rightness of putting the criminal to death.

    If a family is in a position to be compensated for their loss by a killer’s execution, then certainly they are also in a position to grant the killer forgiveness.

    Overall, I see nothing wrong or immoral about the desire for revenge. I personally find a show of mercy to be preferable.

    The desire for revenge is much like body weight. 😉

  108. I can’t see the relevance one way or the other of the closure and comfort argument. Those things can’t possibly be governing functions of a justice system, so they would seem to be off to one side in discussions about whether capital punishment should be allowed.

    Further, people under stress feel all sorts of things. I’m not sure we want to go down the path of enshrining such feelings as features of our legal system.

  109. 1. All sorts of feelings are “natural and human”. If everyone acted on his every natural and human feeling, I’d be in great danger.

    Mature, civilised human beings realise that their own self interest requires that they control themselves.

    2. I have assented to the notion that the right to life is inalienable. I’ve also assented to Paine’s “common pot” idea of government.

    If I don’t have the right to kill defenceless people, the State cannot have that right, either.

  110. Jennifer,

    I don’t consider hunting down Nazi’s so that they could be imprisoned “revenge.” I think that’s just a good idea. And I don’t “poo-poo” the desire for revenge, I accept it and understand it. I just think it’s best to not let it guide our actions.

    cartman,

    I can imagine the cases where a murderer was killed out of revenge and thereby prevented from killing others, but I don’t think that happens nearly as often as revenge-motivated murder, especially in wartime. I mean, think of Dresden and Tokyo. All the gang-related murders. A lot of terrorists in Iraq are highly, highly motivated by revenge. It really is a never-ending cycle.

  111. If I don’t have the right to kill defenceless people, the State cannot have that right, either.

    That’s an excellent argument. Also, while I believe in the use of deadly force to defend oneself and others, I also believe that killing an imprisoned, unarmed individual is a cowardly act.

  112. If I don’t have the right to kill defenceless people, the State cannot have that right, either.

    And you don’t have the right to imprison people, so the state shouldn’t have that right, either?

  113. For those who think that the death penalty is not a deterent,….well perhaps it does not always deter. However, speaking from just personal experience I can tell you that I know of at least two people whose miserable carcasses were saved because I didn’t care to take a chance of being executed or of going to prison for life. (I kinda have a problem with people who shit on me, especially when they don’t have to.)

    I have considered myself a libertarian (with a small L) for over thirty-six years. For the first twenty-five of those I thought like many,…I was against capital punishment, not because some criminals don’t deserve it, but because the System can make mistakes and death is irrevocable. I also dislike the idea of the State (or my “peers”) deciding who lives and who dies. There is much potential for mischief there. But I also know that during those years I have seen what appears to be not only an increase in capital offenses, but an increase in the evil and visciousness of said offenses. The death penalty may not be perfect, but what is Society to do? It is not perfect in any other sphere either.

    Would we keep a rabid dog alive and take the chance that it would not or could not ever bite anyone? If you had rattlesnakes in the backyard where your children play, would you not get rid of them?

    For those who say that the death penalty cheapens our humanity, I say ….No, it does not. If we were to torture offenders first or otherwise sadisticly treat them, I would say that THAT lowers us to their level. But we do not do that, at least, not as a matter of public policy.

    For those who consider capital punishment to be the “moral equivalent of murder”, I ask, by what standard of morality? Yes, the right to life is inalienable, but that is not to say that it can not be thrown away or forfeited. An individual who WRONGfully takes another’s life has set the terms on which he wishes to deal with others and by extension the terms on which others may deal with him. Is killing in self defense also to be considered murder? The right to life is a joke without the right to defend one’s life. And said defense sometimes requires more than just stopping an aggressor; sometimes it requires prevention as well.

  114. And you don’t have the right to imprison people, so the state shouldn’t have that right, either?

    (We’ve done this already here. Perhaps not you and I, but someone and I.)

    I have a right to defend myself. To ostracise. To obtain restitution.

    No one has a right to imprison per se.

  115. Yes, the right to life is inalienable, but that is not to say that it can not be thrown away or forfeited.

    Uhm. That’s precisely what “inalienable” means.

    incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred

    Source: Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law, ? 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

  116. An individual who WRONGfully takes another’s life has set the terms on which he wishes to deal with others and by extension the terms on which others may deal with him.

    This is just not true. The laws determine how others are allowed to deal with this individual. If an individual steals your car, he has not made your decision to steal his car a viable option.

