Not everybody feels that way, though.
I don't think everybody deserves the same treatment. There are billions of people in the world. To treat each one of them the same, is belying what makes one of them unique. People aren't these mass produced robots that are programmed to think and act the same. There are gradations of personalities that should be dealt with accordingly. Since there are different types of criminals, there should be different degrees of repercussions. You wouldn't give a murderer the same sentence that you would a purse snatcher. So, why should extreme criminals get the same treatment as good, law-abiding citizens?
Well, they shouldn't, and I never meant to imply that they should. Extreme criminals should be imprisoned indefinitely. That's definitely not the way I suggest we treat good, law-abiding citizens.
That being said, I'm interested by the first half of your post, and I'm not sure I'm understanding it correctly. Specifically, I don't know if I see what it has to do with my point about forgiveness versus vengeance. You say not everyone feels the way I do on that point, and that's fair enough, but what does it have to do with deciding how we should deal with criminals? Are you saying that the sentencing system should take into account the feelings of the victim? I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but that's out it came across to me, so I just want to clarify.
More significantly, I just don't think that killing the criminal actually accomplishes anything. Seeing a child murderer get executed might provide some small comfort for the parents of his victim, but I'm not sure we really want to cater to the parts of human nature that crave that kind of punishment. I think we would be far better off trying to move past that instinct. Scratching an itch rarely does anything real to address the cause of the itch, and sometimes it has a way of making a problem much worse. It's a cliche, but one that exists for a good reason: if you really want to move on with your life after a tragedy, forgiveness tends to be a better tool than vengeance.
we can debate the cause of the 'itch' all day long, and I'm sure that some of these people that commit these horrific acts have had some pretty crappy things happen to them in their lives....but that doesn't excuse their actions AT ALL.
To be clear, I wasn't referring to the 'itch' of criminals to commit evil acts. I was referring to our 'itch' to see vengeance. My point is that when we want to see someone get hurt (or executed, or violated with a hot cattle prod, or whatever), that feeling is typically a result of a deeper pain within us, and seeing that vengeance done will rarely do anything to address our actual pain. Sometimes, when you scratch the itch at the surface, the deeper wound just gets infected.
I would say there are a number of good reasons for keeping extreme criminals alive, none of which have anything to do with any pro-torture mentality.
One reason is that we might be able to learn something from them. The idea that these people are irredeemable monsters does not really help anyone; all it does is give us an excuse to write them off. If we really have an interest in preventing these crimes, the first step has to be reaching a better understanding of why they happen in the first place, and we cannot achieve that goal by simply dismissing the criminals as evil and throwing their lives away.
I have to completely disagree. there is not ONE good reason to keep a man, who lets say has raped, tortured and then savagely killed a woman or child alive. None. There's absolutely no rehabilitating them....and 'quizzing' them as to why they did it is an utter waste of time. It'll be one excuse after another IF he isn't playing you. and if you want DNA or anything physiological.....get a sample after you take his dead body to the morgue. You dismiss them as evil because that's what they are....and to try and combat extreme criminals with any behavior less than double what they've displayed does nothing to deter others...only encourage them.
A couple things to address real quick.
First, modern psychological profiling can go quite a bit deeper than just 'quizzing' them. And building psychological profiles for killers is a large part of what helps law enforcement deal
with killers moving forward.
Secondly, it's interesting to me that you are so willing to dismiss them as evil. Earlier in your post, you mentioned a tiny percentage of people who might have low IQ that puts them at a childlike mentality. You say that in these rare cases, you can see showing them compassion. So, you admit that there are rare exceptions to your 'they're just evil' rule. Here's a thought experiment: what if we discover another exception in the future, once our understanding of the human psyche has moved forward? What if we discover another mental condition that might be worthy of your compassion? And what if, in the mean time, we have executed people with that mental condition without understanding what was going on in their head?
Again, this is just a thought experiment. The point of it is, the only way to guarantee that we never execute anyone unfairly is to just not execute people in the first place. Otherwise there is always going to be room for new information to shed light on old cases long after we have done things that we can't undo.
Finally, I stand by my original point about compassion. If we want to be truly good, I think we need to have compassion even for those we perceive as evil.