Comments from visitors - 2001-07
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 06:38:51 -0600
From: firstname.lastname@example.org, USA
I want to say that I have nothing against Europeans per say and many are nice people. However, too many Europeans are arrogantly ignorant in regards to the USA and make judgements on things they have absolutely no experience or understanding of. You say that we should prevent crime by spending more money on education and such. Neils, we spend around 40-80 billion a year on free medical and such on mexican illegal aliens, that's not to mention the free medical, food stamps and subsidized housing we spend on inner-city blacks and the 6 billion we spend on defence in Europe. If your country spent as much as we did and had the same situations as we do, your country would sink. Of course you don't have these situations so don't understand them. Then of course, speaking of blacks, contrary to the tired cries of racism, whites have a higher per capita rate of being put to death in the USA .In Europe, blacks(where they have them) and muslims have much higher rates of imprisonment and poverty than whites, so you are certainly in no position to accuse us of racism in this regard. You also have plenty of moral degeneracy in Europe and a long as well as recent history of war and genocide so you and Europe in general has no reason whatsover to be self-righteous towards the USA or anyone else. You are entitled to your opinion on the death penalty however how we run our justice system here in the US is OUR business and not Europe's. I and a lot of Americans find Europe's leniency on murderers and rapists barbaric or naive but that is your business and you would quickly tell me that if I had a website about your justice system's many failings.
Wednesday January 24
I am proud to tell you that Denmark spend a much bigger percentage of our BNP on health, social care and education than the US does. And I am happy to pay my part of the taxes, because it's worth it.
You claim that whites have a higher per capita rate of being put to death in the USA than blacks. This is definitely not true.
You write that you and a lot of Americans find Europe's leniency on murderers and rapists barbaric or naive. That's your right to thinks so, but because we are concerned of preventing crime we have a strategy built on facts and research - while your need for revenge is based on a warped version of christianity.
You write that the justice system in the US is your business and not Europe's.
As long as you have a justice system that neglects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then it is not only Europeans but all nations not only right but duty to criticize this system.
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2006 12:47:01 +0100
From: Daniel L Hutton, England
Let me start by saying that I am not a born again Christian , a left wing liberal or a man who has nothing better to do then complain about the world . I am a 38 year old business man with a wife and 3 kids , a capitalist and family man . In America you would call me a Republican here in London England it is called a Tory .
Over the past few years I have occupied myself with trying to understand a nation who of its self is of the believes that it is both modern and democratic but yet embraces laws and practices out of the dark ages such as the death penalty and of course the right to bear arms.
In England we mostly like our American friends or should I say liked as Iraq did not help the relationship of our Countryís. However most English and that includes me find the Americans are no more progressive in there thinking then the most basic of all people. The death penalty is cruel and totally Draconian . Any country that has Laws like that should not be allowed to make even the smallest statement about humanity let alone play world Police and enforce the ď American Way ď on any other nations WE DONíT WANT TO GO BACK TO THE STONE AGE .
The EEC ( you will know it as Europe ) did not admit Turkey because it had the Death Penalty which it has now abolished. So a small nation such as Turkey is more advanced and Civil than the USA ? I personally would say yes it is.
Here in Europe we see Americans as nice but very primitive largely due to this laws. I hope one day the American Law makers and the people of America can join the rest of the western world and rather then dictate itís bizarre and primitive views on others.
As a final note I would remark that I have read some of the horrific things that have been inflicted by criminals on families and I have no idea how I would react if that happened to me or even if I would push for the death penalty myself. I do not want to offend anyone with my statements
Thanks for your comment.
From: Jennifer Tuttle, Tennesee
Date: Tue, 2 May 2006 14:28:32 -0400
I am in college and have been writing a paper on lethal injections, the prisoners that have been executed and a few that are currently on death row.
I just need someone to answer a few questions for me because everybody I talk to has the same view points I have. Why would I be content allowing a murderer, rapist, or most of any convicted felon sit in prison soaking up tax-payers money?
If an individual hurt my child, I and every mother, I know, would want their head on a platter!
And I do not want them to die humanely! Their victim did not get to say good-bye to their loved ones! They did not get a last meal! They didnot get the oppurtunity to live for free, eat, drink, or breath, as long as that murderer gets!
A person goes out commits a horrible crime, says he is sorry, and we are suppose to forgive him? Maybe if he accidently, broke something of mine. But I am not going to feel sorry for anyone who takes a life!
Feel free to give me your opinions and feelings. I am interrested in how others could feel differently.
Thanks for your mail.
I am not sure if you are asking for my opinion. I believe I have already presented my opinion on the questions you raise here, but let me do it again:
First: If you have been writing a paper on lethal injections, you should know that lethal injection is absolutely not a 'humane' way to kill people (I don't know who invented this bizarre expression). On the contrary, it is more than likely that the inmate is fully conscious while all his muscles are being paralyzed by the chemical, that he can't breathe and is unable to move as much as an eyebrow while he lies there waiting for the next chemical to take him away.
I don't know if that is suffering enough for you or you want him to be tortured more than that?
And I don't know if you believe that this will bring the victims back or reduce their suffering?
I can understand the reaction you would have if someone hurts your child. I have written about that on the front page - and expressed my gratitude for living in a constitutional state where the principle of personal revenge has been replaced by societies obligation to administer an appropriate punishment.
But if you prefer to seek revenge instead of forgiveness, then it's your choice - but I think you should realize that this will bring you no closure at all. I have seen quite a few TV interviews with victims relatives telling how they look forward to witnessing the execution and thereby find closure. But I have never seen an interview with them 5 years later where they tell what an positive impact the execution meant for their life.
You also mention the economical perspective. But you should know that a capital punishment process plus the following appeals and the execution costs more than a life imprisonment.
And finally: How do you know that the person on the guerney is guilty? There is such an endless row of examples of corruption, fraud, racism etc. in the american judicial system that sometimes it resembles a lynching more than civilized legal proceedings.
I hope I have answered your questions.
From: Dorothy Lee Desmarais
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2004 13:47:06 -0400
Keep up your good work and efforts...it is a worthy cause.
