Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 25, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
The great capita punishment debate Thursday, January IS, 1973 THE LETHBRIDGt HEUAIB 5 By Jim Fisnbonrne Herald lUff wriler (Cntlaned from Tuesday) Those who wish to see the leath penalty abolished cite many reasons, among them the following: 1. that death is irreversible, but the judicial process is very fallible; in the past innocent men have been convicted aad executed 2. that violence be- gets violence; 3. that the death penalty- has no significant deterrent value; 4. that human life is the sac- red gift of God, not to be taken away by Man; 5. that the death penalty is imjust, in that it often falls upon the poor who lack means to defend themselves, while the rich can command the re- sources to ensure acquittal or a lesser penalty; 6. finally, that the taking of a human life is a denial of civil- ization and a degradation of our society. Taken together, those argu- ments appear to present a fair case for abolition of the death penalty. But when tested for reasons rather than emotional impact, they turn out to be no better than the arguments for retention, plausible rather than convincing. All but (be first are simply matters of faith or opin- ion, and even that one requires a large measure of personal judgment. Considering the proposition that innocent men may be hanged, it first needs to be pointed out that this is much easier to say than to prove, and furthermore thai it can only be established by the same fallible process that secured the original conviction. It rests on the rather shaky premise that it is all right for the state to take away any part, large or small, of a man's life, provided it stops short, by even the tin- iest fraction, of taking it all. It seems to say also, that if in- stead of being executed a man is shut up for lite with no com- pany but criminals, toe result- ing benefit to this one individu- al must be sufficient to justi- fy chandng the law. even for those guilty of murder. Or perhaps it is thought that as long as a man is alive, com- pensation can be made for sa unjust conviction. If so. the na- tion is absurd. An individual :an no more be compensated for the loss of part of his Ufa than he can for losing all of it. What dollar or other value can be placed on 10 years spent in jail? Should it be fig- ured by the day, month or year? Is it a matter of what he would have earned, or what he might have saved? about wife, children or other family? The more the idea is examined, ihe less sense it makes. Well, then, does violence beget violence? (Considering the nature of present day society, this is tittle more than a quib- ble, but for the sake of argu- ment, presumably it should be looked at.) It may well be that some violent acts beget violent responses, but paradoxically perhaps, it is equally and much easier to demon- very often the only way to stop or discourage viol- ence is to offer greater viol- ence. How do police deal with riots, or governments with in- surrection? When a child is at- tacked, does its parent reason with the attacker? No. in both cases; the resort is to violence, or at least to a very real threat of violence. Deterrence, again Whether the death penalty sc- tually deters would-be murder- ers is moot, as pointed out above. A slim prepoixiereace of informed opinion agrees there is some measure of deterrence, but the abolitionists argue that instances are too rare to justify hanging all the undeterred. The retentionist then asks. "But how rare is rare? How many murders must be prevented lo make a deterrent worthwhile? Would 50 be sufficient, or should it be 100? To some a single innocent life might be enoueh. Well. then, what about this business of the death penalty being a real thing for the poo- arid defenceless, but only an idle threat to the rich and pow- erful? Again, this is opinion, and one likely to be denied with some heat by judges, prosecut- ors and most others who have taken part in murder trials. (Denials, of course, do not make an allegation untrue.) But if true, it is at least equally again, far more eas- ily the poor con- tribute disproportionately to ail categories of criminals and, ac- cordingly, to Lhe populations of all penal institutions. It has not yet been argued that some new penalty must be found for breaking and entering, only the poor indulge in it, or that mugging is any less a crime because the rich don't practice it. No, one suspects this solicitude for the poor and needy is Jess an argument than a debating point. Degradation of society Which brings us to the last and most subjective argument of all, that degrades it- self