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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Top Opinion

  • holieberie 2012/04/25 18:51:56
    Do you realize how much money it costs to keep these "murderer's" in prison? How much tax dollars it costs? These people who are put on death row are well aware of their actions. They chose to make those choices...taking another life, They deserve to feel that pain as well. And eye for an eye. If I could, I would have each one killed the same way they killed their victims. It would make people think a lot harder for their actions

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  • Gohmert... DanC 2012/04/25 21:18:21
    Gohmert Pyle
    "There's no "severely restricted gun policy" in Mexico, you can legally buy lethal guns without any hindrance whatsoever."

    Mexico has only one gun store run by the military. They do not sell anything higher than an 9mm browning round. Yet, the streets are flooded with 7.62x39mm rounds and grenades. So yes, firearms are severely restricted by the government. The fact that the streets are flooded with high caliber weapons means that gun control is not working there. It means that the government is corrupt and inept. Drugs are restricted, yet our neighborhoods are flooded with them. Again, inept government.
  • Gohmert... DanC 2012/04/25 21:35:37
    Gohmert Pyle
    Also, I did not say outright ban. It is restricted, not banned.
  • Tea in ... Gohmert... 2012/04/25 18:23:55
    Tea in the Harbor
    Mexico is the exception to the rule, it's barely an organized country anymore because of the drug gangs.

    Why kill people when the stats say it doesn't accomplish anything and it's going to cost more money?
  • Gohmert... Tea in ... 2012/04/25 21:27:00
    Gohmert Pyle
    Why allow our children to drive when the stats are stacked up against them?

    Death penalty, I do not agree with it. I find it an act of "justifiable" vengeance. I do believe though that someone can commit an act so egregious that nothing can be done to reform that person. Look at Anders Breivik A 21 year sentence for his actions are not what I called reasonable punishment. Prison is supposed to be a reformatory institution, but some convicted criminals will never reform.
  • Tea in ... Gohmert... 2012/04/25 21:39:07
    Tea in the Harbor
    I don't consider murder justifiable under any circumstances. It isn't a matter of someone deserving being killed as much as it is that two wrongs do not make a right.
    When we decide it's OK to kill in one circumstance, it validates questioning if it is right or wrong in other circumstances.

    I think our prison system is all screwed up, for just the reason you cite. Some people won't ever be rehabilitated, and they should not be in the same institutions as those who can be. Criminals run the range from mothers stealing food to feed their children to people like Anders, but in our system they are all treated the same. I think that's a thoughtless way to handle them. Some should be helped, some rehbilitated, and some should have the doors on their cells welded shut.

    That would make prisons a lot harder to administer, but I think it would also give us a lot better chance of success in detering crime.
  • Gohmert... Tea in ... 2012/04/25 21:57:35
    Gohmert Pyle
    I actually meant to say "state-sponsored" vengeance with the term justifiable coming from it being legally applied by the government. I've already given my opinion on the death penalty.

    I know like the sad state of the prison system. I do not like it and it is counter productive.
  • Tree-Hugger 2012/04/25 17:21:08
    You can be wrongly accused, though. I think if someone has done something really evil they should be killed, but not otherwise.
  • JCD aka "biz" 2012/04/25 17:19:23
    JCD aka "biz"
    Why did you write on the News & Politics front page; 'the death penalty is unnecessary"?
    (I believe it is unnecessary).

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