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Crimes that deserve the death penalty?

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David Libra

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:13 pm
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^ I think we're all in agreement on that. That is, yes, he should.
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think positive Libra

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:15 am
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David wrote:
Skids wrote:
Have you read the book "Ä time to kill"

I enjoyed every word.


I haven't read the book or seen the film, but I suspect I'd share the opinion of this reviewer:

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/a-time-to-kill-directed-by-joel-schumacher-with-matthew-mcconaughey-samuel-l-jackson-sandra-bullock-kiefer-sutherland-and-ashley-judd/Content?oid=891305

Quote:
A Time to Kill argues for vigilantism but disguises its message by making the vigilante black, allowing viewers to think their blood lust and thirst for revenge is actually empathy for the oppressed. Grisham and Schumacher use Carl Lee because of the color of his skin. They exploit him just because he's black, and in doing so they embrace what they started out condemning.


It's an awesome movie, Matthew McConaughey is his usual raw amazing self.
Your view is too simplistic David, but understandable since your relying on something you googled that matches what your opinion might be, this is how I see it, and it's my view when it comes to the indigenous round and gay rights etc, look beyond the colour of people's skin, people are just people.

http://askville.amazon.com/movie-time-kill-Matthew-McConaughey-Sandra-Bullock-Samuel-Jackson-ends/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=1402883

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think positive Libra

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:25 am
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Mugwump wrote:
^ Broadly agree, Wokko, but why restrain this to child murder ? What makes the murder of a 20 year-old or a 50 year-old substantially less damaging ?

I think we have become creepingly lenient on the matter of murder. It is the ultimate act of negation, depriving the victim and their family of every hope. 15 years followed by a residual lifetime of sunsets and autumns and football games etc for the perpetrator seems to me disproportionately low unless there were serious mitigating factors. I could do with fewer prison sentences for minor violence if we were to look again at 25 year minimum terms for murder.

On the subject of prisons, yes, for most crimes, good prison conditions are probably conducive to rehab, which is a proper goal.


Great post. Every time I see the sentence in a case of vehicular homicide, reckless driving where someone, whole families are killed, and they get just a couple of years, my blood boils. Getting out for good behaviour after brutally mutprdering someone in cold blood just because they got a bit angry one day. A minimum should be just that the absolute minimum. Give them thirty and let them earn 5 off.
Would separating the real hard core from the tax evaders help too? I know they have min and max prisons, but is it enough?

I still think prisoners should work for their good conditions though, no matter what. I'd be all for time of sentence for contributing to a better society, trying to atone for what they have done, rather than just "keeping their nose clean" good behaviour.

And this guy, this guy should be like the port Arthur guy, locked in a small cell on his own forever. An hour a day of sunlight, so he knows what he's missing. No TV. Unless it's stuck on abc.

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David Libra

Reel around the fountain


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Location: Anywhere, I don't care I don't care I don't care

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:23 am
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think positive wrote:
And this guy, this guy should be like the port Arthur guy, locked in a small cell on his own forever. An hour a day of sunlight, so he knows what he's missing. No TV. Unless it's stuck on abc.


Lol! If you're going down this path, you need to learn from Orwell and Room 101. Everyone's worst nightmare is different. For me, it'd be Channel 9 on full blast. Or one of the American 'entertainment' channels on Foxtel.

On the other hand, I'd willingly commit crimes to get some good ABC reception.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:27 am
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Which show? Groovy. I like watching Star Trek.
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David Libra

Reel around the fountain


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Location: Anywhere, I don't care I don't care I don't care

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:38 pm
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David wrote:
think positive wrote:
And yet you still haven't answered the question, who is going to pay for it all?


Taxpayers, naturally.

Quote:
Something like this might actually teach them something
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/tent-city-jail-where-prisoners-wear-pink-and-swelter-in-120-degree-heat/article/2546924

You have to give people a reason to rehabilitate, most of em are lazy sods, you have to put them out of their comfort zone to get them to shift themselves


Sounds pretty disgusting to me. If anyone can demonstrate that this kind of humiliation and brutality have a positive long-term rehabilitative effect, then I'm willing to listen; but this just sounds like mini-fascists enjoying a power trip.