when it taEes the life of a citizen even when that citizen is a murderer, that civilized na- 11 o n s (presumably excepting France, once thought to be most civilized of all, where the guil- lotine was employed again just the other day) do not kill their people for any reason whatso- ever. This contention is more often than not the core, even the sum. of the case against the death penalty. It is put for- vrard in several ways, often ac- companied by the claim that all human life is sacred, given by God and only to be taken away by Him. It is also linked to the duty of the state to pro- tect the lives of its citizens, not end them. Core argument or not, the contention is no more than simple sophistry. The claim that modern soci- eity places any real value on human life is sheer pretence. In a dozen ways, our mode of living shows clearly that human Me. like anything else, has its pnce. That is easy to demon- strate, though most ot us don't like having it done. Item: Though thousands die annually in car accidents, we continue to build cars for prof- it, not safety. We are fully aware that considering roads, driving rules and ordinary driv- ers, the combination of engine- power, mobility and fragility built into modern cars must lead inevitably to a grisly toll of smashed and snufied o u t lives. It has been shown time and again that safer cars, roads and rules can be devised. But all we do is change the ap- pearance of the cars and the slaughter goes on. Society evidently does not feel in any way degraded by this. Item: Every year thousands of children are poisoned by gob- bung pills and medicines they can get hold of so easily. Many die. Baby proof containers exist, are cheap and readily available to druggists and man- ufacturers of lethal or danger- ous chemicals. But evidently not cheaply or readily enough, because babies continue to swal- low the stuff and die. Perhaps babies' lives are not among those the state is sup- posed to protect. Item: Every year thousands die from overdoses of drugs or other consequences of drug addiction. The fatal poppies aren't cultivated underground, or at the bottom of the sea: they grow in plain view, and every patch of ground produc- ing them is marked. Every gram of the lethal stuff tbey produce is for sale to the high- est bidder. EVery government loudly deplores tie drug traf- fic. But they don't stop the poppies growing, tiey don't buy or attempt to buy the pro- duct, they don't take the ne- cessarv action to stop the traf- fic. Perhaps junkies1 lives aren't among the sacred. Item: In factories through- out the "civilized" world, thou- sands and thousands of small- calibre, snort range hand guns are manufactured annually. Useless as military weapons, just as useless for hunting." they are produced in quantities wild- ly in excess of the needs of all the police forces in the world. Their only practical use is shooting human beings: they aren't good for anything else. Their manufacture, export, im- port, shipment and sale all are regulated, licensed, authorized by governments, the same gov- ernments that are responsible for protecting all human lives. Perhaps that protection only covers some of the population, or those that can be identified in advance. Death on a large scale But those are small scale killers at best or worst. We can do much better. In the wars fought in just this century, at least 50 minion The lethkidge Herald think PART IV PICTURE QUIZ 5 POINTS This world leader met with Paul VI at tha Vatican last week. Who Is she? HOW DO YOU RATE7 II to 100 polntt TOP tCOHrj II to M Moa Eralbnl. la M peinH Good, II to 70 polnn Flit. U w Undnf 1 I H'mml FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTION Should teachers allowed to strike? Why orwhj not? YOUR NEWS QUIZ PART I NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL Give yourself 10 for each correct answer. 1 Postal workers across Canada roted by a (CHOOSE ONE: slim, wide; margin to iccept the new contract proposals recommended by the conciliation board handling their dispute. 2 Canada's seasonally adjusted unemploTinent rate In December was 1, per cent, com- pared to 6.6 per cent in November, 1-6.2 b-6.8 c-7.2 I The United States, laced with a critical energy shortage, consumes about 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas a year. Of that, about 21 trillion IB produced at home, wlthmostof the rest being Imported from a-Cans da b-Algeria c-the Soviet Union 4 Upon the return of presidential adviser Henry Kissinger from the privatepeace talks In Paris, President Nixon early last week ordered.. a-s halt to the bombing and knelling of North Viet Nam b-a resumption of heavy bombing of Hanoi anri Haiphong c-an Immediate withdrawal of all U.S. air- men from Indochina 6 Name at least two of the three countries Tying with the United Statei to host the 1976 Winter Olympics. PART II WORDS IN THE NEWS Take 4 points for each word that you can match with its correct meaning. 