April 09, 2015

Debating the death penalty: Libertarian vs. Conservative

Marissa SemkiwArchive

The Boston Marathon bomber was found guilty yesterday and is now eligible for the death penalty.

Toronto Sun columnist Anthony Furey joined me to debate the ethics of capital punishment.

He makes the libertarian case that the State can't be trusted to carry out executions.

I'm pro-life and pro-death penalty; I explain why this isn't a contradiction.

What do you think?

Have your say in the comments!

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commented 2015-04-10 11:21:58 -0400
Welcome and red carpet to you Anthony Furey….you made some great points…but no one mentioned this:
Barnardo, Pickton, Manson all acted as individuals…they are rotting/or being educated…in prison, alone and likely abandoned by many of their ‘friends’.

The Boston Bomber is, in a sense, part of a WORLD-WIDE terror network…he is potentially VALUABLE to them for at least political reasons…they have at lease two choices
1. A Valiant rescue with helicopters, an army, etc.
2. Trade him for one of our hostages or some other scenario.

Depending on his value to others, he may just not be like most people on death row…so do we want to keep him under the COSTLY required amount of protection to avoid #1?
commented 2015-04-10 11:10:58 -0400
Great to see all former Sun staff whenever they show up! A number of years ago I heard a judge in the U.S. explain how badly the justice system in the U.S. was in disarray. You could be receive one sentence for a crime in one court and receive a different sentence for the same crime down the road. Black men were more likely to receive the death penalty for thee same crime than white men were. The list went on and on. Add to that the number of times lawyers seemed more interested in protecting their winning record than they were with the fact a person’s life was at stake. Add to that how slowly the wheels of justice turned and how reluctant the courts were to admit they had made a mistake and in some cases resisting compensation for those wrongly held for many years. As much as I do feel there are individuals who may be deserving of the death penalty I don’t trust the system to get it right and worse worry some of these entrusted figures don’t even give a damn. What if it was your family member fighting for their life?
commented 2015-04-10 11:00:20 -0400
I always respected Anthony – still do. We can disagree, but he will always have my respect. Welcome to the rebel.media, Anthony. That is the difference between us and the left – we can disagree, shake hands and move on. The left pulls out name-calling and personal attacks. Cheers, folks.
commented 2015-04-10 10:27:10 -0400
I agree with Anthony. What percentage of innocent individuals executed in the name of capital punishment is consider acceptable?

“Our works are nothing but filthy rags in the eyes of God”. Capital punishment is simply another form of self righteous works that man partakes of in order to achieve some false sense of justice or security, failing to realize that true justice and real security can only be achieved through civilized behavior and forgiveness.

Capital punishment is neither civilized nor forgiving and it will not solve the problem of mass-murderers, serial rapists and child-molesters other then to protect those they are a threat to. Life in prison and no opportunity for parole will do that as well, however it is also gives an opportunity for those who commit the above crimes to make amends and repent.

Many of the people executed by governments who endorse the death penalty are poor and suffer from mental retardation or mental illness. It would be a stretch of ones moral integrity to think that executing such individuals reinforces the idea of justice. Jesus told us, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me”.
commented 2015-04-10 08:40:21 -0400
It is the perpetrator who decides that life has no value. HE cannot complain if his own values are made to apply to himself. We certainly don’t want his values to apply to peaceful citizens, so this way everybody gets what they value. I am against the death penalty if it is based on circumstantial evidence, but if the guilt is beyond ALL doubt, that is certainly an option that will allow greater security. No executed prisoner has ever committed another crime, which is more than can be said of murderers on parole.
commented 2015-04-10 08:19:08 -0400
Good to see Anthony on board. I may not agree with him all the time, but he always brings in a fresh perspective.
commented 2015-04-10 07:45:30 -0400
Furey argues that the state cannot be “trusted” to execute someone, but the same can be said about incarceration as murderers have been known to escape prison and kill again. They can also represent a “clear and present danger” while inside prison. There are cases of lifer inmates sanctioning murders of prison guards and enemies. Muslim radicals like Tzarnaev can propagate their vile ideology by inculcating other prisoners who take their place when released. The death penalty is all about natural justice. The punishment must befit the crime and the heinous murder of innocent men women and children demands the ultimate punishment.
commented 2015-04-10 07:36:49 -0400
An age old debate that will continue for some time yet. Punishment for murder is the question .Death , life in prison or something else. Can murder be justified any more than can what Henry Kissinger done in Cambodia or what the USA done in Japan. Is there a difference ?
I don’t consider the cost to taxpayers for keeping people in jail a reasonable argument. If it were so then drug rehab ,abortion, treatment for obesity and diabetics in a lot of cases should not be at society’s cost.
We have to take a closer look at the reason why people commit murder.Crimes of passion, defence ,war and other debatable reasons .This topic is not as cut and dried as some of you think. Please do not mention the USA when talking about this subject.
commented 2015-04-10 06:24:45 -0400
Excellent debate between Anthony and Marissa, but also excellent comments posted here too.

