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A stop to death penalty! December 18, 2007

Posted by dorigo in news, politics.

This just in!

ONU said yes to the proposal of a moratorium on death penalty. 104 votes in favor, 54 contrary, and 29 abstained. The vote has been cast less than one hour ago. It is a victory for all who fought for this result, and in part for Italy who brought the proposal forward.

It will be a better christmas. Let’s just avoid thinking at the other atrocities happening daily everywhere in our poor planet… A little, but important good news, and a step for mankind out of the black pit of bestiality.



1. Tony Smith - December 18, 2007

According to an 18 Dec 2007 Baltimore Sun article by Bradley Olson and Jennifer McMenamin:

“… New Jersey became the first [USA] state in decades yesterday to abolish the death penalty … New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s decision [was] to sign the repeal bill yesterday and to commute the sentences of the state’s eight death-row inmates …
New Jersey is the first state to repeal capital punishment since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the practice in 1976

the debate was based not on moral grounds but on pragmatic considerations. Some lawmakers changed their minds when they saw that the process was “taking victims’ families through 15 years of uncertainty” without anyone ever being executed.

Lawmakers in Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Colorado have tallied close votes on death penalty repeal bills this year, while North Carolina, Tennessee and California are studying the issue….”.

It is interesting how “pragmatic considerations” can be more powerful than “moral grounds”.

Tony Smith

2. zzz - December 19, 2007

Well, moral codes evolves along with the species. Just like genes, those moral codes that kept tribes alive and strong for eons are those that are passed down to this day, in various forms including cultural taboos, religious teachings, and codified laws. In this sense, “moral grounds” are simply the most stable parts of “practical considerations” crystalized over generations.

3. Bohol - December 20, 2007

There are pros and cons on death penalty. Some say that death penalty is a deterrent to crime; some say it’s inhuman. It is now up to the government which is for the best interest of the general public. With or without death penalty, we all long for a peaceful, harmonious society.

4. jeff - December 20, 2007

You realize, of course, that your views of moral codes imply that there is no “progress”, just evolution. In particular crystals can be broken by raising temperature or by chemical attack.

5. Fred - December 20, 2007

Another angle on Jeff’s take is the contentious life of Guglielmo Marconi revealing the nonassociative paths of crystals and moral codes.

6. Matteo Martini - December 21, 2007

Interesting to note that the US voted along with Iran, Syria, China and Nigeria against this proposal

7. Fabio Zandanel - December 21, 2007

This is a very good news, but the problem is that the vote is “not binding”… However, I hope that somethng will change!
Good vacations!

8. dorigo - December 21, 2007

Hi Tony, that is a very good point. America has always been pragmatic, and that can be an advantage or a shortcoming, depending on the issue. In this case, it seems to work the right way.

Bohol, how can you wish for a peaceful society while disregarding in the same sentence the ethical aspects of deciding on life or death of a human being ? It is not just either useful or useless, it is also -certainly- inhuman.

Matteo, of course the death penalty is a very good indicator of the level of respect of civil rights in a country. So I am not surprised to see those countries aligned together…

That is true Fabio, but I expect that this is the first step in the right direction, it will be a long process but it has started, after several other attempts in the past.

Cheers all,

9. goffredo - December 22, 2007

in response to the “gee wiz, see how smart I am?!” observation by very “smart” Matteo Martini:
“Interesting to note that the US voted along with Iran, Syria, China and Nigeria against this proposal.”

you wrote:
“the death penalty is a very good indicator of the level of respect of civil rights in a country. So I am not surprised to see those countries aligned together…”

Comments like yours and the so smart observation of the likes of Matteo are a very good indicators of political and social bias towards the US.

You are of course showing off for the nth time your bias just to impress your friends. Indeed I am sure you and Matteo feel confortable and even elated with your “big cannon shots” (sparate). I guess you and the likes of Matteo just reinforce one-another.

