[thechat] Mumbai bomb blasts

David Wagner dave at worlddomination.net
Thu Sep 4 18:41:01 CDT 2003

H. Bosch wrote, among other things:
>> Society Model A:  if you kill, you will be put to death.
>> Society Model B:  if you kill, you will be housed in a secure 
>> facility,
>> your individual rights protected, even your person protected from the
>> other prisoners if that is necessary, and you will be released some
>> day, but in the meantime, you are free to contemplate life with no
>> concern for how you will pay the rent or buy your food, have access
>> to entertainment, education, health care, and so on.

Tara responded at length, including:
> I haven't even got to the "what about people who turn out to be 
> innocent?"
> argument. I'll leave that to someone else. ;-)

Ooh! <tag>, I'm it! This one's easy!

Society Model A: Shoot first, ask questions later. Sure, maybe you end 
up executing one or two innocent people, but hey, they're not you or 
your loved ones, right? No biggie.

Society Model B: Limit your screw-ups to a more socially acceptable 
level, i.e. if you wrongfully convict an innocent person, you continue 
to give them the opportunity to prove their innocence throughout their 
sentence. This model takes into account the fact that when you judge 
people, you're going to be wrong sometimes.

The statistics on wrongful convictions, especially on death row, are a 
mess. Of course, those who are pro-death penalty talk about small 
percentages of error (0.6% is one number I saw) and the difference 
between "legal" innocence and "factual" innocence (as in the case of 
errors in legal proceedings). Those who are anti-death penalty 
generally point out a few numbers, but mostly make the point that it's 
wrong to kill even *one* innocent person due to a flawed system.

Here's a bible-thumping, but accurate, press release from the ACLU:

A similar but more expansive essay from Amnesty USA:

For those who may be interested, Spearhead produced an excellent 
concept album, "Stay Human", about death penalty issues a few years 
back -- it's good listening:

A well written but (to me) freaky pro-death penalty response:


David Wagner
dave at worlddomination.net

More information about the thechat mailing list