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My view: Death penalty disrespects human life

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  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 12:09 a.m.

    These points of view show a blatant disregard for victims of unnecessary violence and murder. The most effective way to make sure a killer doesn't kill again isn't to lock them up in a 85 square foot room forever---that truly is cruel. Let them be executed and move on to the next life.

    Jail is no deterrent. The problem with the death penalty is the same as with every form of "justice" that involves the legal profession. It all depends upon who you can afford to represent you, not what is just. Fix that and the forfeiture of your life will make one think before they commit murder.

    Ask yourself: Why does the criminal have all the rights and the victims have none?

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Oct. 18, 2013 12:50 a.m.

    Sorry, but I'm not moved. Sure, the death penalty isn't a general deterrent, but it is a specific deterrent. If it was applied without allowing frivolous appeals and acted upon, it also would be less expensive.

  • Ett Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 2:59 a.m.

    With all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about. The death penalty isn't supposed to be a "deterrent." It never was. It's a consequence for a crime. The reason it is costly is the endless delays of dubious appeals. People who commit capital crimes and get life, don't sit around in prison lamenting their misdeed and working to be better citizens. They become part of the inmate culture, commit crimes inside including murders. The few who warrant a death penalty have demonstrated they will remain a threat to others. Need I remind you the Bible mandated death for lesser penalties than murder? What it didn't do was say that the penalty of death was to be a "deterrent." If you think the world never benefits from an execution, you better take another look at that Crucifix you worship.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 3:15 a.m.

    If we have the means to keep people in prison for life They would not be raising how much dept is ok every year. We all have an expiration date. If you stole a horse you would of been hung. If you raped it was once a capital crime. I hate it when my car got broke into. I hate the thought of some heartless, unremorseful evil animal who should be put down, who is still laughing behind bars for the rest of his life.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Oct. 18, 2013 5:54 a.m.

    These are all excellent thoughts and reflect the position I once took in my own life. "If it is wrong to kill, then how does killing someone (the killer) make that right?", I thought to myself on more than one occasion. But then I moved to Utah in 1977 and read about the Hi-Fi Shop Murders that had taken place in Ogden in 1974. While living there I watched and read of the appeals process used by the murderers until they were finally executed. Reading of the heinous nature of these crimes convinced me that some people just shouldn't be allowed to share this planet with the rest of us.

    The arguments about capital punishment being used for vengeance or to save the taxpayers money ring hollow to me.
    When Pierre and Andrews were finally executed - by then it was with lethal injection and no longer by firing squad - I still had a sick feeling that the state was carrying the killing of another human being. But ultimately I felt the state did the right thing because of the nature of the crime and because there was no doubt (eye witnesses testified) about the guilty verdict.

  • The Solution Dayton, OH
    Oct. 18, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    "Death Penalty Information Center’s website reveals that the death penalty is ineffective as a deterrent, more costly to carry out than a life without parole sentence and still imposed in a manner akin to 'being struck by lightning'"

    This is a blatant lie. It is way more expensive to keep prisoners in prison without parole, if not so, why are so many convicts' sentences changed and let out of prisons early? It is rare that life sentences are actually carried out.

    What repentance are you expecting from a convict who spends his life in prison anyway? Unless you live under a rock, you know that the term "correctional facility" couldn't be further from the truth. How many times do you hear of rapists and murderers who are let out early immediatly kill and rape again. Why is that justified?

    There is a place for the death penalty and it is not being used often enough. Execution sentences need to be carried out swiftly and more often, to protect the innocent and quit wasting resources on lost souls. Let God sort it out.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 18, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    Three reasons to get rid of the death penalty:

    Death penalty trials are more expensive. They often require extra lawyers; there are strict experience requirements for attorneys, leading to lengthy appellate waits while capable counsel is sought for the accused; security costs are higher, as well as costs for processing evidence — DNA testing, for example, is far more expensive than simple blood analyses.

    After sentencing, prices continue to rise. It costs more to house death row inmates, who are held in segregated sections, in individual cells, with guards delivering everything from daily meals to toilet paper.