Let's go in the opposite direction entirely. Giving prisoners freedom and dignity is not only more humane, it actually seems to work:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/magazine/the-radical-humaneness-of-norways-halden-prison.html?_r=0

And here's the dark(er) side of your Tent City:

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/dead-end-6438519


I was reminded of this post when I read about Trump's controversial decision yesterday to pardon the sheriff behind that sadistic 'tent city'. This article gives a pretty good rundown on the guy and some insight into the black heart of the American criminal justice system:

https://currentaffairs.org/2017/08/wait-do-people-actually-know-just-how-evil-this-man-is

Quote:
Wait, do people actually know just how evil this man is?
Nathan J Robinson


If you are a Trump supporter, the president has just pardoned “America’s toughest sheriff,” a man who was willing to fight illegal immigration using any means at his disposal. If you are a liberal, Trump has pardoned a despicable racist, a man who spent decades casually violating the civil liberties of Latinos. And if you are a balanced and neutral news organization, Trump has pardoned a “controversial” sheriff who faced “accusations of abuse” and “defied a court order.” These are the terms on which the debate about Arpaio is had: is he a vindictive bigot who neglected his prisoners or a steely lawman who dared to enforce immigration policy when the Feds wouldn’t? (Perhaps we’ll just call him “polarizing.”)

But none of these perspectives actually capture the full truth about Joe Arpaio. And I am worried that even those who detest Trump and are appalled by this pardon do not entirely appreciate the depth of Arpaio’s evil, or understand quite how indefensible what Donald Trump just has done is. Frankly I think even Trump may not fully realize the extent of the wrongdoing that he has just signaled his approval of. And I think it’s very important to be clear: the things Joe Arpaio is nationally infamous for, the immigration crackdown and the tent city, these are only the beginning. The word “racist” isn’t enough. The word “abusive” isn’t enough. Joe Arpaio’s actions over the course of his time in office were monstrous and sickening. As Arpaio’s officers were harassing, detaining, and beating citizens and non-citizens alike, with jail employees routinely calling inmates “wetbacks” or leaving them to die on the floor, Arpaio let hundreds of serious sexual abuse cases go uninvestigated, in one case resulting in a child being continually raped. He was not just a “tough” sheriff, but a cruel and incompetent one, faking clearance reports for serious crimes while abusing the power of his office to arrest and intimidate journalists, judges, and county officials. Some of Arpaio’s acts bordered on the psychopathic: in a deranged re-election plot, Arpaio oversaw a scheme to pay someone to attempt to assassinate him, even supplying the man with bomb-making materials, so that he could entrap the fake “assassin” and send him to prison, ruining the hapless man’s life. Arpaio treated the Constitution with contempt, inflicting what the Mayor of Phoenix called a “reign of terror” upon the city’s Latino community.

[...]

Even though most of the inmates were legally innocent, Arpaio called them “criminals” and thought up ever-more sadistic treatments for them. First, of course, were the infamous tents: inmates would be forced to live without air conditioning in the Arizona heat, which reached well above 110 degrees. (At one point it reached 145 within the tents, causing the inmates’ shoes to melt.) Even the showers provided no relief; they were kept near boiling temperature. Winter was somehow even worse: the tents were unheated, but Arpaio would not permit warm clothing, not even a jacket. A former inmate wrote in the Washington Post that it was “freezing, achingly cold,” and that detainees wrapped their extremities with plastic bags. “I was in so much pain,” he said, that even now he cannot be cold without being reminded of it.

Arpaio instituted chain gangs, and boasted that he had the first all-female chain gangs, soon to be followed by juvenile chain gangs. He took away every small comfort that could possibly make life in such conditions tolerable: no coffee, no cigarettes, no newspapers, no television. (Sometimes he permitted The Weather Channel “so these morons will know how hot it’s going to be while they are working on my chain gangs.”) He fed inmates meals that cost as little as 15 cents each, and was proud of the fact that the food was rotten and contaminated.

[...]

Many people, even those who hate Arpaio, may be inclined to believe that he saw immigration enforcement as part of his general “tough on crime” approach. He was extreme in his approach to unlawful immigration, one might think, because he was extreme in his approach to all perceived illegality. But this is false. It’s important to understand that Joe Arpaio wasn’t tough on crime. In fact, one of the major scandals of his immigration crackdown was that he did it at the expense of conducting actual policing, letting serious crimes go uninvestigated as he consciously tried to generate national publicity over his harsh tactics against immigrants.