I am not comfortable giving my government control over life and death. Murder is murder no matter how you dress it and name it. Taking one life in the name of justice for another life stolen is nothing but revenge, in the end what is in your head you take with you; Capital Punishment does not bring those lost in violent crimes back to us, it is a vengful and emotional act which has been proven time and time again to be both fiscally and socially ineffective.
When something doesn't work in government people usually seek to "fix-it"...why not this?
I can think of no worse punishment than to live out the remainder of one's life trapped in a cage, void of the freedoms and liberties that the rest of us have, knowing that that is your reality til the day you die...life without the possibility of parol is the ultimate punishment.
For the cost of one execution ranging from 1-3 million dollars, a new prison can be built. Let's stop teaching hypocracy to our children....lets send the right messages...murder is murder no matter how you look at it.
a 42 year old female from MA
Thanks for your letter
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 07:51:43 +0000 (GMT)
From: Lyle Simoneaux, Florida
Thanks for creating this forum for debate on the death penalty. I have spent some time reviewing much of the material.
I sometimes encounter those Americans and even those Catholics who do not understand what they have been taught. You must have incredible patience to respond as agreeably as you do.
The right of free speech is not a members-only privelege. We declare it to be a God-given right for all humankind. Your freedom to express your opinion about any topic in an open forum is as good as sacred. (Secret access to policy makers is another matter). Freedom of silence goes with it--you are not obligated to disclose the words of your opposition, although you may elect to do so.
Christian Ethics allows the use of necessary force only to defend oneself or those for whom you are responsible. I am amazed how many fellow Christians do not seem to understand this. Once the threat is removed, no further response can be justified. A killer once restrained is no longer a threat--to subsequently execute the prisoner is an outrageous moral violation. We all understand the intense feelings that victims suffer; sensitivity and compassion by friends and others is essential. But a thirst for revenge (while somewhat common) is insufficient grounds for forming social policy, and it is a sinful thing in which to indulge. I think that indulging such a thirst is a diminishing thing, however--respect for life is increasing in world history, not decreasing. That we have continuing and expanding debate on abortion and the death penalty is evidence of this: not too far back in history, there was little or no debate on either.
There was a time when revenge was considered an honorable motive, but that time is certainly past. Many people still think otherwise, however, but as society grows more and more rational and enlightened, the situation will improve.
Sometimes I think it looks like a majority of the American christians are just as fundamentalistic, uncompromizing, hateful, self-righteous and agressive as the fundamentalistic muslims whom they pretend to be fighting against - so therefore, it is reasuring that there are also decent christians with a high moral and the gift of thinking rationally.
Thank you for your letter
Date: Sat, 29 May 2004 01:42:50 -0700
From: Aaron Snow
I am assuming that because you have censored my rebuttal and are not responding to my emails that my rebuttal has trumped you. Is this an accurate assumption?
July 02 2004
If you like to believe that you have trumped me, then feel free to do so.
Date: Tue, 25 May 2004 02:20:21 -0700
From: Aaron Snow
Let me preface this by writing that I only disagree with you. I do not think you're a bad guy.
With that written, however, it is quite revealing how the first point in your response to my essay is an unfounded claim of censorship against prodeathpenalty.org, and yet my rebuttal to your response has yet to be posted on your website.
Of course it is your prerogative to censor visitor's comments on your website. But censoring my rebuttal, in the face of your unfounded claim of censorship against you, is hypocritcal and does not bode well for credibility in what you write.
I'm curious - you had the courtesy to post my essay, why not my rebuttal?
July 02 2004
I don't understand where you - and many other dp-proponents - got the understanding that I am here to serve you as a your secretary.
I have a job to take care of, I travel, I have a family to take care of, I need to sleep a few hours every night. So I have much other things to do than to post your submssions on my website.
I would agree with you if you called it unfair that my comments to you stand alone for a long time while I hesitate to post your rebuttal. But as you waited 23 days (from April 25 until May 18) until you sent your rebuttal, I see no reason why I should disregard all my other responsibilities and activities to post you rebuttal sooner.
If it makes you feel good to call this censorship, then it's completely OK with me.
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 01:25:46 -0700
From: Aaron Snow
Are you going to post my rebuttal (sent 18-May-04)?
Date: Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 03:14:15 -0700
From: Aaron Snow
Quote: "I can understand from the prodeathpenalty.org's Message Board where I run into to you that you people there find it appropriate to practice censorship against dp opponents..."
Rebuttal: What evidence do you have to support your claim that the person or people who run prodeathpenalty.org practice censorship against abolitionists on their Message Board? Were any of your comments ever censored? It seems that, even if they wanted to censor comments, the design of their Message Board makes censorship impossible. See, a visitorís exact comments are posted instantly to their Message Board, by the siteís webserver, the moment they click "Submit".
Quote: "...but I disagree with you on the use of censorship."
Rebuttal: The fallacy of your statement is that you claim that I am for the use of censorship when in fact you have no knowledge of whether I am for the use of censorship. In fact, I am not.
Quote: "But if you will [see to it] that I will be allowed to have stuff of my choice placed on the front page of prodeathpenalty.org's website, then we can talk about it, so I suggest that you spare your sarcasm until that happens."
Rebuttal: It is not my website, and I am not affiliated with it. I have no more sway than you as to what they post on their homepage. And despite your suggestion, I will not spare my sarcasm.
Quote: "But that does not give you the right to act in the same heinous way as he did - no matter how many graphic descriptions you come up with."
Rebuttal: Obviously. To act in the same heinous way he did, i.e., to deliberately take the lives of three innocent people, would be murder. And neither I, nor society, have that right - no matter how many *accurate*, graphic descriptions I come up with. But of course the People of Florida did not take an *innocent* life. They took the life of a duly convicted triple murderer. And, in the words of Dennis Prager, "To claim that the murder of an innocent and the execution of a murderer
are morally equivalent because they both involve taking a life is as morally perverse as a claim that rape and lovemaking are morally equivalent because both involve sexual intercourse."
Quote: "If you really care so much about the victims of crime, then I don't understand why you do nothing to prevent future murders..."
