Tom Davis / January 28, 2011

Revisiting the Death Penalty

Jared Loughner’s cowardly rampage in Tucson brought the question of the Death Penalty back into the spotlight. Many otherwise apathetic individuals were revolted by Loughner’s big ugly smiling face. Many said, “Kill the son of a bit**.”

Use of capital punishment was the choice of many societies from ancient times up until the 18th Century when such notables as Voltaire and Montesquieu wrote in favor of abolishment of the Death Penalty.

Several countries abolished the Death Penalty in the late nineteenth Century. Today, over half the countries have abolished capital punishment either through law or in practice. An article,, noted, “In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed in a formal resolution that throughout the world, it is desirable to ‘progressively restrict the number of offenses for which the death penalty might be imposed, with a view to the desirability of abolishing this punishment.’”

There are two sides to this contentious coin. Some people have a moral repugnance to the taking of a human life. Others take the position taken in Holy Scripture that certain crimes demand the death of the offenders. There are multiple arguments or defenses to support The Death Penalty. The first of these is, “Let the punishment fit the crime.” This is obviously a bona fide argument in crimes of Murder. The holy texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam demand it irrespective of whether or not the perpetrator is an adherent to any religion.

Those who favor capital punishment suggest that it is a deterrent to crime. One thing for certain is that if a criminal is executed he/she will not perpetrate another crime of any type. There is little or no likelihood that a psychopath would be deterred by the existence of the death penalty; however, a wife-beater may be cautioned.

In any event, there is absolutely no excuse for a civilized society becoming so cowardly that they disregard the victims and favor the criminals. In this day and age of almost infallible forensic science, there is absolutely no excuse for not having capital punishment as a mandatory outcome for certain crimes. Nor is their an excuse for long, drawn out, overly protracted appeals in those cases where there is not a doubt as to the perpetrator’s identity. When in doubt, go ahead and incarcerate. No early release, no probation.

Directing our attention to the actual execution, there is again no reason that a physician, whose Hippocratic Oath may be a deterrent to taking a life, need participate in the process. The physician need only sign the Certificate of Death.

Some last thoughts; In 2008, The Supreme Court held that it was cruel and inhuman punishment to use the death penalty against individuals convicted of raping a minor. With all due respect, that is absolute cow dung. Rape, regardless of the victim’s age, gender or mental status is and should be classified as a capital offense. All vicious and brutal crimes such as mayhem which simply failed to take a life should also be capital offenses. Armed robbery is a crime in which the perpetrator having or pretending to have a weapon is threatening to take a life unless certain conditions are met. It, too, must be a capital offense.

Appellate procedures must be reviewed and revised. They are far too costly, permit opportunity to subvert witness testimony and have the nefarious purpose of lining the pockets of lawyers. Show me an indigent attorney and I’ll show you a Public Defender.

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