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Oregon and the Death Penalty
Responding to Governor Kitzhaber’s five weak reasons.


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Dennis Prager

4. Oregon has an “unworkable system that fails to meet basic standards of justice.”

Opponents of the death penalty make it virtually impossible to execute murderers. They then lament how long and laborious the effort to execute a murderer is.

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5. “And I simply cannot participate in something I believe morally wrong.”

Opponents of the death penalty simply assert the death penalty is immoral. That is their prerogative. But “morally wrong” in this context means nothing more than “I don’t like it.” Indeed, as reported in the New York Times, “Asked with whom he [Kitzhaber] had consulted, he said ‘Mostly myself.’”

Governor Kitzhaber’s moratorium delays the execution of a murderer who had raped and brutally beaten to death a woman named Mary Archer. Needless to say, the family and friends of Mary Archer disagree with the governor’s action.

“We are just plain devastated,” said the man who had been Mary Archer’s husband. “This is such a miscarriage of justice.”

Indeed, it is. And worse. Societies that allow all murderers to live have lost some of their hunger for justice and certainly lost their hatred of evil. They also cheapen the crime of murder. Punishment is society’s way of communicating how seriously it views a crime, and there is all the difference in the world between the death penalty and life (not to mention less time) in prison.

When all murderers are allowed to live, the evil exult and the victims weep. Why is that noble?

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.



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