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    Tuesday, February 27, 2024

    Questioning the death penalty

    Why does this country still tolerate the death penalty? The recent execution of Kenneth Smith in Alabama using nitrogen gas is the latest example of barbaric punishment used in a developed country which is supposedly rooted in Christian ideals. Revenge is surely the primary driver behind the concept of the death penalty as punishment for heinous crimes, but, from a psychological viewpoint, the satisfaction thus gained is temporary and there is a longer-term negative impact. One must also question the religious conviction underlying the support for the death penalty; is it based upon pre-Christian concepts such as the eyes and teeth traded in the Bible or Homeric ideals? Perhaps the message contained in the Sermon on the Mount, of love, compassion and selflessness, should be our guiding light.

    I would like to think that we could improve our society by, first, eliminating the death penalty altogether, and, second, addressing the harm caused by a mistaken belief that the Second Amendment allows individuals to own and use lethal weapons intended for war and not peace.

    John Sutherland


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