There is yet another flutter of people talking about reintroduction of the death penalty. It always rather turns my gut as I fear that those opposed have rather dropped their guard. We tend to feel that that debate is long, long behind us. I am not so sure.
Those in favour of its reintroduction foten seem so strident. And it is, of course, such an emotional issue.
One seemingly rational correspondent to the local paper today critiques an observation earlier in the week that so-called 'right to lifers' (anti abortionists) often seem pro-death penalty. They note (The Advertiser February 26) that 'there is a vast difference between the killing of adults who have committed atrocious crimes and innocent babies'.
But I make the point in a letter to the Ed (yet to be published) "That is until, as has often been the case, the adult is found to be not guilty."
This is a real difficulty with the death penalty. It's a bit ghastly to discover after an execution that there may be doubt and/or even fresh evidence which calls a judgment into question.
It is not the only difficulty. Simply the most obvious.
To my mind the substantive problem is about a society that believes it has the right to take away life. There is an inherent contradiction in the idea, for example, that a society believes that no one has the right to kill another person. And yet punishes such a transgression by killing another person!