Death Penalty

If You Support the Death Penalty for Hate-Motivated Murders, You Support the Death Penalty

Georgia D.A. reverses her previous position when faced with a mass shooting she sees as a hate crime.

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Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis has announced her office is pursuing the death penalty against Robert Aaron Long, the 21-year-old man accused of shooting and killing eight people on March 16 at three Atlanta-area massage parlors.

While making the announcement Tuesday, Willis acknowledged that on the campaign trail (she was elected in November) she told voters she "could not imagine a circumstance where [she] would seek [the death penalty]." But she now says she believes Long deserves the "ultimate penalty":

This reversal is tied to Willis' decision to pursue the case against Long as a hate crime. Georgia passed a law in 2020 that allow prosecutors to seek enhanced penalties against those who target victims based on their perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability.

Six of the eight victims of Long's shootings were Asian women, and media speculation around the time of the incident focused on whether race played a role in Long's targeting. After his arrest, Long blamed a sex addiction, and said he had previously sought help at an evangelical treatment center. He had also been a customer at two of the massage parlors.

Once we start talking about hate crime enhancements, then we actually have no choice but to analyze why Long killed these people. Long clearly developed a twisted focus on sexual purity, and the targeting of these women seems based more on his attitude toward himself, not his attitude toward their ethnicity. This is not a justification, it's simply a necessary thing to talk about when we talk about hate crimes.

As for Willis, it's hard not to listen to her justification and think that the only unimaginable "circumstance" here is the entirely imaginable and understandable public outrage over a mass shooting. Does the ethnicity of his victims, or the extent of public outrage, make Long any more deserving of execution than any other murderer?

Willis is a member of the Democratic Party, and the platform her party adopted when Biden was nominated for president calls for completely abolishing the death penalty. Of course, the national platform is not the same as a state party's platform (Georgia's does not mention the death penalty), and not every Democratic elected official is obligated to agree with the national or state party platform. That said, Willis made no exception for hate crimes when she declared her opposition to the death penalty in 2020.

When President Donald Trump's administration fired up the federal death chamber again in 2020, the very first man executed, Daniel Davis Lee, was a white supremacist who brutally killed an Arkansas family to seize their weapons and money to fund the formation of a white ethno-state up in the Pacific northwest. The murders wouldn't be considered a hate crime even today, because the victims were white and their deaths were the result of a robbery gone wrong. But his actions were still motivated by racism, and criminal justice reformers nevertheless criticized Trump and his administration for reinstating the federal death penalty and executing 13 people in the final months of his presidency. What makes Willis' decision different or better than those made by Trump and former Attorney General Bill Barr?

When Willis makes a death penalty exception for a hate crime, what she's signaling is that she actually is a supporter of this form of punishment, and furthermore, she believes it should be applied in response not to the needs of justice, but to cultural and political pressures that result from a high-profile incident. That is actually the opposite of justice.

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92 responses to “If You Support the Death Penalty for Hate-Motivated Murders, You Support the Death Penalty

  1. Thread

    https://twitter.com/Toure/status/1392456665652506627?s=19

    A 77 yo white customer at Dunkin Donuts was upset about something and he called a Black 27 yo employee the n-word. The brother told him say it again. The old man did. The brother knocked him out. The old man fell, lost consciousness, and died. He fucked around and found out.

    1. How am I supposed to react to that? Sadness that a young man decided to ruin his life over what some idiot bigot said to him? More sadness that his conduct gives racists further fuel for thinking of young African American men as closer to animals than humans?

      Do I get to assault someone like Ibram Kendi for making the kind of racist statements against people with my background, that advocate and induce the State to shove its hands in my pockets and give his fellow African Americans my money? I’m very offended by what he writes, and it has a much greater effect on my personal well being than some old piece of shit calling a fast food employee a racial slur.

      1. 100% depressing. Let’s discuss something more cheerful, like the death penalty.

        1. Ooh I know! Let’s argue the finer distinctions between the death penalty and umptieth trimester abortion!

      2. How am I supposed to react to that?

        Better than you did.

        Sadness that a young man decided to ruin his life over what some idiot bigot said to him?

