Bill Clinton makes it clear he's not making a case for or against capital punishment in this crime and punishment hypothetical. He begins by outlining the worldwide murder problem; in 2010 there were approximately 468,000 murders. He discusses the murder rate in the US which is far higher than any other developed country because of the deeply entrenched gun culture.
Mr Clinton discusses specific murder cases including the case made famous by Truman Capotes book, and the subsequent film, In Cold Blood. He also discusses the case of Americas most notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, and his execution by electric chair. The chilling case of another serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, is also discussed, he was given 16 consecutive life sentences, one of the quirks of the American Justice System.
Mr Clinton lists the various arguments for and against capital punishment and then the 7 question hypothetical begins, he explains "in philosophy we can imagine that any number of possible worlds or situations exist... to participate you have to do your best to imagine the hypothetical situation actually exists."
The first question is very simple yet terribly difficult; if you shoot and kill one person (a stranger) you know for certain that two innocent lives will be saved, if you don't then two people will immediately be shot. Your dilemma gets progressively worse, especially if you believe that killing cannot be justified in any circumstance. The last 3 questions "The Experiment" are about a social experiment where murderers are summarily executed within 7 days of committing the murder and it is designed to make you question whether or not capital punishment can be morally justified as a means of protecting the community.
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