Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Death Penalty

We respectfully ask that you read the entire post before commenting the first time, but for your convenience we have put a jump to the comments section right here, so that you can easily find them.

Our Guest blogger this week is Jason, of
Leave Us Alone. We are glad to have him on board with a great topic: The Death Penalty. Enjoy.

I've always been ambivalent about the death penalty. None of the traditional arguments for or against execution seem persuasive to me, mostly because I believe that liberty is more important than life.

Death penalty opponents argue that with the death penalty comes the risk that an innocent person will be executed. This argument was recently bolstered by a Houston Chronicle investigation of the 1993 execution of Ruben Cantu. Sure, the execution of an innocent person is a horrible tragedy, but so is the imprisonment of an innocent person. If I were wrongfully convicted of a capital crime, I would much rather be killed than spend the rest of my natural life in prison. The conviction of Mr. Cantu, along with the many other wrongful convictions that have taken place, may be evidence that it's too easy to obtain a criminal conviction, but I'm not persuaded that the possibility of a wrongful execution makes the death penalty wrong.

Another argument against the death penalty is that execution lowers society to the level of a murderer. This argument just doesn't hold water. If the death penalty is morally equivalent to murder, then fines and restitution are morally equivalent to theft, incarceration is morally equivalent to kidnapping, and community service is morally equivalent to slaveholding. When we give government the power to punish criminals, we allow it to commit acts that would be crimes if any of us committed them as individuals.

Death penalty proponents argue that the death penalty deters potential murderers. This argument would be persuasive if there were any evidence to support it. However, most research indicates that the death penalty has no deterrent effect.

Another argument in favor of the death penalty is that the ultimate crime deserves the ultimate punishment. As far as I'm concerned, however, death is not the ultimate punishment. Locking someone in a cage full of violent felons for the rest of his or her life is a much worse punishment than euthanizing him or her like a sick, old dog.

It is for that last reason that I lean toward opposing the death penalty as it is currently practiced. The death penalty lets our most heinous criminals off too easily. As Bill O'Reilly asks in a WorldNetDaily column, "...why kill people when you can sentence them in a more punitive way?"

While I lean a certain way, I am persuadable. Does anyone want to persuade me?

Jason of Leave Us Alone

The Answer here Jason, is cost, among other things.

The death penalty in this nation is one of those oxymoronic conundrums that we have. I often find it ironic that the same people that are pro-life are also pro-death penalty. Both are state sanctioned killing right. And still I find little wrong with this dichotomy because of one huge distinction, those to whom the death penalty is imposed have (or at least should have) committed an action that warrants it.

While I support having a higher standard of proof to impose the death penalty, I also think that the associated appeals process is out of control. Beyond all of that however the realist in me sees the real reason the death penalty is important and the answer is money.

I costs allot to keep a man in prison, but beyond that, our prisons currently are very over crowded, which means we either release some, or we build more prisons. Murderers, in my book, have nothing left to contribute to society, keeping them alive, just so that we can punish them more, or really for any other reason, is just bad economics, if not bad government.

Keeping violent murderers alive to be held captive on our dime is ridiculous. In my calloused view I think there should be MORE executions, not less, along with a few other prison reforms. Frankly prison is hardly a punishment anymore. All we are robbing of our criminal element is their freedom of movement, to a man that has nothing, that is hardly a deterrent. After all, any punitive system we have in place should at least on the surface be a deterrent right.

Matthew of Liberty Just in Case

Personally, though I am mostly always to the side of the preservation of life, I am actually an advocate of not only utilizing the Death Penalty but along with our Texas folks to the South of where I am, I think that in certain cases, it ought to be expedited in a few cases. (As in the case of if someone commits murder and two or more credible witnesses SAW it happen).

I do believe that prison (as it is now) has become lax in doing the job that it was instituted to do. When a criminal gets free medical care, free education, free meals, free clothing, a roof over their head and in some cases even cable TV, Internet access and gym facilities--its just not much of a deterrent to crime now is it?

I believe that those that are incarcerated should be working on the "chain gangs" still. Doing things that will benefit the whole of society, whom they are jailed for having wronged anyway.

I believe that punishment and justice should "fit the crimes" and that we need a little creativity in the whole process so that JAIL is actually a DETERRANT again.

As to the Death Penalty, I think that when persons have committed capital crimes against humanity (violent rape, murder) and when they are adjudicated to be non-rehabilitatable (i.e., sociopathic, psychopathic, repeat and serial offenders) it is not only in society's best interest but in many cases the offenders best interest to just be "put to sleep".

For every one person that is on death row that might... MIGHT be innocent, there are ten more that are there because society has deemed it in the best interests of themselves for crimes committed by the offender.

Nariel of Ancient Eyes for Current Times

The death penalty is a tough one for me. I am strongly, adamantly pro-life. Anyone who has debated me over abortion, or the Terri Schiavo case quickly finds this out. I believe there is something essentially sacred in each individual's humanity, and this does sanctity does not end when a human commits a violent crime, even a horrific murder.