Maurice has a good vision of what the justice system should be. It has to varying degrees been implemented in the US, but not fully as Maurice has outlined it. The problem is it is highly unlikely that it will be enacted here in Canada, so in a sense it is just a pipe dream. Neither is it likely that capital punishment will be reinstated. I say reinstated because I think it once was the law, but I could be wrong on that. However, working with todays’ system it seems our only alternative is to make sure life means life.

When it comes to my belief in capital punishment, if the offender has proven beyond any doubt to be guilty of the crime, and has proven himself/herself unrepentant and irredeemable, and considering our current system of justice where slave labor is not an option, why waste the resources?
commented 2015-04-10 05:50:01 -0400
Anthony Fury say he doesn’t trust government, but fails to acknowledge that it’s the citizens on the jury that convict him and the citizens will put him to death. The state might or must do the deed in a human way, but it’s the citizens and not the state that does this. I am for the death penalty only in extreme circumstances, this being one. I also don’t like the fact that in this country, our laws state that a murder of one is the same as the murder of many. Now they did change that slightly to convict a person and then give him or her a designation of dangerous offender status, mean they will never get out of jail. But I don’t believe they should be in jail indefinitely. Such a waste of money! Not just keeping them in jail, but the added cost of segregation for the populous in prison for their own protection. Silly isn’t it!? Our justice system protects those that commit the most heinous of crimes while keeping them in prison. So yes the death penalty should be and most likely be ordered for this terrorist in this case and for any like him in the future.
commented 2015-04-10 03:07:31 -0400
Wow, great debate. Got a little heated at times, but Fury and Semkiw both remained civil and respectful. Welcome to TheRebel.Media, Anthony Fury!
I’ve been back and forth on this issue most of my adult life, but I think I do tend to agree with having the death penalty as an option in extreme cases. Fury talks about enemies of the state, who pose a “clear and present danger to society”, and is apparently has no problem with law enforcement and the military taking lethal action in such cases. But it seems irrational to support this and not support the death penalty, which is only imposed after the criminal justice system and due process have run their courses, i.e. when an accused has had a fair trial, been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and received a just sentence proportional with the crime(s) committed. When that crime is murder, especially when motivated by ideological/political/religious perceptions and beliefs, what is more fitting than that the convicted murdered be sentenced to death?
The prison systems in the U.S., and increasingly in Canada, are unsustainable, and cost the taxpayers a fortune. We’re not just paying for Paul Bernardo’s meals here, we’re paying the salaries of some 10+ prison guards, just for him. For most inmates, we’re also paying for their post-secondary education and their cable television. As a libertarian, I’m surprised Fury doesn’t seem bothered by this.
True, governments are often mediocre in their provision of services. Snow removal and road maintenance are prime examples. But these are performed by local governments, using local taxes, and are a permanent fixture in the operating budgets. In 100 snowfalls, you can’t possibly expect the snow to be cleared adequately and in a timely fashion all 100 times. By contrast, the death penalty would likely only be carried out a few times a year. And really, what does it matter if a death sentence is carried out in the “correct way”? Everyone dies at some point. Why should a convicted murderer, who didn’t turn his or her mind toward the “correct way” to kill their victim(s), be afforded the courtesy of a humane death, let alone the boon of a natural death by old age? The death penalty for convicted murderers isn’t murder, it’s merely the just shortening of an already spent and wasted life.
