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Our society can do better than capital punishment

Dan Rodricks
Baltimore Sun
January 28, 2007

Just as death penalty supporters present an intuitive argument -- killing killers keeps others from killing -- those of us who hope the Maryland General Assembly repeals the state's capital punishment statute this year have a belief that is similarly grounded in intuition and probably impossible to verify: Killing killers keeps others killing. I've considered both arguments over the years and come down on the side of the latter: State-sanctioned executions stunt our spiritual and moral evolution, they contribute to the cheapening of human life, and they have been far more useful to politicians than they have to the rest of us.

The part about politicians is easy to demonstrate, and I don't need much more than this: Bill Clinton and his wife support the death penalty. Why? Because it gives them tough-on-crime cred, makes them seem more conservative than they truly are.

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