Or maybe you are just terribly confused. In that case I forgive you. It is Christmas


10. dorigo - December 22, 2007

Hi Jeff,

I AM biased. I am because I studied history. I am because I read newspapers. I am because I lived in the US for a few years. All these things helped me construct a judgement. It is mine, and it is not universal. It belongs to this blog, because it is mine. Of course you can disagree with it, too bad – nobody gets hurt in the process.

That the US cares very little for civil rights, both inland and abroad, is something I strongly believe. Not Americans, beware: the US. Which is represented by its current administration, as per democracy and paper chads.

Shall I make a list of violations of civil rights by the US ? I guess not, just think at Guantanamo, Iraq bombings, Abu Ghraib, only to mention things present or of the last few years.

Cheers, and merry christmas

11. goffredo - December 23, 2007

We agree on one thing
you are biased but when you lived in the US you didn’t yake off your distorted eyeglasses, that you had even before going, and didn’t learn a thing. You lost a great opportunity. Now you are back in europe and your preconceptions are just crystallizing and I fear no one will make then change except you. But that is unlikely. Cheers to you too

12. dorigo - December 23, 2007

Hi Jeff,

yes, I had my preconceptions even before starting to visit the United States. But it is not true I did not change anything of my ideas on the US. I found out many positive aspects of american life that were difficult to discern from the other side of the Atlantic. On civil rights, however, I did not have many inputs there. So my experience, on that, is second-hand. Thank god, I shoud add 😉

13. nigel cook - December 24, 2007

Well, I think the death penalty has some advantages for serious crimes where the evidence is overwhelming. In Britain, the jails are full and judges are now turning away most applicants for the free food and accommodation provided by jails; they have to do community service orders or pay fines instead. The whole nature of law and order enforcement is harmed when there is no real penalty. Most of the hardened criminals are simply not deterred by the sort of “punishments” that are dished out by the administration of justice as regulated by the European Court of Human Rights. In fact, a lot of criminals are actually better off under the conditions inside jail!

The death sentence is more of a deterrent against serious crimes, although obviously it’s completely irreversible and if there is an error and the wrong person is punished, there is no way back. The deciding criterion should be that the deterrent benefits (reduced serious crime) from having a death penalty should far outweigh the potential risks of innocent people being wrongly convicted and punished in this way. It would certainly save a lot of money and would permanently solve the problem of long-term prisoners serving life-sentences at incredible expense. It costs more to house a serious offender in jail in the UK than it would to send them to a top London hotel. There’s something crazy and sickening about the incredible amount of taxpayers money being spent on such serious offenders in the UK, while there is a lot of poverty in city slum areas and innocent people being deprived of basic health and social services. I don’t endorse the kind of gun-carrying, trigger-happy, “shoot first, check the facts later” policing that occurs in the USA, and in fact the death penalty in the USA hasn’t reduced the prison population (it’s as bad or worse than it is in the UK, although the USA is far more cost-efficient on housing prisoners). Maybe a better compromise is not to have a death penalty, but to use such serious offenders for medical research instead of using innocent animals. Having such a torture as a penalty would be more likely to deter hardened criminals than the risk of a painless lethal injection or whatever.

14. dorigo - December 25, 2007


I can’t even start arguing with you because I find disagreement with too many things you say. Only one, though, deserves to be rebutted: the death penalty is no deterrent. And the purpose it serves is not even that of reducing prison expenses! In fact the whole apparatus costs a lot of money. The only purpose it serves is revenge for the victims. And I repel that idea.


15. Just a Texan - January 19, 2008

You stated that the death penalty has not reduced the prison population in the USA. You are correct. However, you must take in consideration that USA prisons have become a place to house other country’s degenerates, outlaws, and other reprobates, along with the country’s own law-breakers. What is such a welcoming country to do?

16. dorigo - January 19, 2008

Texan, you forget that the US was founded by the very same people you now claim to have to defend against! Europe sent them to America three hundred years ago, and now their discendants have to deal with the same situation… What a nemesis 🙂


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