1.....injunction !.....conjecture 3.....Inoculation 4.....conjur.ctioa 6.....congestion b-jolnlng together c-crowdlnc d-court order stop- ping PART III NAMES IN THE NEWS Take 5 points for names that you can correctly match with the dues. (-President, Zaire (former Congo) b- President, ZamMi 1.....Kenneth D. Kaunda 2....Jomo Kenyatta '.....Mobutu Sew c-Presldent, Nigeria 4.....Vakubu Gowon d-Prtlldenl, Tanzania B....Juliui K. Nyerera e-Presldent, Kenya 1-2273 tvEC, Inc. STUDENTS Save This Practice Examination! Valuable Reference Material lor Exsmt. ANSWERS ON REVERSE PAGE have been killed. That's only an estimate, ol course; figures for each country in each war are admittedly inaccurate, so the aggregate may be out a million c-r so, which may say something about our "rever- ence" for human life. But even that is small change, when set beside what we are capable of. Existing stocks of nuclear, biological and other weapons are ample to annihili- ate the world's entire populat- tion of 3Vi billion souls several times over, and every year we commit more billions of dollars to the never-ending search for additional of adding to that capacity. Degrading to take human life, eh? Provided we don't count deaths caused by care- lessness, greed, starvation or war. And please note that our curious current notions of what is "moral" suggest that nothing be said about abortions, or eu- thanasia, though each gives rise to some interesting thoughts about the sanctity of human life. And please don't say that all or any of the items above are "different." "That's different" is fine in an argument between little children, but this matter is to be debated seriously (one hopes) in the House of Com- mons. So where does that leave us? Sadly, I suggest, just where we have always been, uneasily trying to persuade ourselves and each other that the posi- tions we have arrived at emo- tionally have some rational jus- tification. Unfortunately, -i tliis case, they can't have, because there isn't any. Nevertheless Parliament must debate the matter, and undoubt- edly vrill. at great length. Speaker after speaker will rise to air his particular variations on the tired old themes, hoping that some political advantage can be wrung from the sorry business Much will be made of hum- anity. Christian forebearance. morality, and the other virtues we cherish so highly in de- bate. Experts will be quoted and misquoted, as will statis- tics, interpreted to suit the speaker's purpose. And when all the preaching and prattling is done, it will be rediscovered, for the umnteenth time, that Professor Thorston Sellin was perfectly correct when he informed the Royal Commission on Capital Punish- ment (London; 1W9-53) that "The question of whether the death penalty is dropped, re- tained or instituted is not de- pendent on the evidence as to iis utilitarian effects, but on the strength of popular beliefs and sentiments. Books in brief "Notts To The Overworld" by Carroll E. Simcox (G. R. Welch Co. Ltd., H.5C, 126 Here is a collection of a series of letters written by the author to noteworthy, and not so noteworthy, persons who have departed this earth. The reader cannot help but be impressed with the author's obvious extensive background. It takes lot of reading to be able to familiarize oneself with such a wide variety of histori- cal figures. Rev. Simcox. an Anglican minister, has chosen such peo- ple as Aristotle. Einstein, Hit- ler and Robert Louis Stevenson along with such lesser known people as John Donne. Samuel Butler and Bernard of Cluny as the recipients of his letters. While i; is st times entertain- ing, the average reader would feel lost because of unfamiliar- ity with the backgro'onds of those he is reading about. It is somewhat like coining into the middle of a conversation and trying to figure out what's be- ing discussed. R. C. "Architccls and Man's Sky. line" by Gray Johnson Poole (Dodd, Mead and Co., ITS S7.25 i. This book is a at- tempt to describe the live? of some famous architects and the buildings from which they draw tlioir fame. Although it should not be taken as a serious work on the subject, so'.ne of her o'.1- fcrvations are quite refreshinc. The Kaufiman House in Con- nclkville. Pennsylvania, for in- stance, is described as a siruc- lure securely anchored to nat- ural rock and resembling a ri- ant bird in flight. It reminds me of my student days, when