Thursday, April 17, 2008

Capital Punishment Is Wrong and Expensive

Here is an article from the Washington Post about a recent Supreme Court ruling on lethal injection. This got me thinking that I hadn't discussed the death penalty yet.

I am against the death penalty for various reasons. Here are a few of my thoughts:

Racial/class injustice: Black people are disproportionately represented on death row. Much of this bias might boil down to class rather than race, but biases are there and that's not a good thing. Above all else, our justice system should be fair.

Government should not kill: Morally, having government kill is reprehensible to me. Capital punishment is not about justice or deterrence (it's deterrent nature is hotly debated); capital punishment is about vengeance. When just about all civilized countries and the Dalai Lama think that it's wrong, and I agree.

Mistakes can be made: Our judicial system is setup to give defendants every chance. As Blackstone said, "Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." The article n Guilty Men is really fun, but on a more serious note, any time people find flaws in the capital punishment system, i find it very, very disturbing.

It's expensive: It's ironic when someone suggests that they don't want to pay taxes to keep some killer alive for years. It costs way more money to execute someone than to keep them in maximum security for the rest of their lives. I'd rather pay to keep someone eating crappy food and sleeping on an uncomfortable bed and living a lonely and/or scary life than pay multiples of that cost for lawyers.

In summary, it galls me that I have to pay more taxes (or our schools have to deal with fewer resources) so that some people's thirst for vengeance can be satisfied at the expense of some innocent lives and our country's moral integrity.

Soundtrack: New Order (Low-Life)

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