Rebuttal: The fallacy of your statement is that you claim I do nothing to prevent future murders when in fact you have no knowledge of whether I do nothing to prevent future murders. In fact, I do many things to prevent future murders.
Quote: "...instead of your endless claims for revenge, disguised with non-sense terms like "justice for the victims". The victims are dead and it makes no sense to talk about justice for a deceased person."
Rebuttal: The fallacy of your argument is one of definition:
Justice, n. - The quality of being just; conformity to the principles of rectitude in all things; strict performance of moral obligations; the rendering to everyone that which is his due
Nowhere, in any accepted definition of justice, does justice depend on the victim being alive. If the victim being deceased results in the impossibility of obtaining justice, then *any and all* punishments imposed on the duly convicted murderer would be a crime: execution would be societal murder, imprisonment would be societal kidnapping, and the imposition of fines would be societal stealing. Your rebuttal might be that punishment is not imposed on the duly convicted murderer to obtain justice, but instead to teach the murderer that murder is wrong. That would be untrue. The vast majority of murderers plan and commit their crime well aware that what they are doing is wrong. This is why they attempt to commit their crime stealthfully.
The purpose of punishment is to punish. It is under no requirement to either amend the murderer or deter future murderers. The purpose of punishment is to obtain justice. And if you believe that the concept of justice is voided once the victim is no longer living, then no punishment whatsoever could rightfully be imposed on the duly convicted murderer.
Quote: "But you could demonstrate respect for the murder victims by working for genuine crime prevention and by working for more support for the victims relatives in their struggle to live a decent life despite their terrible loss."
Rebuttal: That is true. And I can demonstrate even *greater* respect for murder victims by also working to see that the human beings that deliberately took the lives of those innocent people are not allowed to keep their own.
Quote: "Of course that wouldn't satisfy your self-righteous need for revenge, but it would be good for society."
Rebuttal: The fallacy of your statement is, once again, that of definition:
Self-righteous, adj. - Excessively or hypocritically pious Pious, adj. - Having or showing or expressing reverence for a deity; devoutly religious
See, I canít have a "self-righteous need" because self-righteousness requires me to have excessive reverence for a deity. But I am an atheist. I am as atheistic and a-religious as they come. I also canít have a "need for revenge" because revenge is personal and Davis did nothing to me personally.
But I do have a need to do what is good for society. And what is good for society is a clear understanding of the distinction between good and evil, right and wrong. It is a clear understanding that although two actions are similar physically, they are distinct morally. So just as there is a moral distinction between stealing and being fined, and just as there is a moral distinction between kidnapping and imprisonment, there is a massive moral distinction between the murder of a mother and
her two daughters and the execution of their murderer. It is this distinction that is good for society, and a good society grasps this distinction.
Thank you for posting my comments. If I ever have a website, I will return the favor.
July 02 2004
Re: censorship. I quote from the Board Rules of www.prodeathpenalty.org:
Pros and MVS's are welcome to post off-topic messages.
Antis wanting a "heated" debate are encouraged to go elsewhere.
Anti's are allowed limited posting on the board, subject to the Moderator's discretion.
Antis are subject to banning without notice.
Where I live we call this censorship, but perhaps you have another word for it.
All boards can be subject to censorship. The owner can remove submissions very easily and he can choose to ban people with a specific ip or from specific countries.
I agree that I don't have any reason to accuse you of being for censorship, and I apologize for doing so.
Quote: www.prodeathpenalty.org is not my website, and I am not affiliated with it. I have no more sway than you as to what they post on their homepage.
Answer: Then I don't understand how you could believe that you should have the right to decide what I shall place on my frontpage.
I do not differ between taking the life of innocents and taking the life of non-innocents. I find both acts heinous and barbaric - unless they are committed in self defence.
Quote: In fact, I do many things to prevent future murders.
Could be interesting to hear what you do.
I have not introduced the concept of "justice for the victims", I merely quote dp-proponents for doing so and claim that it makes no sense to talk - as they do - about justice for a deceased individual.
Quote: The purpose of punishment is to punish. It is under no requirement to either amend the murderer or deter future murderers. The purpose of punishment is to obtain justice.
This is your understanding. You might just as well say - as numerous criminologists and I do - that the purpose of punishment is to deter the individual being subject to the punishment and to deter others from committing a similar crime.
Quote: I can demonstrate even *greater* respect for murder victims by also working to see that the human beings that deliberately took the lives of those innocent people are not allowed to keep their own.
Yes, I have heard - very often - this understanding of what showing respects means. And I decline to discuss such absurdities.
re Self-righteous: I don't know where you find your quotes, but I can offer you a quote from The concise Oxford Dictionary: " excessively conscious of or insistent on one's rectitude, correctness."
But I do agree that Self-righteousness is often seen in connection with religious fundamentalism - like Christian, Muslim, Jewish etc.
re: Moral: It is your understanding of moral that makes a distiction between different kinds of murder. For me, murder is murder, and murder is deeply immoral, no matter who commits it, unless it's committed in necessary self-defense.
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 00:53:21 -0700
From: Aaron Snow
A picture is worth a thousand words. That makes three-thousand, on the homepage of your website, for Allen Lee Davis. But here are 456 words for Nancy, Kristina, and Katherine Weiler. I am guessing you do not have the courage to post them on your homepage, but perhaps you could see fit to bury them somewhere on one of the less visited pages of your website.
On a Tuesday evening, May 11, 1982, Allen Lee Davis, while on parole for armed robbery, savagely took the lives of a pregnant mother and her two little girls in the sanctity of their home.
Davisís father, Donald, lived next door to the Weiler family: John, Nancy, and their two daughters, Kristina and Katherine. On that evening, John Weiler was in Pittsburgh preparing to relocate his family there.
Sometime around 8:00 PM, right after 9-year-old Kristina arrived home from a dance recital, Davis entered the Weiler home. Davis captured Kristina and bound her wrists behind her back with rope. Davis wanted to rape her, but when she fought back more than he expected, he fired a bullet into her chest with his fatherís .357 Ruger revolver. While bound, helpless, and severely wounded, Davis shot her twice in the face, at point blank range, taking her life. Kristina would have celebrated
her 10th birthday the next day.