I he professor desperately triod lo explain lo me the olcmmts nf design. Thai Stanford While, and not some other more influential architocls of his period has been Included in the list as an example of century Am- erican nrehilcols is indicative of the nulhor's st.ilompnt lli.it her selection nol Ix- oth- er than povso'.ul'' S. H. The boob tube Bv Kathleen Barrowi Have you ever stopped to wonder what we'll be doing by the year 2000? Little, if anything, if we can believe our TV adver- tisements. Let's go over last night's TV' commer- cials. If they teach us anything it is that we no longer have to worry about a thing. According to them our work is all done for us. We can bs slim and beautiful with- out effort. TV programs babysit our chil- dren, and our recreation is all planned for us without any mental effort on our part. To start the day the right way. the "get up and go way" there is a cereal that keeps us from being dull and dreary in the morn- ings. No need to make that effort to be bright and cheerful for the family, our cereal makes the effort for us. A "grand and glorious cereal'1 we're assured, forti- fied with 14 essential vitamins. Instant teas, coffee and cocoa make us wonder if we really need to bother to get up to make our husband's coffee. And to save us from the aftermath, dishes and clothes Ere washed and dried automatically in new bronze-tone matching appliances, and nasty stains removed by new improved detergents. There's no need to have unexpected company catch us with spotted glassware there's a pro- duct to prevent that. Our TV pontificates showing us a beautiful gall Eurreptido-jsjy shining her crystal while her unexpected company watch horrified. Fabulous wases strip, clean and shine our floors in one operation, "space 6ge strong, space age bright." A muscular fellow in white lifts the dirt off our wal'is without scrubbing, al- though he gives us a bit of a start when he first appear; out of the wall. Sprays keep our homes fresh and clean and sweet smelling. We even have a choice of scents. A compactor crushes our week's garbage. A "solid state concentrated bowl cleanser'' takes care of any bathroom problems, meanwhile remaining blue to reassure us it's st3H working. So much for housework. Now let's get down to children. There is no more baby care, a completely new way to diaper takes care of that. No more tedious ferrying our children back and forth to kindergarten, TV program teaches them their ABCs right in the living room. There's even a pill to keep us from screaming wbea fee kids get to be too much for us. A toy manufactur- er assures us "we put a tot of love into every toy we make." We don't even to love our kids any more! As far as driving is concerned, we just set our car on "cruisamatic" and it drives itself. A geni-automatic door takes cart of getting it into the garage. If we're overweight and don't like exer- cising, we just lie on a bed and electric vibrator melts those pounds off. If we fed we must diet, there's no need to control our gluttony, a pill takes care of tim. Any- way, why exercise or diet? There's a 24- hour girdle that makes us look like a movie star "I just can't believe its a girdle" a svelte housewife on the TV smiles sweet- ly at us. Perhaps we're short of money, as who isn't? We just play bongo dongo end we are assured of cash plus a trip to Hawaii thrown in. Tremendous year end money saving prices reduce the worry of the cost of buying that new car our friendly credit deafer tekre care of the rest U we're worried about dying, we needn't be. The sting is even out of death for us. Our loved ones can count on prompt, cour- teous attention anywhere from our friend- ly insurance man. And now it's time lo retire for the night. So we just press a button and that chester- field in the comer opens up into a freshli made bed. If we can't sleep, a pill puts us to sleep immediately. Rip Van Winkle, we are told, slept for 20 years. After an evening with the boob tube I feel that I can safely sleep forever. There's nothing left for me to do. The death of Life magazine By D'Arcy Riclard, Herald staff writer Life is dead. The great photograph medium is lost for- ever to visual journalists the world over. Its' a great loss. Who can forget its great moments? Others will write of its photographers. It's a long list, the high arid the mighty of the lens Let us think of Life's great contribution to the fine arts. Before me is one of a Life series en- titled, the Hermitage. "Across a great square in Leningrad, behind the triumphal archway seen above, stands the Hermi- tage. Few mueums in the worid can equal its astonishing collection of art.'' And few magazines in