THE DEATH PENALTY
by David Ray
The following was published as a Letter to the Editor in The Arizona Daily Star, July 13, 2014:
I don’t know anyone who thinks capital punishment deters crimes, and it would be difficult to see any gain accomplished by most wars you might name, ancient and modern.
We execute a criminal at great expense while accepting daily carnage by people with “gun rights.” Those who lied to kick off the Iraq and Afghanistan sequence (longest war in our history, no end in sight) live in exalted luxury, never indicted.
Psychiatrist Karl Menninger in “The Crime of Punishment” wrote: “The inescapable conclusion is that society secretly wants crime, needs crime, and gains definite satisfactions from the present mishandling of it!…We have to confess that there is something fascinating for us all about violence.” Yet he hoped, in 1968, that “the public will grow increasingly tired of its cry for vengeance and blindness to the expense, futility, and danger of its penal system.”
In our State it is the Arizona Executive Clemency Board which recommends action to the Governor. However, that Board has never recommended clemency, not once, so I think the focus should also be on the Governor, with appeals to her Christian conscience. I believe the Governor’s influence would be definitive should she weigh in against the Death Penalty.