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Series Seven: The Running Man

Go ahead, make my McVeigh
  (+2, -14)(+2, -14)(+2, -14)
(+2, -14)
  [vote for,
against]

Don't say I don't believe in giving everyone a sporting chance. In the great tradition of fox hunting (not to mention bad Arnold Schwartzenegger movies), I think that there's a lot of good TV potential in this idea.

Take a criminal who has been convicted of murder in a FEDERAL court. Rather than execute him outright (which would anger the anti-death penalty folks), give him a sporting chance for asylum. Or a less-than-sporting chance anyway, but at least we're not summarily executing him. Implant a tracking device in him, but in the torso rather than the arm or leg so that it can't be easily removed. Take him out to the exact center of the lower 48 United States, somewhere west of Topeka, Kansas. Make sure that he's still in his bright-orange prison jumpsuit. Give him a dull butter knife, then tell him that if he can get to the border or to an ocean, he's free--but he'd better not ever come back.

Of course, it's not quite THAT simple. Yes, the FBI can track him electronically (because of the implant), but everybody else has to do it the hard way. And we just happen to publicize that if you kill the convict, not only will you not be prosecuted but you'll pay no federal taxes next year.

You know that the NRA and every gun nut in the country will come out of the woodwork for this one. No fair shooting the bastard before he's gone at least a mile--and no fair staking out the perimeter, either. After that, he's fair game for anyone. You can't help him either, that's illegal. And to top it all off, the whole thing will be televised, so I guess we'll have to release trackers to the networks as well. (The SMART gun nuts will just follow the helicopters.) The unimaginative convicts will go straight for Canada or Mexico, but those who are a little smarter might guess that everyone will be expecting that and try for the Atlantic or the Pacific instead. And watch the ratings as they go through the roof and make "Survivor" look trivial!

Cross index this one under "Public: Pest Control" and "Public: Waste Disposal."

deacon, May 15 2001

Capital punishment, my way. http://www.prologue...nArghans/Rant1.html
I know I've linked this before. If that's a no-no, my apologies. [angel, May 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

aclu's death penalty facts http://www.aclu.org...eath.html#deterrent
You can argue with statistic if you want... [globaltourniquet, May 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       ::::::putting a saddle on my best horse and packing my bow, my rifle, and my fun little handgun:::::::::   

       I am SO there..... (and not just because I'm tired of paying taxes....)
Susen, May 15 2001
  

       Again I whine: How tired do I have to get of these "Most Dangerous Game"/Gladiator/"Escape from New York"/"Bread and Circuses" knock-offs for convicted criminals? And it's always "televise it! ratings will soar!" blah blah. On this one, the fundamental problem is that if you televise it live, everyone will know where to find the bastard. Sheesh.
globaltourniquet, May 15 2001
  

       Put the convicted criminal and all the folks who think this is a good idea on one of the smaller Aleutian Islands. Give everyone an AK-47 and all the ammo they can carry. Wave goodbye, sail off, don't bother to go back. Ever. Repeat as necessary until bloodthirsty idiots become civilized.
Dog Ed, May 15 2001
  

       Now, now Dog Ed.... you do not realize how the idiot McVeigh may have personally affected my life. Therefore, while I would be more than glad to do this, I wouldn't necessarily go after others.... just as if I were asked to inject him, you bet I would. Can't say I'd step forward to inject anyone else though.   

       Bloodthirsty? Well, in this case, yes.
Susen, May 15 2001
  

       Yeah, humans have a craving for vengence. And I really don't think that's evil per se, it's just that I wish we could grow out of the infantile idea that it would fun or interesting to hunt down and kill another human being, no matter how evil the bastard in question may be. I understand loss and grief--had a little in my life--so I would not presume to judge your feelings in this, Susen. *sorrow* :-(
Dog Ed, May 15 2001
  

       ::::::::::::cleaning my nickle-plated ,45 "Dirty Harry" auto-mag, putting new batteries in the night vision scope, borrowing a horse from Susen fitted with stealth horseshoes::::::::::::::::   