5-year-old Katherine, who was taking a bath at the time, tried to run from Davis. He shot her in the lower back. He then bludgeoned her head with the .357, taking her life. Katherine would have been a 27-year-old woman today.
Davis also used the .357 to bludgeon to death their mother, 37-year-old Nancy Weiler. Nancy was three months pregnant at the time. Davis struck her head with such force and ferocity that he crushed her skull in several places. His blows tore and bruised the skin on her face and head so badly that she was essentially unrecognizable. He continued to strike her head until the .357 literally started falling apart.
On July 8, 1999, the people of Florida treated Allen Lee Davis like a human being. They treated him like a human being that looked a 9-year-old girl in the face and then fired two .357 caliber bullets into her face. They treated him like a human being that looked at the back of a fleeing 5-year-old girl and then fired a .357 caliber bullet into her back. They treated him like a human being that looked a pregnant mother in the face and then, with all his might, smashed her face with a piece
of steel one time, a second time, a third time, a forth, a fifth, a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, a ninth, a tenth, an eleventh, a twelfth, a thirteenth, a fourteenth, a fifteenth, a sixteenth, a seventeenth, an eighteenth, a nineteenth, a twentieth, a twenty-first, a twenty-second, a twenty-third, a twenty-forth, and twenty-fifth time.
On July 8, 1999, the People of Florida prevented the greatest possible injustice to Nancy, Kristina, and Katherine Weiler: that the man who took their lives with an unfathomable terror was not allowed to keep his own.
I cannot see why I should need any courage to post your letter.
I can understand from the prodeathpenalty.org's Message Board where I run into to you that you people there find it appropriate to practice censorship against dp opponents, but I disagree with you on the use of censorship.
But I reserve myself the right to decide what to place on the front page of my website, so your recent posting won't be found there.
But if you will se to that I will be allowed to have stuff of my choice placed on the front page of prodeathpenalty.org's website, then we can talk about it, so I suggest that you spare your sarcasm until that happens.
No matter how many times dp proponents allege me of being FOR murderers, I am not. Like everybody else I find that what Allen Lee Davis did was a terrible act, not only against his victims, but also against their relatives and society.
But that does not give you the right to act in the same heinous way as he did - no matter how many graphic descriptions you come up with.
If you really care so much about the victims of crime, then I don't understand why you do nothing to prevent future murders - instead of your endless claims for revenge, disguised with non-sense terms like "justice for the victims".
The victims are dead and it makes no sense to talk about justice for a deceased person.
But you could demonstrate respect for the murder victims by working for genuine crime prevention and by working for more support for the victims relatives in their struggle to live a decent life despite their terrible loss.
Of course that wouldn't satisfy your self-righteous need for revenge, but it would be good for society.
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 11:57:29 +0000
From: Steve Creaton, London
It really makes me sad to read the American responses to this site. Why are so many of you determined on revenge. I hate to say it but for a pilgrim country who insists on involving Christianity in their politics - you have got it desperately wrong. Almost every single world religion does not support the death penalty. You are fooling yourselves in thinking that your politicians are speaking Gods words. They are emphatically not!
Moreover, forget religion. It is WRONG. The fundamental human right is the right to life. That goes for everyone. When I hear American politicians say that murderers give up their human rights when they commit the crime. WELL IF THAT IS THE CASE. SHOW ME WHERE IT SAYS IT IN AMERICAN LAW. If it is not there then you are committing a crime yourselves and you know it but refuse to admit it.
THE CIVILISED WORLD IS NOT WRONG. FOR GODS SAKE, I PLEAD TO AMERICAN POLITICIANS STOP LOOKING FOR VOTES AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT.
A leader is not someone who always does what the masses want. A strong leader does what is right. That is why they are elected. When Britain stopped executions in the 60's the majority were still in favour of it. Thank God our politicians were strong willed and did what was right. Now 40 years on it would be unthinkable to bring it back even if we could.
WHEN IT COMES TO PEOPLES LIVES YOU CANNOT PLAY GOD - AND I SAY FINALLY. EVEN IF YOU ARE ONLY A SUPPORTER OF THE DEATH PENALTY. DO NOT THINK THAT YOU WON’T BE JUDGED. I AM SURE IN GODS EYES YOU MIGHT AS WELL BE INJECTING THOSE CHEMICALS YOURSELVES.
Thanks for your mail
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 00:08:51 +0100
From: alena hochmann, Schwitzerland
I would like to ask the pro-death penalty people:
If death penalty is such a deterrent, how come that ALL democratic countries that have abolished it actually have LOWER violent crime rates than USA (as someone already pinpointed, there has been no significative increase of murder in France after it was abolished in 1981)?
The answer is, I think, simple: The prospective muderer or rapist usually belives that he is to smart to be caught. And if he is mentally ill, or retarded, he is unable to forsee the possible consequences of his actions, and will not be "deterred" either.
So, there goes that argument, leaving only revenge as justification, which is hardly a sign of civilised behaviour.
Comment from Niels:
I think we have to get used to the fact that the dp proponents major and maybe only reason to support the dp is that they want revenge, no matter how barbarian it sounds for civilized people.
But thanks for your comment.
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 08:34:15 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)
From: Arthur Durnan, Ontario
The death penalty is very much in vogue today. The problem is that it's being carried out by murderers & would-be murderers instead of by elected government officials. Let's reverse the procedure hesto-presto in the interests, quite correctly, of social progress.
LET THE PEOPLE SPEAK.....in Canada, where a vast majority favor capital punishment but are not given opportunity by its UltraLib,socialist administration to vote on the issue! Ah, glorious UltraLib censorship, Thou art a Precious Jewel indeed!
Thanks for your mail
Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2003 20:14:51 -0500
From: Emily Doughty, USA
I have read most of your website and agree with almost all of it.
I am writing my term paper for English comp on the death penalty and find it simply shocking that I could not find a website as informed as yours that was written by an American. That shows just how ready we are for people to know what we are doing here...Hitler would be proud.
