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Death penalty

Original post made by Walter_E_Wallis, Midtown, on Apr 2, 2011

"Posted by Alice Smith, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Mar 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm

If California converted all people on death row (>700) to permanent imprisonment without parole, the state would save $1billion dollars over 5 years.

That money could far better be spent on schools and other services so needed in the State.

Let's stop incarcerating people for petty crimes and look at restorative justice models (google it folks).

In Marin County where they have youth courts they have cut recidivism from 44% to 4% amongst youth. It costs $173k per child to have them in Juvenile hall per year.

Let's stop cutting off the next generation and start rethinking what it really means to be tough on crime: loss of education for this young generation, lack of social services, a non-caring functional government.

For more information, go to www.santaclaraagainstdeathpenalty.org/ , go to your school board, talk to your governor, your state senator and state assemblyperson."

This was interjected into another topic. It deserves its own space.
In my opinion, any conviction of murder in the first degree should receive an automatic death sentence. It should be the burden of the defense to plead mitigating circumstances. Most of the overturnings of death sentences are based not on innocence but on variations of the insanity plea. I believe a man must pay his bills.

Comments (43)

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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

Walter:

Not a bad idea, giving state sanctioned murder it's own thread.

I always thought of you as a small government fella, no unnecessary intrusion into our lives, such as what goes on in one's bedroom, or inside a woman's body, etc..

Folks can talk here about the logic of it, about how justice may or may not be misrepresented across socio-economic lines, costs, how to correct for errors, legal methods that do not violate constitutional protections against cruel and unusual, etc..

Me?

I say, leave it up to the big fella.

What would Jesus do?

I believe there's a book about him around here. You may have one also. If not, there's a number of buildings scattered around town (usually on corners, they have free meetings on Sundays!)

Take a look and let me know what he thinks. I might have missed the part where he says: "screw him, fry the b******."


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

There needs to be a differentiation between killing and murder. Murder is never justified, killing often is, else why do cops carry guns?
As for the J**** boy, Did he not say something like "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's; render unto God that which is God's."?
I believe that, on Golgotha, J**** forgave the thief, but the thief still died on his cross.
I don't believe in unnecessary intrusion of government into our private lives, although if you rape someone in your bedroom I allow jurisdiction there. I believe the temporal punishment of criminals in uniquely government's in that government can see to proper procedures. In the end, however, it is the people's justice government is dispensing. It is not a government's function to forgive, that is J****'s.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2011 at 6:32 pm

The USA has the highest incarceration rate, and the highest recidivism rate of all developed countries.

Our criminal justice system is a farce, and exists only to perpetuate and expand itself.

Even most criminal laws themselves are a farce. Filled with political correctness and victimless acts.

Just like the tax code and tax industry, the criminal code and criminal industry needs to be thrown out and started over from scratch.

The 10 commandments would be a good place to start for realistic laws, and the idea of "3 strikes" a good place for punishment.... Except the "out" in this case means put to death, not put in prison for life.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm

"The 10 commandments would be a good place to start for realistic laws, and the idea of "3 strikes" a good place for punishment.... Except the "out" in this case means put to death, not put in prison for life."

Absolutely amazing!

Starting your two sentence paragraph with the Ten Commandments, and ending it by violating the Sixth Commandment!

Shall we read that one together, out loud? All together now:

Thou Shalt Not Kill.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm

1. Many Bible translations and theologians use the "Thou shalt not commit murder" rather than use the word kill.

2. In Britain, the death penalty was abolished during the 60s because too many people were being put to death and then subsequently found innocent.

I tend to be against the death penalty because Jesus said (when a mob were about to stone a woman to death as punishment) that "he who has never sinned should throw the first stone" and no one could do this. It is therefore my opinion that God should be the judge of when a person dies and we should only be able to give earthly punishments while here on Earth.