    DNA evidence
    The most recent arguments against it centered on the ever-increasing number of convicts cleared by DNA evidence.
    Some of the worst cases occurred in Illinois. In 2000, then-Gov. George H. Ryan placed a moratorium on executions after 13 people had been exonerated from death row for reasons including genetic testing and recanted testimony. Ryan declared the system "so fraught with error that it has come close to the ultimate nightmare, the state's taking of innocent life."
    (NBC)

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    Jean Hill says that a culture defines its moral character by the value it places on life........

    Well Jean, that can be looked at two ways. Consider if you will that by the amount of punishment we ask for the taking of a life, it shows how much value we as a society place on life. Particularly the life of an innocent. Imagine if, like in some European countries, there was no life sentance, even for multible murder ect. That shows to me a society that does not place very much importance to anyones life. Just how bad is murder if the only punishment were a fine of 100 dollars? Extreme example I know, but that is the road one goes down with easing up on the ultimate punishment for the ultimate crime.

  • dudleysharp Houston, TX
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:02 a.m.

    Ms. Hill.

    You have no clue.

    A sanction cannot be a sanction unless we value that which is being taken away.

    We value money, so take it away with fines. We value freedom even more, and take it away, by incarceration, for wrose crime. We value lkife the most, therefore take it away for the most severe of crimes.

    The biblical foundation for the death penalty is found in Genesis 9:5-6 and is based, specifically, upon "shedding blood".

    The most recent Catechism:

    2260: "For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning.... Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image." "This teaching remains necessary for all time."

    As man is made in the image of God, the murder of men requires the taking of the life of the murderer.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:03 a.m.

    I disagree.

    About it not being a deterrent... I've yet to hear of a person who received the death penalty offending again. Obviously it works as a deterrent (for that person). And I suspect that there is at least one person out there who has contemplated murder... and decided against it because of the deterrents in place (including the death penalty). If it has prevented ONE murder... it's a deterrent. And I'll bet it has made more than one person think twice.

    Point #2:
    The group you completely left out of your analysis is the victims and their families. They have a right to see "Justice" done when the murderer of their loved one is caught and convicted. They don't deserve to have him victimize them again by taunting them from jail for the rest of his life.

    It SHOULD be a burdensome decision (and it is). And it should be VERY rarely used (and it is). And it should only be used when there is no doubt of guilt and the crime fits the penalty (and it is).

    I don't think taking it completely off the table is the answer. Using it sparingly is.

  • dudleysharp Houston, TX
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    Saint (& Pope) Pius V, "The just use of (executions), far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this (Fifth) Commandment which prohibits murder." "The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent" (1566).

    (Soon to be saint?)Pope Pius XII: "When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live." 9/14/52.

    "All interpretations, contrary to the biblical support of capital punishment, are false. Interpreters ought to listen to the Bible’s own agenda, rather than to squeeze from it implications for their own agenda. As the ancient rabbis taught, “Do not seek to be more righteous than your Creator.” (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7.33.). Professor Lloyd R. Bailey, Capital Punishment: What the Bible Says, Abingdon Press, 1987.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    I've never figured how the anti abortion folks hide all their arguments when it comes to supporting the death penalty.

  • dudleysharp Houston, TX
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    Ms. Hill's article is just humanism and ignores 2000 years of eternal teachings, by the Church, in support of the death penalty, as declared by Saints, Popes, Doctors and Fathers of the Church, biblical scholars and theologians.

    It is a record of death penalty support, of such breadth and depth, that it overwehlems any teachings to the contrary.

    Saint Augustine: " . . . inflicting capital punishment . . . protects those who are undergoing capital punishment from the harm they may suffer . . . through increased sinning which might continue if their life went on." (On the Lord's Sermon, 1.20.63-64.)

    "Equally important is the Pope's (Pius XII) insistence that capital punishment is morally defensible in EVERY AGE AND CULTURE of Christianity."

    " . . . the Church's teaching on 'the coercive power of legitimate human authority' is based on 'the sources of revelation and traditional doctrine.' (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1955, pp 81-2)."

    "Such moral truths are the grave sinfulness of contraception and direct abortion. Such, too, is the Catholic doctrine which defends the imposition of the death penalty."

