POLITICAL DEBATE: Should we abandon the death penalty?

“As Gandhi said, An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. I’ll let Gandhi speak for himself. Moving on, the death penalty is hypocritical. There, I said it. What sense does it make to kill people to teach the public that killing is wrong? That’s essentially what the death penalty does.”

As Gandhi said, An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

I’ll let Gandhi speak for himself.

Moving on, the death penalty is hypocritical.

There, I said it.

What sense does it make to kill people to teach the public that killing is wrong? That’s essentially what the death penalty does. Kills people for killing people.

I don’t disagree that murderers deserve punishment, but must we stoop to their level?

Murder represents a loss of respect for human life. That same loss of respect is what we demonstrate when we kill killers. The death penalty sends the unmistakable message that homicide, in some cases, is justifiable.

It may be convenient to believe that the death penalty is a deterrent for murderers. But when someone commits a murder, it is either premeditated or not.

If it’s premeditated, whoever is planning it will probably plan an escape, trying to avoid detection, suspicion and arrest.

If they are planning to get away with it, why would they be worried about punishment?

Besides, the death penalty isn’t consistent.

As Jim Wallis said in his book God’s Politics, the death penalty is clearly biased against the poor, who cannot afford legal representation, and is outrageously disproportionate along racial lines. Few white collar-killers sit on death row, and few are ever executed. And there is no real evidence that it deters murder; it just satisfies revenge.

This idea was backed up by the Republican Governor of Illinois, George Ryan, in 2003. As his last act in office, Ryan commuted the sentences of 167 prisoners who had been sentenced to death.

Months before, he declared an infinite moratorium on executions in the state.

In his statement, Ryan said that our capital system is haunted by the demon of error: error in determining guilt and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die. What effect was race having? What effect was poverty having? Because of all of these reasons, today I am commuting the sentences of all death row inmates.

Maybe we can learn from Ryan’s actions in Illinois. Perhaps we can do the same thing, here in Ohio.

Maybe we’re finally realizing something: killing murderers won’t end murder.