[Content warning: sexual abuse, rape]

In 2007, a mentally disabled 13-year-old named Sabrina Morrison was raped by her uncle, who then threatened her. Morrison disclosed the crime to a teacher, who called the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. But after the MCSO conducted a rape exam, Morrison recalled, “they said I wasn’t molested.” The officer told Morrison’s mother the same thing: “I was told to my face that there was no evidence of any trauma. No sexual assault. So I thought she was lying…” Afterwards, Sabrina’s uncle continued to rape her, eventually getting her pregnant. Meanwhile, the MCSO had sent the rape kit to the state crime lab. The lab found the presence of semen, and requested that the MCSO obtain a blood sample from Sabrina’s uncle. But instead of acting, or even telling Sabrina or her mother the results, the MCSO simply made a note in the case file. It would not be until four years later that the Sheriff’s office reopened the case and arrested Sabrina’s uncle, who is now serving a multi-decade prison sentence. Maricopa County would pay the Morrisons $3.5 million over the failure.

If what happened to Sabrina Morrison had been an anomaly, one could plausibly have exonerated Arpaio himself. It is possible for a dedicated sheriff to be unaware of negligence in particular cases. But the Morrison case was apparently typical of how the MCSO treated sex abuse cases under Arpaio. A journalistic investigation—one that would eventually win a Pulitzer Prize—revealed that hundreds of reported sex crimes had gone uninvestigated by Arpaio’s office, many of which were child molestation cases. A review of 51 crime reports showed that 43 “had not been worked at all or had minimal follow-up conducted,” even though 90 percent had workable leads. The Arizona Republic found that the office “did not meet basic investigative standards like promptly following up with victims, doing early background checks on suspects, coordinating with other agencies and promptly presenting cases to prosecutors,” and that “the agency lost track of $600,000 to hire child-abuse investigators, and the money was never found.” The MCSO conducted an internal affairs investigation into its mishandling of sex crimes cases, but declined to release the findings, with Arpaio refusing to comment on them. “If there were any victims,” he said, he would apologize to them, while refusing to take any responsibility.


This is just a taste – I advise reading the whole thing, which is frankly pretty ghastly. While I wouldn't ever refer to even such a man as this as 'evil', you do start to understand how things like the Holocaust and the Cambodian Year Zero were possible after reading something like this: it's the sort of thing that becomes possible when a system permits unrestrained power over the vulnerable.

In a way, this gets back to the theme of the thread – because, yes, even I can derive brief pleasure at the thought of someone murdering this sheriff in cold blood. Even making him suffer. But then I remember that such a thought – and the claim of the author above that he is 'evil' – is just more of the same dehumanisation: dehumanising an official who in turn dehumanised criminals who, in many cases, in turn dehumanised their victims. It's just a never ending cycle of violence, in which the mass desire to see vengeance enacted from a distance enables barbarity to occur, either through the ballot box or through a collective shrug of the shoulders when authority goes too far. That's the logic of those who enable and advocate for the death penalty.

It's worth noting that those who support capital punishment aren't the only ones who dehumanise criminals. Many oppose the death penalty purely out of squeamishness; of not wanting to get their hands dirty. What I'm advocating here, on the other hand, is the (radical?) argument that even the worst criminals are human beings with the same inherent worth as any other member of society. If their lives are worth nothing other than being extinguished, or licensed to be degraded to our hearts' content, then what point is there in valuing anyone's life? Why weep for murder victims, children with cancer, artists who die too soon? If one human life is precious – and we all know deep down that ours is – then all are. It cannot be any other way.

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Last edited by David on Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:10 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:42 pm
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Would you like to be a liberal Trump has pardoned a despicable racist a man who spent decades casually violating the civil liberties of Latinos ?
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Mugwump 



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:43 pm
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^ assuming it is true, and that Sheriff Arpaio knew of and/or condoned these things, then yes, indeed, Mr Arpaio should spend many years in jail. It is indeed reminiscent of Soviet treatment of political prisoners in the gulags, or the holocaust, or Khmer Rouge, and this is not surprising ; such human beings exist in all cultures, sadly, and it is uniquely horrible when they can attach themselves to the law. Perhaps Arpaio could share a cell with the Donald one day.