       Count me in!
Duffi, May 15 2001
  

       I hope and believe that my conviction against capital punishment is not subject to any circumstances. I might want someone who killed a loved one dead, that does not mean that I will suddenly support capital punishment. I have spoken with and heard from advocates against capital punishment who have experienced this tragedy, and each one I have had personal knowledge of has thus retained his/her convictions. While I retain the conviction of mourning with those who mourn, I don't appreciate capital punishment advocates who have or have not had loved ones murdered telling me "What if it were your son or daughter?" That is irrelevant. If it were my son or daughter, I might be inclined to want to hunt the bastard down. I would not be inclined to believe the state should. Or the TV networks. If you believe in capital punishment, believe it with reason, not emotion. Likewise if you do not. Otherwise, like any other ethical issue, it is clouded with passion.
globaltourniquet, May 15 2001
  

       call it karma...call it quid pro quo.... but I believe that "as you've done to others, so shall to you be done". GT, I understand and I respect your opinions. Believe me, I do not/or at least try not to be overruled by my emotions. Case in point, in October of 1995, six idiotic teenagers skipped school to go squirrel hunting. Apparently b/c four of my horses were up in trees with their cheeks full of nuts, the idiots shot the horses (one died on the operating table ---three survived at great cost). Instead of hunting the brats down like the murderers they were and disposing of them appropriately, I allowed the courts to handle the problem. I recouped less than 5% of my monetary loss (which was significant) and nothing for emotional loss and pain. In other words, while the courts are there to take a rational approach and I respect their right to determine if scum like McVeigh lives or dies, they do not always carry out a quid pro quo justice. In this posting by deacon, the assumption is that they have been convicted of murder in a federal court and the court is going to give him a chance to run for his freedom instead of sticking a needle in his arm. Rational thought would be to say "no way this scumbag should have a chance to live"... I'd be irrational to let him have that chance ----a chance to kill again. Therefore, a rational person who cared about this potential problem would definately mount up and head out across the range...... (Duffi, you can ride Mouse ---big huge QH horse! , I'm taking Bingo.....)
Susen, May 15 2001
  

       I fully accept the notion that there are folks who don't deserve to live. It may very well be that McV**** is one of these. But I sincerely don't believe karma is the business of the state, because of the state's inability to be perfect on the issue. I also feel that giving this human, for whom there is no suitable adjective denoting deplorability, what he may deserve is not worth the countless times we have done it to those who don't, or for whom the adjectives may perhaps not sink as deep, or upon whom we can exact more appropriate punishments (cases in point: Karla Faye Tucker, Stanley Faulder, Glen McGinnis, Larry Robison, David Spence, Betty Lou Beets, and especially Odell Barnes, Jr. -- look these cases up if you are serious about supporting the death penalty).
globaltourniquet, May 15 2001
  

       What if Arnie ever got convicted of murder.........I've seen what he can do with a butter knife.
barnsburnt, May 15 2001
  

       Very sorry to hear about your horses Susen. Unfortunately in a country where guns are 'fun' and easily acquired, even by idiots...
redpony, May 16 2001
  

       This is probably the worst idea I have ever heard, even if you disregard the fact that it would elevate the gun-nut vigilante who kills McVeigh to national celebrity.
First of all it gives a convicted mass killer a (slim) chance to evade the hand of justice, which will weaken the image to the justice system in the US even further.
Secondly, it turns execution into a participation and spectator sport. State-sanctioned murder (irrespective of whether it is right or wrong) should be carried out by the state.
Thirdly, the reason that justice can claim to be 'just' is that it is based around the principles of reason. This is also the case as regards the punishment. If emotion is allowed to force its way into how the punishment is carried out, then the justice system becomes an instrument of vengance, not of social protection. The idea proposed here is equivalent to the Judge(s) asking a member of the public how long a burglar or drunk driver should spend in prison.
Finally, the idea itself just turns my stomach. I work in a pub and have heard self-righteous 'hardmen' espouse this very theory in relation to whatever high profile criminal has just been convicted/damned (Thomas Hamilton, Fred West, any convicted paedophile). The fact that a crime has angered or directly affected a person does not in any way justify then taking the law into their own hands.
I am not saying that the law is 100% effective - in fact, I would say that the law is never 100% effective - but the law what we have to protect and to punish. And it's a damn sight better than vigilantism.
calum, May 16 2001
  

       I find this idea sickening. At first I thought it would be cool but then I realized we're in a civilized country and we don't do things like this anymore. This gets my fish.
salmon, May 16 2001
  

