I had to turn comments off on my punishment post because my real name was used. If I figure out how to get rid of comments I will turn it back on. But now let me try to answer some of you. Merciful justice is a contradiction in terms. Forgiving someone is mercy plain and simple. Justice is paying the price for what you did wrong. Justice requires that the kid that stole the candy bar goes to the store and pays the 99 cents that the candy bar costs. Mercy is when the storekeeper lets the kid pay 20 cents cause that is all the kid can pay. That is not merciful justice because it was mercy, and justice was not satisfied. It was more just than the kid not paying anything, but that does not make it just.
Ella, everyone that will read this (including me) thinks that we should do more in terms of proactively preventing crime, through education, opportunity blah blah blah. That being said there are still people who commit crime, and will commit crime. Should Ken Lay have gotten community service? Is what he did worse or better than a person who kills another? How about rape? Assault? Child pornography? Who in your world do we punish at all?
So everyone is too cool for retribution. We are only down with rehabilitation and prevention. Fishfrog is cool with societal protection. Does our system, if fully funded, not accomplish all of these things. I can think of no better way short of killing criminals to protect society than to keep them away from society. They have demonstrated that for whatever reason they do not wish to obey the law and so do we need to educate them? Heck yeah. Do we need to do it far from society until they get the lesson so they don't hurt anyone else? Heck yeah. And regardless of what we do with the poor, there will be criminals. Does coming from a poor background give you carte blanche to commit whatever crime you fancy at the moment?
If what we do on this planet has no consequences beyond those that naturally occur while we are on this planet, then we should pursue the path that will give us the greatest pleasure for the least discomfort. That is what rationally should happen. That is not what I see happen from people who believe solely in natural consequences. So either those people have a different definition of pleasure and discomfort that I do, or there is a disconnect between belief and action.