I would like to comment on Rebekah Devlin’s article: What good will come from yet another person dying? written on Wednesday 25 July 2012. There is one point I agree with what she wrote, the US should be closely examining its gun laws. However, I do not agree with most of what she wrote.
AN eye for an eye. It's the Bible verse that so often gets quoted when people try to justify the death penalty. But if they bothered to read the rest of the book they'd see it also teaches about love, compassion and forgiveness.
Comment: Do not mix up the love and justice of God. Matthew Henry, John Calvin and St. Thomas Aquinas all acknowledge that the state has the right to protect its citizens from evildoers.
But what good will come from yet another person dying?
Comment: It prevents the violent criminal from killing again and it provides justice for the victims and their families. Immanuel Kant, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Alex Kozinski, Chalerm Ubumrung and Lech Aleksander Kaczyński all agree that it is good for a killer to pay with his life.
Will it bring back those beautiful people, like six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan who was killed, while her pregnant mother was seriously injured?
Comment: Of course, it will never bring those innocent victims back to life but putting James Holmes in prison, will not either. No punishment will.
Becoming a murderer in response to murder is not the answer. James Holmes is still a human being.
Comment: The state is not being a murderer in response to murder, the state is being an executioner. To compare execution to murder is like comparing incarceration to kidnapping and slavery, fines to extortions, restitutions to thefts and a defensive war to an aggressive war. James Holmes is still a human being but his crime was guilty beyond any doubt and he has taken lives, so he must forfeit his.
Whether you believe some people are just plain evil or whether there are some very serious mental health issues at work, the death penalty is not the answer.
Death is perhaps too good for him.
Why do we think ending someone's life is the worst punishment?
Comment: Please refer to Erich Maria Remarque. If death is not an answer, I do not think life imprisonment is either.
By killing Holmes, you are removing the possibility of him ever coming to a genuine place of remorse. No person is a lost cause.
Comment: For the worst murderers, life in prison is just not enough punishment.
People will say why waste taxpayer dollars fitting the bill to house, feed and keep murderers for the rest of their lives? It's the price we pay for a civilized society.
Comment: Immanuel Kant once said, “A society that is not willing to demand a life of somebody who has taken somebody else's life is simply immoral.”
And there is always the risk that an innocent person will be put to death. Since 1973, 140 people in 26 states in the US have been released from death row because evidence has been found to clear them. Imagine how many more innocent people have been put to death.
Comment: Of those 140 people, only a fraction of them are factually innocent and the rest are legally innocent. The justice system will learn from their mistakes by having proper safeguard procedures. However, every year, there are many American people being murdered by criminals being released from prisons. This is even a more important thing to be concerned about.
Only 21 out of 198 countries carried out executions in 2011 - a drop of a third on a decade earlier, however there has been a significant increase in deaths in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
At least 680 people were put to death last year and that doesn't include China's figures where thousands of people are executed each year. North Korea, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the US are the most prolific executioners of people. Are these the countries America really wants as its contemporaries?
Comment: It is pointless comparing America to all these countries. America’s neighbor across the Pacific, Japan has the death penalty too. I do not agree with what most of the rulers of those countries above does but I have to admit that countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia are excellent in fighting crime.
In 2011, Illinois became the 16th US state to abolish the death penalty. More must follow. There are no statistics to back up the fact that the death penalty actually deters criminals.
Comment: By telling more states to abolish the death penalty, do not be surprise to see an increase in the homicide rates in those states, just take a look at what happen to Illinois this year. There are a few examples to back up that the death penalty actually deters criminals. Since the restoration of the death penalty in 1976, further evidence confirms the deterrent effect of the death penalty. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, a strong opponent of the death penalty, has conceded as much. “Of course, the death penalty deters some crimes, that’s why you have to pay more for a hit man in a death penalty state than a non-death penalty state.” [Debate among Paul Cassell, Alan Dershowitz, and Wendy Kamenar on the death penalty (Harvard Law School, Mar. 22, 1995)]
Two more examples are:
The murder of Jitka Vesel
According to the Death Penalty Information Center in the US, in 2010, the average murder rate of death penalty states was 4.6 (murder rates per 100,000 people), while the average for those states without the death penalty was 2.9.
And a survey of leading US criminologists found that the overwhelming majority did not believe that the death penalty did anything to deter homicide.
Some 87 per cent believed that the abolition of the death penalty would not have any significant effect on murder rates.
Comment: Saying that states without the death penalty has lower homicide than states that have it is like comparing America to Brazil. Brazil (has no death penalty except for war crimes) and they have a higher homicide rates than America. P.S Some 87 per cent believed that the abolition of the death penalty would not have any significant effect on murder rates. – it will lead to an increase in homicide! In sum, between 1965 and 1980, there was practically no death penalty in the United States, and for 10 of those 16 years - 1967-76 - there was literally no death penalty: a national moratorium.
What was the effect of making capital punishment unavailable for a decade and a half? Did a moratorium on executions save innocent lives - or cost them?
The data are brutal. Between 1965 and 1980, annual murders in the United States skyrocketed, rising from 9,960 to 23,040. The murder rate - homicides per 100,000 persons - doubled from 5.1 to 10.2.
American Renny Cushing's father was shot dead in front of his mother in 1998. Since then he has become an anti-death penalty campaigner.
"If we let those who kill turn us into murderers, evil triumphs and we're all worse off," he said.Comment: Cushing belongs to victims’ families who are against the death penalty, the vast majority of victims’ families want their killers to be executed.