       [waugsqueke]: See link for my solution.
[salmon]: Surely if it were a sufficiently civilized country, this wouldn't be an issue.
angel, May 16 2001
  

       Mephista, the problem with your argument is that McAsshole didn't kill those that had killed...he killed innocent people and children. Had he gone after only those that he knew killed, I'm not sure I would condemn him at all (I wasn't pleased at all with the WACO incident or what happened at Ruby Ridge). While I'm not particularly fond of the government here, however, it is the best that we have and we have to live with it.   

       waugs, I don't believe there is any karmic "backlash" for the executioner. The Law of Return doesn't work that way. Instead, the executioner is the karmic backlash for the person that has done wrong. When a person does evil and wrong, they are inviting punishment to be inflicted upon them...punishment that they deserve. They may not know it, but that is the path they have predestined for themselves. If the executioner does not act, then the karma is not fulfilled and they go on to do more hurt and more hurt until someone finally does give them the punishment they are subconsciously seeking.   

       waugs, I know our theologies are so very different. I don't wish to go around and around with you. I respect your beliefs and I do understand them on many levels.
Susen, May 16 2001
  

       Agreeing to disagree about the issue is fine, however, there is a deeper exigency here. Innocent people are being murdered by our state governments, and it must be stopped. If you can think of a better way to stop this from happening than abolishing the death penalty altogether, then I am willing to hear that. But as I said, I don't think killing McV**** and fourteen others like him is worth the risk of killing one innocent man or woman.
globaltourniquet, May 16 2001
  

       It isn't murder, it's punishment.   

       'Again I whine: How tired do I have to get of these "Most Dangerous Game"/Gladiator/"Escape from New York"/"Bread and Circuses" knock-offs for convicted criminals? '   

       As sick as I have to get of anti-American things. Rather like redpony's annotation above. I'd be happy to drop both of them together.
StarChaser, May 16 2001
  

       //It isn't murder, it's punishment.//   

       Double-speak. Doubleplusungood. You are hiding behind a pleasant euphemism, but besides that, when the victim is innocent, it can't be called punishment. So it is murder. One hundred thousand just punishments by the state don't make up for one unjust murder by the state. Abolish the death penalty. OK I'm done.
globaltourniquet, May 16 2001
  

       <shrug> Call it doublespeak if it soothes your little soul.
StarChaser, May 16 2001
  

       OK I was done, but that's the stupidest non-response I've ever heard. My soul is anything but soothed by the awareness that you are soothing your soul with euphemism. My soul is troubled by it. You are the one engaged in soul-soothing when you label a heinous wrong as something palatable. How can you spew such drivel and still look at your reflection in your computer monitor?
globaltourniquet, May 17 2001
  

       Sorry daddy. For their sakes I shall.   

       (you forgot Zoroaster, Confucius, Ra, Ras Tafari...)
globaltourniquet, May 17 2001
  

       The Form is the problem here, not The Function. There needs to be a tighter restriction on who receives Death Penalty. But the Death Penalty itself should not be abolished. It acts as a deterrent, and there is no reason to allow any human being to live who does not contribute to society without society itself being threatened by his very existence or taxed to pay for his/her 'life'. Let The Killer Pay For It With His/Her Own Life. In terms of Non-Officials carryin out the 'justice' , well - they need to exact revenge before the cops find the killer AND get away with it. Quick Reminder: The distinction was made early on in the 'Idea' that this was for Federal Capital Offenses. Being that this can't be karma-based in terms of Execution, etc. then all things being equal, the defense of someone who carries out a mass murder such as in the McVeigh Case " because of the murders they (Feds) had committed" is therefore equally dispensable. There is no justification for a NonOfficial to carry out orders on his/her own. Any Official who carries out orders on his/her own is also under the gun - so to speak. On and on and on
thumbwax, May 17 2001
  

       Main Entry: 1mur·der 1 : the crime of *unlawfully* killing a person especially with malice aforethought.   

       Emphasis mine. When done lawfully, as in 'twelve good men and true', it isn't murder. It is punishment.   

       Main Entry: pun·ish·ment 2 a : suffering, pain, or loss that serves as retribution *b : a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure*   

       Emphasis, again, mine. How does someone being tried by the laws of their country and being found guilty, convicted and punished equal 'murder'?   