        A old man uses a racist slur and he’s an “idiot bigot”. OK, fair enough.
        A young man murders an old man and he’s an “young man”.

        What the fuck is wrong with you?

        More sadness that his conduct gives racists further fuel for thinking of young African American men as closer to animals than humans?

        How about some sadness that someone died? That’s worth nothing?

        Do I get to assault someone like Ibram Kendi for making the kind of racist statements against people with my background

        Unfortunately not.

    2. Use of the n-word is a hate crime that deserves the death penalty. But since it wasn’t administered by the state in this case, we have to decide whether we want to make a hate-crimes exception to our usual opposition to lynching.

      1. Fuck you. Freedom of speech is more important than your feelings.

        -jcr

    3. Now the 27 year old is going to really find out what ‘fuck around and find out’ means as he’s thrown his life away because someone made a noise he didn’t like.

      1. He is going to hear worse things where he’s headed

    4. What some people don’t understand is that ANYONE (regardless of race or gender) who has worked retail or food service long enough has had to deal with assholes.* I think this might be the first case I’ve heard of where that misunderstanding led to someone probably going to prison for life.

      **and you deal with them up until the point where the job is no longer worth it, then you quit. That is, if you’re a normal human and not a psychopath

  2. Georgia passed a law in 2020 that allow prosecutors to seek enhanced penalties against those who target victims based on their perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability.

    I guess incidental is close enough for this anti-death penalty huckster.

  3. >>But she now says she believes Long deserves the “ultimate penalty”:

    I mean how often does a state-sanctioned opportunity to kill whitey come along?

  4. And? We’re surprised politicians are doing politician stuff now?

    Unless the speaker is Sister Prejean, I’m expecting people who are anti-death penalty to have some wiggle room, depending on the offender. (I lacked the stones to ask her, in the Q/A portion of a 2002-era talk the local Innocence Project was putting on, whether her mind would be changed if it were Osama bin Laden in the dock. I doubt it would be, and in any event, talk is cheap.)

    1. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that she would be opposed to the death penalty for Osama bin Laden.

      1. Oh, I agree, and she would further get to take refuge in the knowledge that such a decision would never be up to her.

        It just came to mind as a regret I had, tied to this subject. You don’t get many opportunities to speak truth to power; let them actually be forced to censor you. Instead of your fear censoring you before you begin.

        Besides; the head of the IP who put on the talk was a Yalie arrogant asshole. It would’ve been a great opportunity to embarrass him. God knows the prick deserved it.

    2. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I would not expect that. I mean, if you are going to bother having an opinion on the death penalty, how can you not consider that sometimes really bad people might do really bad things?
      It’s like gun control Why would some new shooting incident change your views on the subject? You really never considered the possibility that something like that could happen?
      I’m sure my expectations are too high.

      1. I mean, if you are going to bother having an opinion on the death penalty, how can you not consider that sometimes really bad people might do really bad things?

        I would add that ‘making taxpayers lock people in cages, potentially solitary, for 60 yrs. isn’t more humane’ to the consideration.

      2. I make a similar argument all the time. The argument against the death penalty is not that people don’t deserve it. Many more people deserve the death penalty than receive it. Many deserve much worse.

        As Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven, “Deserve? Deserve’s got nothing to do with it “

  5. The first rule of Tautology Club is the first rule of Tautology Club. Just saying.

    I’ve got no issue with people who are opposed to the death penalty. I’m mostly opposed myself. But this special exception carve out for people they don’t like is just bullshit.

    1. Mostly opposed is also partly supportive.

      Look, I’m opposed to the death penalty for parking violations. We all have some limits. Fani Willis was either lying about her limits or is just very, very stupid.

      (I know: embrace the power of “and”.)

    2. another day, another politician hypocrite

  6. Perhaps in the future society will elect leaders who refuse to make absolutist claims that they will inevitably feel forced to go back on but who, understanding that exceptions make the rules, take that as an incentive to constantly evaluate how their actions fit with their ethic-

    -AHAHAHAHA I can’t do it anymore.

