People like to say you cannot be pro-life and yet advocate for the death penalty, that the two are inconsistent with one another. However, that is not necessarily the case. I do not advocate the death penalty in all cases but I do agree there are times when it is appropriate and that doesn’t conflict with my pro life view.
The major argument of those who oppose the death penalty is that the innocent often get killed. However, these same people have no problem killing an unborn child whom we know with 100% certainty is an “innocent” therefore it is not the concept of innocence that is truly a factor here. While it is unfortunate that any innocent person perish, everything is done to make sure that the person being put to death is indeed guilty of the crime they are accused of and the fact that people have been released from death row after serving time and finding out they were indeed innocent all along is a clear demonstration of how seriously we take the death penalty. It is not meted out with reckless abandon but with thoughtful and painstaking consideration. While mistakes do occur it is not the intention of the court to “stick it to the little guy” and to murder its citizens.
When you are talking about cases like Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, then the death penalty is indeed an appropriate punishment for the crimes that were committed. There is no doubt of their guilt or of the viciousness of their crimes. Timothy McVeigh participated in bringing down the Oklahoma Federal Building and took the lives of innocent strangers. Ted Bundy persuaded innocent women to come to his aid and then raped and murdered them. Jeffrey Dahmer went to nightclubs, brought men back home with him and then murdered them and placed their decapitated heads in the freezer. These men were not benign threats to society and as such they received the correct and appropriate punishments for their particular crimes.
In terms of the death penalty being a deterrent; that is only the case if we are talking about rational people. I doubt Jeffrey Dahmer gave any serious consideration to his actions beforehand and with his obvious fascination with death, I don’t think the death penalty would have been much of a deterrent anyway. So while the death penalty will not deter the more seriously mentally unbalanced people; it does not mean we should abolish it altogether. It is not a perfect system because the people who run the system are themselves imperfect beings, however, one should be careful in throwing out the baby with the bath water.
The death penalty should not be abolished and we should continue to make sure that it is not being used as some political weapon but in accordance to the standards of justice.