Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Death Penalty Respects Life

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Death Penalty Respects Life

Article excerpt

Surrounded by relatives of murder victims, Gov. George Pataki, fulfilling a campaign pledge, used the pen of a slain police officer and signed the legislation making New York the 38th state to restore the death penalty since the Supreme Court allowed executions to resume after banning them in the early 1970s.

There were the usual American Civil Liberties Union vows to continue the fight and last-minute speeches from liberal members of the state legislature. State Sen. Richard Dollinger of Rochester took a syringe from his desk and said: "What we're going to do today is we are going to fill this with what I think is the greatest venom present in our society today: pure and simple revenge. That is what this is all about."

This legislation isn't about revenge. It is about justice, or just deserts. And the greatest venom in our society isn't executing murderous criminals, but the loss of respect for human life that has led to the current crime wave. The legislation is a response to liberals' devaluation of the dignity of man to the level of a head of lettuce. This view says that humankind may be more complex than plants and animals, but ultimately we are all products of a grand evolutionary process made up of material and energy that has been shaped by pure chance in a random universe.

Isn't that what they have been teaching in our schools and culture? Doesn't Carl Sagan believe that the "cosmos" is all there is? Hasn't Darwin's "survival of the fittest" become the secular gospel?

Why, then, do the liberals mourn for those who are about to die for committing acts that in previous times would have brought them to the gallows for their and society's own good? Capital punishment is not about revenge or deterrence. It is about retribution. It even has great benefit for the criminal, because it forces him to confront the serious nature of his acts and his place of residence in the next life.

In his brilliant essay, "The Humanitarian View of Punishment," C. …

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