Further, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence (25 years in Canada, which is a joke) may not pose an immediate threat while he’s sitting in jail, but probably will when inevitably released. Even where criminals have been labelled dangerous offenders, such that the normal parole eligibility rules don’t apply, allowing them to live out the rest of their lives on the taxpayers’ dime (in circumstances quite cushy compared to how they typically lived prior to their incarceration) sends a very bad message to similar offenders. When criminals like the Boston Marathon bomber, who are motivated by ideology/religion/politics, receive prison terms instead of death sentences, it tells others like them that we don’t take their crimes seriously. Despite their beliefs, most terrorists are probably still capable of rationalizing their actions and considering the consequences to themselves, personally, before taking action. I bet some would be dissuaded if they knew they would be put to death upon conviction.
Would Fury say the same thing if we were discussing the 9/11 terrorists? What if one had survived and been apprehended and arrested by law enforcement in New York during the aftermath. Would Fury still be opposed to giving him the death penalty? What would the victims and families of those killed want? I doubt they would be satisfied with Fury’s board game analogy.
Alternatively, Maurice Potvin has a point. Slave labour doesn’t sound so bad. If we can’t have the death penalty, then I could probably get behind that. It would potentially minimize taxpayer spending on prisons and inmates, provide an opportunity for convicted criminals to give back to society, potentially learn some marketable skills that would aid their reintroduction to society if/when they are released, and perhaps contribute to the lesser goal of rehabilitation and in some cases even enable spiritual repentance and redemption. All good things, in my view.
Then again, criminals sentenced to death still have plenty of time to achieve those things within the average 10-year period spent in prison between conviction and the actual carrying out of the sentence.
commented 2015-04-10 01:28:10 -0400
Issue here is that we aren’t just talking murder anymore, even serial murder or Columbine style murder, the jihadists are committing hate crimes driven by religion where no matter how much time you spend trying to rehabilitate them you will not succeed. As soon as it crosses the line from murder to ethnic or religious cleansing (which is what jihadists are espousing – if you aren’t Muslim you must die) the death penalty should become an option. They believe in Sharia law, so lets give the Jury an option – our law, or sharia law for penalty phase. Won’t be too hard to weed out the people who should be subject to the Sharia option, they like to brag about what they’ve done and why. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over whether they were innocent or not if we executed a self proclaimed Jihadist who killed people.
commented 2015-04-10 00:53:27 -0400
Good discourse, I hope to see more with Fury.
I can’t see how we will never see this kid him again, if he is given life. I don’t think it will be viewed the same way bernardo is, and that he will never get out. I don’t think the west can do work camps, slave labour. The left wouldn’t tolerate that sort of cruel and inhumane treatment. Cruel and unusual punishment they call it. I am not crazy about the death penalty, but in this case I really have to wonder if it isn’t the best choice. It would make sure we would never have to deal with him again, and it will also send a definitive message, that we are not putting up with these attacks.
commented 2015-04-10 00:38:53 -0400
So many good comments, compared to MSM. And the Sun News people, have prevailed. Good to see Lilley, Levant, and especially Marissa Semkiw carrying on. And Furey too, since he is in this mix.
If I were 50 years younger Marissa, …… But you have the spirit, and the sense, and the logic, and the style. Geez girl, stay with it. You will be here for a long time.

