The Death Penalty

My position on the death penalty is simple: I’m against it.

Although the lyrics of this song have nothing to do with abolition of the death penalty specifically, no one expresses my feelings like the Ramones:

I often read arguments for abolition which point out the disproportionate racial balance of death row inmates, or the fact that some innocent ones actually have been executed and later exonerated by DNA analysis. Abolitionists love to point out that some of these guys are mentally retarded or mentally ill or both. For me all these things are beside the point, the point being that killing is wrong, period. And that includes state sanctioned killing.

All this came to mind when I read this fascinating article in the LA Times.

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4 Comments on “The Death Penalty”

  1. Dudley Sharp Says:

    I, respectfully, disagree with your opinion.

    There are several instances where killing is appropriate: A just war, self defense and as a just sanction for serious crimes.

    The death penalty is supported, primarily, because it is viewed as a just and appropriate sanction.

    Secondarily, the execution of murderers spares the lives of additonal innocents. Not executing murderers sacrifices more innocent lives.

  2. Andrew Keogh Says:

    I decided that state homicide is wrong at the age of 15 – nothing has ever swayed me from this view since – so I agree that as regards the execution of the guiltiest murderer with every aggravating feature to the murder imaginable – I’m still against it. And of course, I’ve done murder trials – including one particularly horrific one a couple of years ago so I’m under no illusions as to what murder involves. So, having agreed on point of principle – the kind of contingent arguments you mention may sway the undecided – so they are still worth rehearsing.

  3. mikeb302000 Says:

    Dudley, Thanks so much for commenting and for expressing your differing opinion so respectfully.
    In my post I was going to mention self-defense and just war, but I was concerned that it might lead me on a long tangent about my opinion of the Iraq war, which in my opinion is anything but just. About the death penalty being an appropriate sanction in some cases, that’s where we disagree. I’m also not convinced by that argument of sparing the lives of innocents not yet murdered by preemptively killing their future murderers. I’ve heard the stats, but I just can’t buy it.


  4. […] thought was replaced with all the old arguments against the death penalty. And they are serious. I wrote about it before, basically quoting the Ramones, “I’m against […]


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