A short argument in favour of the death penalty, sort of

This is the tweet that inspired this post.

It inspired the post, but not the ideas behind it, which I have been thinking over for some time.

I am in favour of having the death penalty on the books, although I do think it should be a) the measure of absolute last resort and b) reserved for very specific crimes.

I’m familiar with the arguments about the possibility of killing an innocent person, but here’s the thing; it’s not the death penalty that kills them, but the bad system which sentences them to death in the first place.

Consider: there are a rash of deaths related to shoddy seat belts in cars. Do we:

  • a) Ban cars?
  • b) Fix seat belts?

The answer is obviously b). If you fix seat belts, everyone benefits, not just the people in car crashes.

For me, the issue of innocent people being executed is not to remove the sentence of death, but to fix the system that saw an innocent person being on trial for the crime in the first place. Because isn’t that where the failure has taken place? We can’t claim that a system that allows innocent people to be tried is any better than a system that allows innocent people to be killed. We must address the cause, not the symptom.

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