On the subject at hand, there are some instances, where there is no doubt, that a human has shown him or her self to be no longer human, then that privilege should be erased. Simple really. There are many examples. all obvious.
commented 2015-04-10 00:35:23 -0400
He’s eligible? Good. Now lets get with the program
commented 2015-04-10 00:23:04 -0400
I believe that since the state does not provide life, it does not have the right to take a life. The state does provide rights, opportunities and freedoms and so has the right to take or restrict those freedoms. Right now the argument is capitol punishment or the status quo (life imprisonment being 15-25 years). How about a life sentence meaning life imprisonment. No mercy, no parole. You get out in a box. If you are innocent, you have a crap load of time to prove it.
commented 2015-04-10 00:07:08 -0400
Awesome Video. Thank you. I vote Death Penalty with in 3 months and save the Tax Dollars for things that are useful.
commented 2015-04-10 00:06:23 -0400
Great to see the Furey and Semkiw fur balls go full cat fight again!

As to capital punishment, sigh, no, I don’t support it. Nor do I support life in a cage guarded 24/7. I believe in something much closer to Potvin’s idea of slave labour.

Some people should never be free. They should be supervised 24/7 until they die. And during that time, they should be sheltered in less expensive community settings, given adequate food and health care, and forced to work. Shackle them, severely restrict their society, treat them humanely but never let them go. Unless, and here is the main reason I oppose capital punishment, the state got it wrong and convicted an innocent.
commented 2015-04-09 23:42:15 -0400
I don’t believe in the death penalty for a three of reasons. First, I don’t trust the state to always get it right. If ‘someone is wrongly convicted of a crime and incarcerated, they can always be released and compensated when their innocence has been proven. If they are executed, there’s no do-over. Secondly, execution removes the possibility of personal and spiritual repentance and redemption. And thirdly, I don’t believe the criminal justice system should be about vengeance, punishment or even about reform except as a secondary objective. In fact, I don’t believe the criminal justice system should be about the criminal at all. I believe it should be totally and completely about the victims of crime. The primary objective should be to restore the victim to their pre-crime state, and the onus for that restoration should rest squarely upon the criminal. In other words, if you embezzle one million dollars, you owe one million dollars. If you beat someone to the point they become a paraplegic or quadriplegic, you support them for what would have been, and should have been the rest of their natural lives. In other words, you don’t get off early because they die prematurely because of injuries inflicted by you. How should the criminal do this? Simple, slave labour. In the case of murder, that slave labour should last the rest of the criminal’s life. That would also take care of the cost to tax payers. While they are paying their debt through slave labour, the quality of their food and accommodations should depend entirely upon the level and quality of their work and monetary value attached to it. I know this is Old Testament stuff (well, except for the “no death penalty” part) but it’s justice, it’s fairness. I, like most people, when I think of people like Paul Bernardo and Robert Pickton, I think “Why are those monsters still using up perfectly good oxygen?” But, when I think that way, I don’t think that reflects the most noble aspect of my character. Besides, dying is easy. We’re all going to do it one day. I think slave labour is much more difficult and definitely more reformative. However, I know that’s just a pipe dream. Nobody in this Country, particularly in Government, are ready for such radical reform.
commented 2015-04-09 23:14:08 -0400
Furey vs Semkiw (alphabetically)
Brings back fond memories!
I believe the country should have a Death Penalty option available. There are too, too many arguments in favour(damn the Spellchecker, full speed ahead), Homolka/Bernardo, Olsen come to mind and yes there must be safeguards for the Morins, Milgards, and Truscotts. If our Legislatures and Judiciary are not up to the task, we must find better. Can’t see giving some of the scum free room and Board, health and dental care. That does not serve any useful purpose either.
commented 2015-04-09 22:52:35 -0400
eye for an eye ?
commented 2015-04-09 22:31:08 -0400
Yes ofcourse, it makes so much sense, I am convinced by your compelling arguement that “Killers should always be killed.” Then once they are killed by their killers, they themselves can be then killed for being killers. a the third wave of killers must kill themselves to then neutralize the situation, and if they refuse, capital punishment must be applied.
commented 2015-04-09 22:24:55 -0400
Barb Harris, what would mitigate that concern is applying capital punishment only to repeat offenders. First conviction, serve time, second conviction, death penalty.
commented 2015-04-09 21:56:28 -0400
Killers should always be killed. We have got to slim that herd down. Young killer or old killer makes no difference, they all die. They show no mercy, they get no mercy.
commented 2015-04-09 21:30:59 -0400
I don’t believe in the death penalty only because of the rather astonishing numbers (to me) of people being taken off Death Row because of faulty or even false evidence. I don’t trust bureaucracy to get anything right nor do I trust lawyers on either side of the equation to do the righteous thing. I do believe that we, in Canada, should have much harsher sentences for such heinous crimes and I really wish we will stop punishing folks who defend themselves from crime with potentially deadly force. That guy in Boston? Whatever his sentence is I don’t really care as long as he is no longer a danger to innocent folk going about their business.
commented 2015-04-09 20:59:13 -0400
I believe in the death penalty if you have absolute proof of guilt . Prisons are way too easy to adjust to and create a life. Right Anthony , maybe cops should take care of justice on the streets.
commented 2015-04-09 20:42:42 -0400
Boring annoying arguments rose by Anthony Furey. BS most of it. If there is a way for the state to send this mass murderer to death penalty I would say he deserved it and it will left a clear message to any other crazy of gods like him to think twice before getting involved in a similar project.
commented 2015-04-09 19:38:06 -0400
a hateful person goes to prison to spread their hateful beliefs… for these types of crimes they should only be given one choice, how they join their deceased ancestors. Marissa should of given her own 3 or 4 points.
commented 2015-04-09 19:16:20 -0400
Anthony Furey, you handsome devil(meant as an expression)! You and Marissa absolutely rock in this video. Very grateful to you both. So thank you, and keep the videos coming! From your #1 fan. Also, anyone know where I may obtain an “Anthony Furey for Prime Minister” T-shirt?