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Posted by A VICTUM
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm


LET THE VICTUM(S) METE OUT THE PUNISHMENT TO THE ONE(S) WHO COMMIT THE CRIME.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2011 at 4:15 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

J**** said Let he who is without THIS sin cast the first stone.
J**** forgave the thief, yet still allowed him to die.
A VICTUM, you have a point. If the system fails to do justice, then it devolves to the victim, substituting passion for judiciousness. Justice, in the final note, belongs to the victim.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 3, 2011 at 9:19 am

Walter:
your: "Let he who is without THIS sin cast the first stone." What version of the Bible are you refering to?

All these versions do not seem to back up your claim:

"American King James Version
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

American Standard Version
But when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Bible in Basic English
But when they went on with their questions, he got up and said to them, Let him among you who is without sin be the first to send a stone at her.

Douay-Rheims Bible
When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Darby Bible Translation
But when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up and said to them, Let him that is without sin among you first cast the stone at her.

English Revised Version
But when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Webster's Bible Translation
So when they continued asking him, he raised himself, and said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Weymouth New Testament
When however they persisted with their question, He raised His head and said to them, "Let the sinless man among you be the first to throw a stone at her."

World English Bible
But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her."

Young's Literal Translation
and when they continued asking him, having bent himself back, he said unto them, 'The sinless of you -- let him first cast the stone at her;'"


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 3, 2011 at 9:33 am

Walter:

re: your other points, I'm not sure how they relate to state sanctioned murder.

Casting stones? Victims (somehow) performing murder? How does the Sixth Commandment allow discussion of either?

Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Christian nations around the globe have decided to follow the commandment. Among those that allow the governments to murder, an interesting mix:

China, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Cuba, North Korea, Somalia, Kuwait, Vietnam, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Uganda.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Hey, Alfie, Add to that list EVERY nation that arm its police. You cannot condone arming police if you do not condone taking of life. In fact, even having an army would be anathema.
As for the cites, my bad, perhaps I remembered how it should have read.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm

While I support the death penalty, it should be used as a means to reduce crime and the societal costs of crime, not as a means of punishment.

Indeed, for so many criminals it falls short. Case in point, Bernie Madoff. Death is no where near sufficient for the billions he stole and all the lives he ruined.

The death penalty should be applied to repeat offenders to eliminate their costs to society.

Really, it's that simple. It's not justice, it's not punishment, it's what makes fiscal sense.







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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2011 at 2:42 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

What's wrong with punishment?


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 4, 2011 at 10:46 am

"What's wrong with punishment?"

Nice pivot. Inane question, as no one above has implied there should be otherwise for lawfully convicted crimes.

What's wrong with the Sixth Commandment?

Why do you want state and federal government to violate it with state sanctioned murder?


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 4, 2011 at 10:50 am

Why are we having this discussion about jesus and what he said and did? Religion should not play a role in this issue. Do we care what some of the Mother Goose characters say about the death penalty?


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

"What's wrong with punishment?"

There is nothing wrong with punishment, but the death penalty is insufficient in many cases.

Poster "VICTUM" has the right idea regarding punishment.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2011 at 11:37 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Alfie & Outside, you miss my point. If you arm your police, you are sanctioning arbitrary, summary execution. Then if you eliminate the death penalty you are saying that the independent judgement of a police officer is superior to the fully adjudicated opinion of judge and jury.
A class of people have decided no more executions and so they have hijacked the judicial process to achieve what was inaccessible by the ballot. The argument against the death penalty, that it is irreversible, can be equally applied to any lesser penalty.


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Posted by 35USC101
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm

"In my opinion, any conviction of murder in the first degree should receive an automatic death sentence. It should be the burden of the defense to plead mitigating circumstances. Most of the overturnings of death sentences are based not on innocence but on variations of the insanity plea. I believe a man must pay his bills."

Do you really believe that capital punishment should be applied to first degree murder conviction obtained under the felony murder rule? I find it morally repugnant to execute someone who never had any demonstrable intent to kill.

