There’s an article at Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal that seeks to discuss Does executing murderers cut the homicide rate or not?
I support the use of the Death Penalty. I believe that given DNA testing and the absolute certainty that can be attributed, and maybe also with a confession, that we as a society, should at least have the option when sentencing, of ordering someone’s death – their state-sanctioned execution. In the article above, as can also be seen when this is debated, we have people talking about the fact that the Death Penalty is not a deterrent. Because of this, they say that we should not use if – after all, if carrying a big stick doesn’t work, why carry it ?
I think they are completely missing the point.
There are a number of high profile prisoners in the UK prison system that have killed – sometimes repeatedly. Child abusers are imprisoned, then released. Recent EU (spit) rules state that ‘Life cannot mean life’ when sentencing. Even now there are moves to create ‘hostels’ for serious offenders who the authorties know will re-offend when released. Effectively, as a society, we are syaing ‘Tut tut, naughty boy – go sit in the corner for a while and then we’ll let you out to play again’. If a long prison sentence isn’t working to deter people from commiting a crime, then why bother with that either ? That particular big stick is fairly useless isn’t it ?
The above research isn’t conclusive – depending on where you stand of course – but the simple fact is that people who have been executed don’t commit crimes again. Surely if we – society – have a problem that is just too great, we should be able to extinguish that problem ? We do with animals that might hurt us or transmit a disease. We do that with micro-organisms that might cause sickness and death – why are we so squeamish with a human life – and a worthless one at that ?
Am I saying it’s automatic ? No. I think as soon as you make any sort of sentence automatic you run into trouble, and there will always be an exception – witness the sentences for murder passed down to abused women as just one example, but I do think that juries should have the option of passing a verdict of Death or something that moves the convicted person toward that.
Is it a revenge thing ? For me, no – thankfully I’ve not been put into that situation, but in the end, it’s about removing a problem, erasing it, being sure that a particular problem cannot reassert itself. There never will be a sufficient deterrent as emotion and desires – however sick – rule actions in the moment of the crime. Deterrents on an individual basis do not work.
If you can’t deter them, you stop them. And if stopping them means killing them, fine. Let’s do it.