Calling For Blood

Reacting to an article on a family that was savagely tortured and murdered, Sonny Bunch defends the death penalty:

Every time I start to waver on my support for the death penalty as I did in the wake of another New Yorker piece, about a possibly-innocent man who was executed I see a story like this and it snaps me right back into line. I’m all for containing prosecutorial abuses. I’m all for reforms to the way prosecutors seek the death penalty...[But] those monsters the animals who would do that to a family of human beings don’t deserve to live, and I don’t buy the argument that it’s a harsher penalty for them to live out their lives in prison. I want the state to wreak vengeance upon them. And, god help me, I want them to suffer when it happens. If this makes me a bad person, then so be it.

Will at Ordinary Gentlemen has mixed feelings. I do not believe the point of the law in the West is revenge. It's justice. In fact, avoiding revenge and filtering the emotions of crime through the restraint of the criminal justice system, with due respect for the accused, is what separates us from other less evolved places. And if the death penalty is used, it should not be to impose suffering. It should be to demonstrate deterrence and justice. I should add, of course, that I oppose the death penalty in all cases - because I do not trust government with the capacity to end a captive human being's life, because I do not believe any justice system is perfect enough to do that without error, and because I believe that murder is absolutely wrong.