Listen to the voice of Justice and Reason. It tells us that human judgements are never
so certain as to permit society to kill a human being judged by other human beings. Why
deprive ourselves of any chance to redeem such errors? Why condemn yourself to
helplessness when faced with persecuted innocence.
I know there are those who say that execution is justified because it prevents a
murderer from ever again committing the same crime. It certainly does. But if you rely on
that reasoning you are killing a man not because his death may deter others from following
in his footsteps, but because of what he might possibly do at some future time. To justify such
preventive execution, there would have to be some reasonable grounds for believing that a
convicted murderer, if released into society, would murder again. In fact the probability lies
strongly in the other direction.
In order to be absolutely sure that no murderer would murder
again, we would have to take the lives of all people convicted of either first or second degree
murder, even though the probability is that an infinitesimal percentage of them would never
commit murder again if allowed to live. That's an unacceptable high price to pay in human
lives for a sense of security insignificantly greater tan we have now.
I have seen the movie " Dead Man Walking" for the first time just before I first wrote
this down. The film is loaded with death penalty advocates. The film makers present their
feelings and arguments honestly, as far as I can tell. But they all ring hollow to me,
because they all dehumanize the criminal. Well, just like you may say, let's execute the
murderer for the crime he has committed. Let's take a life for a life.