I can’t say that it’s time to end the death penalty, because that time came and passed a while ago. Any remaining moral justification for the death penalty slipped away when we started looking at DNA and proving that some of the people we’d killed weren’t actually guilty. I don’t know how someone learns – without any doubt – that our justice system kills innocent people and just looks away without it twisting up their guts. Apparently they do it pretty easily.
At the least, we need to stop talking about the death penalty in terms of whether it’s justified if when someone does something bad enough. We should be past the point where our debate is if there are, in theory, people that deserve capital punishment. As Will Munny said, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”
The question, if you want to keep seeing people executed, is simple: Now that you know that innocent people are going to die, how many innocents does the state need to kill before it becomes too much?
This isn’t a rhetorical question. What’s the number? What percentage? Where’s the threshold where you say, “Now it’s too much,” and ask for it to end? Because this is the question, and it’s the only one. I realize you think certain crimes deserve death. I disagree, but I’ll give that to you. You think people deserve to die for some crimes. But how many innocent lives is punishment worth?
You should be able to look me in the eye and tell me that if 10 of the 46 people we killed last year were innocent, it still would’ve been worth it. Otherwise, the moral ground you’re pretending to stand on is just bullshit.