The assertion that most death sentences are overturned on variations of the insanity is not accurate. Most death sentence are commuted to life imprisonment. Many first degree murder cases require establishing the necessary mens res, a necessarily unreliable exercise in pop psychology. Judges and juries often screw up application of the facts to statutes and case law. Successful application of the insanity defense (very difficult post-Hinckley law changes)prevents a murder conviction.



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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Dear 35:
I believe that anyone associated with a murder should be equally guilty. I find it morally repugnant to allow lesser punishment to associates of a murderer.
I do not believe that judges or prosecutors have any unique ability beyond the average juror to determine intent. There is, in fact, a real likelihood that prosecutors consider it a game rather than a dispassionate search for truth. Just look at the Bond trial.
The appeals process is an exercise in barratry in that each process step is extended to the maximum, and delays are intentional.
If the law decides not to execute justice, then justice devolves to the victim's family.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm

"If the law decides not to execute justice, then justice devolves to the victim's family."

Do you realize how many people read that last statement and then discount everything else you were trying to present?


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Posted by 35USC101
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2011 at 10:01 pm


"I believe that anyone associated with a murder should be equally guilty. I find it morally repugnant to allow lesser punishment to associates of a murderer.

I do not believe that judges or prosecutors have any unique ability beyond the average juror to determine intent. There is, in fact, a real likelihood that prosecutors consider it a game rather than a dispassionate search for truth. Just look at the Bond trial.

The appeals process is an exercise in barratry in that each process step is extended to the maximum, and delays are intentional.

If the law decides not to execute justice, then justice devolves to the victim's family."


Wow you really don't understand the concept of mens rea in murder.
Is you comment about barratry serious?

I still don't think you can come close to justifying everyone convicted under the felony murder rule. See the recent California case of People v. Wilkins. Wilkins got 25-life for causing a fatal accident by failing to close the gate on his pick up truck on the way home from a burglary. Tell me again why Wilkins should be executed??? It's not the same mental state as killing your spouse for insurance money.


Web Link


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2011 at 2:30 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

35, Wilkins would not have been tried for murder in my world. He would have been tried for manslaughter at the most, or burglary. I believe the prosecutor was playing games in that case.
I am dead serious in my assertion of barratry. A properly conducted appeal would cover every relevant issue within a year or so. Ten to twenty years is indefensible.
Trial can divine the guilty mind just as it can divine all other issues of fact. Where it is unclear, then a lesser degree of guilt is called for. Prosecutors who overcharge, for whatever reason, need to be reigned in.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm

curmudgeon is a registered user.

Ah, the Death Penalty! What else we got in common with Iran, China, and North Korea?


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 6, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Good question: What else we got in common with Iran, China, and North Korea?

Hmmmm, tough one. Not nukes, yet. And we don't borrow money from N Korea.

Guess you're correct: state sanctioned murder.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2011 at 3:13 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Crummie and Alfie, you are hyper selective in your comparison. ALL nations approve of State sanctioned killing. Many are too squeamish to actually carry it out, however, and so they muck the process up until in actuality they do not have it. In actuality, we should no allow people in authority who are reluctant to execute properly convicted criminals. In my world, William O. Douglas would have been impeached at the third frivolous stay.





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Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 7, 2011 at 9:03 am

