The death penalty is one of those rare issues I find it quite possibly to argue from either side. My conservative heart finds no problem in believing in ‘an eye for an eye’, but my more liberal head finds the barbarity of it repulsive. I do think it acts as a deterrent - just look at the murder figures in this country in the years either side of abolition. Unfortunately the category of ‘capital murder’ was abolished in the late 1960s so comparisons now are hard to make.
But the fact is, that occasionally, the wrong people are hung. Years later, it emerges that in fact the person who was hanged turned out to be innocent after all. But it’s too late. So I could never accept that the death penalty should be available to a judge for any murder, which is what many people seem to argue for. I can, however, see an argument for it being available for multiple murders, where the murderer’s DNA is used as proof that he or she is guilt on each occasion. I can also see an argument for the death penalty being used for terrorists or police murders.
But still I come back to the barbarity of it. And that’s why I couldn’t bring myself to vote for it.
I do find it slightly bizarre that as a general rule - and there are of course exceptions - that those who are most vociferous about the death penalty, tend to take the Right to Life side of the argument over abortion. And those who scream about the barbarity of the death penalty tend to be those who seem tto think little of terminating a 22 weeks old foetus.
Ironic, isn’t it? Either you believe in life or you don’t. It’s time people on either side of this argument looked at the consistency of their position.
This isn’t about left and right, as some people are trying to make it. I know plenty of people on the left who are pro life or in favour of the death penalty, just as there are plenty on the right who are pro choice or anti death penalty.
And I bet you do too.