Blogs weigh in on the clemency decision

The most interesting are the contrarian opinions – Jaded JD, Will Vehrs, Jim Bacon, Chad Dotson, I. Publius, and James Young all agreed with Governor Warner’s decision. Meanwhile, the only people I’ve seen who seem to disagree are Walt Ball and Too Conservative. Meanwhile, Atomopawn enters the following comment:

On the other hand, there is a time and a place for executions. While Haru is right that “it’s better for a thousand to go free than one innocent to be executed” it’s not THAT much better. Justice and punishment go hand in hand. If we stop killing criminals altogether, crime WILL increase. [my emphasis added]

Will it? I support the death penalty, because I don’t really care if murderers are put to death. Why the heck not, I say? But can anyone really tell me how “crime WILL increase” if the death penalty is abolished? The common arguments for deterrance: 1. Fear – Since the death penalty is only used on really violent murders, here’s the logic we have to use: The death penalty instills fear in potential criminals who would have murdered someone and then mutilated them if the penalty was only life in prison and constant rapings from inmates, but they reconsidered and murdered someone in a less distasteful manner (maybe with pills or with a gun from really far away), because death is worse than constant rapings. 2. Societal norms – If the government establishes a death penalty as an ultimate penalty for the worst of all crimes, this tells everyone that “Society will not tolerate murder!” This “ultimate moral” is instilled in the subconscious every child in states that have the death penalty (citizens who grow up in states without the death penalty tend to still believe that murder is bad, but their negative opinion of murder is not quite as strongly held as people who grow up in states with the death penalty). That’s why states without the death penalty have more murders than states that…wait…there are no stats to back that assertion up… Anyway, like I said, my support for the death penalty could be best summed up as “well sure…why the heck not?” But when someone’s guilt is even slightly in question, I’m certainly going to support clemency. PS: The death penalty was strengthened today, not weakened, as some have asserted.