With no death penalty a person may be more inclined to take another’s life if they know they can only get jail time, even if it’s life in prison, for doing so. On the other hand I’ve often heard it said that if you take one life you might as well take as many as you want as you can only pay with one death penalty. (And you still may have a chance at jail time.) Lovely logic either way.
Certainly taking a human life, whether as a crime or a legal punishment, is a horrible thing. Death could be said to be a cruel and unusual punishment, as might be said about a life without parole spent in incarceration (except that the incarcerated IS alive, but his murder victim is not).
I have often felt that someone taking another’s life has given up their own right to life. (Just talking crime here, not war and "legitmate" (?) life-taking.) If we want to hold life as extremely precious then the penalty for taking another’s life has to be extremely expensive. My vote would be for the death penalty. Could I throw the switch on a convicted killer myself? I don’t know, but if it was because I’d lost a family member or loved one I’d have to give it some very, very serious thought. Who is going to fire the last shot, the killers or the victims?
What do you think?