Monday, March 14, 2005

The Perfect Case for Capital Punishment?


atlantagunman, originally uploaded by OC Chronicle.

Now that a clear picture of the events surrounding Brian Nichols' murderous rampage through Atlanta and the US Judicial Branch is forming, it's time to ask why this blood-thirsty thug should not get the death penalty.

Inevitably there will be the standard chorus of anti-capital punishment protestations but one very important and compelling argument cannot be made: "What if we kill an innocent man?"

This, by far, is the most persuasive argument against capital punishment. It would indeed be a tragedy if the state would erroneously execute an innocent man despite years of appeal and public/judicial review. When debating the merits of capital punishment, proponents are often challenged to find an equally persuasive argument in the face of this scenario.

However, now the challenge must be made to those death penalty opponents who use this argument as their last weapon to fight the capital punishment law. In this case, there is absolutely no doubt of Nichols' guilt. There are many eye witnesses. I understand there is even a video. There is even a persuasive argument, given the nature and circumstances of the crime, that imprisonment holds no assurance that this thug will not kill again. After all, he perpetrated these crimes in the middle of a court room while under armed custody. How can anyone be sure he will not kill one of his prison guards? Well, there is one way to be sure.

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