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Thread: Not a rant, but a farewell

  1. #1
    Member Member VladVoivode's Avatar
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    Not a rant, but a farewell

    I would like to first thank many of you here for your welcoming me a few years ago and especially to Heidi for allowing me to start a section devoted to organized crime. I returned from a hiatus from this forum and I perceived a change, that, while not immediately detrimental to the forum, could in future do so.

    It seems to me that capital punishment should be based upon justice, but, not revenge. Yet I read troubling posts from some members here filled with such hate even after the offender has been executed. To quote the Green Mile, "he's paid his debt and is square with the house." I have read statements from some members - admittedly a minority of members - who desire to continue executing the offender. While they make arguments that the victim's families have to endure life without their loved one, they simultaneously argue that capital punishment brings closure. I suppose no one told Bud Welch or other families that they should feel such closure. True, some families do and some do not. But that is not what is at issue for me. My issue as an Orthodox Christian and as a human being is that we tread dangerously into becoming that which is professed to be evil.

    I have read such violent statements coming from members saying that they would pull the trigger, flip the switch, or apply the needle. Ask Jerry Givens about that and learn HIS answer. And what of the toll of the guards, wardens - I am thinking here of Don Cabana - may his memory be eternal - and chaplains in this "process." I must say that your bravado if it can be called that - and charitably so - is nothing but sound and fury signifying nothing.

    I grew up in a violent household that most of you cannot imagine. I am a survivor and additionally, my so-called father is serving two consecutive life terms plus 66 years for two murders and a string of other first degree felonies. I think of the evil he caused, I think of Sammy Gravano who served only five years for 19 murders. Did you know that only ONE high ranking Mafia figure was ever executed? And he wasn't even a made member of La Cosa Nostra. On the other side of the coin, there are a few executions that have truly come to worry me. Florida, which has the HIGHEST number of exonerations, now wants to shorten the appeals process. Perhaps here I am a minority of one in these thoughts. But God have mercy if indeed we have or will execute an innocent. God Incarnate - Jesus Christ - both stopped a judicial execution and He Himself was executed. Would you who boast have stoned the woman or hammered those three nails? You see, justice should never base itself upon revenge, but, upon what is just.

    So many are quick to incorrectly interpret the lex talionis while possessing NO Judaic or formal Christian training in Mosaic Law yet ignore Christ's admonition to NOT hate wrongdoers. Christ told us that He came to make a new covenant for all. And Christ was so soft hippie as evidenced by his anger at the money changers in the temple AND his anger at St. Peter. Yet, the thief who confessed Christ as God was with Christ in Paradise when he died.

    I do not advocate being soft on crime. In fact, I do not advocate these same Mafia plea deals that spare the worst killers. But, I must refocus: I have lived through unspeakable violence and I cannot pretend anymore to smile at those in the minority of this community who advocate executions that carry extreme pain. Violence NEVER cures violence.

    The Orthodox Church has always stood against the death penalty. The Roman Catholic Church has now joined the majority of western mainline Protestant churches in calling for abolition. As such, as a Christian, I can no longer advocate violence, judicial or otherwise. I desire that all be protected from evil doers but I can no longer allow myself to be a murderer by proxy. Life in prison without parole accomplishes much more and does not bring out our inhumanity.

    I shall close by wishing all of you well for we are related in the mage and Likeness of the Living God.

    May He favor you all the days of your lives. May He forgive all of us.

    With love,

    Vlad

  2. #2
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    I'm sorry your leaving Vlad. I've enjoyed chatting with you.

    Given your feelings on the death penalty I can understand why you are leaving and I wish you only the best.

    Helen
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

  3. #3
    Senior Member CnCP Addict one_two_bomb's Avatar
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    With all due respect,

    To quote the Green Mile, "he's paid his debt and is square with the house."
    This is just wrong. A murderer NEVER pays his debt, he is NEVER "square with the house." I don't care what the Green Mile says. When someone commits a murder, they do something permanent that can never be undone. Their victim can never be brought back. No amount of compensation, incarceration, or even execution will make a murderer "square". So therefore I, along with anyone who thinks along the lines I do, reserve the right to "continue to execute the offender" as you put it.

    I have read such violent statements coming from members saying that they would pull the trigger, flip the switch, or apply the needle.
    Well someone has to do it. If someone is truly going to support capital punishment we first need to accept it for what it is, which is violently, forcibly ending the life of another human being. There is no sugar coating it. When we try to sugar coat it, we end up shooting ourselves in the foot. So understanding what capital punishment truly is, and still choosing to support it, I'd have no problem carrying out the execution of a convicted murderer, whether it be by lethal injection, electrocution, firing squad, manual strangulation, etc.

