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The Ethics of Capital Punishment
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The Death Penalty is dead wrong.

"Conventional wisdom" might contend that war is "inevitable" and man a beast.  More civilized notions dare to presume that life is sacred and each of us nurture a unique spark of the divine.  We can choose to sustain and respect life.  Each time we reach out to what is best in our neighbors, we nourish what is best in ourselves.

The only logical way to stop killing is to stop killing. Premeditated homicide is against the law for every state, group, organization, citizen, or company in this union. We should not allow government officials to randomly assign groups of executioners who can somehow violate this fundamental law, without censure.  Twelve jurors are no more entitled to commit "judicial homicide" than anyone else. No need for semantic acrobatics here.  A rose is a rose, murder is murder.  The state should prevent, not perpetrate violence.

When persons are convicted of capital crimes and it is determined that they have forfeited their social contract, we should confine them for the remainder of their days.  If the "state" executes them to satisfy some metaphysical "vengeance,' then we have traveled beyond the pale.  Mature and civilized people do not murder restrained prisoners.  Savages might be expected to sink to the lowest level of the most criminal members of their species, but we can do better. 

There are times when it becomes necessary to use force (but not violence) to protect the innocent from harm.  Self-defense is a legitimate posture, even when the minimum force necessary to mitigate injury might prove fatal...but a wanton taking of life without regard for law or common decency should not be permitted or condoned.  Civilized people have learned to avoid this slippery slope. 

Those elected to lead with compassion and wisdom, must exercise prudence and mercy if they hope to legitimately serve as arbiters of justice or moral authority.  Our churches call for an end to killing our prisoners because this practice clearly contradicts our universal moral codes against such behavior. 

Judicially sanctioned homicides undermine the moral authority of the state and lead to the execution of innocents.  Vengeance is not sufficient reason nor  compelling excuse for "residual" murder. When our system of justice, accidentally or intentionally (Jessie Jacobs, Huntsville, Texas, 1995 Facts on File), executes innocent Americans, something is out of whack. When we kill the retarded and our own children, we can only react with shame and revulsion at these crimes.  Our capital statutes are written to condone and even reward criminal behavior.   The message that violence somehow can "solve" violence (socially-sanctioned homicide) is a contradiction in terms.

Elected governments cannot, do not, and will never earn respect by violating traditional moral laws (Thou shall not kill} and ignoring international norms. (All other western industrialized democracies have actively prohibited "statutory" homicides.) If homicide is deemed illegal for the common man, then a government cannot be allowed to violate that moral code.  This is not rocket science. We shouldn't emulate, pander to, or legitimize cold-blooded murder.  Nor should we  glorify executions or acquiesce in what constitutes collective murder.

We can better protect the public and actively prevent homicides when we do the right thing, rather than settling for the "easy" thing. We must lock killers up for good and stop government-sanctioned violence. This sends the right message to our children.  We must draws a line in the sand to separate ourselves from murderers and sycophants who somehow cannot comprehend that life is too precious to take for granted. 

Le Haim!  Tim Flanagan  

I will not go on at length about   Capital Punishment, Execution, or Judicial Homicide?

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On Texas Death Row

Jessie Jacobs was executed in Huntsville on the 4th of January, 1995