This belief flows from my faith in Christ, and belief in the fundamental doctrines of the Bible. Man is a fallen creature, but still has with him the Imago Dei, or Image of God. This image, while shattered by sin, is not removed. Yet, certain crimes were punishable by death in The Old Testament, and this was not in any way contradicted in The New Testament. The story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery in John 8 was about hypocrisy, not capital crimes. And in Romans 13:4, Paul talks about submission to government authorities, who bear the power of the sword. Again, the passage speaks of submission ot authority, and supports the idea of capital punishment.

So, scripturally, I see no contradiction between being pro-life, yet favoring capital punishment. Yet, I can firmly understand those who do hold that capital punishment is wrong. I fail to understand how those on the Left can be against capital punishment, and yet favor Abortion at all costs. This appears to me to be hypocrisy of the highest order.

I believe the greatest case for the continuation of capital punishment in this nation is DNA. The advent of this technology greatly lowers the chances of an innocent man or woman being convicted of a capital crime.

And, there are those who deserve this punishment. The most relevant example of this is Saddam Hussein. His documented destruction of millions of men, women and children, all of whom bear the Imago Dei, certainly makes him worthy of death. And the sooner the better.

Now a more specific answer to Jason's final point, that life in prison represents a greater punishment to the felon. In the prisons of the West, this is simply not true. Forfeiting your freedom, while living in what would be seen as luxury to much of the Third World, is not a punishment for someone like the BTK murderer. Death is the most logical punishment for one such as BTK, or Saddam.

By the way, if you're wondering if you missed Mark's post over the past couple of days, rest assured you didn't. Due to having some minor surgery, I simply didn't get a chance to add my post on this important topic. So, I took my assistant editor's prerogative, and posted late.

Mark White of Liberty Just In Case
If you like
"The Balance of Power"
Keep us running
Please make a donation



This Blog was created for two reasons:

1. To speak out against Extremism in politics.

2. To discuss contemporary political topics in a balanced manner within a neutral forum.

Our contributors are from all sides of the spectrum:
and Conservative

We will strive to bring you all sides of an issue and we welcome civil comments that further our discussions in an intelligent manner.
While we understand that political issues can be emotional, we respectfully request that you keep the conversation polite. All profanity and meanspirited language (i.e. personnal threats) will be deleted at our discretion.

Carl's (GTL) Blogroll

Liberty Dog's Blogroll

A Western Heart
An Inclination to Critcize
Anger Management
Ashish's Niti
Birth of a Neocon
Bourgeois Philistines of Minnesota
Election Projection
Gay Orbit
GM's Corner
Liberty for Sale
Miss Apropos
New Blog Showcase
Old Whig's Brain Dump
Powers Not Delegated
Propaganda Machine
Ramblings' Journal
Simon's World
Social Sense
Somewhere over the Rainbough
Stop the ACLU
The Balance of Power
The Gun-Toting Liberal
The New American Revolutionist
The New Oklahoma Democrat
The Nomad Tavern
The Truth About York
The Volokh Conspiracy
the will to exist
The Zoo
Truck Spy
Where HipHop and Libertarianism Meet
Zero Base Thinking


Jason's Blogroll

The Agitator
Atomic Poet
The Audient Files
The Balance of Power
Ban the Ban
Blawg Republic
Blogosphere of the Libertarian Left
Boing Boing
Brewed Fresh Daily
Callahan's Cleveland Diary
Codependent Collegian
The Comics Curmudgeon
The Commons
Crime and Federalism
Crooks and Liars
The D'Alliance
Decline and Fall of Western Civilization
Democracy Guy
DARE Generation Diary
Drug WarRant
DUI Blog
Russ Feingold for President
Flex Your Rights
Foreign Dispatches
Franklin County Young Democrats
Freedom Democrats
Freeman, Libertarian Critter
The Free Liberal
Gravity Lens
Grow Ohio
The Gun-Toting Liberal
Happy Furry Puppy Story Time with Norbizness
The Has Been
HistoryMike's Musings
Hit and Run
Hooah Wife
Improbable Research
Independent Country
Gary Johnson for President
Land of the Free, Home of the Brave
Left in the West
Liberal Common Sense
Liberty Belles
Liberty Just in Case
Martini Republic
Meet the Bloggers
The Mockingbird
The Mommy Blawg
Mutualist Blog
Mystery Pollster
National Nitwit
New Donkey
Notes from the Lounge
Objective Justice
Ohio 2nd
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
Political Animal
Chris Redfern Weblog
Reform the Patriot Act
Schweitzer for President
Setting the Pace
Springer on the Radio
A Stitch in Haste
Szollosi Toledo
Talking Points Memo
TPM Cafe
Talk Left
Tavern Wench
Thoughts from a Wondering Soul
Toledo Tales
To the People
Unbeknownst to Me
Vice Squad
Vodkapundit and the Weblog of Tomorrow
The Volokh Conspiracy
Waiter Rant
The War on Guns
Matt Welch
Western Democrat
The Whistleblower
Who Hijacked our Country
The Wine Commonsewer
World of the Future
The Y Files
Matthew Yglesias
Jeremy Zawodny's Blog