Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The Death Penalty Option: I Support It

May 1, 2012 9:07 am 1 comment

The lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison.

A New York Times editorial on April 27 continued the paper’s ongoing campaign over the years to end the death penalty in the United States.

The editorial points out that only 33 states retain the death penalty.  New York is not one of them.  Wikipedia notes how that came to be.  It reports:

People v. LaValle, 3 N.Y.3d 88 (2004), was a landmark decision by the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in the U.S. state of New York, in which the court ruled that the state’s death penalty statute was unconstitutional because of the statute’s direction on how the jury was to be instructed in case of deadlock.  New York has since been without the death penalty, as the law has not been amended.”

The Times cites a recent report issued by the National Research Council.  The Council “has now reached the striking and convincing conclusion that all of the research about deterrence and the death penalty done in the past generation, including by some first-rank scholars at the most prestigious universities, should be ignored.”

Why?

The Times editorial continued, “A lot of the research assumes that ‘potential murderers respond to the objective risk of execution,’ but only one in six of the people sentenced to death in the last 35 years have been executed and no study properly took that diminished risk into account.”

Is it reasonable to believe that potential murderers were aware of the statistic that most death penalty sentences were not being carried out?  I, having a scholarly interest in the topic, was not aware of this fact.

Putting aside deterrence, supporters emphasize a second reason for continuing the death penalty:  society needs to show its moral outrage at particularly heinous crimes, such as the one committed in Connecticut in July, 2007.  That crime involved the brutal raping of a 48-year-old woman and one of her daughters.  Both daughters, one 17-years old and the other 11-years old, were tied to their beds and perished when their house was set on fire.  The two men apprehended and convicted of the crimes in separate trials were sentenced to death.  Last week Connecticut’s governor, Dannel Malloy, signed a law abolishing the death penalty in that state.

Amazingly, after the incessant campaign by death penalty opponents, an October, 2011 Gallup Poll showed that 61 percent of Americans still support the penalty, down from an all-time high of 80 percent in 1994.  I remain one of those who support the death penalty and, as of this moment in time, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision finding the death penalty constitutional remains the law of the land.

I do not believe there is a single case in the U.S. where academics and law enforcement authorities agree that an innocent person has been put to death.  Yes, innocent people have been convicted at trial, but as a result of appeals, they have been exonerated before the sentence was carried out.  Even if opponents were to cite such a case, I would still support having the penalty available as an option in particularly heinous murders.  The reason being that many more innocent lives would be saved because of the deterrence factor.

Death penalty opponents always claim racism in the meting out of the penalty, conveying that blacks and Hispanics are victims of that racism.  What they rarely state is that while proportionate to the population whites commit fewer murders than blacks and Hispanics, they receive the death penalty in greater numbers.  The cry of racism by the opponents really stems from the contention that the murderers of minority victims are given prison sentences to a greater degree than death sentences, whereas the murderers of white victims are more likely to be given death sentences.

Those opponents don’t urge that more minority murderers of minorities be given the death penalty in larger numbers upon conviction, but rather that no one suffer that penalty.

Also, did anyone at the Times editorial board consider what the effect on the murder rate in the U.S. might be if instead of one in six executions being carried out, six in six were timely executed and reported on the front pages of the Times and other papers?

Death penalty opponents certainly have the right to express their views as they have successfully done for many years, causing a reduction in support for the penalty.  Regrettably, their editorials have frightened many in the public from speaking out in favor of retaining the death penalty for fear of being labeled racist when such a charge is manifestly unfair.  I hope those “first-rank scholars at the most prestigious universities” supporting the death penalty (I don’t recall the Times referring to their opinions in its prior editorials) will now speak out.

I also hope that other death penalty supporters get involved in this discussion.  Don’t be frightened into silence.

1 Comment

  • Mary Hrabowska

    Yes, I support the death penalty for terrorists (I’m personally one of the 9/11 victim, and do not see so far anybody paid for that crime) and for other especially heinous crime. The accusation of “racism”, “islamofobia”, etc. is completely unsupported, in view of the statistics. I hope that at last people in NY will open their eyes.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Theater Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie: ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie: ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Actor Seth Rogen on Tuesday released the trailer of a new Christmas film produced by Jews and set to be released on Thanksgiving. “Here’s the trailer for #TheNightBefore which was made by Jews, is about Christmas, and opens on Thanksgiving,” Rogen tweeted. The Night Before is about three “ride or die homies” celebrating one last debauchery-filled Christmas Eve reunion before they become too busy to keep up the tradition. In an effort to make the night as memorable as possible, they set out to find […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    A June 2015 art exhibit, “The Transformative Power of Art,” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, harnessed the universal language of art to convey an important message: “Our fragile Mother Earth faces the devastating consequences of climate change, a defining challenge of our time.” The exhibit also included sixteen portraits of people from all over the world who have “contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday. Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    A new documentary explores the lives and work of Jewish and Arab rappers in Israel and how the ongoing conflict in the region has impacted their lyrics, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. Hip Hop in the Holy Land is a six-part series co-directed by Mike Skinner, the British frontman of hip-hop group The Streets, and produced by Noisey, a music channel published by Vice news. The first episode, published last week, shows Skinner meeting with Tamer Nafar, the founder of one of […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada 49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    New 49ers running back and Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne apologized on Wednesday for a tweet in which he raised the age-old myth that Jews were historically responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. Reaching out to his Jewish fans, and the chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Hayne tweeted: “To the Jewish community @DvirAbramovich #WeAreAllOne.” Underneath, he keenly included a screenshot of a text message to elaborate on his apology: “I sincerely apologize for my tweets on July 1. I […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot reminisced about her childhood in Israel during an interview published in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. “I don’t remember this, but my mom told me that when I was three they threw a party on the rooftop of the house. They put me to bed, and I heard people coming into the house and no one came to me. I went to the rooftop and took a hose and I started to spray water on everyone, just […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    An Israeli organization is helping wounded U.S. veterans move past their physical and psychological challenges by connecting them with injured Israeli soldiers who understand what they’ve been through. “What we discovered very early is that there’s no ‘professional, psychiatrist, social worker’ or anything like that [or] pills that can come even close to helping a soldier who fought in combat, who was wounded, who lost his friends. No one can help him like another person who’s been through exactly what he has,” Rabbi Chaim Levine, […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships World Researchers Say Women Less Likely Than Men to Kill Hitler, if They Could Travel Back in Time

    Researchers Say Women Less Likely Than Men to Kill Hitler, if They Could Travel Back in Time

    Women are less likely than men to want to kill Nazi leader Adolph Hitler if given the ability to travel back in time, a recently published research paper revealed. The paper analyzed 40 studies involving 6,100 respondents in a time-travel thought experiment, the New York Post reported on Friday. While 60 percent of men said they would theoretically be willing to kill Hitler, only 55 percent of women said they would be comfortable doing the same. The paper was published in the Personality and […]

    Read more →