  7. I’d say that if you’re elected to office after promising not to do X, and then you change your mind and decide that X is in the public interest, you should simply resign and leave the job to someone who isn’t bound by an inconvenient campaign promise. In this case, the prosecutor should resign and let some other prosecutor seek the death penalty. I doubt very much her presence in the case is essential. And she can always run again the next time there’s an election, specify that this time she’s not making any promises, and then feel at liberty to seek the death penalty.

    Ha ha, I love spinning these imaginary scenarios.

    1. Maybe some organization can give awards to politicians who resign rather than violate ill-advised campaign promises.

      (I don’t know if a cash award would be legal, but maybe an award certificate in a nice frame?)

      1. Resign rather than violate *or keep* ill-advised promises.

        Again – not to give them money for their official decisions – God forbid! – but to give the other thing politicians crave – praise and pats on the back.

      2. Having trouble seeing the libertarian or other case for giving someone an award for having resigned as being inherently illegal. Paying someone to recuse themselves from a case? Absolutely illegal. Giving someone a job in the private sector to leave their regulatory position? Shady and maybe kinda illegal. Handing someone the potential to win a pile of cash for already having left the position? Seems like legitimate free speech to me, though I’m no anti-Campaign Finance Law expert.

        1. In Libertopia, then paying people to resign wouldn’t be necessary because public officials would only serve out of duty and would go back to private life as soon as they possibly could.

          Under the current (nonlibertarian) set-up, I’m not sure I’d endorse paying people money in connection with their activities as govt officials – even to persuade them to keep their word to the voters.

          1. But, as I tried and seemingly failed to highlight, this isn’t or wouldn’t be paying people in connections with their government activities, quite the opposite. Maybe I’m misconceptualizing it, but the politician would have to retire from office under no promise of winning the award just to qualify.

            Admittedly, haggling after payments have been disbursed has been considered quid pro quo in recent history, but I don’t see how, in broad sense of corruption, it’s any worse than honoring a former President with a Nobel Peace Prize 20 yrs. after his Presidency. Maybe if you’re giving out awards to people retiring from Congress to serve in another higher office but, presumably, your awarding committee would avoid such impropriety. But, considering we hand out Nobel Peace Prizes to Presidents in their first year, there’s a distinct possiblity it would be glad-handing farce.

  8. Exhibit A as to why pro-death penalty is a bipartisan issue. You can print all the “but support is shrinking” articles you want (I’ve been reading them since the late 80s), but at some point, somewhere, almost everyone agrees that there is some limit down in the bowels of awful crime at which a death penalty can kick in.

    1. Then, I think, those people are not opposed to the death penalty.

      They’re opposed to the death penalty in *this* case or in *that* case – they don’t think the crime at hand is worth killing over.

      I, on the other hand, oppose the death penalty not because I think some crimes don’t deserve killing over (and I do think that some don’t), or because I think we wouldn’t be better off without this or that criminal, but because I simply don’t trust the state.

      I don’t trust the state to get the right guy all the time. So I’m willing to support a 100% moratorium on the death penalty simply because, yes, even with OBL (or Manson, or Dalhmer, or . . . pick your heinous criminal of choice)` in the dock, I would rather a guilty person spend their lives in jail than a single innocent be executed.

      1. If I was innocent and convicted, I would rather be executed than spend 50 years in prison.

        1. Really? I would rather preserve the possibility that justice might be done some day. Hope is a powerful thing. I think most people in that situation would still want to live.

          1. Too hard to distinguish one way or the other a priori. If revenge is some kind of moral no-no, I’d say false hope is as bad or worse.

        2. Dying is always an option. I imagine it is particularly accessible in a prison yard.

  9. It says something nastier than merely reneging on a previously stated opposition to the death penalty. It says that she values the lives of certain types of victims more and certain kinds of perpetrators less, apparently depending on their demographic classifications. In other words, she is a bigot.

    1. And, in this particular case where the evidence strongly suggests that the hate crime is incidental or circumstantial, the best kind of bigot, a murderous one. She’s trying to execute the anti-Asian bigot who was frequenting Asians in massage parlors to bolster his alibi before he committed his crime. Arguably a lying, murderous bigot.

  10. Nothing say ‘I only support the death penalty in extremely limited circumstances’ like jumping on the first opportunity you get to execute a mentally ill person.

    Nice job!

