The Corner

Re: Expanding The Death Penalty

A reader makes a perfectly fair point: “If you expand the death penalty to child porn cases, you have the same problem that you used to have in rape death-penalty cases–you remove most of the incentive for the criminal to avoid killing the victim or other witnesses.”

Now I think this is a legitimate objection worth considering. But what I do find interesting and/or ironic about it is how it buys into the logic of deterrence which we are told doesn’t work. I should say, I’ve never thought the death penalty could be or should be justified solely on the concept of deterrence. But liberals say it’s not a deterrence, that it doesn’t influence behavior. Which is where the irony comes in. While the death penalty is supposed to have no influence on would-be murderers, it’s supposed to be a major incentive for rapists and others to commit murder.


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