Eddie Bauer, in response to Teresa Lewis’s Execution, Another Confirmation that the Death Penalty is No Deterrent
“The death penalty is actually a political campaign prop that shows the people that the people that are being put in place to interpret the laws, and administer punishment are actually going to do so.”
Couple of things here. “We must be able to convince, without qualms, that the punishment meted out is effective in its purpose, and therefore justified. The punishment of death is no exception.”
I agree with you that Capital Punishment is not a deterrent for crime. However the same can be said about prisons. After all, the US houses approximately 10% of its population in cells. And today we are faced with the harsh reality that the costs of these prisons are creating record budget deficits. Nonetheless, we still continue to add more people to the prison system.
The death penalty was never supposed to be a 100% deterrent, but actually a measure that the victim’s family can “feel good” about the justice system. The death penalty is actually a political campaign prop that shows the people that the people that are being put in place to interpret the laws, and administer punishment are actually going to do so.
Regardless of the individual feeling, the community has a sense of “feel good” when certain punishments are meted out. For example in the State of Texas, Gov. George W. Bush had some of the highest approval ratings, yet under his rule, he oversaw the most executions in the history of the US. So by that sentiment, there must be some sort of validity to this means of punishment, or the people of the Great State of Texas would have elected someone else.
I am not an advocate for the death penalty by any stretch of the imagination. But to ask the question, “why do we still believe that executing one man for the redemption of another is the answer to crime?” seem a bit presumptuous. From a victim’s standpoint, it is not for anyone to decide what level of punishment is severe enough for a crime.
It is often times easier to coach our fellow citizens on how to think and how to feel when we are not walking in their shoes. Usually once as the shoe gets on our feet and we are feeling the same pain as the victim, then all the prior logic goes out the window and we have knee jerk reactions.
I don’t know this woman and I don’t know the intimate details of the trial. However, if it is one thing that she has on her side is that she was brought to trial and found guilty by a judicial system that is second to none. She had her opportunities for appeals, and all of them led her to this point. This tells me that the arguments that the victims family presented must have been compelling enough to continue with the execution.
You have presented arguments against the methods being cruel and unusual. Yes, our Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. However, there is really no humane way to execute a person. By decree, the word execution already carries with it a negative cogitation. We have evolved from the gallows, to lethal injection. While not being perfect, to date, lethal injection is the most humane method.
I know of the arguments that Kentucky has presented about the violations of the convicts rights to a punishment that is not cruel and unusual. However, I have to ask this question, what about the victims rights? Was the victims right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness respected by the convicts?
Judges, and governors are not put in place to advocate on behalf of the felon. They are in place to act on behalf of the victims, and as such, the rights of the felons are automatically placed in second place when compared to the rights of the victims.
A theory of mine is that the Death Penalty does serve as a deterrent for crime. Just as speeding tickets serve as a deterrent from speeding. We will never know how many people thought of killing someone but the thought of loosing their life was enough to make them rethink their options.
We just don’t have a means of quantifying the number of people who have not killed because of the death penalty. Just like the state can never really know how many people would have sped if there was no speed limits. The only data we can quantify is the people who are caught for either crime.
In closing, I would say, as imperfect as the justice system is in the Western World, I would take it over some other “justice systems” in the Eastern parts of the World. At least here, you have a voice.