In this post I would like to consider some of the most common objections to the idea of capital punishment.
#1. Death penalty is unfair because it largely depends on how much money you have to hire a good attorney.
I am sure this statement is correct. The logic of this statement rests upon the idea that the people who can’t afford a good attorney got the death penalty while others who could hire a good attorney were able to not get the death penalty. If you think about it the one’s that got the death penalty were the ones that were found guilty. So they got what they deserved. Where is the injustice in that? The ones that didn’t, were able to manipulate the system. The notion of fairness can make our thinking cloudy, but if we think in terms of just or unjust our thinking becomes clear.
#2. Capital punishment is cruel and barbaric, it is an unjust retribution.
Different countries have different method for capital punishment. Some use hanging while others use lethal injections, just to name a few. In my judgment we should use the most humane method (possibly lethal injection). But is it unjust? I honestly don’t see how it’s unjust. If a person is found to be guilty beyond any shadow of doubt, then the concept of life for life is completely just. Where is the injustice? Why is it unjust retribution when it’s an equitable retribution?
#3. Innocent people could be sentenced to death.
This certainly could be a possibility. In my judgment every precaution and measure should be taken to ensure that an innocent person does not get condemned. On the other hand how many people were guilty and didn’t get the just penalty.
#4. A society that values human life does not kill human beings.
In your judgment which society places a higher worth on human beings, the society that would say “that human life is so valuable that if you take a life of a member of this society you forfeit your own life”. Or the society that would say “if you take a life of a member of our society you get 20 to 30 years jail sentence”. Initially we think the societies that don’t have capital punishment put a higher premium on human life. But I think it’s the other way around, they value human life less than the 1st society as a result they give a more lenient sentence.
#5. The death penalty is a waste of tax payer’s money.
In our justice system there could be delays or unnecessary appeals that could increase the cost. But when you consider an average cost of an inmate in our prison system could be anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 depending on the prison. In New York City the annual cost of feeding, housing and guarding each inmate could get as high as $168,000. There will definitely be a cost involve, but is it a waste of tax payer’s money? I don’t think so.
#6. The death penalty does not deter crime.
The primary idea behind the death penalty is one of just retribution not to deter crime. Having said that I don’t agree with the statement that it doesn’t deter crime. For example if you knew driving your car 20 miles above the speed limit would get you a ticket of $800 dollars instead of $20, would that deter you from speeding? The answer becomes obvious. I think the statement above may not be completely accurate.
Now what about Jesus, How would he feel about the idea of capital punishment? We try to look into that question on our next posting.