Messenoir, once again, we are on different pages of an issue. But, I 100% respect your opinions. Personally though, I do not think that every single life is precious. While it is good in theory, most would argue that Richard Ramirez, Jeffery Dahmer, Hitler, and the like are about as far from precious as it gets. Some people do things that are so ungodly that they, in my own opinion do not deserve to be breathing. Maybe it's me, being a father who nearly lost a child shortly after birth, and my one thought was "why would god take my child who is barely 4 hours old, and let murderers, pedophiles, and rapists walk the earth?"
Is the system unfair? perhaps. Does it execute more minorities than whites? Sure. Does that mean that the minorities who committed horrendous crimes shouldnt be punished for them, simply based on thier ethnic makeup? Nope.
Is it a deterrant? Well, it will, in most cases, deter the person from killing again. Whether or not it will deter joe average citizen from killing is irrelevant, because if the only thing that stops a person from murdering somebody is the thought that they may face lethal injection, then they lack the basic skills as a human to be able to contribute anything to society to begin with. Saying "Hey, if I kill this person I am robbing, I may go to death row, I better not kill them" isnt saying "I wont kill anybody because it's wrong" Its simply being afraid of the consequences.
As far as the entire "rehabilitation" arguement, I do not recall ever seeing anything that says that Prison's purpose is to rehabilitate somebody. If they need medical, psychological, or some other help, thats fine. But everybody with psychosis doesnt murder, everybody with bipolar disorder, doesnt shoot up the post office, everybody who is schizo doesnt rape and murder a 7 year old. The fact that the vast, VAST majority of them do not, should be enough evidence, in my eyes, that those who DO, deserve no special protection because of thier illness. (once again, just my opinion)
I dont think the death penalty is cruel or unusual, I dont think its unfair, I dont think its wrong. My only problem is that when faced with an opportunity to make it as fool proof as possible, many states have not taken the lead, and overhauled it, removing all doubt as to who is honestly guilty, and converting the sentences to life sentences if their is any doubt. If that were to happen, I would assure you most people who only oppose it because its unfairly handed out, may change thier minds.
I had a whole long post here, but I thought it kind of got off on a tangent, so here's the extremely cut down version:
I'm not sure rehabilition has any place in this discussion, as it is mutually exclusive with the death penalty. However, I would like to point out that not everybody in jail is a rapist or a murderer and deserves to be locked up for the rest of their natural lives. Hell, there's no guaruntee that the rapists and the murderers are going to be in jail for the rest of their days. Without any form of rehabilition in prison, you're gambling your property, or your life, or the lives of those around you on whether or not the criminal fears jail enough to mend his wicked ways.
Do you really believe that that 19 year old kid who tried to make a living knocking over 7-11's is going to come out of the hole he was thrown in three years later and say, "This time, maybe I'll try waiting tables instead"?
I know I don't. Not unless we make an effort to teach these kids that waiting tables is a much better prospect than armed robbery. If you were dumb enough to make that decision the first time, I sure as hell don't have faith that you'll make a better one on your own the next time.
Agreed on the points about showing them the error of thier ways Jag. However, for me, I would think that being locked away from family and friends, getting pounded in the keaster, and not being able to come and go as I please, would reinforce to me that a life of crime ISNT the wise choice.
And, while not everybody in Prison is a murderer or rapist, doesnt mean that they are somehow "good" people. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but, the majority of people in prison, (probably 99.9%) absolutely deserve to be there.
This literary website has compiled list of recommended reading to help the liberal-minded make it through the next 4 years. The selections are funny, biting, and frighteningly appropriate. http://bookninja.com/essays/nov_2004/bush.