    But God have mercy if indeed we have or will execute an innocent.
    As a supporter of capital punishment, this is a risk we must be willing to accept. But that also means you, as a supporter of LWOP, must accept the risk of someone being wrongly convicted and living out the rest of their natural life in prison. So yeah, that argument is a bit of a double edge sword.

    Life in prison without parole accomplishes much more and does not bring out our inhumanity.
    That's cool bro, I get it that capital punishment is a touchy subject and is not for everyone. 100% respect for this.

    I know I am one of these people you were talking about, and I have to say thank you. You made me feel accomplished. It sounds like you supported capital punishment before but were kinda on the fence about it. I helped you realize the ugly truths about the death penalty, and you realized it is something you cannot support morally. And that's OK. Like I said, its not for everyone. And I respect you even more for being a true supporter of LWOP.

    One thing I will disagree with is this quote:
    .
    I returned from a hiatus from this forum and I perceived a change, that, while not immediately detrimental to the forum, could in future do so.
    People like me are not detrimental. It's the people on the fence, who think they support capital punishment, but really do more harm than good that are detrimental, and are the reason why executions are at an all time low.

  4. #4
    Member Member VladVoivode's Avatar
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    Thank you Helen and one_two_bomb, your words are gracious and heartening. one_two_bomb, I want to clarify that the quote from The Green Mile was not meant to imply that the movie is correct. Rather, Christ teaches that there is only one unforgivable sin, that of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. If, in his/her last words, the condemned is truly sorry and seeks forgiveness, the debt is cleared in the most important House of all. That is what I meant.

    Homicide, whether criminal or judicial is the real plague of humanity. Though we differ on our view concerning the death penalty, we share a common desire to end all violence and in that I stand WITH you. LWOP should NOT be a place of rehabiltation but a place of punishment - in solitary - such that the offender must live every single moment in the darkness of what she/he has done. I would wager that is a fate worse worse than death.

    It would be up to Heidi and the other admins, but, I'd like to stay as a member and start to write posts again on organized crime. Having grown up in the thick of it, it is a subject that simultaneously fascinates and repels me. Its history is both brutal and in a weird way captivating. Movies like The Godfather, Goodfellas, Miller's Crossing, Casino, Road to Perdition, and others have mesmerized millions. I promise I will NOT make my posts a platform upon which to espouse my view on capital punishment. Seeing as so few organized crime figures have ever been executed - legally - it is an easy promise to keep. I hope that my request will be approved. I will check back periodically to see if I am allowed to continue. I am of Irish and Sicilian heritage - and proud of both though I do self-identify more as Irish. Things are are going to get uneasy again in Northern Ireland with Brexit and both the Catholic IRA and the Protestant UVF are gearing up again - sadly.

    But if the admins decline, I shall respect that. I want all of you to understand that I DO get your frustration and that frustration is born out of a desire to end evil. We have more in common than not.

    Peace to all!!!

    Vlad

    PS: one_two_bomb, You spoke from the heart sir and I have nothing but a universe of respect for you and for that.
    Last edited by VladVoivode; 09-07-2018 at 06:12 AM. Reason: Typo

  5. #5
    Senior Member CnCP Addict one_two_bomb's Avatar
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    LWOP should NOT be a place of rehabiltation but a place of punishment - in solitary - such that the offender must live every single moment in the darkness of what she/he has done. I would wager that is a fate worse worse than death.
    100000% respect for this. While I am pro-death penalty, first and foremost I am anti-murder. If it were possible to abolish the death penalty but have ensure that every convicted murderer suffer this fate, with no chance of ever being released, I'd say abolish it right now. Any "pro" who would not agree to this I'd say is selfish. Yeah executions are cool, but it can't be argued that the harm from the thousands of murderers that will be released far outweighs the good coming from the 2 dozen or so lethal injections a year.

  6. #6
    Administrator Aaron's Avatar
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    Vlad, I do hope you stick around. You do have very astute observations and thoughts, and I believe you bring a good amount of discourse to the site.
    "What a noble group of supporters." - Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey

  7. #7
    Moderator mostlyclassics's Avatar
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    LWOP should NOT be a place of rehabilitation but a place of punishment - in solitary - such that the offender must live every single moment in the darkness of what she/he has done. I would wager that is a fate worse worse than death.
    Vlad, I totally agree with you.

    I've long been an advocate of absolutely-for-certain LWOP. But, believe it or not, some individuals have had a sentence of LWOP reduced! It depends on how some states' laws have been written. For that reason, and for the time being, I endorse the death penalty for heinous crimes.

