Is the Death Penalty Ever Moral?



Are there circumstances under which a murderer deserves the death penalty? In other words, should capital punishment be abolished or not? Dennis Prager explains.
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Script:

There are almost no issues where I don’t understand both sides: taxation, the size of government, abortion, socialism, capitalism. As strongly as I feel about any issue, I understand the opposition.

But there is an exception: the death penalty for murder. Here, the gulf is unbridgeable between those of us who believe that some murderers – and I emphasize some murderers – should be put to death and those who believe that no murderer should ever be put to death.

Take this example:

On the afternoon of July 23, 2007, in the town of Cheshire, Connecticut, two men broke into the home of Dr. William Petit, his wife Jennifer and his two daughters. The men beat Dr. Petit nearly to death with a baseball bat; one of the men raped the doctor’s wife; and the other man sexually assaulted their 11 year-old daughter, Michaela. The two men then strangled Mrs. Petit to death, tied down the two daughters on beds, doused them with gasoline, and, while the girls were still alive, set the house on fire. Dr. Petit survived, but his wife and daughters did not.

Those opposed to capital punishment believe that these two men have a right to keep their lives. So, is there anything a person can do to deserve the death penalty? To those opposed to capital punishment, the answer is no. In fact, many opponents of capital punishment believe that killing murderers is the same as murder. You heard me right – most opponents equate the murder of an innocent family with putting the murderers of that family to death.

Opponents of capital punishment also argue that keeping all murderers alive sanctifies the value of human life. But the opposite is true. Keeping every murderer alive cheapens human life because it belittles murder. That’s easily proven. Imagine that the punishment for murder were the same as the punishment for driving over the speed limit. Wouldn’t that belittle murder and thereby cheapen human life? Of course, it would. Society teaches how bad an action is by the punishment it metes out.

And what about the pain inflicted on the loved ones of those murdered? For most people, their suffering is immeasurably increased knowing that the person who murdered their family member or friend – and who, in many cases, inflicted unimaginable terror on that person – is alive and being cared for.

Of course, putting the murderer to death doesn’t bring back their loved one, but it sure does provide some sense of justice. That’s why Dr. Petit, a physician whose life is devoted to saving lives, wants the murderers of his wife and daughters put to death. In his words, death “is really the only true just punishment for certain heinous and depraved murders.” Is the doctor wrong? Is he immoral? Well, if you think capital punishment is immoral, then Dr. Petit is immoral.

And what about opponents’ argument that an innocent person may be executed? This argument may be sincerely held, but it’s not honest. Why? Because opponents of capital punishment oppose the death penalty even when there is absolute proof of the murderer’s guilt. If there were a video of a man burning a family alive, opponents of capital punishment would still oppose taking that man’s life.

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  • I'm pretty certain slavery is always better than life in prison and the death sentence is always moral when people are dangerous. We don't have any obligation to care for evil people. It's immoral to keep evil people alive. If God designates a person to destruction we are evil for not terminating that person's life.
    We can still execute innocent people because if you are convicted by a jury of evil people and judges,
    you can still be innocent.

    David Anewman June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • Many people are still for the death penalty mainly for psychological reasons.

    Patrick Langlois June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • Whoa. People dont want to muder because people they affair to death not because they re good.
    I dont agree kill muderer. Instead help them realize muder is wrong, and make sure they pay the victim back with money, hard work, regrets, and more to the end of his live.
    People always want justice, but dont realize forgiveness is even better.
    Death sentence can make muderer affair. But muder still there right? Somehow, death penalty seem very logical but it doesnt work well in realife. Death penalty keep going and so muder. Nothing change.

    Sen Em June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • I wouldnt just kill murderers and rapists i would torture them yo death by cutting their dicks off and putting the open wound on a fire ant mound but you have to have a great amount of evidence to do so

    Garin Henneman June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • While I have no sympathy for murderers I favor life without parole based purely on the cost to the public. Common fiscal sense!

    DOG FACE June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • I am a conservative, but this is one of the few cases in which i agree with the liberals.

    Picture This Studios June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • Calling capital execution is murder like calling being arrested is kidnapping

    Barney Boi June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • Ask the japanese for their prison system

    Željko Objedović June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • 4:05

    The 6. commandment states
    "Don't murder/kill"
    So…

    Željko Objedović June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • What about 50 years in jail? Isn't that annoying enough?

