Wait, fuck, it wasn't titled Capital Punishment, it was Ultimate punishment.
In that case, why don't we just call the whole justice department racist given how many minorities get thrown in jail http://en.wikipedia....tates#Ethnicity
I admit, on reflection, that it was kind of a weasel-words way of phrasing it, but I've heard people make the argument, and don't really know how to explain it away completely myself. Poverty level could easily play in, but it's a bit much either way. Cases like Troy Davis' make me wonder, too.
The death penalty is probably the most humane way to completely remove someone from society, as is what should be done to those who kill others. The only other alternative to it that I can think of at the moment is keeping someone in solitary confinement for life, which is essentially just a much crueler version of the death penalty, assuming we think of jail house life as it's own society, which it kind of is, and that we want to completely remove such people from jail house society too.
Speaking only for myself, I think it would be more interesting and possibly beneficial if a) instead of killing them, the government conducted focused studies on their psychology and whatever situation ended up giving them a motive for murder, so as to try to understand how to lessen the chances of the same thing happening again, and b) to have the convicted somehow work towards repaying the victims (restorative justice). There are people, innocent or not, who have written books and done good things even while in prison and/or on death row, after all.
For preventing crime though, there really isn't all that much that can really be done. Unless someone is there to stop a crime before hand, which rarely ever happens, the fear of punishment is really the best deterrent against crime we have given how society works. The criminal justice system even revolves around the fact that we can't be there beforehand to stop the crime from happening; we are only there afterwords
Maybe it was a killing in the midst of some kind of theft born out of poverty, maybe the killer had mental problems, or felt they were doing justice for a perceived wrong as in a revenge killing or killing somebody responsible for a hate crime, maybe it was
a hate crime. The killer could have been born into such horrible conditions and had so much misanthropy instilled and continuously reinforced from an early age that it would be difficult to hold them to the same standards as we would anybody else, or have felt otherwise forced into the crime by peer/social pressure. The possibilities go on. I don't think it's possible we know everything there is to know about the origins of every motive for every violent crime out there, and I think it's even less likely that societies can't do anything to positively affect the conditions they take place in.
Edited by Rehab, 11 February 2012 - 01:13 PM.