    Would we keep a rabid dog alive and take the chance that it would not or could not ever bite anyone? If you had rattlesnakes in the backyard where your children play, would you not get rid of them?

    This is an appeal to fear at its most basic.

    These are popular but not useful analogies, as animals are not the same as people. The popular claim that they are not people, but that they ARE ANIMALS, is a dodge.

  117. Yes, the right to life is inalienable, but that is not to say that it can not be thrown away or forfeited.

    Uhm. That’s precisely what “inalienable” means.

    incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred

    Source: Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law, ? 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc

    Was that the term’s exact meaning over two hundred years ago when Jefferson used it? Was Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law even around back then?

    And if it was,…well just maybe Jefferson was wrong then.

  118. “This is an appeal to fear at its most basic.

    These are popular but not useful analogies, as animals are not the same as people. The popular claim that they are not people, but that they ARE ANIMALS, is a dodge.”

    I was NOT making the claim that offenders are animals and not people. Although some might refer to them as such in a derogatory sense.

    Yes, it is an appeal to fear at its most basic. One had damned well better be afraid of some individuals.

  119. And you don’t have the right to imprison people, so the state shouldn’t have that right, either?

    Damn you and your insufferable logic!

    Okay, that’s a good point. Still, if I could kill defenseless people, I’d be sure to only kill the right ones!

  120. Downstater,

    “An individual who WRONGfully takes another’s life has set the terms on which he wishes to deal with others and by extension the terms on which others may deal with him.

    This is just not true. The laws determine how others are allowed to deal with this individual. If an individual steals your car, he has not made your decision to steal his car a viable option.”

    That is true as far as it goes, but what justifies the “laws” and their enforcement? What is the philosophical basis for such justification?

    If an individual steals my car, he has not made my decision to steal his a vialbe option. No, but stealing my own car back is an option. Both morally and legally. (Although, I suppose, some courts would not recognize the legality.)

    Are you familiar with the Old English concept of the Outlaw? The concept of an individual being entirely “outside” the protection of the Law as a means of punishment and deterence? I have heard of it, but know little about it.

  121. I don’t have the right to kill defenceless people, the State cannot have that right, either.

    Tell that to the NYPD and Amadou Diallo’s family.

    Kenneth Lee had the benefit of years of appeals, a trial by jury that established his guilt of a capital crime. Amadou Diallo had the decision of police officers who thought his wallet was a gun in the middle of the night. If Lee is actually innocent of his crimes, I fail to see how his execution is egregiously worse than Diallo’s. You can’t undo Lee’s execution but you can’t undo Diallo’s either.

  122. Nature is what we are born to rise above -Rose Sayer

    So stop having sex with people, stop having friends, and abandon any love you may feel for family members; you only have these weaknesses because you’re wired to have them (being as you are a member of a social mammal species).

    Jennifer,
    Hummingbirds are flower-suckers, but we don’t call them that. We prefer to focus on their “higher” powers.
    hmmmmm

  123. Ruthless, I love you, but only about five percent of the time do I have even the slightest idea as to what the fuck you are talking about.

  124. “I don’t have the right to kill defenceless people, the State cannot have that right, either.”

    Is the misspelling of defenseless a robust meme? It brings to mind a gaggle of folks in a hurry approaching an elevator, shouting, “Ho de doh.”

    Jennifer, if the H&R squirrel has had a power nap by now, perhaps he/she can pass along my thrice-attempted answer to your kwerstion, namely, your story to which I was referring was the one about tracking down the varmints who were concentration camp guards.

  125. Warren,
    Have you gone to the bed?
    Jennifer said she loved me and said, “fuck,” all in the same sentence.

    Stevo Darkly,
    I may need moral support here.

  126. Excuse me all as I scurry backward to retire for the eve… away from my predatory groupies.

  127. Ruthless, I often don’t understand what they heck you are talking about either. Especially in the evening hours.

    But I love you too, man, in a Christian, respectful, hand-gripping, beer-drinking, shoulder-punching, non-homosexual kind of way.

  128. . . . . I mean, what the hell do hummingbirds have to do with anything, anyway. . . .

  129. . . . . I mean, what the hell do hummingbirds have to do with anything, anyway. .

    Nature and humming.

    Thank you very much.

  130. Phil,

    My reductio ad absurdum argument is not a false dichotomy. What middle have I excluded by noting that the argument that opposes state power to execute would also oppose state power to imprison?

  131. Is the misspelling of defenseless a robust meme?

    For an anarchist, you sure are a stickler for (American) rules.