  11. Trash media still pushing this anti asian BS.

  12. News flash for ya Scott; democratic politicians lie.

  13. Given that she replaced Paul Howard, who engaged in some dubious prosecutions to distract attention from the fact that he was a corrupt piece of shit, I have to wonder what she’s engaging in dubious prosecutions to distract attention from. There’s no way in hell this “hate crime” enhancement stands up to scrutiny and she’s dumber than a sack of hammers if she thinks it will. This is a pure political stunt, but for what purpose is she pulling it?

    1. To get people to think hate crime is a real thing.

      1. Yeah, not sure what else she’s doing. Not sure it could be worse than that.

  14. Its amazing how many politicians are aghast at the idea of the state killing people (whether by lethal injection or drone strike) until they’re the ones handed the power to sign the death warrant.

    1. Yet one more reason to abolish the death penalty.

      1. And then there’s you. So one less? Balance is maintained.

      2. Yet one more reason to abolish *some of* the death penalty.

        You conveniently forgot extrajudicial assassination via drone strike.

  15. Short answer-most anti-Asian crimes are committed by black people and she doesn’t want to contribute to the stereotype

  16. I think for a lot of people the death penalty is complicated. While a certain segment enthusiastically supports and others categorically oppose it, others are on a spectrum. Generally I’m not in favor of it for a mixture of ethical and pragmatic reasons. It’s incredibly expensive and it’s application is racially and socially biased; you’re far better off being rich and guilty than poor and innocent. I’m also not aware of any good philosophical framework that can legitimately justify the use of deadly force by The State as retribution outside of legitimate self defense.

    The only argument I can make for it is simply emotional. It feels like no lesser punishment suffices for certain crimes that shock the conscience. When someone like McVeigh kills 168 people in cold blood including women and children, the human mind seeks retribution and it seems a shame that he can only die once. Likewise, when those entrusted with protecting The People betray that oath and prey upon them like Chauvin did, death seems too mild for their crimes.

    That said I’m not a supporter of inventing new categories of ‘hate crimes.’ Clearly any murder is a hateful act and I see no cause to prioritize punishing one kind of hatred over another.

  17. The death penalty is wrong.

    1. Jailing unrepentant multiple murderers for life at taxpayer expense is wrong.

  18. So what should the standard BE for when the death penalty applies? Most people don’t think every murder (or every intentional murder) should get the death penalty. And the Supreme Court would not allow that.

    So what makes something capital murder, as opposed to go-to- prison-for -life murder?

    Until we can come up with some kind of neutral standard that applies in every murder case, then all death penalties will be some form of revenge.

    1. I dunno, back when SCOTUS restored the death penalty in the 1970s, they rejected one state’s law (Maryland, I think), that would have made it mandatory for all murders. But now perhaps the current court would allow it?

    2. “There is a system in place for applying the death penalty. I’m going to pretend to take the moral high road by pretending it doesn’t exist. I’m going to pretend to take the moral high road so that I can pretend that the death penalty is inextricably linked to revenge.” – Bored Lawyer

      So what should the standard BE for when jaywalking/shoplifting/B&E/assault/theft/rape charges apply? Most people don’t think every jaywalking/shoplifting/B&E/assault/theft/rape (or every intentional jaywalker/shoplifter/burglar/assailant/thief/rapist) should face criminal charges. And the Supreme Court would not allow that.

      So what makes something jaywalking/shoplifting/B&E/assault/theft/rape, as opposed to simply walking across the street?

      Until we can come up with some kind of neutral standard that applies in every jaywalking/shoplifting/B&E/assault/theft/rape case, then all penalties for jaywalking will be some form of revenge.

      I don’t think you even know what a ‘lawyer’ is.

    3. Most people don’t think every murder (or every intentional murder) should get the death penalty.

      I don’t know about “most people”, but I think that death should be the presumptive punishment for intentional, and premeditated murder.
      The defense (again, just my opinion) should be allowed to make a case for special circumstances, maybe because the the defendant was under some exceptional stress, or he believed the victim posed some unreasonable, but non-imminent, risk to his own life.

