Democracy + free press = state-sponsored murder

It was a genuine delight to see the front page of today's Daily Hate Mail:

http://twitpic.com/60k9ag

Ignoring the facts that a) 100,000 twerps* have to sign the e-petition before anything happens in parliament and b) even then, MPs won't vote on the topic, only discuss it, this is one of the finest examples of why democracy can never work, and why the free press is a joke.

Only a bloodthirsty psychopath would argue that the meticulous planning of another person's death is a reasonable and good thing, which is why we can now determine that there are an awful lot of such psychopaths in the UK.  In their hideous, bile-filled voices, they bellow that anyone committing major crimes (or even just activities that the Daily Hate Mail disapproves of) deserves to be put to death, preferably as painfully and nastily as possible, so they can satisfy their craving for blood and revenge.

If they were honest about their reasons, that capital punishment was purely about a primaeval pleasure in seeing other people suffer, that would be in some way acceptable.  At least it would be clear why they wanted it to be reinstated.  Instead, they like to hide behind a claim that the death penalty is a deterrent to serious crime.

It isn't.  Or, more accurately, there is no reliable scientific evidence to support the idea that it is.  A discussion of recent studies can be found here, showing that:

"There is no reliable, scientifically sound evidence that [shows that executions] can exert a deterrent effect"

or

estimates claiming that the death penalty saves numerous lives "are simply not credible."

or

"it is entirely unclear even whether the preponderance of evidence suggests that the death penalty causes more or less murder."

But what does (lack of) evidence matter, when you've got your reliable gut instinct to go on?

Thank goodness, then, for the Daily Mash, which so accurately notes that, "government-sponsored murder is a deterrent if you invent a completely different version of America to the one that actually exists."


*this is my favourite word of the moment, and I shall continue using it for the foreseeable future.
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