Originally Posted by ugaimes
...about capital punishment?
The recent thread about Tookie being put to death really got me thinking.
Since I was a kid, I've always been adamantly pro-capital punishment. It's always the ONE area in which I've leaned towards the conservative side. My father used to joke that I'd give the death penalty to jaywalkers (joking, of course).
Anyway, in recent years I've started to think differently. I am a strong believer in seeking justice for heinous crimes, but is another death really the answer? So right now I'm sort of in limbo, not really sure how I feel one way or the other about capital punishment.
I wanted to hear from people on both sides of the fence why they feel the way they do about capital punishment.
I used to be pro-captial punishment too, until I actually thought about it. When I was younger, I just accepted it as something that was done, and trusted that it was the right thing to do. "You take a life, you give yours" type of mentality. Then I started thinking about what it actually solves, and wondering whom it really benefits...and who really has the right to decide whether someone lives or dies.
I was reading the Texas Death Row website the other day, that lists the people currently on it and what they've done, and some of the things they were done were so horrendous it made me sick and I actually thought to myself: "wow, some people really do deserve to die," but I still wouldn't want to decide whether someone lives or not, and I certainly would not kill someone for any reason. (Well, unless they were an immediate threat to myself or my loved ones.) Maybe the fairer thing to do would be to give the victim's mother, husband, or (adult) child the option of killing the person? At least then it would be something they have to live with, and not left up to people who have nothing to do with it.
I'm a lot like you in that I'm conflicted because I feel so sorry for the victims' families, but I also want things to be fair and I'm not sure how killing someone for commiting a crime "worthy" of death makes 'us' better than the person who did the killing.
There are also a lot of things wrong with the justice system, and I don't trust it 100%. It's only as fair and just as the most unfair and unjust person in it. I always wonder about the 1 in a million person who was framed, or the case in which the evidence was improperly processed. People are fallible, but people are directly and indirectly responsible for those men and women's lives--and people think that's fair? Even if it were impossible to wrongly convict someone, the way they handle the people before killing them is appalling. I said this in the other thread, too: if they're going to kill them, they need to do it before they become different people. People DO change; whether or not they would have if they were free is completely irrelevant. They have had to come to grips with the fact that they will eventually be murdered, but ...
I don't even like to think about it. This is an issue in which both sides are equally compelling. If you sit and think about it too long, the tugging on your heart from opposite directions will pull it apart.