      1. non-imminent, risk to his own life

        Imminent threats to one’s own life shouldn’t take the death penalty off the table? 🙂

  19. Hate motivated murders? Like one estranged spouse killing another? Like someone killing a cheating partners paramour? Like neighbor having a dispute? Like co-workers that can’t get along? Like a fired employee taking revenge? Most murders are hate motivated, yet not on of these will ever be charged as a hate crime. You see, murder is murder and comes with sever penalties. Yet the government picks and chooses certain crimes to pile on. It is totally political and has nothing to do with hate.

    1. Moreover, the progression or juxtaposition is crystal clear in this case. Reducing or eliminating the death penalty doesn’t make the law any more just or any less revenge motivated. This has been shown multiple times across multiple circuits and countries. The ideal may be letting one guilty man go free so that 100 innocent men never face conviction, but the reality is we’re letting one guilty man spend the rest of his life in solitary so that out of 100 innocent men, 10 can have their assets seized, 10 can be fined for goods that were stolen from them, 5 can serve 30 yrs. for being falsely accused, and 2 can be asphyxiated or shot to death in their home for no particular reason at all.

    2. Like “racism” and “phobia”, “hate” has a new meaning in the new world.
      It now means “politically unpopular”.

  20. Hate motivated murders? Like one estranged spouse killing another? Like someone killing a cheating partners paramour? Like neighbors having a dispute? Like co-workers that can’t get along? Like a fired employee taking revenge on a supervisor?
    Most murders are hate motivated, yet not on of the above will ever be charged as a hate crime. You see, murder is murder and comes with sever penalties. Yet the government picks and chooses certain crimes to pile on. It is totally political and has nothing to do with hate.

  21. Hate motivated murders? Like one estranged spouse killing another? Like someone killing a cheating partners paramour? Like neighbors having a dispute? Like co-workers that can’t get along? Like a fired employee taking revenge on a supervisor?
    Most murders are hate motivated, yet not one of the above will ever be charged as a hate crime. You see, murder is murder and comes with sever penalties. Yet the government picks and chooses certain crimes to pile on. It is totally political and has nothing to do with hate, except maybe the States hate for it’s citizens. It make no one safer in any way.

    1. Well said. You’re probably right that most murders are motivated by hate.

      Isn’t it ironic that hate sometimes results in a less-severe penalty? A “cold-blooded” killing, where there is clearly premeditation and planning, plus a dispassionate attempt to cover up the crime, is usually seen as much worse than when someone’s hate and anger makes them lose control.

      1. You’re probably right that most murders are motivated by hate.

        Could be, but I don’t think it’s completely obvious. I think a lot are motivated by fear, indifference or self-interest. And some are psychopaths who just don’t give a fuck.

        1. Those are just examples. My question is murder comes with sever penalties. Should the government pick and chose that some murders should get stiffer penalties based on the preconception of the state? Yes facts matter, but does is the state the one that decides intent? If you kill someone the same as you in every other manner than killing someone different than you, does that mean you should be punished harsher?

        2. Those are just examples. My question is murder comes with sever penalties. Should the government pick and chose that some murders should get stiffer penalties based on the preconception of the state? Yes facts matter, but does is the state the one that decides intent? If you kill someone like you in the exact same manner as you someone different than you, does that mean you should be punished harsher?

        3. Those are just examples. My question is murder comes with sever penalties. Should the government pick and chose that some murders should get stiffer penalties based on the preconception of the state? Yes facts and circumstances matter, but should the state be the one that decides intent? If you kill someone like you in the exact same manner and circumstances as you kill someone different than you, does that mean you should be punished harsher?

  22. She’s a politician. Enough said.

    Don’t know much about GA politics, but were she not to seek the death penalty in this case, the GOP would surely use her as a poster child for the donkey party being murderer cuddling pussies. Here in Virginia, most dems supported the death penalty too, until they figured out it was politically safe for them to be against it.

  23. The prosecutor was right in first place and should have stuck with that line. This is hypocrisy and I hope it is called out by all death penalty critics.

    1. Agreed, but she is a politician who no doubt plans to run for statewide office, and most Georgians probably will hold it against her if she indeed practiced what she preached in this case. It made sense at first for her to say one thing while she was looking for money from rich liberal donors, but that was then.