On top of everything your site has to offer about the feelings of the inmates and their familys I would also like to point out to the public that it is not a fun job that the prison gaurds must do. You can sit back and bitch and moan about the need to remove these people from the streets and the jails, but you are not actually killing them. It is not your hand that is injecting the drugs and you do not have to watch as the bodys shake and rock. I imagine that less people would be so inclined to agree with the death penalty if they themselves had to do the killing.
Does not killing them make us like them? If we play by 'an eye is an eye' we will soon all be blind, or maybe we already are. Who would stand up and take the place of God? Who amoung you would put yourselves in that place, for by taking the life of another man you are putting yourselves on par with God, or maybe just the devils. Heavan is not a place for those who would try and take Gods place, for if you remember that is how the Devil ended up as he is today.
Take the log out of your eye before pointing at the spilter in others.
Thanks for your mail.
I agree with you that it is embarassing that only very few Americans deal with issues like the dp.
But I see more and more indications that the vast majority of Americans wants to be kept in ignorance so that they can keep up the illusion of the US as a great civilized nation where human rights and democratic principles are respected.
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003 06:35:26 EST
Are you a pacifist?
I am wondering because many nations that are against the death penalty have no problem killing foreign soldiers who may have not even had the chance to hurt anyone. This is pure hypocrisy.
Denmark sent troops to Bosnia with machine guns. Apparently it's ok to kill Serbs or other South-Eastern Euopeans. Or maybe war is just a convenient excuse for murder by EU nations. Killing is killing, right?
Or do we all make excuses? I would kill in my own self-defense. Would you?
Would you kill to save a family member? Does it matter if the state does it or
not? Always challenge your own beliefs, even if you wish to retain them.
I don't know if I am a pacifist or not, and I don't think I owe you an explanation, just because I am running a website against the american death penalty.
I just came home after a meeting with 3-4.000 others protesting against the planned war in Iraque, does that make me a pacifist?
I don't know why you claim that "it's ok to kill Serbs or other South-Eastern Euopeans" Have I said so?
Yes, I would kill in self-defense, and I would kill if it was necessary to save a human life.
But I suppose that you are writing all this because you mean that it is relevant in relation to the death penalty - and I have a feeling that you think that the death penalty is about self-defense.
If that is the matter, I can only say that it is a sick nation that can send people to the moon but finds it necessary to kill a shackled person behind bars to protect itself against him.
If this is self-defense, then you can name all kinds of murder self-defense.
And you need a sick and cynical brain to claim that the upcoming slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraque. This has nothing to do with self-defense, This is only about greed and the wish to get so much cheap oil that the usa can afford to stay the most polluting nation in history.
And it is about that kind of racism that make some people believe that the killing of 2-3.000 americans is a catastrophy - while the killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis is just "unavoidable".
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 21:15:52 +0000
From: Nigel Baldwin, UK
On your Website, I've noted the comments made by Messrs. Clem and Terry, concerning the death penalty, particularly the latter's disregard for evidence emerging after conviction, favouring the accused.
Their general attitudes make me think of Nazi justice during Hitler's time, with the accused given 5 minute summary trials only, with 'LIQUIDATE AND EXPROPRIATE' stamped on the accused's documents - then straight outside to the guillotine, with no right of appeal, of course. An unlikely outcome for US justice? Don't bet on it!
If Nazi justice did achieve anything, it showed the Germans the logical outcome of disregard for the rule of law - making the Germans determined that when the time came for the rebuilding of democracy after 1945, the death penalty could have no place. Will the US have to undergo a similar experience before it rids itself of the death penalty?
Comment from Niels:
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 23:36:25 -0400 (EDT)
From: Dino, New York
i dont give a flying shit about child kilers, rapers, murders, drug kingpins, felons, criminals, killer retarts or anyother lowlife scumbags
if you cant deal with it dont do the crime
life is simple
and for all you stupid smelly euros, go fuck your selves, we bailed your asses out of 2 world wars where the germans would have gassed all you ingorant pukes. mind your own business and pay 50% of your income in taxes. nevermind sticking your noses in our american issues. without us the nazis would be fucking your grannys in the poop hole
Thank you for your mail
Date: 14 Sep 2002 19:59:39 -0700
From: "rob", nj, usa
While killing may be wrong in any form.
NEVER forget the pain, violation and screams of the many victims before they are brutally killed and raped of their souls.
Thanks for your comment
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 01:33:11 EDT
From: Katy, Tx, USA
After i have read through your site, i can safely say that i hold with my belief:
If you comit the crime, you do the time. Also, let the punishmet fit the crime.
I am a Christian,and i believe in forgiveness, yes, i'd foregive them, but they still need to pay for thier crime.
Also, even if the person is retarded(mentally ill) they should not be given the privillage to live, if they are that dangerous, they need to be off the streets permanetly.
Just get rid of them, and dont have to pay for thier up-keep in taxes for the rest of thier sad years.
I know this sounds harsh, but how is it beter too let them go on living, to possibly esscape at worse, and to keep living till thier death at best. How does that give people "beter closeure"?
Thanks for you mail
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 23:38:29 +0200 (CEST)
From: Hanne Kristensen, Denmark
A mothers cry......
Killing on, wounding two.
People ask : whatīs wrong with you?
Checking your head, checking your mind,
old friends says that you have always been kind!
But the old friends are gone.
The friends there was sweet,
now you are hanging with, some
guys on the street!
Stealing, mugging,doing stuff.
I have soon had enough!
Then one day, i got a call.
A man told me what, was going on.
He told me that you had killed a man,
just for fun, with your little gang!
The next time i saw you, were in the court.
I sat in front, and prayed to good.
But, that didnīt help, it didnīt work, because i heard the word :
DEATHPENALTY and EXECUTION!
Now my son, your in jail,
waiting for the electrician.
But, to the people that locked him away,
listen to my little pray :
My son deserves to be punished for what he has done,
But, to kill him, that, i think is terrible wrong.
You, can lock him away, and throw out the key,
But, PLEASE do not take my son, from me!!!!!!!
Written by : Christina..............................
PS: I made up the poem myself. But I could never have written it without the inspiration from this gorgeous site. Thanks a lot!!!
- please excuse me for the many misspellings that I believe are in the poem - I did it rather fast!!