    Juha Lankinen June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • don’t understand? simple: one’s faith runs deep and carries the spiritual principle that God ALONE has authority over life & death. understand now?

    cev q June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • I just can't have an opinion. There's 2 sides of the argument I agree with

    Ben Lynch June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • I believe that all people deserve to keep their lives. The claim that no religious book says nothing about it is also ignorant. No religious book also says you can't beat your brother over the head with a hockey stick, although it is clearly wrong. I think God gets to choose what he does with the things he creates and we have no right to take life. Two wrongs do not equal a right. If there is judgement in the next life, then it is God's judgement. In God's eyes, sin is sin. It is like two people arguing who's taller in front of Mount Everest. One might be one inch taller but it doesn't matter. God is so much better than both of you. It is like that with murder and theft. We might see it as extremely different, but in God's eyes it is less different. I am for life in prison with no parole. Just not the death penalty.

    I don't understand you.

    Ben Gillingham June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • How can we connect this case with the issue of abortion/killing a life, given the fact that one is against abortion while supporting killing murderers?

    The Notorius L.I.T. June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • What happened to eye for an eye? The scale of justice has to be balanced.

    ddubs 11 June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • Can someone explain to me why people think that death is the worst punishment that can be handed out? Because I don't believe that. Haven't believed it since my twenties. Daily, undeadly mental torture is much, much worse, like unduly prolonging someone's life whilst them sitting in a contrete shitbox with virtually nothing to do all day long, except for the highlight of being fed. Stipping away everything that makes life enjoyable to the point where suicide seems like an acceptable alternative to them, and have them made clear that there is no way they will ever be released on parole. Oh, and of course make sure they can't commit suicide, because that would be chickening out of their punishment. It even has the added benefit of being reversible in terms of compensation, in case someone truly innocent has actually been convicted to this form of existence.

    So, yeah, I do indeed believe that the torturers, rapists, murderers of Dr. William Petit's wife and daughters and evil men like them deserve to keep their lives – and have them made as miserable as possible. Because you can kill someone only once, and then it's over.

    GSlartibartfast June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • i think it should be the victims decition or the close one to the victims decition to whether kill the murder or not

    Jordi villanova June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • So if your mum murdered someone and was given the death penalty, would you still be in favour of it? Yeah she killed someone, but it's your mother. You love her. It would affect the families of the killers..

    Sophie Giddens June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • This video is wrong. The problem with the death penalty is that in order to fairly try a suspected murderer charged with capital murder, then the burden of proof would have to be raised to "beyond all doubt". This wouldn't be fair because murderers would frequently escape conviction, and therefore avoid punishment for their actions.

    Potter's Police, Security and Railway videos June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • This video perfectly explains why I think Drunk Driving causing Death should be punishable by death.

    Stephen Barr June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • 4:15 The 10 commandments: Am I A Joke To You?

    Thayo Nicolaidesg June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • Sorry, most of your videos are well done and thought provoking, not this one. You actually say it is okay to put an innocent person to death so that the heinous can face capital punishment @3.55 minutes. It is NEVER okay to execute an innocent person.

    Harry Hobson June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • This only holds true if we have right people on the right places, if a police man testifies in court against u, ur done for, n u also have to consider not every country is USA, n they don't have, DNA machines readily available at district courts too, but the conclusion made by the US will have a spiral effect on those countries n eventually on the US itself.

    cucu caca June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • The death penalty doesn't need to be particularly moral.
    Prison is not a deterrent. That much is true and neither is the death penalty necessarily

    Some murders are crimes of passion and will most likely never be repeated
    Others are serial murders.
    There is no amount of prison that will rehabilitate those murderer. At that point why should the people pay to keep a mass murderer alive. They are not redeemable by man
    They only hope they have of any salvation is with their God so let's expedite that

    We aren't ending their lives as any form of punishment or justice . We are just saying good riddance to bad rubbish
    We are removing these people from society for the sake of society.

    Obviously the burden of proof would be beyond the shadow of a doubt t and the jury would have to be unanimous
    There can be no death penalty based in any measure on circumstantial evidence

    P.D. Evans June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • I think banishment might be the best punishment. Put them on an isolated island to fend for themselves. If they are innocent then at least you haven't accidentally committed murder. It also separates the murderers from the rest of society.

    savvageorge June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply
  • the death penalty
    should be reserved and used with care for these situations
    many unrelated people watched the murder
    video evidence.
    or a mass murder against civilians in war crimes
    other than this death penalty shouldn't apply
    I hope everyone against death penalty to cross paths with a murderer.

    MTS BOUR June 25, 2020 6:39 am Reply

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