On prison conditions, I suspect the key issue is the environment within the prison, not the amenities provided. A liberal prison regime, such as we have in the U.K., which results in the especially thuggish being given freedom to trade in drugs, abuse other inmates, and generally pursue criminality in a different setting, is probably just as disastrous (especially for the frightened, weak or vulnerable prisoner) as a "conservative" (it's not really) climate of ruthless retribution.

Norway is an unusual country. It used to have a fairly homogenous population acclimatised to an orderly culture, though this is breaking down as immigration takes its toll, and crime is rising sharply in Oslo as a result (see Wikipedia et al). 38% of Norways prisoners are foreigners, which may go a long way to explaining why they do not reoffend - in Norway. Funny things, numbers. It also has a blazingly generous social welfare system underpinned by vast oil exports relative to a small population. So I see lots of ways in which Norway is a doubtful point of comparison..

The trouble is that I don't think our nice liberals have any real idea how to make our prisoners into nice people in our nice prisons, and at least in Britain, they are often stewarding places that rival Dante's Inferno for vulnerable prisoners as a result. This is a shocking betrayal of geruinely reformist goals. Austere, safe prisons, governed with stern authority is probably best for all concerned. We used to have these to a greater extent, as far as I can tell.

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think positive Libra

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:07 am
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It all sounds far to bizarre to be true, but then so does hitlers reign of terror. And I just spent 15 min trying to find out if Steven Segal really killed the puppy. I'm still not sure. How can that happen? Who voted?
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ronrat 



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:59 am
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Pol Pot and Hitler were a million times worse than this bozo. For starters he never had his minions smash infants against a tree to save bullets. He never allowed twin children to be tortured seperately for experimentation.

It does however show a glaring hole in a justice system that allows someone to pardon another for poltical reasons rather than some other more merciful reason such as an abused spouse or a molested child. Or lack of evidence.

It is also a glowing rrason why democracy is not always the answer. Why turn important and crucial jobs into a popularity contest. You elect the those to make the decisions. How many people in Australia know the name of the local Police boss. Or fire brigade chief.

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David Libra

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:26 am
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Couldn't agree more with that last comment. One limitation on our democracy that I'm pretty happy with – law enforcement shouldn't be a popularity contest.

think positive wrote:
It all sounds far to bizarre to be true, but then so does hitlers reign of terror. And I just spent 15 min trying to find out if Steven Segal really killed the puppy. I'm still not sure. How can that happen? Who voted?


Here's the link:

http://news.avclub.com/steven-seagal-accused-of-killing-a-puppy-and-hundreds-o-1798227253

Pretty sad what some people will do to get their fifteen minutes of fame (in Seagal's case, for the second time around – and a fair paycheck, I'm guessing, too). Even if this guy really was illegally breeding roosters to fight, it's the height of narcissism and greed to want to turn police operations into a reality show, with a celebrity cameo no less.

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stui magpie 

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:16 pm
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David wrote:


It's worth noting that those who support capital punishment aren't the only ones who dehumanise criminals. Many oppose the death penalty purely out of squeamishness; of not wanting to get their hands dirty. What I'm advocating here, on the other hand, is the (radical?) argument that even the worst criminals are human beings with the same inherent worth as any other member of society. If their lives are worth nothing other than being extinguished, or licensed to be degraded to our hearts' content, then what point is there in valuing anyone's life? Why weep for murder victims, children with cancer, artists who die too soon? If one human life is precious – and we all know deep down that ours is – then all are. It cannot be any other way.


I'm leaving the sideshow alone and going straight to this point.

I don't agree with what you're advocating.

There's a lot of ways to weigh the worth of an individual, simply applying a blanket doesn't work for me.

People weep for murder victims and cancer sufferers etc because they are innocent victims of something outside of their control. If it happens to unlikeable people it's referred to as karma and not a tear is shed, except by those who do like them.

Someone who knowingly and deliberately voids the social/moral contract we have with each other as humans diminishes their own worth irrespective of their social or financial status.

I've given you a loose enough frame there to go off on some of your favourite tangents and totally avoid my point, challenge up to you.

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Tannin 

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:43 pm
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Well said Stui.

