úterý 21. dubna



  • Přehled aktuálních zpráv z České republiky: Politická kultura a soudnictví:
  • Trest smrti: je nemorální a zbytečný (Andrew Stroehlein) Česká ekonomika:
  • The Death Penalty: Immoral and Useless (Andrew Stroehlein) Česká ekonomika:
  • Fondy budou donuceny k odprodávání akcií (Financial Times) Jak se vyrovnat s totalitní minulostí:
  • Recept Desmonda Tutu a návrhy skupiny Nezlomeni 97 (Jiří Jírovec) Letectví v ČR:
  • Ještě jednou Boeing a Aero (Ondřej Zvěřina) Česká televize:
  • Pořad V pravé poledne. Není dokonalý, ale je naděje na zlepšení (Jan Lipšanský¨) Právo a zákonnost:
  • Nedávejte si motorku do opravny, ukradnou vám ji Týden zahraničních Čechů v Praze:
  • Jiřina Fuchsová při něm nesmí uspořádat čtení poezie, snad aby nepodvracela? Politické strany:
  • Výzva Demokratické unie občanům v zahraničí: podporujeme vaše zájmy, ale potřebujeme finanční pomoc Oznámení:
  • Ekologie: Dárek ke Dni Země pro uživatele Internetu
  • Nové vydání časopisu Hurontaria na síti
  • Nové vydání časopisu AmberZine na síti
  • Romsky mesicnik Amaro gendalos - Nase zrcadlo je on-line!
  • Česká policie zatkla muže, podezřelého z pedofilie

    Ikona pro Vaši stránku...

    |- Ascii 7Bit -|- PC Latin 2 -|- ISO Latin 2 -|- CP 1250 -|- Mac -|- Kameničtí -|

  • The Death Penalty: Immoral and Useless

    Andrew Stroehlein

    The beginning of April brought two pieces of depressing news which are no doubt related. One item noted that reported crime was on the increase with Prague itself showing a 15% raise. The second item, more depressing than the first, was the result of an opinion poll showing that two-thirds of citizens of the Czech Republic support the death penalty.

    In light of the first bit of news, the second seems perhaps understandable, but it is certainly unfortunate. The death penalty is as barbaric and immoral as it is ineffective, and it is sad to see that people might have any faith in it.

    The humanitarian and moral aspects of this issue should be relatively clear even though the old commandment of "thou shalt not kill" is obviously a bit too simplistic. Everyone has a right of self-defence, for example, if one or one's family is immediately threatened. When there is an immediate danger, extreme violence may be the only way to protect one's life and the lives of one's family, and if self-defence results in death, such taking of human life may be morally justified. But when a convicted criminal is already behind bars, such a justification disappears, because there is no immediate threat to anyone's life. No matter the horrors of the crimes that person has committed, no matter how evil the acts he or she has perpetrated on others, the immediate threat is gone, and the self-defence argument cannot be used. There is neither need nor moral justification to kill the detained criminal.

    There are other difficulties with the death penalty. Most prominent among them is the fact that the death penalty gives the state far too much power; the power over life and death. It is strange that a group of people who have experienced excessive state power first hand would now want to give the power of life and death to the state, but this is what recent opinion polls in the Czech Republic are suggesting.

    The death penalty also assumes that a justice system can be infallible, and again from their own experience the citizens of the Czech Republic should know otherwise. The finality of the death penalty after a trial presupposes that judicial infallibility. If, for example, new evidence appears later which would exonerate the accused, neither appeal nor overturned sentence is worth much to that person when he or she is six feet under.

    Many will say that the horror of the crimes certain wicked people have committed justifies the death penalty, but a deeper look at the matter reveals this logic to be flawed. You treat people with decency and respect not necessarily because they are decent and respectable, but because you are decent and respectable.

    Even those who are cold to these humanitarian and moral arguments, however, should at least recognise one thing: the death penalty simply doesn't work. That is, it doesn't actually reduce crime. Some US states which have reintroduced the death penalty have seen an increase in crime since the reintroduction, some a reduction. Other states which in the same period have not reintroduced the death penalty are the same: in some crime has gone up while in others crime has gone down. The death penalty has no measurable effect on the crime rate, and thus in practical terms it solves nothing.

    In fact, study after study in the USA has shown that it is not the severity of the punishment which gets potential criminals to reconsider their committing a crime. It is actually the probability of getting caught which has the strongest effect on behaviour. The fact that Prague police now only manage to solve only about a quarter of the reported crimes is far more significant in explaining the recent rise in criminal activity than the current list of potential punishments.

    Some proponents of state sponsored murder say that at least society doesn't pay to keep these criminals in prison for decades, but again American experience has shown the issue of cost to discourage the introduction of the death penalty. Public costs of lengthy appeals (sometimes over 15 years more) are far higher than the cost of keeping a man in prison for forty years.

    The American experience with the death penalty in recent years has been shameful and miserable. The state of Texas alone is behind only Iran and Iraq in the number of state sanctioned murders in the world, and despite the boasts of some Texas officials, that distinction is no great honour. Also, it is well researched and widely known that many victims of the death penalty in the USA are actually seriously mentally handicapped people. Additionally of course, there is a racist element as well: a vastly disproportionate number of blacks are killed by the death penalty in the USA while whites are far more likely to receive life sentences instead for similar crimes.

    All these moral and financial costs, and yet it still cannot be shown that the death penalty reduces crime. It may seem like an easy solution, but in reality, it is neither easy nor a solution. I hope the recent opinion poll results from the Czech Republic only reflect temporary frustration with the rising crime rate and not deep-felt support for the introduction of the morally indefensible and practically purposeless death penalty.

    Andrew Stroehlein

    |- Ascii 7Bit -|- PC Latin 2 -|- ISO Latin 2 -|- CP 1250 -|- Mac -|- Kameničtí -|