Sitting in Michael's Lap
In some fashion, I agree with all of you ...
Once upon a time, I was a strong supporter of the death penalty as a deterrant. I tried to put myself in the shoes of the victims' families -- those who lost a wife/husband/parent/child ... and I became angry enough to want to kill the perpetrator with my own hands, in some instances (especially child murders ... I can't even watch these things on the news without getting teary and incensed).
On further consideration, however, what does the death penalty achieve? I will put all considerations of faith, including heaven and hell, aside for the moment ...
Is it a deterrant? I don't believe so. What murderer commits his crime believing that he will be caught? Somehow I don't think that anyone who believes he has that sort of power over the life or death of another feels any sort of vulnerability to death himself. Or, perhaps, he is fascinated by it ... and simply too cowardly to commit suicide ...
Granted, one might acknowledge the cost-effectiveness of the death penalty ... but then, how much do all those appeals that a death-row resident is entitled to cost, exactly? Not exactly a great bargain for the taxpayers ... no more than life in jail, I'd warrant.
If we want to talk "deterrant," I think we need to impose something even more gruesome than a murderer could imagine. Medical research, perhaps? There are thousands of potential cures and lifesaving procedures which only need human subjects to be tested or perfected ... why subject innocents, even volunteers, to this sort of thing when there is such a "deserving" crowd right in the local Pen? Even better, why not cut open their brains and see what, exactly, MAKES a murderer -- and see if we can prevent it?
... or, for those with weaker constitutions, perhaps chain gangs are the answer. REAL chain gangs, who do DIFFICULT and DANGEROUS work. I don't have too many idea on a certain job, here ... anyone want to suggest something ...?
Public executions are definitely not the answer ... medieval, I believe someone mentioned. We have evolved, I hope ... at least most of us. Taking pleasure in watching someone die is not normal or healthy ... and if you don't take pleasure in it, why watch it? To traumatize your children?
OK, so I'm cold, cruel ... but only selectively. God help the person who thought to do harm to MY family .... grrrr ...