    To me, an ideal for LWOP is sentencing someone convicted of a heinous crime to a prison akin to the Super-Max in Florence, Colorado. Here's a account of that Super-Max:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADX_Florence

    Because of the expense, several states might have to share the costs. Or maybe a private contractor could build such a prison. (There are private prisons in the U.S. now, and they seem to do as good a job as the state-run institutions.)

    Furthermore, I would house such inmates only at the worst level of that prison: solitary, etc. The only difference I would really recommend is some method of suicide included in the cell. Obviously, you couldn't leave a pistol lying around in the cell. But you could enclose a grenade in a box with a slanted floor and designed so the inmate can't deactivate it once it's triggered. The inmate activates the grenade by pressing the red (or other) color button. Press the button, the grenade rolls into the cell, then kaboom! Inmate burger.

    But that might be too icky for American sensibilities.

    Discussion?

  8. #8
    Member Member VladVoivode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    Vlad, I do hope you stick around. You do have very astute observations and thoughts, and I believe you bring a good amount of discourse to the site.
    Thank you so much Aaron. I have been a fan of your posts as well as they are well reasoned and well informed.

    Quote Originally Posted by mostlyclassics View Post
    Vlad, I totally agree with you.

    I've long been an advocate of absolutely-for-certain LWOP. But, believe it or not, some individuals have had a sentence of LWOP reduced! It depends on how some states' laws have been written. For that reason, and for the time being, I endorse the death penalty for heinous crimes.

    To me, an ideal for LWOP is sentencing someone convicted of a heinous crime to a prison akin to the Super-Max in Florence, Colorado. Here's a account of that Super-Max:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADX_Florence

    Because of the expense, several states might have to share the costs. Or maybe a private contractor could build such a prison. (There are private prisons in the U.S. now, and they seem to do as good a job as the state-run institutions.)

    Furthermore, I would house such inmates only at the worst level of that prison: solitary, etc. The only difference I would really recommend is some method of suicide included in the cell. Obviously, you couldn't leave a pistol lying around in the cell. But you could enclose a grenade in a box with a slanted floor and designed so the inmate can't deactivate it once it's triggered. The inmate activates the grenade by pressing the red (or other) color button. Press the button, the grenade rolls into the cell, then kaboom! Inmate burger.

    But that might be too icky for American sensibilities.

    Discussion?
    Hi mostlyclassics,

    I have ALWAYS believed in severe LWOP. Perhaps that is in part to my Orthodox beliefs. You see Orthodoxy does not view Hell as a place of demons and fire. Rather, our vision of Hell is far more terrifying. One of the greatest gifts that God gave us is free will. We can choose to accept or reject Him anytime we desire while we live. But, if at our end, we have rejected Him, we believe that we spend eternity in His Presence. Imagine the pain of being in the Presence of perfect love and knowing that you have rejected it. I can think of nothing more torturous.

    Back to LWOP: I am aware that some offenders have had their sentences reduced. I find this to be criminal. If indeed due process was served and the offender is guilty, then justice is served by LWOP. I also agree that there should not be privileges like TV, radio, newspapers, exercise, or any other amenities. The offender must live out her/his days in solitary confinement to reflect everyday about the horror she/he has committed. There's lots of time to get right with God - gotta love that free will. The Florence Supermax is a beginning but, do a bit of research on Russia's Black Dolphin Prison. There is a great documentary on YouTube. I would urge anyone here to watch it. The facility is in a very remote part of Siberia. It is so strict that when offenders awaken, they must roll up their mattresses. They are forbidden to lie down or even sit in their cell. I am unsure of Russia's rate of recidivism but I will wager all of my synthesizers and my entire magic library - I am also a sleight of hand artist who specializes in gambling exposes and "short cons" - that IF an offender is released from Black Dolphin - few if any are - they would never again so much as nick a pack of gum.

    I am returning to America. I miss her even with the deep divisions she is suffering. I cannot in good conscience as a citizen remain in this country while my own is suffering. As I said in my "letter" all of us in this community do seek justice; we seek an end to violence, to murder, to the terrors that are visited upon innocents. I am but one soul and on my own cannot accomplish such lofty goals without others. Though my belief in capital punishment has changed, I am nonetheless more determined than ever to help in the struggle to ensure that we can be safe from those who would take what is not theirs. I know that all in this community want that as well.

    Let's discuss more please? As I said, I believe that this community and I have more in common than we realize.

    Until then, as we say in Irish, "Slainte!!" (Pronounced slahn-cha, it means Cheers)

    Vlad

    Helen I wanted to add something and I didn't. You were one of the first in this community to make me feel welcome. I have felt isolated in Holland and I cannot wait to leave it. You have my deepest thank you for your kindness.

    Best always,
    Vlad

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