In addition I have to say I find many of those on the same side as me to be smug and stupid. Take Ian Dunt from Politics.co.uk for the first example from google news who manages to combine all the worst traits of opponents in one article:
- Self congratulation: "The capital punishment argument is particularly unsatisfying because it is so easy to refute."- It is not easy enough for him it seems.
- Ignorance: "the US is the only developed, supposedly civilised country which still conducts executions."- Japan is not a developed and civilised country according to Dunt.
- Bad Stats: Too long to quote but he cherry picks studies to conclude that all reputable research refutes the idea that the death penalty deters crime when in fact most recent evidence point to a small but real deterrent effect although it is difficult to be certain with the social sciences.
- Hypocrisy: "Once the deterrent argument falls apart, capital punishment proponents have very little to fall back on but their own sense of emotional outrage"- after sneering at the "supposedly civilised" USA he wants to accuse other people of relying on emotional outrage?
- Stupidity: "In 1996, those US states with the death penalty had an average murder rate of 7.1 per 100,000 of population. Those states without had 3.6 per 100,000."- Lesson 1 of statistics is "correlation does not imply causation" and even if it did you could equally argue that the political support for the death penalty is due to high murder rate. In reality the southern states have been about twice as violent as the northern ones since the days when they were colonies and both hanged people with gusto and enthusiasm.
Update: I am now feeling slightly bad about being so harsh on Mr Dunt, so if you come here via a vanity search, then please ignore all the insulting points and just not the facts.