  132. There needs to be parameters:

    a) Are there situations where the government or its agents are justified in using lethal force? I think most would answer ‘yes” to this (e.g. self defense and so forth).

    b) When the government does use lethal force, is there always a fair possibility that on later examination such force was deemed to be unnecessary and a mistake? Of course.

    It seems to me once you answer “yes” to a) and b), all arguments about the death penalty fall strictly under a) and not under b). Yes with the death penalty innocnets can be called, but then so can they be killed when using force in self-defense. Indeed, I’d wager given the time frame with which the two actors are faced with the decision, innocents are far more likely to die in the defensive use of lethal force than by death penalty.

    So the real question remains whether the death penalty is an acceptable use of lethal force, not whether when the government uses lethal force it often errs. I don’t happen to think it is, but I think the side issue of convicted innocents dodges the issue without addressing it. If executing murderers is a justifiable use of government force, innocent fatalities are no different than innocent self defense fatalities. (IE, obviously the life can’t be brought back, but sometimes the person’s family is allowed to seek damages). If it isn’t a justifiable use of government force, a 100% accuracy record wouldn’t matter.

  133. I don’t think I’m pro-CP, but I can’t help but think of the possibility of a murderer’s escape from prison. Dead, there’s no danger of their reoffending.

  134. A government that can use due process to separate citizens from their very lives can take anything it wants any time it wants from anyone it wants to.

    Yuck and no thanks.

    :peter

  135. raymond,
    Thanks for the link about “defence.”
    The word just rubs me the wrong way. Defence reminds me of what our President and his buddies want to build between the US and Mexico.

    On the positive side, would that all government war departments were only about relatively innocent fences.

  136. “Nature is what we are born to rise above -Rose Sayer

    So stop having sex with people, stop having friends, and abandon any love you may feel for family members; you only have these weaknesses because you’re wired to have them (being as you are a member of a social mammal species).

    Jennifer,
    Hummingbirds are flower-suckers, but we don’t call them that. We prefer to focus on their “higher” powers.
    hmmmmm

    Comment by: Joyce “Ruthless” Kilmer at December 2, 2005 08:27 PM”
    ……
    Two of the most lucid commenters here, Jennifer and Stevo Darkly, observed that my comments are foggy. They’re right, of course.

    Let me explain my comment above, just for the record:
    Jennifer was waxing rhapsodic about revenge. Warren came back with the Rose Sayer quote.
    I, in turn, thought it appropriate to transfer Joyce Kilmer’s rhapsodic waxing about trees to hummingbirds. My point being that even nature often rises above nature.
    Sex and love don’t need to be risen above. Revenge does.

    You know, now that we’ve had a number of Reasonoid meet-ups, maybe the next step is for us to pair up to help our partners express themselves better. Everybody could use an editor couldn’t they?

  137. Youths reveal racy Bible calendar
    A German Protestant youth group has put together a 2006 calendar illustrated with erotic scenes from the Bible.

    The 12 re-enacted passages feature a bare-breasted Delilah cutting Samson’s hair and a nude Eve offering an apple.

    The Nuremberg-based group said they wanted to represent the Bible in a way that would entice young people.

    Nuremberg pastor Bernd Grasser said: “It’s just wonderful when teenagers commit themselves with their hair and their skin to the bible.”

    “There’s a whole range of biblical scriptures simply bursting with eroticism,” said Stefan Wiest, 32, who took the racy photographs.

    Anne Rohmer, 21, wearing garters and stockings, posed on a doorstep as the prostitute Rahab.

    “We wanted to represent the Bible in a different way and to interest young people,” she told news agency Reuters.

    “Anyway, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that you are forbidden to show yourself nude.”

    Bernd Grasser, pastor of the church in Nuremberg where the calendar is being sold, said he was supportive of the project.
    Story from BBC NEWS:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4494938.stm

    Published: 2005/12/03 13:21:21 GMT

    ? BBC MMV

  138. “Good Bible!”

    (Over Thanksgiving weekend I finally had a chance to watch the Firefly series on DVD that a bought a few months ago. It is now my favorite TV series. Smart I was, to wait until after the series was canceled before I got hooked on it. That way I am spared all the stress most fans suffered.)

    And Ruthless, I find that your oft-Delphic posts add a certain texture to H&R that I would miss if they were absent. And I still find you easier to read than gaius, anyway.

    (First post of the day. Will the server work or not? This is so exciting!)

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