B5 fans support death penalty??

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at shekel.mcl.cs.columbia.edu
Sun Nov 30 06:20:47 EST 1997

From: snorton at netcom.com (Scott Norton)
Date: 28 Nov 1997 11:26:27 -0700
Lines: 38

maub05 (maub05 at dial.pipex.com) wrote:
: Went to B5 con in Blackpool. Jerry Doyle was on stage. He starts talking 
: about executing various criminals being a good thing. People start 
: clapping, I start feeling sick and stunned. Up until then I had only ever 
: met one person who admitted to being in favour of the death penalty, now 
: suddenly I appeared to be surrounded by hundreds. I just never would have 
: guessed that so many were in favour. I know there is a lot of support for 
: it, but I always thought that came from real right wing Tory types, who 
: hate all single mothers and gays as well, and from talking to people all 
: weekend at the con I just didn't think it was that kind of crowd.

	I'm afraid that over here in the USA the death penalty is pretty 
much a settled issue.  Mario Cuomo, former Governor of New York, who was 
until his defeat probably the most prominent liberal politician in the 
country, was defeated largely on this issue.

	While sf fans in general seem to be generally libertarian in many 
respects, the death penalty cuts the other way.  I know only a handful of 
people in or out of fandom who oppose the death penalty -- as I do myself 
-- and they're all pretty liberal people.  I think that you might have a 
different situation in the UK, but really I don't know.  

	The death penalty clearly exists in the B5 universe;  I don't 
know how jms feels about the issue.  As for Jerry Doyle, to deal in the 
very dangerous area of stereotypes, bear in mind that he used to be a 
stockbroker before he became an actor.  But even if he's on the left side 
of American politics, he might well be a supporter of the death penalty, 
as President Clinton is.

Scott Norton						snorton at netcom.com

[ NOTE - Libertarian <> liberal.  I'm not sure what the party line is,
	 but most libertarians I know believe in the death penalty,
	 preferrably carried out proactively by the victim.

	 My own personal view is that of the current options
	 available, the death penalty is the way to go.  Given my
	 druthers though, I'd prefer penal colonies. - JAD ]

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 29 Nov 1997 18:09:57 -0500
Lines: 88

>The death penalty clearly exists in the B5 universe;  I don't 
>know how jms feels about the issue.  

Basically, it's this.

There are some individuals who, I believe, should never, ever, under any
circumstances be allowed to return to free society, due to the heinous nature
of their crimes and/or the degree of certainty that they will continue a
pattern of such crimes.  Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, others.  

For individuals such as these, I am in favor of the death penatly UNLESS...and
this is a very important unless...life in prison, when rendered as a pentaly,
MEANS life in prison.  All too often, someone who has committed the most
heinous of crimes may be sentenced to life...but gets out in 15 or 20 years.  

I'm a real simple guy, and from where I sit, if you take a life via murder in
the first degree (as opposed to accidents, manslaughter or similar
situations)...where you've done it deliberately, with malice and forethought,
then you give up your life.  Now that can be a life spent behind bars.  I'm
perfectly fine with that, and if that is the situation, then no, there's
absolutely no need for a death penalty and I'd be first in line to have it
struck down.

The legal system needs teeth, but it also needs sanity.  It needs to make the
violent among us understand that if you do this terrible thing, there will be a
sure and certain penalty waiting for you that will remove your ability to take
part in the free world.  It need not be the death penalty if some other sure
and certain penalty is available.

This, for me, ain't a political thing or about agendas or left-wing or
right-wing.  The bird needs both wings or it ain't gonna fly.  The heart says,
"There must be balance, in one way or another."  By the same token, I think we
need better gun control laws and gun registration laws.  (Let's not get into a
whole gun discussion because they fall apart real fast...I'm only offering my
opinion, not seeking to change anyone's views.)

I'd make the following exchange: we get stiffer gun control and registration
laws, but if a citizen has had no history of violence or criminal activity, and
can show cause why it would be useful, would make it easier to get carry
permits so that lawful citizens could carry them.  And if a gun is used in a
crime, you hit them with the full extent of the law.  

The first part of that is probably perceived as the liberal idea; the second
half conservative; the third, moderate.  Put them all together and you have
something more cohesive than isolating any one of them.

While I'm mouthing off, if I were running things (and aren't we all just a
little glad I'm *not*?), I'd go into the inner city and declare eminent domain
over the slums and the ghettos and other long abandoned buildings and
tenaments, seize them, and send in the Army Engineering Corps to get them up to
snuff for low-cost housing.  Hell, if we could build a city in Saudi Arabia in
2 months, what could we do in Watts?

Given that the president has sole authority over the waterways of the country
(per the constitution), a flick of the pen could issue an order requiring that
companies using river water for their manufacturing facilities have to locate
their intake valves DOWNSTREAM from their output valves, so that if they don't
clean up the stuff that goes into the river...they have to suck it in ten feet
downstream.  You'd cut back on water pollution and it wouldn't cost the country
a dime.

I'd suggest that any corporation that came out of this country and shuts its
doors, moving its operations overseas to use cheap labor and putting all the
people who created that business out of jobs by the tens of thousands...should
lose the right to sell to this country.  If we're good enough to buy your
products, we're good enough to make them.

If FDR could make a New Deal and get this country on its feet after something
as financially debilitating as the Great Depression with work programs, surely
in the 90s when the economy is, they tell us, booming, we should be able to
create workfare programs to get people rebuilding the infrastructure, repairing
our crumbling bridges and schools and sewers and fixing potholes.

Now, obviously some people reading this will say "what's it gonna cost if we do
this?"  (To which part of the answer is in the paragraph immediately preceding

To which I also say, "what's it gonna cost if we *don't*?"

There...you now know more than you could possibly have wanted to know about my
positions on stuff.  All of which is, incidentally, utterly and completely
irrelevant to the show.  

I just wish people would quit fighting over whether to use the left or the
right oar when the boat is sinking.

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