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By Don Boys, Ph.D.
It seems the issues with the death penalty just will not go away. Arkansas had plans to execute eight convicted killers during eleven days in April before their lethal drug expires. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has called a halt to one of the executions but the governor plans to continue with the other executions.
We are told that it is not moral to take a person’s life after he or she has been convicted of killing another human. However, from the beginning of time, civilization has understood that it is not only moral to execute killers, it must be done to protect civilization. Most sane people believe in personal self-defense and the death penalty is governmental self-defense. If a state refuses to execute killers, it is an abdication of responsibility and an invitation to anarchy.
It is also legal to execute killers if the governing apparatus (the state) authorizes its executive branch to carry out the order to do so. The people, through their legislators have decided that killers should be executed, so of course, it is legal.
Our first concern should be what the Bible teaches about the state putting people to death. If we can ascertain that, then it doesn’t matter what philosophers, theologians, sociologists, judges, criminologists and weeping, whining, and whimpering liberals have to say about the subject.
Genesis 9:6 clearly teaches that if a man sheds another person’s blood, then his life will be taken by the government. Moses wrote, “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” When a person premeditatedly takes a life, he not only assaults society but also attacks God since man was made in His image. For those who accept the Bible as binding on what we believe and practice, that should settle the issue.
However, sincere people tell us that God also told us, “Thou shalt not kill” so killing is wrong, but informed Sunday school pupils know that that verse means, “Thou shalt do no murder.” And of course, we should not murder. If there were a Bible prohibition against all killing then we would be prohibited from killing a fly, cattle, hog, etc. Nor could we kill in times of war or self-defense, but that is not the issue. The issue is what to do with murderers.
A few states have returned to the death penalty, but most of them are only playing with it. Execution is still not sure and very slow coming to the killers. A killer should know that after a fair, fast trial and one appeal, he goes to his death! He should be in the grave before the first anniversary of his victim’s death. Killers deserve to die. The blood of innocent ones cries out for justice, and one thing is sure: the executed killer will never kill again. That is justice, not vengeance.
The Death Penalty Information Center’s report proves that states are not really serious about the death penalty. “Although the United States is considered a death penalty country, executions are rare or non-existent in most of the nation: the majority of states–31 out of 50–have either abolished the death penalty or have not carried out an execution in at least 10 years. An additional 5 states have not had an execution in at least 5 years, for a total of 36 states with no executions in that time. Only 6 states carried out an execution in 2015, and only 3 states (TX, MO, and GA) accounted for 86% of the executions.” Few states are serious about executing killers.
But why not be humane and give the killer life in prison without possibility of parole? But that still doesn’t satisfy the scriptural demand that killers be killed, nor does it speak to justice. It also puts prison guards in jeopardy. Why not kill a guard during an escape attempt? Why not kill a fellow-prisoner during a fight? After all, the killers have nothing to lose. A life sentence can’t be any longer than life! And why shouldn’t thieves or kidnappers kill witnesses if there would be no death penalty hanging over their heads?
To hear death penalty opponents talk, you would think that our only argument is the deterrent effect of the death penalty which they say is weak. However, the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) reported that each execution deters an average of 18 murders, according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University!
Deterrence is only an insignificant argument; (however, an executed killer never kills again)! Critics often point out that states without the death penalty have about the same killings as those that do execute killers. Of course, no one says that all killers are deterred. We know that no law deters everyone. Moreover, we do not know how many thousands of men thought of taking a life, then considered the death penalty and changed their minds.
Furthermore, we do know that many criminals have not taken guns to their crime scene because they might be forced to kill someone and “get the chair.” That is a deterrent.
If the states want to do something to deter murder they can clean up and radically change the public school system since about 90% of those on death row went no further than high school. So, evidently lack of education along with the social environment impacts the murder rate.
Another deterrent would be if the time between sentencing and execution were drastically shortened since the average time on death row is now 15.9 years! Some killers spend 25 or 30 years on death row! Shorten the time and save lives since potential killers get the message: they will die–soon if they take a life.
While preaching in Toronto, Canada I talked with a man who was the youngest police chief in Ireland. He said, “Dr. Boys, you might be interested to know that we asked nineteen convicted killers if they would have killed if Ireland had the death penalty.” He said, “All the killers replied that they would not have killed if Ireland had a death penalty.” Well, that’s from the experts!
Yes, it is moral, legal, and biblical to execute convicted killers. Those who really love people will demand that society execute convicted killers after a fair, fast trial and one appeal.
Boys’ new book Muslim Invasion: The Fuse is Burning! was published recently by Barbwire Books; to get your copy, click here. An eBook edition is also available.
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years; authored 15 books and hundreds of columns and articles for Internet and print media publications; defended his beliefs on hundreds of talk shows. These columns go to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations and may be used without change from title through the end tag. His web sites are www.cstnews.com and www.Muslimfact.com and www.thegodhaters.com. Contact Don for an interview or talk show.)
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