Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Capital Punishment and Murder

Amnesty International published an article about the declining numbers in both executions and murders. (via Il Principe)

The FBI’s annual crime report – Crime in the United States, 2008 – which was released Monday reveals that, like death sentences and executions, murder rates in the U.S. declined slightly in 2008. This has been the trend for a number of years, as has been the fact that homicide rates vary from state to state, with the states of the Deep South generally having the highest murder rates.

As usual, states without capital punishment generally had lower homicide rates than the states that execute. In fact, all but one of the 14 states with no death penalty in 2008 had murder rates below the national rate of 5.4 per 100,000. The lone exception, Michigan, had a homicide rate of 5.4, equal to the national rate.

Homicide rates in the U.S. are of course still way too high. That 1 in every 20,000 Americans was murdered last year is nothing to be proud of, but by now it should be clear to all that, as the consensus of criminologists agree, the death penalty has nothing to do with solving this problem.

It's interesting that they conclude from the fact that States with fewer executions have fewer murders that capital punishment is not a deterrent. What do you think the reason is? Some say the reason is there are more guns, but in spite of the fantastic chart constructed by Linoge, I think there are various interpretations.

I enjoyed the observation about "states of the Deep South generally having the highest murder rates." Now, why would that be I wonder? What do you think? They certainly have a lot of guns down there.

What observations can you come up with from this report?

Please leave a comment.


  1. Notice in the following link the company that the United States keeps:


  2. Well, correlation vs. causation really. If city A has a high murder rate and large police force, and similarly sized city B has a low murder rate and small police force...can you conclude that eliminating police in City A would decrease the murder rate?

    Similarly, I'd guess still having capital punishment as an option in those high crime states is more a result of having the high crime rates, with an inability to see that it really isn't doing much (except costing them endless funds to keep hearing the multiple appeals, etc.).

    But really, I don't think capital punishment has much impact on crime rates. I doubt the typical perpetrator thinks, "Gee, if I do this and get caught, I might get the death penalty!". In interviews, their greatest fears tend to be getting caught by police, or being shot by an armed victim...immediate 'punishment' for their actions. Maybe if we still had public hangings the morning after the trial, people would see a distinct cause and effect (not that I'm advocating this), but as it is, the capital punishment system is pretty much useless.

    Overall, the report is mostly a 'ho-hum'. Nothing new or surprising in there, and they're just pushing their agenda with the stats they were happy to find. Nothing new.

    Oh, and very unbecoming attempt to tie in guns with the south in your last sentence. You've been taking notes on the media's general approach to implicitly push their own opinions? Just come out and say it rather than trying to force some leading type statements, giving us your conclusion and asking us to reach it through your guided questions. I could just as easily pose the opposite position saying, "I noticed the observation about 'states of the Deep South generally having the highest murder rates.' Could the need for personal defense explain the large number of guns down there?"

  3. Hi Mike --I posted this to your comment at Mudrake's. I'm wondering why your name posted at his blog doesn't link to your blog here? He will probably moderate me out, so my response to your invitation to "opine" is here:

    Mudrake, will Mike get to see ALL the responses to his post --or do you moderate for him --it says below: "approved by the blog author" --which is the tolerant mike B.

    Mike, both religion-justified polygamy and gay marriage and any sexual arrangement other than the Creation ideal are indeed what Mudrake calls "religious beliefs to self-serve one's sexual fantasies."

    That's what we see today in Islam as well, which is polygamous also --up to 4 wives. It's a fact that Mohammad married a 9 year old --they debate whether he consummated the marriage then or later --and this bride became a political asset to him and quite loyal.

    yes, I know there was polygamy and it was interpreted as OK with God in the Old Testament -but the NT and Jesus reaffirm the Genesis ideal of 2 becoming one flesh, male and female created he them.

    The equality of women and the Golden Rule are good reasons why polygamy is wrong.

    but of course, when you have no religious beliefs, and your gov't recognizes no religion-based morality, almost anything goes between consenting adults --including making up your own religion to serve your sexual fantasies --as apparently did that old gink who kidnapped the 11 year old girl who came to light lately.

    As it is, everyone DOES look the other way at what consenting adults do with each other behind closed doors --polygamy, adultery, homosexual acts, swinging. We don't punish for these --though it's clear that the polygamous cults ARE violating social mores about under-aged girls--and I agree with --was it microdot? who says the women have to deny their real emotions --"stuff it" --in order to "stay sweet."

    You ask if everything between consenting adults is not "acceptable." Besides being biblically "wrong," these arrangements are poor examples to youth and not any that you would want your kids to get into --if you are a normal loving parent. That should tell you something.

  4. All right, I'll consider this thread hijacked.

    Barb, I hear what you're saying but what about the gay man who suppresses his true nature, the one he was born with, and marries and becomes a father. Should he continue living a lie? What kind of message does that send to the young ones?

  5. Back to cj's comment, that's an interesting idea.

    "Could the need for personal defense explain the large number of guns down there?"

  6. I wish this discussion were at Mudrake's where you posted it --but he is a censorer --doesn't believe in free speech.

    About the "true nature" of the homosexual. Gays are "made" not born. no evidence to the contrary, to date. Only speculations and theories -even in their research to prove a bio-connection for sexual orientation. You can find MORE evidence to support the nurture theories of how one becomes oriented toward his own sex. There ARE also people who have happily left the gay life for the straight.

    It sends a good message when fathers stay with their children's mothers --even though they are tempted not to. It sends a good message when men step up to the plate to be men in every sense of the word --which, in reality, they ARE biologically capable of doing. If they were not, they could NOT father --and many of them DO swing both ways and do bring children into the world. So, just like straight adulterers, they CAN do what's right and set a straight and moral example for youth.