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Death Penalty

  • You, stupid one, who believe in laws which punish murder by murder ...

    • George Sand,
    • 1837, in Marie Jenney Howe, ed., The Intimate Journal of George Sand ()
  • The pain of losing a loved one by the horrible act of murder is not lessened by the horrible murder of another, not even when it is cloaked as 'justice' and state-sanctioned. It is only a delusion to believe that one's pain is ended by making someone else feel pain.

  • ... some of us have learned when murder enters our door — that unnatural death is an evil, no matter whose hand stops the breath.

  • Ninety countries still hold on to capital punishment, and, sadly, one of these is the United States, the only Western industrialized country to practice this barbaric punishment.

  • I wonder if these death penalty proponents would still hold that it's worth some risk of error if it were their loved one who was murdered by the state, though innocent.

  • ... no study has brought out any solid evidence that the death penalty deters crime. In fact, Amnesty reports that 'the murder rate in states which use the death penalty is twice that of states which do not, according to FBI statistics.'

  • What an insane logic we ascribe to — that the state should kill to show others that killing is wrong!

  • I don't believe we should rob thieves, rape rapists, burn an arsonist, or kill a killer. They must be punished, but this is done by taking them out of circulation, protecting society by removing them from the population.

  • ... we can now buy a toy called 'Death Row Marv,' put out by McFarlane Toys, and by pulling a tiny switch, carry out a miniature execution. 'Watch Marv convulse as the switch is thrown,' say the words on the box ... they sold out in preorder sales before Marv was even in the stores ...

  • What makes a Man love Death, Fanny? Is it because he hopes to avert his own by watchin' the Deaths of others? Doth he hope to devour Death by devourin' Executions with his Eyes? I'll ne'er understand it, if I live to be eight hundred Years. The Human Beast is more Beast than Human, 'tis true ...

  • Experience shows that the frequent use of severe punishment has never rendered a people better. The death of a criminal is a less effective means of restraining crimes than the permanent example of a man deprived of his liberty during the whole of his life to make amends for the injury he has done to the public.

  • I say this idea of chokin' folks to death to reform 'em, is where we show the savage in us, which we have brought down from our barbarious ancestors. We have left off the war paint and war whoops, and we shall leave off the hangin' when we get civilized.

  • As a mother trying to raise kids with some kind of a code, an honorable way to solve problems without using violence, I find it interesting to live in a country where your government is allowed to kill, whether it's war or execution. What interests me is not who deserves to die but who deserves to kill.

  • I am opposed to the state being in the killing business ...

  • Vengeance does not subtract any numbers from the equation of murder; it only adds them.

  • Many of us do not believe in capital punishment, because thus society takes from a man what society cannot give.

  • We don't cut off the hands of thieves or castrate rapists. Why must we murder murderers?

  • You know the definition of capital punishment? ... Them without the capital gets the punishment.

  • Why do we kill people who are killing people / To show that killing people is wrong ...

    • Holly Near,
    • "Foolish Notion" (1980), in Holly Near, with Derk Richardson, Fire in the Rain...Singer in the Storm ()
  • ... executions, far from being useful examples to the survivors, have, I am persuaded, a quite contrary effect, by hardening the heart they ought to terrify. Besides the fear of an ignominious death, I believe, never deterred anyone from the commission of a crime, because, in committing it, the mind is roused to activity about present circumstances.

  • I was transfixed with horror, and over me there swept the sudden conviction that that hanging was a mistake — worse, a crime. It was my awakening to one of the most terrible facts of life — that justice and judgment lie often a world apart.

  • The murderous deed of the criminal was against conscience, the torture or the murder of the criminal by the official is with conscience. Thus the conscience is diseased and perverted, and a new class of imbruted men created. We have punished and punished for untold thousands of years, and we have not gotten rid of crime, we have not diminished it.