PUBLIC OPINION > The Death Penalty Is Necessary
News 2012/04/25 17:00:00
The death penalty is a complicated and controversial topic, evidenced by the fact that 16 states refuse to practice it, and more are struggling to decide. California is the latest state to challenge the death penalty, and they're taking an unusual route -- the ballot. California voters will actually get to decide whether or not to repeal the death penalty this year, and commute the sentences of more than 700 death row inmates. We took it to a broader audience first.
The death penalty is controversial, but the overall vote was still firmly in favor. Supporters just couldn't entertain the thought of letting a criminal guilty of horrible crimes have the luxury of hope, particularly in the case of heinous murders, aggravated rape, and the like. Some also argued that the death penalty is a deterrent. On the other side of the argument, there is the possibility of executing an innocent. The Top Opinion wrote, "Better that we should jail the scum for life than inadvertently put to death one innocent person."
Liberals Let Them Live
Politics play an obvious role, but the reason behind the distinction is less obvious. The fiscal elements seem incidental, and it's not your typical "family values" case, either. It does resemble anti-war sentiment in the sense that there is a strong opposition to the risk of innocent life. But liberals weren't as against it as conservatives were for it, hence the overall.
California for Capital Punishment
Though California has recently been a Democratic majority, it's still strongly in support of the death penalty. It could be that the volume of death row inmates worries residents enough to keep the practice in place. In New York, where the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in 2004, support was much lower.
Against It Overseas
It's a hot issue in California right now, but the death penalty is a global issue. It's still practiced in China, India, Indonesia, and the U.S. -- the four most populous countries in the world -- but the UN General Assembly issued a moratorium, and it's been abolished in most of the world, including all of South America and Europe (except Belarus).
If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about the death penalty. We'd love to hear from you!
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