Tuesday, June 12, 2007

South Anchorage Murder Signals Need for Stronger Deterrence

A vicious Sunday night murder in South Anchorage should telegraph Alaskans that stronger deterrent is needed in our framework of laws. A capital punishment statute followed up by swift executions of the guilty would send a strong signal to those who would end the lives of others: murder someone and you will surely die for your crime.

A dozen studies since 2001 have shown again the obvious: capital punishment deters. In three separate reviews of social data, investigators estimated between three and 18 lives would be saved per execution of the guilty. Swift justice amplifies the signal, the studies showed.

It is clear to me that Alaska law worries too much about the guilty, and by our failure to deal decisively with sociopaths we expose the innocent to slaughter, just as happened on Sunday. Legislators: I call on you to seriously consider this issue and to enact a strong and just capital punishment statute to protect the innocent.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New Studies: Death Penalty Deters 3-18 Homicides Per Execution

Returning the death penalty to active use in the united states is not so much about justly punishing the guilty as it is protecting innocents from slaughter. A recent article on MSNBC News summarized recent findings in social science that demonstrate that executions do in fact deter homicides.
“Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it,” said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. “The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect.”

A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides. “The results are robust, they don’t really go away,” he said. “I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?”
Critics dismiss this and other studies suggesting that methodologies are flawed and populations are too small to draw useful conclusions. However, the academic attack on these studies seem to me to often be merely defending entrenched positions.

It is incomprehensible that society might defend murderers and allow the innocent to perish. Yet by protecting the guilty from swift punishment, we allow others to die because of our fastidiousness.

Let us be clear: no one, not one single person, need ever be put to death again. All that is required is that no one murder or commit other capital crimes. Just...don't....pull....the....trigger.

In my mind, those who strive against the death penalty themselves have the blood of innocents on their hands.