       If you want to go redefining words, <As, in fact, the book that 'doublethink' came from railed AGAINST> go right ahead.   

       As to my avoiding things by 'euphemism', wrong again. No euphemisms here. <spelling correction>
StarChaser, May 17 2001, last modified May 19 2001
  

       Much better. Thank you for your time.   

       Points taken. But i can play the same game. I can argue that killing a person that is innocent is unlawful. Therefor, it fits under the definition of murder.   

       And thumbwax, I have already stated that if you can find a way to fix "The Form", then I will listen. But I submit that human fallacy will always make the form of this function deplorable, due to the inevitability of egregious error. So the only way to prevent the state killing of the innocent or undeserving is to abolish the death penalty. It is better to let hundreds of thousands of guilty men live than to kill one innocent person. I am fully convinced of this.   

       I honestly urge you to learn about these victims of state-sponsored homicide: Karla Faye Tucker, Stanley Faulder, Glen McGinnis, Larry Robison, David Wayne Spence, Betty Lou Beets, Odell Barnes, Jr. These seven undeserved deaths alone (even just one, as I have said) make the practice not worth it to me, even if all other one hundred and some-odd killed in Texas deserved it.
globaltourniquet, May 17 2001
  

       Yes, well said gt.
redpony, May 17 2001
  

       'very difficult'
thumbwax, May 17 2001
  

       thumbwax - do you have any evidence for your assertion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent? I would imagine (and I'll admit upfront that I in turn have no evidence for this) that people who commit premeditated crimes only do so when they believe that there is no significant chance that they'll get caught. If they don't think they'll get caught then considerations of the punishment that they'll receive should they be caught don't come in to it.   

       As to crimes that aren't planned then there's no consideration of the consequences at all, so there's not a lot of room for deterrent there.   

       It seems to me that the best deterrent is the belief that you are likely to get caught and upon being caught will be subjected to a serious punishment. Life imprisonment seems serious enough.
mark_t, May 18 2001
  

       Statistics alone disprove the statement. There is no evidence at all that the death penalty is a deterrent, and there is statistical evidence to the contrary. There has been no reduction at all in the national homicide rate has since 1976 when there were no executions, although the number of executions has been steadily increasing since then. Proponents will say that if the death penalty is not a deterrent, it's because it isn't being implemented. Besides the fact that we could not (and we should agree that we must not) implement the penalty in such a way to ensure deterrence (as in certain Arabic nations), Texas has recently shown that even implementation as harsh as we _can_ muster is no deterrent. Statistics can also demonstrate that a life in prison is no less deterrent than the death penalty as we can implement it. The states that hand that penalty out without committing state-sponsored homicide have no higher crime rates, and in many cases lower crime rates, than those that do kill.   

       Some killers deserve death. I don't condone what the murderers of Mr. Dahmer did, but that can be seen as karma. The government is in no moral position to apply karma. If you think that, you have a weak understanding of the true concept of karma.
globaltourniquet, May 18 2001
  

       Check out these damning facts:   

       The vast preponderance of the evidence shows that the death penalty is no more effective than imprisonment in deterring murder and that it may even be an incitement to criminal violence. Death-penalty states as a group do not have lower rates of criminal homicide than non-death-penalty states. During the early 1970's death-penalty states averaged an annual rate of 7.9 criminal homicides per 100,000 population; abolitionist states averaged a rate of 5.1.5   

       Use of the death penalty in a given state may actually increase the subsequent rate of criminal homicide. In Oklahoma, for example, reintroduction of executions in 1990 may have produced "an abrupt and lasting increase in the level of stranger homicides" in the form of "one additional stranger-homicide incident per month." Why? Perhaps because "a return to the exercise of the death penalty weakens socially based inhibitions against the use of lethal force to settle disputes…. "6   

       In adjacent states – one with the death penalty and the other without it – the state that practices the death penalty does not always show a consistently lower rate of criminal homicide. For example, between l990 and l994, the homicide rates in Wisconsin and Iowa (non-death-penalty states) were half the rates of their neighbor, Illinois – which restored the death penalty in l973, and by 1994 had sentenced 223 persons to death and carried out two executions.7   

