Public support for the death penalty is increasing
Public support for the death penalty, which reached a four-decade low in 2016, has increased somewhat since then. Today, 54% of Americans favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 39% are opposed, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in April and May.
Two years ago, 49% favored the death penalty for people convicted of murder, the lowest level of support for capital punishment in surveys dating back to the early 1970s.
While the share of Americans supporting the death penalty has risen since 2016, it remains much lower than in the 1990s or throughout much of the 2000s. As recently as 2007, about twice as many Americans favored (64%) as opposed (29%) the death penalty for people convicted of murder.
I strongly support the death penalty for the worst murders. Murder is not taken seriously enough in America. When some murderers end up serving as little as 6 years something is terribly wrong. When the death penalty has been abolished people begin to think of crime as a public health issue. It’s anything but that.
Recidivist rates among criminals of all types are high and getting higher because a criminal mind is not easily changed, if at all. It’s not a health matter that can be changed with the right treatment. It’s simply who they are and always will be. Rarely but sometimes even criminal defense lawyers understand this.
When Jospeh Corrbett was paroled in 1980 after serving a little less than 20 years for the kidnapping and murder of Adolf Coors on February 9, 1960 his own defense lawyers warned against his parol on the grounds that he was such a malevolent criminal his parol would endanger the public. He lived another 29 years until he committed suicide in 2009. Apparently, he committed no crimes after his parol. He was in poor health at that time of his parol. Nevertheless, 20 years was not enough punishment for what he did in 1960. He deserved and should have received the death penalty.
Murder destroys a lot more than just the life of the victim. Everyone has a family and a network of friends and associates. A murder affects all those people, sometimes horribly. No one should be allowed to get off light for such a terrible act that inflicts pain on so many.
Some people are shocked to hear me say that I believe the worst murderers should be given a choice between a firing squad and hanging by the neck until dead. As I see it, the only thing wrong with that is too many are likely to choose a firing squad. In fact, hanging done professionally and correctly does not involve pain and suffering when the trap door is pulled. Done correctly by an expert death is instantaneous. What is frightful to the condemned person is walking up the steps of the scaffold, hearing a pastor give them a comforting assurance of eternal life in a better place when they know damn well they aren’t going to a better place, and the placing of the rope around their neck and the black hood over their head. The most vicious murderer likely sheds tears for himself at that point. None of the those tears are ever for the victim or the many other people who lives were damaged by the awful crime he committed.
An injection of three drugs, one to induce unconsciousness, one to cause muscle paralysis, and a third to stop the heart is more tender and caring that is usually given to a beloved pet that one must put to sleep to eliminate its suffering. Treating a merciless savage better that a beloved animal companion is a travesty of common sense and decency.