Hi folks,

When the felony-murder doctrine is applied, it removes from the jury any consideration of mens rea (state of mind of the defendant). In a murder trial w/o the application of felony-murder doctrin, mens rea is one of the most critically important inquiries in reaching a decision. If I recall correctly, some states do not use the felony-murder doctrine. Personally, and passing on the death penalty, I think it's crappy law. And speaking of crappy law, and I'm not defending child porn, child molestation, etc. but, it was my understanding of specific intent crimes that actus rous (spelling?) and mens rea (the act and the state of mind or "intent" go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other (I could be mistaken on this, but not by too much). I just thought of this example: A man hates his neighbor because he feeds the squirrels and it just rubs him the wrong way (yes, I am a squirrel and bird feeder, so I lost my credibility with half readers - AND . . . I talk to them too.). So, sitting at his desk at home, he develops an elaborate plan to murder his neighbor. He's going to hide in the bushes and when his neighbor comes out early in the morning to "nosh" with the birds and squirrels, and commune with them, he's going to shoot him with a bow and arrow. He walks to the bushes he planned on, and crouched down waiting for his neighbor, but suddenly, and unbeknownst to him, he falls in an old well that had never been filled in. He's hurt pretty badly and is in the hospital for months. (As an aside, he began noticing a squirrel outside the window of his hospital room. Every morning the squirrel would stop and look in on the man. The man begins to enjoy the morning visits with the black squirrel with a brown tummy. He feels that the squirrel is actually concerned about him. Soon, when he's able to ambulate, he goes to the gift shop at the hospital and buys peanuts for the squirrel. He became so attached to "his" squirrel that he called him his squirrelfriend. Until the day he passed on, he would go to the hospital every morning to feed his squirrelfriend.

This really is going somewhere.

Now, take the child molester (please!): He's surfing the Net for a little girl. Soon, he finds his potential "victim" and begins corresponding with her. After a couple of weeks of "sexting" with her, he plans to have a rondevue with her. He tells her to meet him in the parking lot of Denny's. However, unbeknownst to him, instead of an 11-year old girl, his "victim" is a 40-year old detective, Shortly after his arrival in the parking lot, he's busted.

Oh crap! Maybe I don't know where I'm going with this. I can use a little help in tying up the loose ends and making my point. How did the potential killer, absent the actus rous (spelling?) the act, get off the hook but the child molester got busted where there was no act? I would think that the common law approached, both would be innocent, so maybe it's what is written in the statutes??

I wonder if it would be permissible for a death row inmate to forgo his appeals - even the mandatory ones - and opt in on an immediate execution.

Andy Freedman
androcls@aol.com


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2011 at 9:16 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Andy, you have too much time on your hands.
The felony-murder law does require some thought. If a participant knows that another co-conspirator is carrying a gun, then he/she needs to decide whether to participate or not. If he/she opts in, it is for the ride. Without the felony-murder law, gangsters could just hire a gunsel to do the shooting for them.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 7, 2011 at 9:26 am

"Andy, you have too much time on your hands."

Says the man who has authored nearly every third post on this, and many other threads.

Pot, meet kettle...


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Posted by Andrew L.. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 7, 2011 at 9:55 am

Thank you ALF (and Walter),

Along the line of F/M, I was thinking of the "unfairness" of it. Let take your example and reach and unfair outcome. Defendant A and B walk into the Liquire store to rob it. Defendant A has the gun but Defendant B does not know that. It's my understanding that - and let's complicate it just a little more - if the clerk was shot dead, both Defendat A and B could receive the Death pemalty without the jury having to even consider whether there was intent to kill. So, to complicate it, remember Defendant B doesn't know A has a gun. So after they both come up to the counter A takes out his gun and tells the clerk to open the safe and give him all the money. The gun isn't cocked and A is using it for effects, However, the gun had been neglegently serviced at a gun shop the week before and very accidentally, the gun goes off and the clerk is dead.

It's my understanding that if the F/M doctrine was applied to the case, both defendants could get the death penalty. Even Def B who did not know that A had a gun, if the jury decides - applying F/M - that a death occurred during the commission of a felony, notwithstanding that there was no intent to kill the clerk.

Does that sound about right?

Andy


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The carrying of a gun presumes the willingness to use it. If the only intent is to scare, then any number of model, non functional guns will do.
Alfie, I make RELEVANT contributions, and I defend my contributions. It takes very little of my time.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Wally: "Alfie, I make RELEVANT contributions, and I defend my contributions. It takes very little of my time."

