Monday, April 24, 2006

The Death Penalty Dilemna

Emphasis mine. The death penalty is a thoroughly backward institution. Nothing
is gained by killing criminals — except, of course, feeding human vengeance and bloodlust. It’s more expensive to keep people on death row and execute them than
it is to put them in prison forever. It act as an effective crime deterrent. It’s not fairly or justly applied. Etc etc. And now there’s further evidence that even our“humane” version of state-sanctioned murder — lethal injection — isn’t quite so kind. In fact, it’s so problematic that veterinarians won’t even use it on dogs. The prisoner is paralyzed, and so it looks painless — but only because he’s unable to move. There are absolutes in human rights. One of those, I believe, is that humans have the right to not be killed by the state. The state certainly has the right to punish, but I believe that it loses legitimacy in other areas when it exercises such final punishment. And I think it’s shameful that we continue to impose it.

While I highly doubt that it is more expensive to keep people on death row than in jail (you know, for a lifelong stay), it will only be true because most people on death row die before their executions. If executions happen very quickly after the trial, maybe a year or less, then the cost won't be so high.

The problem with murderers is, aside from the fact that they murder and feel justified doing it, is that they never think they will get the death penalty. If time was severely reduced between trial and execution, murder rates would plummet as nearly everybody who is a convicted murderer would be executed in short order.

True, the state should not have the power to execute its own citizens. That is the only reason why I am against the death penalty, unless the state is completely out of the wielding process. If civilians are in charge of the issuing the death penalty, then the practice should continue.




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