       On-duty police officers do not suffer a higher rate of criminal assault and homicide in abolitionist states than they do in death-penalty states. Between l973 and l984, for example, lethal assaults against police were not significantly more, or less, frequent in abolitionist states than in death-penalty states. There is "no support for the view that the death penalty provides a more effective deterrent to police homicides than alternative sanctions. Not for a single year was evidence found that police are safer in jurisdictions that provide for capital punishment."8   

       Prisoners and prison personnel do not suffer a higher rate of criminal assault and homicide from life-term prisoners in abolition states than they do in death-penalty states. Between 1992 and 1995, 176 inmates were murdered by other prisoners; the vast majority (84%) were killed in death penalty jurisdictions. During the same period about 2% of all assaults on prison staff were committed by inmates in abolition jurisdictions.9 Evidently, the threat of the death penalty "does not even exert an incremental deterrent effect over the threat of a lesser punishment in the abolitionist states."   

       Taken from posted link. See link for reference.
globaltourniquet, May 18 2001
  

       The statement made by yours truly quite purposefully was: It 'acts' as a deterrent, not 'is' one. Hooray for prisoners killing amongst themselves. Better them than us. Jeffrey Dahmer - how many people were surprised when he was killed in prison? No one I know. Not too many would be surprised if McVeigh died in a violent fashion in Prison either. In fact... got me a Dead Pool goin'.
thumbwax, May 18 2001
  

       "act as," according to merriam-webster, means "to perform the specified function of". The death penalty neither "is" a deterrent, nor "performs the function of" a deterrent. The distinction is hair-splitting.   

       (And regarding McV*****, certainly, I will not mourn for that human, no matter how or when he dies.)
globaltourniquet, May 18 2001
  

       Meow. Attempt at cat fight not gonna happen.....   

       For the record, A) you know nothing about my life and assuming that I have been wealthy for all of it is very wrong. I got where I am through a lot of hardwork, long hours, broken bones, blood, and sweat. B) the KKK killed some of my ancestors so that won't wash furthermore, as a general rule, they weren't after criminals, C) I never said justice was always done, I know better, D) Not Christian, not Hindu, not Buddhist, not anything you probably have any understanding of, therefore, allow me my right to understand Karma in perhaps a different way than you do. Furthermore, my religion, while it has a similar concept, doesn't have "Karma"...I only used that b/c it was as close as I could get and still get some understanding across E) Get educated? Wait let me count the degrees on the wall again....which do in fact include a degree in Religion (comparative mythologies, paegan/earth-based traditions, Native American traditions)...no big suprise there. Oh, yeah...let's look at my CV and count the number of published papers....the number of papers presented at Religion Conferences....the number of guest lectures I do at colleges... .....OK, I'm bored now.   

       Finally, please remember that this idea was presented as an idea.....which hypothetically had the government releasing a federally convicted murderer. I stand by my decision to mount up and ride. I've put a lot of horses, dogs, and cats to sleep (even had to shoot a couple) that I liked far better than him. Pleasure in it? No, just a necessity.
Susen, May 19 2001
  

       The reason that the death penalty doesn't work as a deterrent is that the odds are so far against someone actually being executed that they're more likely to die of old age first. If it was done, without forty years of appeals and stays and people crying about how ever so kr00l it is...if people actually THOUGHT they might get something more than a <often short> stay in prison, it would be a deterrent.   

       Yes, sometimes innocent people get caught in it. I doubt the 'half of everyone' thing, though.
StarChaser, May 19 2001
  

       dogma will only get its face smashed in when it tries to run over karma.   

       but anyway, regarding what StarChaser said -- "sometimes innocent people get caught in it" -- as long as that can happen at all, it isn't worth killing the deserving. And as for deterrent, the only demonstrable deterrent is the way it is (or was) implemented in Saudi Arabia, and by Stalin in the USSR, and in nations like that. I sure hope you don't mean that we should do that here. Talk about putting the innocent at risk....
globaltourniquet, May 19 2001
  

       Karma (straight from the "Enclyclopaedia of Occultism" by Lewis Spence, pub. 1960, ) "is a doctrine common to Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Theosophy though Theosophists have not adopted it whole as it is taught by the two religions mentioned. The word karma itself means "action" but it may be useful to remember that generally the doctrine teaches that everything done is done for eternity, that, in short "thou shalt reap as thou didst sow". Action is not homogeneous but on the contrary, contains three elements, the thought which conceives it, the will which finds the means of accomplishment, and the union of thought and will which brings the action to pass. It is plain, therefore, that thought is very potent for good or evil, for as the thought is, so will the action be."   