David's point is insane. I don't say that to exaggerate or make a point. It is quite literally insane: i.e., "an action that is stupid and likely to have extremely bad results".

To put it another way, insanity is the inability to conceptualise and respond to the world is a rational way such that survival prospects are unreasonably diminished. This bizarre notion that the worst and most selfish evildoers are somehow equal to their victims is ... here is that word again ... literally insane.

No-one is born evil. They started out equal to their victims, they started out as deserving of our sympathy and respect and compassion as anyone else. But, by their actions, they forfeited all that. They choose to do evil things, they choose to inflict harm on other people. They spent their right to respect and sympathy.

We should still treat such people with humanity, but not for their benefit. (Screw them, the worst of them deserve nothing.) No, we do it for our own benefit: it is imperative that we maintain our humanity even when (perhaps especially when) it is difficult to do so.

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David Libra

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:54 pm
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Putting aside the fact that we don't really have a choice in how we turn out as people, the claim that we all start out on a level playing field is, I would have thought, pretty obviously wrong. The wealth of your parents alone plays a huge role in the likelihood of you turning to a life of crime, as do many other factors outside your control (and some, yes, are genetic dispositions). How can you have sympathy for anyone if you see their immoral or harmful actions – of which we are all guilty to some extent – as marks against their inherent worth? Hell, how can we ever love or respect ourselves in such a framework?

stui magpie wrote:
David wrote:


It's worth noting that those who support capital punishment aren't the only ones who dehumanise criminals. Many oppose the death penalty purely out of squeamishness; of not wanting to get their hands dirty. What I'm advocating here, on the other hand, is the (radical?) argument that even the worst criminals are human beings with the same inherent worth as any other member of society. If their lives are worth nothing other than being extinguished, or licensed to be degraded to our hearts' content, then what point is there in valuing anyone's life? Why weep for murder victims, children with cancer, artists who die too soon? If one human life is precious – and we all know deep down that ours is – then all are. It cannot be any other way.


I'm leaving the sideshow alone and going straight to this point.

I don't agree with what you're advocating.

There's a lot of ways to weigh the worth of an individual, simply applying a blanket doesn't work for me.

People weep for murder victims and cancer sufferers etc because they are innocent victims of something outside of their control. If it happens to unlikeable people it's referred to as karma and not a tear is shed, except by those who do like them.

Someone who knowingly and deliberately voids the social/moral contract we have with each other as humans diminishes their own worth irrespective of their social or financial status.

I've given you a loose enough frame there to go off on some of your favourite tangents and totally avoid my point, challenge up to you.


I have no intention of avoiding your point, which is – if I'm paraphrasing your post correctly – that people's worth or value depends on what they do. It's an entirely valid opinion, though one that isn't, as far as I can tell, currently reflected in our justice system. You get the same sentence for murdering John the Baptist as a gangland figure, once all mitigating factors are taken out of the equation (happy to be corrected if wrong!). Likewise, upstanding members of the community aren't prioritised on emergency surgery lists. Nevertheless, I can't say that your view is wrong; simply that I don't agree with it.

The reason I believe that human worth is independent of behaviour or externally perceived merit is that I view human life (and lives) as precious, complex, intelligent and ultimately better than any work of art in terms of its scope and meaning. To assess the value of lives on what they've done is simply to make human life a means to an end. But to what end? Human life doesn't really have a purpose beyond the fact of its own existence.

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Mugwump 



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:46 pm
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^ i think you are mixing things up here, David. All human lives may be complex and intelligent compared to a fruit fly, but so what ? Some human lives are practically cruel and brutish, and very few human lives are better or more important than any truly great work of art.

They do not have to be any of the things you suggest, however, to be in receipt of rights - rights which we posit and accept because they are useful for a good civilization to work, and they issue from some essential moral consciousness that most humans have. That is what really matters, here. That, and where the limits of those rights expire. The right to a fair trial, for instance, is inviolable. The right not to be tortured seems to me similarly inviolable.

Someone who maliciously takes the life of another, conscious of a statute that prescribes execution as the punishment for that crime, seems to be a more questionable state of right. They have, after all, in effect contracted away their own life. Whether we should enforce that contract is another question, but I don't think it has to do with how complex or intelligent or precious they are.

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