  24. Thus, we reach the natural conclusion of the “hate crime” absurdity.

    No longer do our leaders wish to determine punishment based on who the perpetrators hate. Now it’s our leaders hatred of certain perpetrators that influences punishment.

    If only we had been warned – a million times.

    1. Thus, we reach the natural conclusion of the “hate crime” absurdity.

      I think it also belies the anti-death penalty absurdity and, to a degree, the anti-police and anti-2A absurdity. People who despise the death penalty because it’s unjust and revenge-motivated would be a-OK with revenge-motivated life imprisonment or worse.

      Obviously, the optimal outcome would be that Long got help for his perceived issue without killing anyone. There’s not much we can do about that without creating a state-backed religion and otherwise grossly infringing on peoples’ rights. First runner-up from a liberty perspective is that long draws a gun to shoot someone and a civilian shoots him first. Second runner-up is Long shoots someone and police shoot him. The situation where we end up with 8 dead people and a years-long, multi-million dollar debate where corrupt politicians get to weigh in on whether the taxpayers should execute him or pay to keep him in a cage can’t possibly be in the top 5.

  25. To the death penalty opponents; let’s say the DA stuck with her principles and said that she just wants him to be locked in a prison cell for the rest of his natural life and proceeded to use hate crime convictions to do so. Would you still oppose her actions? Would that not be the same revenge-seeking behavior that causes the death penalty to be unjust? In the 1 guilty man vs. 100 innocent men conceptualization, aren’t you effectively winnowing it down so that it’s 1 guilty man vs. 10 innocent men and, intentionally or not, winnowing it down specifically in favor of the guilty man?

    1. Hate crimes are thought crimes. How can anyone approve of thought crimes?

      Murdering me for my wallet is no less a crime than murdering me for my skin color.

      If you put the criminal in a cell and weld the door shut, not to be opened until the criminal is observed to be dead in the cell, no matter how many years it takes, fine.

      1. Hate crimes are thought crimes. How can anyone approve of thought crimes?

        That’s not the juxtaposition here. Let’s pretend you discovered a magic lamp and the genie says he can make hate crimes go away or he can make the death penalty go away but not both. Exercising a similar sort of future-past omniscience that you exercised in your hypothetical; let’s say we know that commanding the genie to end the death penalty will double or even triple the number of hate crimes on the books but ending hate crimes will multiply the number of executions, which do/would you choose?

        From my perspective in your hypothetical, you’re dead. I don’t much care what you want, it’s all revenge for a dead man. The only difference is welding him in an airtight cage solves whatever problem he posed in a few minutes rather than a few decades, which saves lots of people time and money. Being dead, do you particularly care whether we make the cage airtight or spend the extra money to keep him alive? Why should I care? From your POV, it’s revenge either way.

    2. Well, for me, opposition to the death penalty isn’t because it’s revenge, or anything like that (that’s another issue, any sentence beyond what is necessary to control a dangerous person is going to have some revenge element to it). For me it’s because I don’t trust the state to do it accurately and consistently and I find the possibility of the state executing an innocent person unacceptable. There are certainly problems with locking people up forever too, as you say, but at least people can be let out.
      I do agree that the best thing would really be if someone just shot him while he was actively murdering (preferably before anyone actually gets murdered).

      1. So, let’s say the local sheriff saddled up a posse and went and hanged Long. Would you oppose it on principle or only if they got the wrong guy?

  26. I support the death penalty in principle, but I don’t trust government to only kill those who have it coming. Ideally, the death penalty is administered by the victim on the spot when the perp does something that requires the victim to defend himself with lethal force.

    -jcr

  27. BTW, part of the standard objection to the death penalty is the contention that the condemned is tortured by botched execution methods. There is a way to kill someone without any pain at all, and that’s by hypoxia in a 100% nitrogen environment. No cyanide, no accumulation of CO2 to make them feel like they’re suffocating, they simply pass out and die a few minutes later.

    -jcr

    1. It’s really weird how lethal injection became the standard. Just seems needlessly complicated and easy to screw up.

    2. There is *many* a way to kill someone without any pain at all

      Nitrogen asphyxiation is but one method.

