5 comments on “A shot through the heart –- a look at the death penalty in Taiwan

  1. The other interesting point that seems to get lost is that of the % of people found to be “innocent”, most of them aren’t necessarily innocent. The evidence presented at the time of their case was re-assessed and deemed insufficient, or there was some sort of technicality that helped them off death row etc but it’s not always black & white that they were actually innocent… so that figure of 5% is potentially much lower for people who are actually innocent.

    And when options such as “handgun to the heart” exist in Taiwan, I still wonder why the U.S persists with messy and unreliable drug cocktails. Just shoot the bastard…

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    • I agree — no one is found “innocent”. The options have always been “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” and “not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”.

      Should the “reasonable doubt” exceed the threshold (generally ~75% “sure” the criminal committed the crime or greater), the bad guy/gal is convicted. This does not mean 100% for fact the person committed the crime, but any reasonable person has a high degree of doubt with regards to someone’s guilt.

      Totally agree that many more “bad people” get off due to technicalities than “good people” get convicted.

      As to why the US doesn’t want to do the “handgun to the chest” — some people have stated that being forced to be the “executioner” takes a toll on a person’s psyche… so that’s why firing squads used to have “blanks” handed out as well so no one was sure who actually executed the prisoner, or like in Japan where they have three individuals (push a button or pull a lever, I forget which) involved with a hanging so no one knows who’s device controlled the floor (dropping out from under the convict).

      However a shot to the heart is quick, cheap (even high-grade explosive rounds in comparison to lethal injection where medical checks for veins, personnel, cost of drugs, etc are required).
      Thank you for your comment.

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  2. No worries..

    I was talking with a friend yesterday about how they have several people in a firing squad and only one without blanks so they don’t know who took the fatal shot. I’m not sure whether any studies have been done on it, or how they could do any research, but I wonder whether it has any less of a psychological effect if you pulled the trigger, but were left wondering whether you shot the guy or not.

    I made the flippant remark in my blog post on the death penalty the other day that they should get people in that already “kill” people in one way or another… i.e. a doctor who turns off life support machines, an ex-soldier, or an executioner from another country where the morality behind killing isn’t as great (i.e. the blade-wielding guys from Saudi that don’t appear to have a problem beheading someone would surely walk up and pull the trigger, then sit down to a hearty breakfast). It was made in jest but there’s probably some underlying truth to it… there’d have to be people in this world that could do the job – maybe they punish death rowers by making them push the button, pull the lever etc…?

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    • As OZ pointed about above, it’s not necessarily they are “innocent”; just there were either technicalities or not enough to reach the “beyond a reasonable doubt” threshold, which would make the 5% more like 1% (or less), in my opinion. I have no statistics to back this up… and while there are cases where DNA has proved the innocence of some individuals. Mind you, not all of them were “perfect, law-abiding citizens’ to begin with. Mr. Kirk Bloodsworth was; however… being wrongfully convicted (twice) of a murder he didn’t commit… He is a former marine and won his freedom through DNA testing. On the other hand, you have scumbags like Mr. Ronald Cruz, who was a gangbanger and a conartist who was wrongfully convicted of a murder.

      The Innocence Project claims that only 18 individuals on death row had been proven not-guilty (they claim “innocent’); and Death Penalty Info (org) states ~3,088 (per 2013) reside on death row. If we take the 5% figure as true and are not-guilty, that’s ~155 that might be cleared? Would you want to take that risk or keep them safely tucked away? I agree it’s a tough question.

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