Your opinions, please, and I know you have them, on the Death Penalty.

I’m really torn on this, and I would like to know how you feel. When it comes to the death penalty, I tend to lean in favor of it for some crimes. However, if I were on a jury, I’m not sure I could vote in favor of giving the death penalty, but if a member of my family were murdered, I think I would be in favor of the death penalty as a means of punishment.

Pope Francis, on his recent visit to the United States, encouraged us, as a country, to get rid of the death penalty. He even wrote a letter to the state of Georgia asking for mercy in the case of Kelly Kissander, who had been on death row for 18 years and was finally executed last night. This case is another reason why I am torn.

1) Even though Kelly did not kill her husband with her own hands, she convinced the man with whom she was having an affair to do so. Yes, I realize that this is a capital crime, too. However, the man who actually killed her husband is serving life without parole.

2) Kelly lived another 18 years. Her husband did not have that privilege. Kelly found God and, according to her spiritual director, was a different woman 18 years later. I would hope that she had changed.

I feel greatly for her family. They have been traumatized again by the death of a parent. According to the state of Georgia, the debt of her life was demanded as payment for her crime.

I feel greatly for the family of her husband. I wonder if they have achieved a sense of peace and closure after Kelly’s execution. I hope so.

My questions become these:

1) Do you feel the death sentence in justified in some cases?

2) Was Kelly on death row too long? She lived 18 years there.

3 ) If Kelly’s execution had been sooner, would that have given more significance to the payment for her crime?

4) Since Kelly did not kill her husband, but had someone else do so, should he have also been sentenced to death and executed?

5) Do you think the death penalty should be removed as a punishment for crime?

If you feel up to answering any of these questions, please be respectful in your answers. I will delete disrespectful comments at my discretion.

Please post your answers here on my blog, and not on the sites where I will post this blog.

I’m really torn about the death penalty. I’d like to hear what you think.

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2 thoughts on “Your opinions, please, and I know you have them, on the Death Penalty.

  1. I will no longer support the death penalty after what I’ve seen in my own state. Long story …

    A few years ago, my state had two capital-crime trials back-to-back. Both cases resulted in verdicts of Guilty. One murderer got the death penalty, the other got life in prison. One victim was a law enforcement officer – but was his death any more or less terrible than the other victim’s? I don’t believe so. The verdicts basically told one family that its loved one was worth less than the other victim. (And by the way, the police partner of the dead officer now opposes the death penalty, putting him at odds with many other law enforcement officers.)

    Sometime after the man who murdered the police officer was sent to prison, word somehow got out that during the one hour a day he was allowed out of his cell, he was mopping floors and doing other useful custodial work in the prison. Outrage followed, fueled in part by an angry editorial board at the state’s largest newspaper. The objections were along the lines of why should a cop-killer get to do work that should be a privilege for inmates. Ridiculous. This underscored the fact that the conviction was a matter of revenge, not justice.

    Not too long after these trials came what was probably the most heinous murder committed in my state in decades. The murderers were quickly apprehended, and everyone involved was convicted. The death penalty was not an option due to the age of the perpetrators and because home invasion wasn’t considered an aggravating factor to murder. Legislators moved immediately to “fix” the law so that the death penalty could apply in the future. I attended the hearing on the bill, and the lust for revenge made my blood run cold. Many of the people supporting the bill were friends and acquaintances of mine, yet I felt as though I were amid strangers.

    Had those murderers been in the hearing room, they’d have been lynched. I would have wanted to join in – but the fact that I might want revenge doesn’t make it right.

    These cases don’t involve wrongly-convicted people, and to my knowledge none of these killers has undergone any kind of spiritual conversion while in prison. There’s nothing sympathetic about any of these men. Killing them, however, would satisfy the basest of my feelings while not reinforcing justice in the least.

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  2. I have wavered over my life on this issue. I want to be against the death penalty, and in theory it seems easy to be so. But then you read about raping and killing little kids or defenseless women or someone in a cold act of premeditated murder and you ask yourself how do you reach justice? Is life in prison enough? No, it just doesn’t seem right. I am not advocating that we kill murderers as punishment, The death penalty should be used as a form of reaching justice, not revenge. Some crimes are so heinous that society needs to establish a clear line of right and wrong, and nothing is clearer than the death penalty. Justice requires it.

    As to your questions:
    1. Yes
    2. No, I am not opposed to making sure all avenues of getting at the truth are explored, even if they take a while.
    3. No. Being on death row gave it the significance.
    4. I don’t know the details of the case, but superficially, yes, he should have been.
    5. No.

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