the world can equal Life's astonishing gifts to art lov- ers. These photographs are breathtaking! Photos, hued in green, of Michelangelo's statue. Crouching Youth, a ruU page de- voted to Lemardo Vb.ci's. Benois Ms- donna, painted around 1479 he was 26. the works of Raphael, exquisite ex- amples of early Flemish art. another full page in briliant color of a young French lady painted 400 years ago by Corneilie de Lyon. Rembrandt's Danae is there another magazine anywhere that can Ell this void? The true beauty of Life's an essays was the magazine's abiiiry to ge; de artist to r-aiV- interview by Richard Meryman on Andrew Wyeti. the foremost .American realist, comes to mind. It's like Uliung to Wyeth in your own living room, or basement, over a couple of beers. His painting. Chrisrins's World, is spread across two pages the caption begirt with ihis quotation. "When I put an ibe pink, it al- most blew me across the room." And when I read the story, it almost blew my mind, as the current saying goes. Goodness knows, it s a great loss. Of course, when I grew up. there was no other magazine to turn to. Today we can turn to Playboy aid its imitators and, if v-e have any respect for the human per- sonality, turn quickly cwsy from them. God touches Adam and He begins to breathe. The angel of the Lord drives Adam aad Eve from the garden; View of entire ceiling reveals the full sweep of the paint- er's genius: As lie rams flood the earth man flees to the ark of Noah: Raising her up from Adam's body. God creates the first woman these are some of the titles titles to the paintings in a essay which at Christmas back in the lale IMOs. What a magazine! What a stupendous achievement! Michelangelo'i works placed before millions of readers. What do I care about television? Piffle! vVhat do I care for the television cameras" These instruments are babies, compared io Life. How many great art films do you set on television? Certainly, there are some fine things, but you can hold them in your hands? Can you save them? One fleeting bovr and they're gone! And thsnk good- ness most of these programs ere gone for- ever. Life has given us pages and pages of some of the finest material ever published. Lei's mm to The Kiss by Rixlin. photo- graphs that make a famous statue come to life. Let's turn to but where do we s'.op the us: is endless. Life's life a stoncy creative surge, passing is mourned by creative journalist the world over. On th e use of word: Bv Theodore Bernslein Convince, persuade. be- tween these words 15 Sik-ebrJ.y set forth in a letier from Stanley o: Lansdale. Pa. Convince, he says, means io get some- one to believe son-.eihing and persuade means lo coi soniKtio lo do something. Persuade goes beyond convince because it implies the bringing alxvjt of a shift of position, usually wilh the implication of ac- tion to come. For ui3t persuade may be followed by infinitive: "T'.io police persuaded the roMvr io cxin." Convince, on llii1 o'.hcr hand. s'.Knild never be followed by an infinnive. It may be followed by an of phr.iso or a t.hat clause: "The police convinced ihc robber o[ the hojvlessniss of holding or "The police convinced [he robber (hat his situa- tion was hopeless." If yo'.i an? convinced of Ihc difference Ivlween ihese perhaps you will K1 persuaded novor r.o use an infinitive .ifier convince. Dan.slers. Mrs. .Win Warren Bo.ich of Ml. Kisco, NY spotted this com in a neu'Spaner an .lylu'lioko.': dipixxl in moiled butler llnlbiuhise s.uu'e. '.ru'.y of Iht1 pods." Sho in Ihc editor s.ivini; she did sol rrLsh the idM of hcinj riippfxi In or Hollarxisise sauce before partak- ing o: the vegetable. The trouble with tha sentence, of course, is that the participial phrase, "when dipped. is out of coniac: with the noun il miidifies. ani s in close contact with a word it does no: modify, ''one." That of error Is known as a danfler or dangling participle. 1; i? not so much the bad cjammar that makes a dansler as the ludi- emu-ness o! wha; ihe .sentence indavenent- lv says. Some panicle appear lo be danglers, but actu.illv are net. yet thcrs are fussbudcets who lo them s-i if L'wy vvere. An example is this: "Co.tsider- ir.g the handicaps, Jones nracie a good rsos for alderman No one thinks there is any individual doini: the "considerinc." test whether a participle is a dang- ler ov a nond.incler is the pnveiice or ab- .-enoe of nil Uwt is periormmc tha aeuon or is related to it. Like "eonsidcr- inp." (here are s score nr morp pjrti- cip'.es Iliat are used without any suggestion of nn a.conl. Ihey .ire o.-Jled absolute p..i-1iciplcs. A few of ihe more common asMiminf, concerning, depending. pivcii. granted, juds- Iny. provided.