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CET BS: Too obese to execute (147* d) RE: BS: Too obese to execute 23 Sep 12


Bill D asked "The question is, do we prevent this ONLY by banning all executions, or is there some way to allow it in cases where there is NO doubt, as in mass murder on video, or with multiple witnesses and a confession?... (Batman shootings in theater.)"

The answer is "no". As I tried to explain in an earlier post, there are guilty findings and not guilty findings. There is nothing else. Using the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and there is no other standard, the courts in democratic countries like Canada, the U.S, and Britain get it right most of the time. But not all the time, and the mistakes are not as infrequent as we would all like to believe. I respect those, like Eliza, who have a moral revulsion to capital punishment. I share that revulsion, too, in most cases, but there are some murderers whom I hardly recognize as being human. For example, if Canada still had the death penalty, I simply would not have it in me to feel any regret at removing Russell Williams, who , once held the same commission that I do, from this world. However, I would still hate the death penalty and would do everything I could to abolish it.

The price of being able to kill people like Russell Williams is the execution of innocent people like Guy-Paul Morin and Timothy Evans. You cannot have one without the other. In Guy-Paul Morin's case, there was no death penalty and he lived to be exonerated. Tim Evans was not so lucky.

Sometimes pro-death penalty advocates are proud to say that they could pull the lever on (insert name of vile murderer here). And maybe they honestly believe that. That is not the real question, though. The question they ought to ask themselves is "Could I pull the lever on this killer, and then could I go on to pull the lever on all the other convicted killers, knowing for an absolute certainty that some of them will be innocent?"

Raedwulf's views are interesting, since he seems to be one of the extraordinarily rare people who accept that wrongful executions are a product of régimes that allow the death penalty, but still support capital punishment. Mostly, pro-death penalty opinion doesn't get beyond "everybody knows the fucker did it and he deserves to die".

Raedwulf's views would not have been unusual a generation or two ago. Now, after so many wrongful convictions over so many years, I don't understand how anybody continues to think that way.


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