Yet you so quickly make an allegedly "relevant" contribution implying another poster has too much time on his hands and is irrelevant...

However, "Alfie", for one, will back up your claim that you don't put much time into your thoughtful posts.

:)


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Alfie, reread that man's comment and tell me it is relevant.


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Posted by maybe
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm

He's trying to concoct a scenario in which an innocent man is to be put to death by correctly following current trial law.

We have so little justified respect for our criminal legal system that we should make some big changes to warrant some respect.

I believe the legal system is overwhelmed by demographic changes, and what was previously an acceptable level of corruption and abuse of power by those making and judging the laws is no longer acceptable.

The only remedy I can think of is to reduce the power of the judges. The thinking behind that is that power corrupts. So many judges now seem corrupted; they incorporate their ideologies into what should be correct, astute, and unbiased judgments.

As a result, our criminal justice system just doesn't earn respect.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Innocent? By the proposed scenario, two people endeavored to rob by threat of force. The threat, albeit accidentally, becomes real.
Innocent my ass!


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm

"The threat, albeit accidentally, becomes real."

As REAL, or as final, as state sanctioned murder?

Walter, the best response you have so far, for the phrase "state sanctioned murder" is to blame police for shootings criminals in the act.

Can't you do better?

Really, against WWJD and the Sixth Commandment, I haven't seen much to counter, other than getting granular on criminal particulars.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Alfie, it was not my hypothesis.
I do not concede that an execution is "State Sanctioned Murder". If you chose to limit your argument to that, and not to police shootings, then your argument falls apart.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Wally, it isn't "Alfie's" hypothesis, or a limitation of an argument.

It's the title of the thread YOU posted: Death Penalty

If a government exacts a penalty of death as punishment, then it is state sanctioned murder.

If you would like to discuss police shootings, either as punishment or not, perhaps you'd like to open another thread.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2011 at 4:28 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Alfie, look up the definition of murder.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

Done. Assume you were not referring to the flock of crows. Web Link

Your turn.

Wally: look up the Sixth Commandment. Oh, wait a minute, I'll make it easy for you: Thou shalt not kill.

Or show me a link to scripture where Jesus says killing another is a great idea.

Heck, maybe you're more comfortable with the Koran, show me a link that applies from that. Or the Talmud. Or talk to Buddha. Vishnu? Krishna? I'm a little out of my league on the various Almighty. I'm sure you must be able to find one that we have mutual respect for that shares your opinion that it's okay to kill.

xoxo,

"Alfie"


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Alfie, disarm your cops then. Thou shall not kill as an absolute is inoperative, because it makes us all subjects to those who do not accept the injunction. You may be willing to accept that second class citizenship, not I.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Wally:

You have nothing about:

- WWJD?

- Thou Shalt Not Kill

other than cops?

We do not allow police in America to issue judgment and execute. Why do you bring it up?

Oh, yeah, that's right, you've got nothing else...

"Alfie"


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 10, 2011 at 2:23 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Alfie:
I don't care what J**** would have done. He STILL let the thief die on the cross.
"We do not allow police in America to issue judgment and execute. Why do you bring it up?"
So, it is 'execute' when a cop does it?. "Killing" only when it is applied only after every procedural safeguard has bee exhausted?
Sounds backward to me.


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Posted by Alfred E Newman
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 10, 2011 at 9:43 am

thanks Wally, stand corrected:

"We do not allow police in America to issue judgment and *MURDER*. Why do you bring it up?"

Happy now? State sanctioned murder as punishment is the "backwards" reaction.

I'm sorry you have no belief system or faith, Christian or otherwise.

WWJD?

Thou shalt not kill.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

"We do not allow police in America to issue judgment and *MURDER*. Why do you bring it up?"
Then why, pray tell, do they carry guns?
And why did J**** let the forgiven thief still die on the cross?
No belief system? How about reason?


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