Killing the Killers

August 11th, 2019

This letter was published yesterday in the Capital Times. I wanted to say much more in the article, but I decided to be brief and to the point. It usually works better that way.

 

“Officials from the state of Texas have decided to pursue the death penalty against the shooter in El Paso. Likewise, President Trump today announced that he wants to use capital punishment in the cases of mass murderers and perpetrators of hate crimes. The prosecutors in Texas and our president all think it is good idea for the government to kill the killers.

But is it a good idea?

Is the death penalty a deterrent? Severe consequences for heinous crimes make sense if the person who intends to commit the crime is rational. However, President Trump has already stated that he thinks that both the shooter in El Paso and the shooter in Dayton are mentally ill. The death penalty obviously stops a murderer from killing again, but does the execution of the criminal keep others from copying him? Especially for people like white nationalists, wouldn’t the death of the convicted murderer just make him a martyr for the cause?

Do we stop violence with more violence?”

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