Death Penalty poll and discussion

What are your opinions regarding the death penalty?

What are your opinion regarding the death penalty?
  • The death penalty is wrong under all circumstances
  • The death penalty is wrong in the US because other measures are available in the US to protect society from dangerous criminals
  • The death penalty is wrong even for especially heinous crimes against individuals, but certain crimes against humanity should incur it.
  • The death penalty is acceptable for especially heinous crimes, but is too common in the US
  • The death penalty is acceptable for especially heinous crimes, and is generally appropriate in the US
  • The death penalty is acceptable for especially heinous crimes, and is not used enough in the US
  • The death penalty is acceptable for many crimes, not just “especially heinous” ones.
  • The death penalty is theoretically appropriate for especially heinous crimes, but the US makes too many judicial errors for it to be okay in the US
  • The death penalty is theoretically appropriate for especially heinous crimes, but the US but its disproportionate against minorities makes it not okay in the US
  • Regardless of my opinion of the death penalty for civilian crimes, it can be okay for certain special cases, like murder committed by prisoners or soldiers who desert.
  • Prisoners who can never be released to society should be allowed to choose between death and life in prison

0 voters

Apologies to Canadians for a US-focused poll. But you haven’t had a death penalty since 1998 (and not since 1976 for civilian crimes) and I don’t hear a lot of Canadians bemoaning that. Feel free to vote your opinions anyway – A Canadian might feel the US executes too many people, for instance.

oh, wow. The last execution in Canada was in 1962. Most Canadians have lived their whole lives without a de facto death penalty, even if it lingered on the books for decades. (Median age is ~41.)

I think it should be applied for obvious cases of mass murder where there is no hope for any kind of rehabilitation, like if that Anders guy were from here and not Norway I would have no problem with him being disappeared.

The US incarcerates too many people in general though. I think there are too many people who have been proven innocent after being incarcerated for a long time so the death penalty threshold needs to be much higher than it currently is.


For me, as a Catholic Christian, it’s not man’s place to declare someone irredeemable. That level of final judgment is reserved for God alone. “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” So for me, the only internally consistent choice is “wrong under all circumstances.”


I can sympathize back in the olden days it was comparatively expensive and/or cumbersome and/or otherwise difficult to incarcerate someone for the rest of their life, so I don’t think it was unreasonable to execute heinous criminals then.

Today that isn’t really an issue. We’ve got more food than we know what to do with. I think we have enough surplus to take the higher moral ground of being better than ending anyone’s life, no matter how heinous, as a society we simply don’t stoop to that level.

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Couldn’t quite bring myself to say “wrong in all circumstances” although I lean heavily in that direction.

It really doesn’t make a difference to me nor does it need to for anybody in society except perhaps a living victim whether a person lives in jail or dies. There are too many arguments against a death penalty and I haven’t heard a single convincing argument we should have it.

Arguments I’ve heard in support:

  • The death penalty makes it less likely that people will commit crimes (don’t buy it)
  • If we didn’t bother with all the appeals and legal fees, it would be way cheaper to just put a bullet in their head (I can’t argue with those facts, though I don’t like the methods)

The number of active shooters who decide to off themselves or death-by-cop rather than go to prison for life is one indicator that the death penalty isn’t that much of a deterrent.

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For me it’s not a matter of right or wrong, it’s just my opinion on what to do with these people.

I also think morals - right or wrong - are just some kind of weighted average of people’s various opinions.

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I’m sure Anders thinks he’s the good guy. I just disagree.

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I’d like to have picked 2. I believe anyone in for Life without Parole should be allowed the choice.

Not a big fan of Life without Parole. If someone is so dangerous that they can never be allowed loose in society again, exactly what purpose is served keeping them alive? Those resources could do so much good in so many other places.

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I don’t really care. It’s one of the few issues where I just can’t relate at all. DNGAF.

I’ll go as far as saying that the justice system in America is pretty awful and scary, but I don’t think of the death penalty as an especially good or bad component of it.

I don’t think killing murderers is wrong. And I don’t think it’s a deterrent at all.

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I appreciated your last option (prisoner’s choice). I’d not thought of that before.

I do think the threat of the death penalty is an important tool for prosecutors to use when negotiating sentences, potential plea deals, etc.

I put wrong in all cases for a couple of reasons. I don’t actually have a problem with certain bad guys being killed, but I don’t think that power should be given the the government. I don’t trust them not to abuse that authority. I also don’t feel our justice system should be based on vengeance, which is the only realistic motivation for the death penalty. It’s not healthy for society to normalize that type of violence imo.


It’s not my place to declare this guy irredeemable, but neither is it my place to forgive this person for his atrocious crimes. Either he says he was under the grip of madness doing it, or he’s a horrible person whom only his victim should be allowed to forgive (and no victim should ever feel pressure to do so). If he was mad while doing it, prison for life might be okay.

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Just checked his wikipedia page. What a horrible, horrible childhood. Why didn’t his mother give him up for adoption? Why wasn’t that other guy given up for adoption too?

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Wow, for real. That’s another facet to this. Yes, the murderer did awful things and may be irredeemable. But in many cases capital punishment was the last scene in a life of horrific abuse, devoid of the normal care and support one might experience. Guaranteeing every person the right to live out their days somewhat naturally (albeit in a maximum security prison) doesn’t seem like that expensive a bar for a modern, developed country, and is frankly I think healthier for society than embracing the vengeance of capital punishment.

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You can pick lots of options. Or maybe i don’t understand your comment.

I ultimately picked conflicting answers. I couldn’t decide between justified when there are crimes against humanity (like the Nuremberg Trial executions), and never acceptable.

I don’t lose sleep over the execution of Nazis who tortured and killed millions of innocent people systematically, but could those Nazis have lived out their days in prison, away from society? I suppose so. Did their execution deter others from genocide or similar crimes against humanity? Arguably not.

So most days I think I lean toward never acceptable. Other first world countries have found a way to never need it, and given the US’s track record in general, I’m not going to assume we do much of anything better when compared to our peers, especially not this.

I used to think it was ok in some cases, but then I read the book Just Mercy and found out how often it was misapplied.

But in a case where there is a mass shooting and there are multiple witnesses and no question of who the perpetrator is, I think I’m ok with it.

I live in a state that has the death penalty. Still not sure what I would do if I were called to be on a jury for capital murder. I am seriously tempted to lie and say that I’m totally fine with capital punishment, even though I’m not. Because they ask that question, the jury is stacked with people who think capital punishment is no big deal. Hopefully it never comes to that.

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IFYP; as you just pointed out, some may very well not tell the complete truth about their views on capital punishment (and might even be some who think that such punishment doesn’t include death as getting whipped or spanked often falls into this category).

Aren’t those corporal punishment?

Anyway, i bet the judge is clear about the death penalty being in play for those jury selections. At least, my experience with jury selection is that the judge is very clear as to what topics might come up, and what aspects of the trial might pose problems for potential jurors.