UPDATE 010804: Here is some recent data that contradicts many of the ACLU’s claims.
When opponents of the death penalty argue their case, you’ll invariably hear eight reasons why the death penalty should be illegal. These eight “objections” to the death penalty are part of the ACLU’s crusade to abolish the death penalty. Despite the Supreme Court’s 1976 ruling in Gregg v. Georgia in which the court found the death penalty constitutional, the ACLU and others continue to oppose capital punishment on moral, practical, and constitutional grounds. The eight objections are as follows:
1. Capital punishment is cruel and unusual.
2. Opposing the death penalty does not mean sympathy with convicted murderers.
3. Capital punishment denies due process of law.
4. The death penalty violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.
5. Changes in death sentencing have proved to be largely cosmetic.
6. The death penalty is not a viable form of crime control.
7. Capital punishment wastes resources.
8. A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings.
The debate over the death penalty is as hotly contested as the issue of abortion. Coincidently, the same people who oppose abortion are usually ok with capital punishment (sources). The difference between killing the guilty for crimes committed against society and killing an innocent child due to an adult’s inability to practice safe sex (or god forbid, abstinence) is lost on many of the zealots who practice this clearly contradictory stance.
What are you thoughts on capital punishment? Are you among the group that finds the thought of killing a convicted criminal abhorent? I’m one of those people who finds abortion reprehensible but favors justified executions of criminals that are clearly incapable of living within the accepted laws of a given society.
Before some of my longtime readers (many of whom are women, empowered, intelligent and pro-choice) let me say that I am pro-choice as well. While I find the idea of abortion immoral, I don’t believe a man can adequately argue for or against abortion. The simple fact is that a woman should have the right to make that decision since it is her body (as well as her heart and mind) where the battle of right and wrong takes place. Men are donors, women are carriers and the idea that some man who plays such a trivial role in creating life (on the average 4 minutes or 36 strokes if you believe kinsey’s sex report) thinks he should tell a woman what she should do is LAUGHABLE. That said, onto the main event: The Death Penalty.
I have always believed in right and wrong. I don’t cheat at boardgames, I have never cheated on a significant other and I have always been rightly punished for my transgressions. These ideals were not instilled by morals or religious consideration. They were created because I am a pragmatic man. Wrongs should be righted. Justice should follow injustice. A plus B equals C.
If you have a headache, you don’t cut out a part of your brain, but you do take aspirin. If you find that after a time that aspirin doesn’t work, you seek out stronger remedies. One of them might lead you to seek the counsel of a doctor who may tell you that you have a tumor the size of a hamster in your brain and the only way to save your life and consequently improve the quality of your life is to remove the growth through invasive surgery. That’s how I see capital punishment. A person, incapable of conforming to the laws of a given society, is excised from the population… permanently. Such a person forfeits his right to be treated humanely the moment he uses violence to express his malfunction be it economic, mental or emotional corruption.
Is the death penalty in its current form racist? Not in my opinion although more blacks and hispanics are executed than whites. The ratio of types of crimes committed by race doesn’t tell the whole story, but it does shed light as to why you’ll find more African-Americans in capital punishment cases. One of the most interesting pieces of information I found in researching this rant is that cases involving a hispanic victim rarely result in a call for capital punishment for the criminal. I still say that if you kill a person in the commision of a crime (say robbery, burglary, theft, etc) the case should automatically be a death penalty case.
The bottom line for me is that the death penalty shouldn’t be billed as a deterent to crime but a necessary evil committed by our judicial system in order to ensure the survival of the society as a whole.