       Two thoughts here. First, other religions such as the Theosophists have adopted the use of the idea of Karma to get a meaning and a concept across without necessarily accepting the whole meaning as understood by the originators of the word karma, this is no different than what I did. My religion has a word that is similar in meaning but has some subtle, cultural differences. Second, just as I said "As you do to others, so shall to you be done", Karma is understood as "thou shalt reap as thou didst sow". While I never said that justice is done as regards specific cases and certainly not by the government or courts, that doesn't mean that somewhere, somehow, someone won't provide the "karmic backlash" that someone deserves. There are many religious traditions that have an understanding of the need for justified retribution and the understanding of how this is to be accomplished. The wise person knows when to pick their battles and what really is important --- I don't seek retribution for every minor offense and I've chosen to let some big ones go on the grounds that I know the people involved will eventually pay ----although it will be far removed from the first offense and most probably never connected to it. I am patient, time is always on my side, and the universe has a way of evening itself out. It is also important when choosing to actively be the "karmic backlash" for someone that we are justified in taking those measures, it is not something to be considered lightly nor undertaken without great thought.   

       Understand this, in McV's case, as he is in custody and under the jurisdiction of the US gov. which we hope will do what needs done, if he were let go, there would be other ways to take care of him than to hunt him down.   

       There are more things in heaven and earth......
Susen, May 19 2001, last modified May 20 2001
  

       If this idea were to be implemented, i think we should put it in a well-insulated arena, rather than use the entire US. Something about the idea of a mass-murder with a dull, rusty blade, followed by a bunch of gun-nuts of varying levels of sobriety/sanity/idiocy, travelling through a crowded metropolitan area makes me uneasy.
globaltourniquet: you forgot the classic "The Most Dangerous Game." Another goody is "10 Seconds," one of Exposure's shorts. Also, well-done double-speak would incorporate true-speak, and thus nye-synonymous words would not be used. And I beleive the general use of double-speak was to make opposing thoughts synonymous, not the other way around. Bad wording, but I agree wholeheartedly with the concept behind them. One cannot justify one's ideas with popular sayings alone, as there is bevy of these for each point of view, as well as a bevy of contradictory ones.
Duffi: stealth horseshoes? Sounds like a good halfbakery idea.
Susen: and what of the idiotic teenager who sees one of your horses dressed in prison garb with a butter knife in his/her front hoof?
And yes, I am purposely stepping around the central issue.
nick_n_uit, May 20 2001
  

       Can we back up a bit here. It seems to me that [Susen] was offering to act as the agent of an elected government, not of a 'higher, universal moral power'. The original idea appears to be along the lines of 'We have *already decided* that person X is to be executed; how should that be done?' Whether you agree with the original decision is not the whole issue. A non-abolitionist would not contribute greatly to a debate as to whether a murderer should serve ten years in solitary or twenty years in an open prison because neither option is acceptable to him. Similarly here, [Mephista] appears to be arguing against this *version* of a punishment which she is opposed to in principle. It's like me saying that I don't *want* to drive a blue Nissan, when I really don't want a Nissan at all.
angel, May 21 2001
  

       Yes, Mephista certainly put the 'anal' in analogy.
thumbwax, May 21 2001
  

       Fine and good, angel. Except that Susen, in agreeing to act as an agent of a government, expressed such eagerness as to bring into the debate the issue of moral exigency. And not only that, it was her that brought up the concept of karma. At that point, along with her emotional attachment, this ceased to be a dispassionate government responsibility issue and became one of moral responsibility. And we have pointed out that in that stance, it is wrong.
globaltourniquet, May 21 2001
  

       Now that man should be our president. Not "Lethal" George W.
globaltourniquet, May 23 2001
  

       I definitely love this idea. Battle Royale all over again. I should probably stop referring to BR, but this is it in a nutshell. Not much of a sporting chance though. Besides, what happens when a "Wild Seven" analogue appears, helping the convicts and raising hell?
Shadow Phoenix, Oct 19 2007
  


 

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