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Capital punishment saves lives
Boston Globe ^ | June 6, 2002 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 06/06/2002 2:30:00 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:07:51 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Second of two parts DEATH PENALTY abolitionists don't usually mention it, but in promoting a moratorium on executions, they are urging us down a road we have taken before.

In the mid-1960s, as a number of legal challenges to capital punishment began working their way through the courts, executions in the United States came to a halt. From 56 in 1960, the number of killers put to death dropped to seven in 1965, to one in 1966, and to zero in 1967. There it stayed for the next 10 years, until the State of Utah executed Gary Gilmore in 1977. That was the only execution in 1977, and there were only two more during the next three years.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: deterrent
Part I - The myth of executing 'children'
1 posted on 06/06/2002 2:30:00 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: All
The myth of executing 'children' -- [Full Text] THERE WERE tears and sighs aplenty when Napoleon Beazley was put to death last week, eight years after he pumped two .45-caliber bullets into the head of a defenseless 63-year-old, rifled the dead man's pockets to get his keys, and then stole his car for a one-block joyride. But the tears and sighs weren't for Beazley's victim, John Luttig, or for Luttig's widow, who was nearly killed herself, or for their children and grandchildren, whose lives sustained a wound that night that will never fully heal.

The tears and sighs were for Beazley. And why? Because at the time he committed what even he later called a ''heinous'' and ''senseless'' murder, his 18th birthday was still three months off. That was enough to send the anti-death penalty spin machine into overdrive.

''I am astounded,'' wrote Bishop Desmond Tutu, ''that Texas [and other states] take children from their families and execute them.''

''Texas must recognize,'' thundered Sue Gunawardena-Vaught of Amnesty International, ''that the brutal practice of executing children is in complete and utter defiance of international law.''

''Of those nations executing children,'' an aghast Jeannine Scott wrote in The New Abolitionist, ''the United States is far in the lead.''

It's hard to say which is more offensive - the pretense that giving a lethal injection to a 25-year-old convicted murderer amounts to ''executing children,'' or the spectacle of people who never shed a tear for the innocent John Luttig weeping so noisily for his killer.

In any case, the age issue is a red herring. No state allows the death sentence for anyone younger than 16, and no one younger than 23 has been executed in modern times. Antiexecution activists seized on Beazley's age for the same reason they seized on Karla Faye Tucker's death row conversion to Christianity and Ricky McGinn's last-minute plea for DNA testing: They'll seize on any excuse to keep a murderer alive, no matter how lame the excuse or how obvious the murderer's guilt.

That is their right, of course - in a way, it is even part of the super-due process the US criminal justice system affords capital defendants - but it would be nice if they sometimes acknowledged the truth: They aren't opposed to unjust or tainted executions, they are opposed to all executions, period. The Beazley brouhaha was simply one more skirmish in their ongoing (and very well-funded) campaign to wipe out capital punishment for good.

So is their call for a death-penalty moratorium.

Opponents of capital punishment loudly insist that death sentences are meted out unfairly and incompetently, that the criminal justice system is broken, and - worst of all - that scores of innocent defendants are being sent to death row. These are grotesque exaggerations, based mostly on a handful of anecdotes (didja hear the one about the lawyer who fell asleep?) or highly tortured statistics, like the phony claim that there is a 68 percent error rate in capital cases.

The truth is that capital punishment in America is the most accurate and carefully administered criminal sanction in the world, and the public has good reason to support it. The latest Gallup poll shows that 72 percent of Americans favor the death penalty for murderers, while only 25 percent oppose it. Indeed, nearly half of the public (47 percent) says that the death penalty isn't imposed often enough, more than double the 22 percent who think it is imposed too often.

Hence the call for a moratorium. Americans are being urged not to abolish executions but merely to suspend them long enough to identify and fix any problems. ''Whether you support or oppose capital punishment,'' goes the ACLU's pitch, ''we need a moratorium on executions to give us time to figure out why the system is not working.''

It's a clever appeal, and there are signs it is having an impact. Illinois and Maryland have adopted moratoriums. The idea is under consideration in other states. Writing in The New Republic, Peter Beinart suggests that endorsing a national death-penalty moratorium could be a winning issue for a Democratic presidential candidate. With a largely anti-death penalty media cheering in the background, perhaps it could.

Of course, some moratorium proponents are death penalty supporters who sincerely believe that there are correctable problems with the way it is currently administered. That was the thinking behind the moratorium in Illinois, a state where judges and policemen have been convicted of corruption and where a number of capital defendants were wrongly convicted.

But most of those calling for a national moratorium see it as a prelude to ending executions for good. As usual, they are not being straightforward about their motives - or about what we could expect if they got their way. [End]

2 posted on 06/06/2002 2:33:00 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"This story ran on page A21 of the Boston Globe on 6/6/2002."

Although they buried it on page 21, I'm still amazed that such a sensible story made it into the PC Globe at all . . .

3 posted on 06/06/2002 2:40:43 AM PDT by Neanderthal
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
One of Jacoby's best. I expect this to generate a lot of letters to the editor at the Globe.
4 posted on 06/06/2002 2:51:31 AM PDT by Bonaparte
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
''Texas must recognize,'' thundered Sue Gunawardena-Vaught of Amnesty International, ''that the brutal practice of executing children is in complete and utter defiance of international law.''

Listen up, commie-globalist-woman of Amnesty International, this is still (so far) a sovereign country!!!

And anyone who has the ability to carry out the murder of an innocent person is old enough to receive the death penalty.

5 posted on 06/06/2002 2:55:32 AM PDT by ratdog
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
So painstaking is the super-due process of capital murder cases that for all the recent hype about innocent prisoners on death row, there is not a single proven case in modern times of an innocent person being executed in the United States.

He barely escapes by using the word "proven." Otherwise there are several cases of people executed who we pretty much know were innocent. Aside from that, there are many people who have been released from death row when proven innocent., but this can be attributed to the justice system working.

However, many people have been released from death row only because of DNA testing. If DNA testing didn't exist, those people would be dead. That doesn't get the justice system off the hook, it only means that, luckily for those people, technology made up for its inadequacies.

Aside from the gross inadequacies of our justice system, I fully support the concept of a death penalty.

6 posted on 06/06/2002 3:04:40 AM PDT by Quila
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To: Quila
I am an anti anti-abolitionist.
7 posted on 06/06/2002 3:09:00 AM PDT by goldstategop
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Capital punishment save lives of other convicts. And what if we should have agains a president such as Bill Clinton who will sell pardons? A dangerous killer can also escape, find a technicality in the legal system to obtain freedom, or sceme a murder for behind bars.

A lenient sentence for killers and traitors only shows that we don't value human life, that we take a casual attitude towards murder.

8 posted on 06/06/2002 3:39:23 AM PDT by Dante3
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
God and God alone is to determine when each man's life ends. Sometimes however He uses the government of man to effect that end.

If people don't want to be executed then they shouldn't commit the murder.

The most striking protection of innocent life has been in Texas, which executes more murderers than any other state

The more I read of it the more I like Texas. (maybe retirement down there would work)

God Save America (Please)

9 posted on 06/06/2002 6:26:11 AM PDT by John O
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

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