    "Capital Punishment: New Testament Teaching", Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

  • dudleysharp Houston, TX
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    Romano Amerio: Some opposing capital punishment ". . . go on to assert that a life should not be ended because that would remove the possibility of making expiation, is to ignore the great truth that capital punishment is itself expiatory."

    "In a humanistic religion expiation would of course be primarily the converting of a man to other men. On that view, time is needed to effect a reformation, and the time available should not be shortened."

    "In God’s religion, on the other hand, expiation is primarily a recognition of the divine majesty and lordship, which can be and should be recognized at every moment, in accordance with the principle of the concentration of one’s moral life.”

    “Amerio on capital punishment “, Chapter XXVI, 187. The death penalty, from the book Iota Unum, May 25, 2007

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    Hutterite,
    RE: "I've never figured how the anti abortion folks hide all their arguments when it comes to supporting the death penalty."...

    I don't understand why this confuses you. There is a HUGE difference between the death penalty and Abortion. For one... the baby did nothing wrong (the murderer did).

    It's about "Justice". The baby didn't do anything to deserve to die... the murderer did.

    That you can equate or even compare these two.. is just amazing to me.

    Just goes to show how the Abortion defenders can twist their mind so many ways to try to justify Abortion.

    Death Penalty is in no way related to... or justification for... Abortion.

    The decision to end a life is totally different in the two cases. It's an issue of "justice" for the murderer. How is it rationalized for the baby??

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    If the purpose of the death penalty is vengeance, or to be a deterrent to others, or to provide a balm to the victim's family and friends, I oppose it.

    Happy2bhere got it right in my opinion. The death penalty indicates that our society places the ultimate value on human life and, if you willfully take it from someone, you must pay the ultimate penalty. Any other punishment says that life is cheap to us.

    Good parents understand this principle. If their child forgets to brush his teeth, they don't ground him for a month. And if our child is arrested for DUI, we don't just give him an unhappy look. Our level of imposed discipline indicates how important an infraction is to us.

    If we know that our society and our government regard our lives as ultimately precious and that they will do everything in their power to preserve it, we all live with a great deal more security. Unfortunately, the government has defaulted on this responsibility so we have to live in fear of assault and even murder.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    Weird how the left gets so sanctimonious when they talk about the Death Penalty for criminals. They say, "regard our lives as ultimately precious", when talking about a murderer... but not so much concern when talking about an innocent baby. Too bad they don't have the same concern for unborn babies as they do for murderers. Abortion would be almost non-existent if they did.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    re:dudleysharp

    "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regards the question of whether and in what circumstances the state should impose capital punishment as a matter to be decided solely by the prescribed processes of civil law. We neither promote nor oppose capital punishment."
    (mormonnewsroom org)

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    "I Ordered Death In Georgia" by Allen Ault

    "As the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections from 1992-1995, I oversaw five executions. I had no doubt that they were guilty: they admitted it to me.

    Those of us who have participated in executions often suffer something very much like posttraumatic stress.

    When I was required to supervise an execution, I tried to rationalize my work by thinking, if I just save one future victim, maybe it is worth it. But I was very aware of the research showing that the death penalty wasn’t a deterrent. I left my job as corrections commissioner in Georgia in 1995 partially because I had had enough: I didn’t want to supervise the executions anymore.

    Having witnessed executions firsthand, I have no doubts: capital punishment is a very scripted and rehearsed murder. It’s the most premeditated murder possible.

    I hope that, in the future, men and women will not die for their crimes, and other men and women will not have to kill them. The United States should be like every other civilized country in the Western world and abolish the death penalty."

  • utah cornhusker NORFOLK, NE
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    I think the death penalty should be used in murders eg Hi-Fi, Ted bundy, and some of the murders back here that were very heinous. I think most states that use the death penalty use it sparingly and that there are mitigating circumstances that the state would have to prove in order to use it. There are a few back here on death row and they are the ones that need to be on it.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    Morality aside, there is a practical reason to oppose the death penalty: we're getting to the point in health science research where we can more accurately pinpoint exactly what makes some of these criminals the monsters they are.

    For example, there is some cutting edge research suggesting many sociopathic criminals have a region of their brain that is underdeveloped. To anyone familiar with the Jeffrey Dahmer case, that guy had really disturbing behavior problems at age 4, which suggests this wasn't some error in moral judgment he made, but instead an organic brain defect.