Comment from Niels:
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 19:03:11 +0100
From: Rocky, Oregon
Those of you who do not agree with the death penalty should ask yourself some strong questions, such as
1. Is it right that we should place a person who has taken the life of another human being in a prison, with better living conditions than a large part of the innocent public?
2. Is it right that those who lost their life should not have justice? should not the payment for their life be the life of their murderer?
3. Should the innocent American Public Pay for the crime that the murder committed against our society? Should the innocent pay for the guilty? This is what happens when you put a murderer in
prison for the rest of his life. We the American citizens pay for his accommodations, his food, clothes, shelter, medical care, exercise and fitness, and his recreation.
4. which is more cruel and inhumane? To take his life quickly, or take away his freedom and liberty?
One of our founding fathers is known for the quote "give me liberty or give me death". To take away freedom is to take a mans life slowly, which in my opinion is a much more cruel and inhumane punishment.
These are the questions one should ask themselves before stating they are against the death penalty.
If they do ask these questions, they will start believing that the death penalty
is the only form of punishment justified for taking another human life.
The way we administer the death penalty is what should be questioned!
I do not agree with placing a man on death row, and waiting for an election to take his life. That to me is as disgusting as taking an innocent life, because it is being used to benefit a persons
financial position in life.
I believe that all people convicted of murder and given the death penalty, should be allowed "1" appeal. After that trial has concluded with the same result, the person should be given their last meal and executed the following day. No person on death row should be there any longer than "1" month.
You might ask why I believe in such a quick execution. The answer is, I do not believe in punishing the family members of a murderer for crimes they did not commit. a quick execution starts the healing process of the family, instead of putting them through living hell being called to the prison for the execution only to be sent home to wait for the next execution date.
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 14:05:26 -0600
From: Steven D. Olson
I am emailing you to ask you about your site and I wish to ask where you get your information? The reason I ask is because of the great injustice you extend just by the lack of knowledge represented by your sites very limited view of this very controversial issue.
Just as a little assistance for you, simply because you don't live in the U.S., I'll help you with a few things as far as this issue goes. I have them listed below:
1. Almost every state allows a death row inmate their choice of lawyer, no matter the price tag.
The tax payers have to pay for this lawyer to appeal the decision of the first conviction.
2. The average cost of housing a death row inmate, depending on the state is upwards of $75,000 U.S. per year. The $75,000 is before any medical expense are taken out. Some inmates are currently still sitting on death row after 20+ years. I'll let you do the math on that one.
3. For a death row inmate, he or she receives better medical coverage and health care than over 80% of Americans!
4. The inmates actually have more rights and guaranteed treatment in most states then the guards watching them!
5. In many federal death row housing prisons, by the time you paid for one inmate for one year (with medical and housing), you could have put roughly 4-5 young adults through college or 10-15 through a vocational school. If you cross that against, well say, 200 death row inmates your looking at 800 to 2000 productive lives you just threw away that otherwise couldn't afford schooling.
6. If you wish to talk about general prison population your looking at $50,000 per inmate before medical. By the time you pay to build a prison, pay the guards and general staff for five years, plus miscellaneous expenses your looking at $750 million before you can even blink an eye. You just put 2500 - 10,000 kids back on the streets that otherwise would have been in medical college to be a doctor, radiologist, nurse, or a person who could have found a cure for aids or cancer.
7. Now I'll grant you that not everyone in prison in guilty of the crimes they have commited, but the overall population in prison is and that is where our system works. And, for the overall population, they made the choices that created this situation that we, as U.S. citizens are held to and must pay for.
Thanks for your mail.
Sometimes I become so dead tired when I see one more American without the slightest idea of what's going on in their own country, so I say: Ok, let them have it their way.
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 21:13:23 -0800
From: Peter Cosyn, Belgium
I'm against death penalty and this for different logical reasons.
Death penalty is an immoral act of violence on a persons life.
It's executed by an institute which only task is to give the people a democratic, free, safe and justice environment to live in and which has, in no case, the right to take away a human life. It would be somehow more tolerant if you would now that only people who don't show any feelings and are totally anti-social towards other persons, are convicted of death penalty with clear evidence and proof, although it would remain a cruel punishment. However, this is not the case. Statistics and information show that people with mental retardation, juveniles and innocent people have been sentenced to death in the US. This is immoral, cruel and unacceptable.
Moreover, a lot of people who get the death penalty are poor and can't afford a good lawyer or are prejudiced because of their race.
It's unbelievable how many americans are still in favour of the death punishment. I'm speaking out of my own experience here. I'm a member of the space.com boards. People talk there about space but also about world problems and it's not that strange that the most people who go there have a certain degree of intelligence which is higher then normal.
90% of the Americans there are pro-death penalty. They refuse almost everything which is against the death penalty. When I gave my opinion and my arguments, some of them were very angry against me because they felt that I couldn't tell tham what was morally wrong and that I, as a European, should leave them alone. They like to speak in cowboy style and laugh about the topic, it's just disgusting.
As Sarah said, those people need a lesson in ethics. As long as they think that capital punishment is normal and funny then we won't achieve anything.
Thanks for your comment
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 18:8:31 -0500
From: Sarah Teetzel, Illinois
I have to be honest, your website and moved far more than I would have ever guessed.
I am in awe of what you have done; also discouraged by the atrocity of the death penalty.
I wish there was something that I could do that would really make a difference.
But as many people pointed out -- the US is so very comfortable killing people, especially our "enemies".
I think that comfort lies rooted in the fact this country does not feel the need to practice what it preaches. Lets face it; we spank a hitter, so why not kill a killer?
We do not ever teach and are rarely taught to respect other humans. Period.
Please tell me how I can help. I really would like to put these feelings into actions.
How did someone in another country like Denmark find out about a death row inmate? Also, does Martin see your comment page? Please let me know how I can help him as well.
Keep up the great work.
Thanks for your mail
Sorry, I cannot give you advice of how to help. Take a look at the net to find organizations close to you.
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 09:06:23 +0100
From: Henry Gillett, England
I am amazed that some Americans can say, with presumably a straight face, "stay out of our business".
