Wanted: An Honest Debate about the Death Penalty

A guard stands behind bars at the Adjustment Center during a media tour of California’s Death Row at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif., in 2015. (Stephen Lam/Reuters )
Reporters once again glide past the horrifying specifics of murders when presenting the case of anti-death penalty advocates.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE W hen Mike Dukakis was asked by CNN’s blunt Bernard Shaw during the 1988 presidential debates whether he would support the death penalty if his wife, Kitty, had been raped and murdered, the Massachusetts governor famously responded, “No, I don’t, Bernard, and I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don’t see any evidence that it’s a deterrent and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime.”

Given the kind of coddling Democrats receive from the press these days, Shaw’s question sounds especially jarring. But Dukakis’s automaton-like response

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