Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, February 06, 2004

Mr. Smith Should Die 

I would feel this way if I didn't have a young daughter.

Like Jonah Goldberg there are arguments against the death penalty that I can respect, but disagree with. I might (I do not) agree with all of the standard aguments against it and still demand it. Once you've gnawed over the statistical, prejudicial and deterrence arguments I don't feel you can dismiss this argument; it is justice. If you take a life, it is just for you to pay with your own.

I feel a coherent, thoughtful and standard death penalty is so important for a civilization's sense of itself that there probably are reforms that would make a larger majority feel more comfortable with it. I would be in favor of a ban on executing those convicted on eyewitness identification alone. Since there are two parts to capital trials now, a guilt phase and a punishment phase, why can't there be two standards of evidence? Beyond a reasonable doubt for the guilt phase and something short of moral certitude for the punishment phase?

I imagine we'll be hearing more about the other young lady he tried this with and I imagine Grace will get sick of hearing me tell her at least once a week to kick, bite and scream, scream, scream if anyone ever tries something with her. As for Mr. Smith, if everything is as it appears to be and assuming he has a fair trial, any civilization that would shrink from putting him to death has committed itself to unraveling.
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