Death Is Too Good For Him

This is such a common sentiment among family members of murder victims when the culprit is executed.

I’m not a death penalty abolitionist, exactly.  I do wonder if there’s much point.  With lethal injection we have sanitized it but it’s still killing, albeit a humane sort of killing that seems to satisfy no one.

So the solution is….make the killing more brutal?  Impossible.

Thus we are stuck with what seems to be an increasingly pointless ritual.  Seems to be.  Not sure.



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5 responses to “Death Is Too Good For Him

  1. Min

    We have moved away from making executions spectacles. That is probably a good idea. But it is not clear that we have made them more humane, by comparison with hanging or the guillotine. Perhaps some family members of victims would get some satisfaction from watching a hanging or beheading.

    I am against the death penalty myself.


    • Some people think it should be a spectacle, that it’s become too sanitized and removed from the criminal act being punished to be effective.

      I have some sympathy both with those who believe in the death penalty and with those who want to see it abolished. Can’t even say which is stronger. I think that is called ambivalence.


  2. Zarepheth

    I’ve heard that in the U.S. Death penalties usually cost the government more than sentencing someone to life in prison. If that is true, then on economic grounds it would be better to just incarcerate for life.

    As you well know, our “justice” system is far from just. Often innocent people are convicted for someone else’s crimes. This is another reason to avoid the death penalty.

    I am sure, however, that there are cases where there is no doubt about the person’s guilt (caught-in-the-act or a solid and continuous chain of physical evidence and reliable witnesses from the act to apprehension) and a good chance the person will re-offend if allowed the opportunity. When these situations exist for serious crimes (like murder, rape, maiming, etc.) then I would have no problem with the offender being killed.


  3. Zarepheth

    From the article, it seems that this guy suffered an appropriate punishment for his sins. Whether the chosen punishment was best for society, I don’t really know.


    • Hello Z.

      I don’t know either. Like you I can see the the justice of the death penalty in theory – life wrongfully taken, paid for by the life of the wrongdoer.

      But translating that into reality is arguably a pipe dream. Even aside from the system getting the whole thing egregiously wrong in the first place, which is a not insignificant possibility, it is even more likely to botch the finer point of who really deserves the death penalty. Where there are mitigating factors there might be a good case for mercy; but then you get mercy for one, no mercy for another and unless that is applied even handedly it becomes unjust all over again.

      You can argue even over a Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy not so much, but if you can go through a century and there’s only a handful of murderers that everyone can agree got what’s coming to them, you wonder if the procedure to sort them out would be worth it even if it were infallible.

      And of course it’s clearly not infallible.


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