Abolish the Death Penalty?

By Beacon Staff
By John Fuller

Amidst the debate and growing movement to abolish the death penalty, several facts are ignored.

Opponents of capital punishment claim that execution is not a deterrent, is too expensive, too great a risk of a mistake, cruel or unusual, and it takes too long.

These are not moral arguments against capital punishment. They are arguments of economics, implementation or procedure.

There are no valid moral arguments against the death penalty. Man did not invent the death penalty. God did.

And there is ample scripture authorizing mankind to utilize it against wrongdoers in both Old and New Testaments. Consequently, a strong moral argument supporting capital punishment exists.

The dirty, little secret of law enforcement is that there is no such thing as life in prison without parole. The vast majority of first-degree murder convictions result in time-served of approximately 14 years.

That is not deterrence or justice. If we execute murderers, we have killed murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, not providing a deterrent, or release them to kill again, we allow many innocents to be killed.

Compared to the remote possibility of executing an innocent person, the societal value of a death penalty is obvious.

By Joe Carbonari

Whether the word of God or simply a translation of man, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” seems like some pretty good advice to me.

Further, if we are to entrust the decision of whom, when and why to kill to our representative, our government, “we the people” had better think very carefully about it.

Unfortunately, we make mistakes. Since 1992 at least 15 condemned “murderers” have been exonerated and released, due largely to DNA evidence.

In most murder cases, however, it wasn’t, and still isn’t available. Prosecutorial misconduct and weak cases have also brought several capital convictions into question. Remember, there is no redressing a mistaken execution.

Not only are we subject to mistakes about who we convict and kill, but it costs us much more in time and money to do so than would life imprisonment, even without parole.

The deterrent value of the death penalty versus life in prison has been shown to be negligible.

We spend too much money; we drag out the time and effort spent on deliberation; we kill innocent people; and we appear to promote “revenge” over reason.

In the end, for those who fall back on the “it’s the guidance of God” argument, I suggest that it would be more apt to ask, “What would Jesus do?”

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