For the more practical minded, there’s ample evidence that the death penalty doesn’t deter criminals. And though I’m amenable to the argument that the death penalty at least deters this particular killer from committing another crime, we are still trading one eye for another.
To my own vengeful eye, life in prison is far more excruciating than a 43-minute execution. Far worse is a confined life without privilege or diversion — except perhaps for books because reading keeps the mind sharp, all the better to remain alert to one’s malignant fate.
Inhumane? Who cares?
Though my intentions be cruel, I’d rather not participate in the death of another except as self-defense. The additional specter of executing someone convicted in error further resigns me to the conclusion that our challenge is not in becoming more efficient executioners — but in becoming too civilized to want to be.
Kathleen Parker is a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. She can be reached at email@example.com.