Firstly, human rights are universal, they don't suddenly stop just because you've hit the East coast.
And secondly, America itself is quite happy to involve itself in other countries' business and in a more forceful way that setting up websites I might add.
Your website is excellent by the way, one of the best I've come across.
The use of quotes from those involved in the whole sordid business is extremely effective, moving any reasonable man to anger and bewilderment. Anyway here is my personal, shortened, watered-down and haphazard rant against the death penalty.
Britain's most prolific executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, wrote "capital punishment, in my view, achieved nothing but revenge." Most honest supporters of the death penalty will admit it isn't a deterrent and that revenge, or retribution as they more sportingly choose to call it, is its purpose. This is indicated in the eternal question posed to anybody against the death penalty: "If a member of your family was murdered how would you feel? Wouldn't you feel like killing them"
I can only respond my paraphrasing Martin Amis:
"I thought the whole idea of having a law was to stop us killing people just because we felt like it."
Of course most people will feel hatred and a desire to kill. But how is justice, universal justice, served by condoning and indulging personal revenge as a principle of righteousness?
If killing is wrong, as the law says it is, and the law against murder reflects society's beliefs that it is, how can it suddenly become right to kill a killer? The killer is wrong and should be punished and the public protected from a killer likely to reoffend but the act of killing is still wrong. It doesn't suddenly become right to kill someone just they've broken the law and can be imprisoned; it's unnecessary to kill them.
"I would choke the bastard myself". I'm sure you'd want to, but does that make it right?
In addition, I don't necessarily believe all people can change or be rehabilitated.
Some people will be criminally insane, incurable or just plain bad. Hitler was probably one. Should we kill an irredeemably evil man? No. Don't you see the irony, or rather hypocrisy?
You condemn a man's disregard for the sanctity of life by killing him. Some political figure in America recently tried to argue that killing McVeigh would send a message about how importantly life was valued!!!!? It would be funny if people didn't seriously hold this as a viable moral viewpoint. Capital punishment isn't only wrong because you are forever destroying the chance of personal redemption, it's wrong because absolutely unnecessary killing is wrong.
Honest supporters of the death penalty will admit, I hope, that innocent people have been killed and will continue to be killed.
In my own country I can think of at least 3 high profile cases that most reasoned observers see as miscarriages of justice. Derek Bentley, whom the Home Office admitted they shouldn't have hanged, Timothy Evans, granted a full pardon (he also got to have his remains removed from inside prison walls and re-interred on consecrated grounds, which I'm sure was a big comfort to him) and Edith Thompson.
There was also a recent £1.4m award to the family of a innocent foreign sailor executed in the fifties, I think. Also, if we consider the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four miscarriages would have resulted in innocent men going to their deaths, I think we can agree that innocent people will always be executed because any justice system is inherently imperfect and I would argue this to be doubly so in the case of capitalist countries such as my own and the USA. The point being these are societies where all men are not equal and which serve to protect the powerful groups that run them.
This is where the racial and class disparities in capital cases occur, and why sensible people recognise that the death penalty is also rife to political abuse, both in terms of eliminating people and as an election tool.
I thought a central tenet of American justice was that "rather a hundred guilty men go free, than one innocent man should die". If polls in Texas are to be believed, then it is morally acceptable that "innocents are always killed in a war". Interesting that the rhetoric of war is used to describe a justice system. Interesting, and morally repugnant. People always accept innocent "casualties" because they are either rich, white or utterly lacking in empathetic qualities.
Finally, I take issue with the argument that the executed person's death is more mercifully kind that than of his victim's. Physically it may be. Lethal injection is presumably physically kinder than stabbing or shooting or innumerable violent deaths.
But in every other way and most importantly, mentally, judicial execution is unutterably awful. As Camus said, calling it "the most premeditated of murders", for there to be moral equivalence between execution and murder the "death penalty would have to punish a criminal, who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him, and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life". The knowledge of the exact moment of one's own death and with little to do but see it draw ever closer must be unimaginably terrifying.
It is tragic (and hopefully not maliciously designed so) that the American justice system, ostensibly seeking to be scrupulously fair to those sentenced to die, has contrived perhaps the most mentally tortuous process of execution one could imaginge, where inmates wait an interminable length of time in the near certainty of execution, dates set for death which are moved back but drawn ever closer to and stays of execution granted, sometimes as inmates are strapped to the chair or the gurney, leaving the prisoner to go through the process of getting ready to die all over again. There must also be the terrible sense that society as a whole has rejected the notion of you as human and decided en masse to murder you. Instead of one deranged or evil man killing you, the world has ordered your death.
Worst of all though, and what makes it worse than being murdered by a human rather than an officially santioned process is the certainty of it. As Dostoevsky puts it, and I apologise for quoting at length, "the chief and worst pain may not be in the bodily suffering but in one's not knowing for certain that in an hour, and then now, at the very moment, the soul will leave the body and that one will cease to be a man and that that's bound to happen; the worst part of it is that it's certain ...
To kill for murder is a punishment incomparably worse than the crime itself. Murder by legal sentence is immeasurably more terrible than murder by brigands. Anyone murdered by brigands, whose throat is cut at night in a wood or something of that sort, must surely hope to escape till the very last minute ..., but in the other case (execution) all that last hope which makes dying ten times as easy is taken away for certain.
There is the sentence, and the whole awful torture lies in the fact that there is certainly no escape, and there is no torture in the world more terrible".
Those who believe in the death penalty are angry that an evil man is allowed to live on while his victim or victims will never come back. That is the sum of their "argument", that certain crimes deserve death. They cannot accept the idea that you do not triumph over evil by stooping to its level.
I am not religious in any way but this most basic of Christian tenets, the turning the other cheek applies still.
To be safe, I like to imprison them as well.
(It always makes me laugh when some Christians argue for the death penalty, I can just see Jesus saying "can I come watch them do McVeigh?")
At first the idea of letting a Bundy or a Gacy or a Hitler live makes one angry in a vague and indefinable way. There is a sense that they are escaping justice.
I believe if you let these men live, terrible men like Peter Sutcliffe and Ian Brady in my country, you come to realise that the world isn't a better place for having them in it, it's a better place for not killing them.
