Death Penalty II

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Dear visionaries,

Jamison asks if I support the death penalty for abortion clinic bombers, if the bombing were to result in the deaths of any inside. The answer yes, I do. At the same time, I do not support the death penalty being applied to children inside those same clinics. In short, I support the death penalty for those guilty of a capital crime, provided there has been a fair trial, two or three witnesses, etc. I oppose the death penalty being applied to the innocent. In these postmodern times, this is sometimes represented as a contradiction. “Guilt? Innocence? What strange concepts these fundamentalists have!”

I believe I did not make another point clearly enough. Both Susanne and Robert misunderstood my position when I said everyone supports the death penalty. I did not mean by this that everyone supports the death penalty being applied by the state after a criminal trial. Of course, there is obvious disagreement about that. Rather my point was this: with the world in its current condition, either we employ lethal violence on those with a demonstrable contempt for human life, or (with our current court system) we leave those same people alive to employ lethal violence ad libitum.

In short, in our society, how many people have died at the hands of a murderer who had been previously convicted of another murder? The number is not a small one. Everyone who opposes the death penalty for murder after a first conviction is in principle supporting the death penalty for any of this murderer’s future victims.

When you find a cockroach in your salad, you do not decline to kill it because of any uncertainty as to whether it will deter the others. You are just interested in deterring that one.

“Apologetics in the Void” are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community, whose names I have changed. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name “visionaries.” Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don’t feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.


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