    If we get to the point where we can identify the gene(s) involved in how these monsters develop, there is the potential for intervening and saving lives, and saving the criminal, before they become a criminal.

    It would be smart to be able to study Ted Bundy's brain and how it functions, but that specimen has been destroyed. On the other hand, we've learned a lot from Charles Manson.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    Oct. 18, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    As a nation, we should look for solutions which bring positive results on difficult problems. Our problem is violence. Lately, we have been less eager to use capital punishment judging by the actual number of executions taking place. The actual rate of homicide during this time, for anyone paying attention, is now also less over a period of several years. This may not be the entire explanations, but it does give the lie to cliche collections already posted today.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    10CC makes a good point. We should not be executing people because they are ill. That would be like executing people because they are bi-polar or diabetic.

    But there ARE those people who just choose to do evil things, and they weren't only motivated by a mental condition. They were motivated by keeping people out of their drug turf, or want to get rid of their wife but don't want to pay alimony, or want what somebody else has, or just letting their passions take over and end up killing someone.

    Obviously the death penalty doesn't apply in all these cases. And we don't use it in all these cases above. It should ONLY be used in very extreme cases (which it is), and mental illness should be taken into account (and it is).

    I think it needs to be VERY rare (and it is). But we don't take it off the table no matter what.

    Just my opinion.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    Until they quit getting the wrong person as demonstrated by DNA evidence, there's no excuse to sanctions state sponsored murder of a possibly innocent person.

    Sorry, but all that Catholic dogma, means nothing in light of the inquisition.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    Oct. 18, 2013 5:09 p.m.

    People who support the death penalty need a human sacrifice to feel good about themselves. Get a life.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    Oct. 18, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    Being Pro-Life means being against both abortion and the death penalty

  • wayneuber Chapel Hill, NC
    Oct. 19, 2013 4:14 a.m.

    It's sad when columnists resort to commentary such as "state sanctioned murder". Clearly if they cannot distinguish between murder and a lawful punishment they've lost all objectivity and credibility on the subject. Capital murder is by definition a premeditated and aggravated act. Those that are eventually executed are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. In North Carolina alone 13 murderers have escaped the prison system and never been returned to justice. In Florida two murderers were recently released by mistake. In my opinion, allowing proven premeditated and aggravated murderers diminishes the memories of their victims and shows disrespect for the human lives we endanger by allowing murderers to live among us.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    Capital punishment is and ought to be carefully considered but remain in the arsenal of punishments. We seem to shift to focus on the perpetrator and his/her needs, status, etc. once the victim(s) are buried and the relatives withdraw from the scene.

    I think that, if used, capital punishment should be properly reviewed and promptly carried out. Decades of delay is make-work for lawyers who feed off their own agendas.

    I remember the Ogden Hi-Fi murders and think the sentence was appropriate.

    If life in prison is to have meaning, it must be life in prison. No leaving the gray-bar hotel for any reason, except in a coffin. Court pleadings can be done over closed circut TV and any illness not treatable by the infirmary devolves into pain management until death.

  • milner Centerfield Sanpete, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    I am for the death penalty for first degree murder! This the reason why! It prevents the convicted from murdering anyone else!

  • LetsDebate PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    Thank you Wayneuber for expressing exactly what I thought the first time the author equated the death penalty with murder. Right there she removed herself from any semblance of objectivity and credibility. Same with the Corrections Officer from Georgia as referenced by one of the commenters.

    If enforcing a legal death penalty is the equivalent of premeditated murder, then all incarceration is the equivalent of kidnapping, and restraining orders violate ones freedom of association. I can think of nothing so horribly insulting to the families of murder victims than to characterize a death penalty imposed on their perpetrator as another murder.

    About the only thing more ludicrous is to suggest a person is hypocritical to believe in the death penalty for a guilty heinous murderer while opposing the abortion of a completely innocent unborn child. This is apparently a novel and difficult concept for some to understand, but it is possible to believe in the protection of innocent life, while simultaneously believing in even the most severe punishment of guilty life, without being contradictory or a hypocrite.