In response to:

The Illusory Value of the Death Penalty

Troglodite Wrote: Apr 04, 2013 5:17 PM
Some 250 years ago, Samuel Johnson sagely observed that "Most people do not steal because thieves are hanged, but because they think it wrong to steal. Of course, one of the reason that they think it wrong is precisely because thieves are hanged." Leaving aside the issue of whether or when larceny should be punished by death, there is much truth in Dr. Johnson's observation. The point is not really whether the death penalty deters crime, but whether a systematic refusal to inflict penalties commensurate with a criminal act diminishes respect for the rights taken away by that act. If we do not execute murderers, we are teaching the next generation that murder is really not as bad as we say it is.
Robert1824 Wrote: Apr 04, 2013 7:01 PM
Troglodite, so we ought to go back to hanging thieves ? That's really civilized ! You really are a troglodite ! And let's also hang people for bad checks, jaywalking, speeding, etc.
Pretty soon there won't be anyone left in America . This would be a great way to control the population !
Troglodite Wrote: Apr 04, 2013 7:27 PM
Robert,

It is less clear that I am a troglodite, despite the "handle," than that you missed the disclaimer, "Leaving aside the issue of whether or when larceny should be punished by death..." I was arguing that punishments influence mores, not necessarily that thieves should be hanged.
After deciding to pursue the execution of the man charged with fatally shooting 12 people in a Colorado movie theater last summer, the prosecutor declared that "for James Egan Holmes, justice is death." By that definition, he might have added, justice is also highly unlikely.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler might have resolved this case quickly, simply and inexpensively. Holmes' lawyers say their client would be willing to plead guilty for a sentence of life without parole. But the prosecutor declined.

Not much should be made of this announcement, since he has plenty of time and many reasons to change his mind....