People are strong enough and good enough to see themselves as better and as human enough not to need to kill them. The death penalty is not consistent with a society that respects itself.
Donald Cabana, a Mississippi corrections officer, always used to ask himself as he left the prison after an execution, "have we made the world a better place?" and his answer was always no.
George Orwell tellingly described how "I watched a man die once. There was no question that everyone concerned knew this to be a dreadful unnatural action. I believe it is always the same- the whole jail- wardens and prisoners alike are upset when there is an execution. It is probably the fact that capital punishment is accepted as necessary, and yet instinctively felt to be wrong, that gives so many descriptions of executions their tragic atmosphere."
Supporters of the death penalty will never be able to see beyond the satisfaction of personal revenge to the wider effects on society. A society that practises capital punishment is effectively teaching hate and violence. Inevitably that is the message that seeps out of the chamber through the prison gates and enters the hearts and minds of people.
"Murdering's fine, you just have to find the right person, then it's justice".
Every judicial death sends a more chilling message than any horrific mass murder committed by a lone perpetrator because the state is seen to be endorsing murder as an everyday solution. Death becomes a country's creed and society becomes a little less human with every execution.
Thanks for your mail
I don't think it needs any comments
Date: Fri, 04 May 2001 15:01:25 +1000
From: Dr. Christopher Barner-Kowollik, Australia
Congratulations on your excellent website. I came across it while reading an article about the death penalty in the german weekly "Die Zeit".
I have read a couple of the pro-death penalty comments by various people that you posted on your site. The amount of ignorance and primitiveness displayed is scary.
Your argumentation is very sound and understanding, searching for a real solution to existing problems.
I have myself lived in the USA for a year and have learned a lot about a very contradictory society and have had - at times very tiering - discussions about the death penalty. I am strongly opposing it, and I can say that for most of my life I was glad to life in societies that have come to evolve to a more civilized nature than that currently displayed in the
As a young german citizen (now living in Austrlia) I have been thought over and over again that liberal thinking and attitudes are the only guarantee for progress in human society. You are absolutely right:
Human right are universal and we have every right to critizise other countries (including the USA). However, I am afraid that by "electing" a
primitive man such as W. Bush as their president, the USA have not done themselves a favor to proceed on a path towards civilization.
I commend you for your work and encourage you to carry on.
In addition, I would find it helpful if you included information on countries that have an equally poor human rights record as the USA.
All the best from Down-Under,
Thanks for your comment, it's always good to know that some people find the site usable.
I agree that it would be good to have information on countries that have an equally poor human rights record as the USA.
But I think it's reasonable to start critisizing the nations that are closest to ourselves, and besides I use all the time I can spare dealing only with the USA.
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 00:58:44 EDT
I am glad that I live in country that still has the death penalty!!!!!
I feel that if the person when in with the intent to murder then they should be put to death. I also feel that other countries should stay out of our business.
If their citizens comment such outragous crimes in my country then they should have to live by our sword so to speak.
I am not ignorant and have done hours of reasearch on the death penalty and after all that I have learned I have decided that we do not use it enough.
These heart-felt liberals who feel it is wrong haas not been victimized by these monsters. These monster never took into account the families of the victims that they slew.
These victims did not have the chance to go before a judge and jury before their future and the future of their families were decided! I believe that the death penalty is justice for those victims and their families!
Comment from Niels:
It's good to see that you do a lot of feeling.
You are more than welcome to come back in case you should also start thinking.
PS: Good idea that you stress that you're not ignorant.
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 12:38:54 EST
From: Therese, Seattle, Washington
I am disgusted by the way politicians justify the use of the death penalty.
There is no justification. How can we, as a country, condemn the violation of human rights in other countries when we deal with our criminals in this way...
And for George W. Bush to guarantee that all prisoners put to death under his watch (in Texas) were absolutely guilty is ABSURD. Is he really naive enough (or stupid enough) to believe that our justice system is
infallible...that we never make mistakes?
Why do we pretend to care about how prisoners are treated (in our country and in others) when we kill our most "offensive" prisoners?
It really makes me sick.
Your website is very compelling. Keep up the great work.
Thanks for your mail
I don't know whether Bush is stupid, but nothing indicates that he is genious.
But it's obvious that he is sly too - like many of his fellow politicians. Sly enough to make people believe that he cares about their safeness and that he intends to solve the problems with crime and violence.
To make them believe that he needs to pretend that he has an effective tool in the death penalty.
Of course you have to be blind or right wing American to believe that. But what else can Bush do? He does not have the visions to think of any effective ways of fighting crime, and even if somebody gave him the ideas he would call the solutions socialisme because they are about government taking some of the resonsibility for the development in society, and all that Bush wants to take responsibility for seems to be the richest citizens and their socalled tax burden.
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 00:34:10 +0100 (MET)
From: Sabatier Nicolas, French, living in Belgium
Great job !! Continue like this.
Some of the critics you received from US people are very interesting. Except for a limited number of them where despite the fact that they are pro-dp but you can have a sense of possible sound discussion, others shows both a disgusting "fascination" for death hidden behind pseudo religious arguments, but also, as you rightfully pointed it out many times, alack of deep thought on these issues (their impossibility to fight the real reasons of crime) and the way DP is instrumental to politicians.
"Old Europe" could be shown as an example of what could or should be done... My country, France, abolished DP nearly 20 years ago. Blood-crime rate didn't rise... May be we've still got something to "say to the world" afterall..... that is except if "you" consider that high crime rates and DP are modernity's indicators !!!
Best regards Niels,
Thanks for your mail.
It seems to me that during the years I have had this website some dp supporters have become more openminded and more ready to discuss the issue of crime and punishment on a more intellectual basis than earlier.
This has been a positive surprise to me because earlier I feared that the US would dig itself so deep into this barbarism and invest so much money in its huge punishment machine that there would be no way back to a society that spends money on prevention instead of punishment.
But as I see it more and more Americans become aware that the death penalty is a huge waste of their tax money, and some even start to think that it's inhumane to kill people.
So, all in all, I am optismistic.