      Also, since we’re splitting hairs, the objection isn’t just pain but pain, panic, and discomfort. Saturated nitrogen hoods generally prevent panic and discomfort but aren’t 100% reliable. Slow nitrogen saturation provides plenty of time for panic and discomfort. Personally, I’d rather be subjected to slow room-level saturation as the hood or box would be extremely discomforting and I say that as someone who has routinely worn sealed headgear professionally and occasionally breathes from compressed air cylinders recreationally.

  28. Justice is repayment, to the victim (or victim’s NOK), by the perpetrator. That’s it. It’s really simple. It’s an eye for an eye, a life for a life, a dollar for a dollar (plus, perhaps, a bit more due to opportunity costs). It’s an accounting equation.

    Any other attempt to define “justice” is always fatally (ha) doomed from the start.

    For murderers, the victim’s NOK should have the right, after guilt is determined by a reliable authority (such as a jury), to kill the person, or to forgive all or some of the debt that the murderer has incurred. Once the equation is balanced, either fully or if it’s “written off”, justice is done and that’s the end of it.

    I’m fully for the death penalty for murderers, whether the act is premeditated or not, but the State is quite obviously too incompetent (or too evil) to do this task.

    1. I’m fully for the death penalty for murderers, whether the act is premeditated or not, but the State is quite obviously too incompetent (or too evil) to do this task.

      See my question to Zeb above. If the Fulton Co. sheriff rounded up a posse and hanged Long, would you be opposed to that as policy or only in cases where they hanged the wrong guy? The ‘State is too incompetent’ argument, while not unfounded, is a dodge for some/many. Assuming someone like Long (or Dahlmer or Manson or take your pick) needs to die, who is going to “get it right” policy-wise? I’m not saying it’s The State. I’m saying that many of the people who say ‘The State shouldn’t be doing it’ don’t recognize or clarify that having the police or vigilantes executing people or letting murderers roam free or simply imprisoning more people longer isn’t exactly a better policy.

  29. What the hell is so wrong with the death penalty? I 100% support it as the punishment for any and all convicted murders. Regardless of the motivation, hate crime or not. I personally support it for all convictions of violent or property crimes. Implementing that will lower crime rates dramatically both as a deterrent and permanently removing a violent/property criminal from society upon their first conviction.
    The absolutely biggest problem in American society nowadays is lack of consequences. You can see it in lax sentencing, welfare, bailouts, eviction/foreclosure moratoriums, etc… It’s all tied together, not being held to the full consequence of your own life choices.
    And before anyone asks, yes, I’m a libertarian. I just think being anti death penalty is being anti consequences. If somebody has proven they can’t be trusted to not violate the natural rights of others, there should be 0 expectation that their natural rights (including the right to life) should be respected.

    1. The existence of any doubt precludes proof.

    2. Someone should have had their hands cut off when they were a child for stealing.

  30. I don’t understand the objection to capital punishment.

    In cases like this one where it is certain that the accused killed someone, not in self defence, it’s only fair.

    Why should I pay to keep a murderer alive even for a little while?

    Why should a murderer ever walk free again?

    1. You really want the government to have the power to legally kill it’s citizens? Death penalty is expensive to society, too. The legal costs are very large. But hey, as long as we, who by the way didn’t see what happen, are “certain.”

  31. The emphasis in discussing hate crimes seems to be on the hate rather than the crime. Murder is a crime because someone loses their life. There is no need to determine whether or not the murderer had hate for the victim. All human life is valuable and that is why murder is a crime. It should be dealt with on that basis and no other.

    Labelling some murders as ‘hate crimes’ is some skewered way of trying to say that some people who are members of minority groups victims lose more than those who are not. What more can you lose than your life? Murder is a crime and that is all we need to know.

    Trying to elevate the loss of a minority group person above that of others is patronising to those groups. If those groups are unjustly treated or discriminated against then arguments should be brought forward to deal with that reality and appropriate action taken. It is not appropriate to try and emotionally manipulate society by using illogical arguments about certain murders being worse than others.

    1. Don’t underestimate the value of a victim gold card.

  32. Only because he is white. Had he been one of her people it would not have been sought.

  33. So she is against death penalty and then some murders happen and, omg!, I could have never conceived of a crime so bad, NVM, fry dat sum bitch!

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