MDG and SDF brought up the issue of the death penalty below. What do people on this board feel about it. Personally, I'm in favor of it for the most heinous crimes, although I don't feel strongly one way or the other.
I don't think it should be in effect for all murders. But I think that mass murderers; murderers of policemen; murderers of people selected for their race, nationality or sexual orientation; murderers of children; and those killers who demonstrate either a partciular sadism/viciousness or a particularly cold and callous indifference to human life should be given the death penalty. These crimes are so heinous that i don't believe it's fair to treat people who commit them the same as lots of other petty criminals who are in jail for life. You need a particularly severe punishment to punish such crimes. People who do bad thinsg deserve bad outcomes; it's not fair that a mass murderer should merely lose hifs freedom, for teh poor in our soicety are largely without freedom as well; how honorable is it to a poor homeless man if we make him life his life in the same misery as a callous child murderer. To differentiate different degrees of evil is why I think we shoudl have the death penalty.
By all means, let's get rid of the gas chamber though. By many accounts it's the most painful and torturuos method of death yet invented (short of crucifixion, still practiced in the Middle East), sometimes taking eleven minutes to bring death.
On a related note, just an interesting observation about race and crime. Conservatives always liek to point out how African Americans commit more rimes and murders proportioante to their population than whites do. That may be, but what they overlook is that the most horrible crimes, at least recently, seem to be committed almost entirely by whites. consider just a few:
1) those two white guys in Texas who dragged a black man to death along a highway
2) two pederasts who raped and suffocated a young boy
3)Timothy McVeigh and Theodore Kaczynxki (both right wing terrorists)
4) those guys in Wyoming who tortured and killed a homosexual youth
5) a restaurant ownet here in Boston about ten years ago who killed his pregnant wife for the life insurance, blamed it on a black man, spurred an infamous police search through the Mission Hill area, and then jumped off a bridge when his criem became public.
If the death penalty was really applied only to thsoe who woudl deserve it, it's my guess that African Americans would certainly not be represented more than their population warranted.