Yes, because fear is an extremely motivating factor. Countless studies have been performed on whether the death penalty is an effective crime deterrent. These studies all concentrated on the existing crime statistics. There are reports available that compare two states that share similar social demographic and geographical characteristics (with one having the death penalty and the other not having it). These studies were based on actual crimes committed. The statistics gathered do not reflect the choice by a person to abstain from murder because they feared the death penalty. And we will probably never be able to measure that.
If the death penalty option was taken off the table, how would we know whether someone deliberately committed a major crime in order to receive the life long care the government would provide? The cost of providing the daily necessities for an inmate sentenced to life in prison is staggering. Inmates receive food, water, shelter, adequate heat in the winter, clothing, health/dental care, indoor plumbing and all the very basic psychological needs that many law-abiding citizens struggle to provide for their families.
The framers of the United States Constitution made a series of important protections for our convicted inmates. During this past economic period of difficulty, our violent criminals did not go without the standard supplement of three to four ounces of meat. A typical prison dinner also included dessert. This is because they have human rights. Now, they denied these very same rights to their victims, but we are a civilized nation. Therefore, we continue to provide these essentials to our criminals during a recession, depression, war, during medical epidemic situations, after natural (and unnatural) disasters and even after unspeakable terrorist activity.
Many responsible, reliable American residents can’t afford medical insurance or proper health care for their own children. Many law-abiding citizens in our work force cannot even afford to put meat on the table every night for their families (let alone dessert). It is a sad state when the obedient have less access to food and shelter (foreclosures are at a record high) … while our criminals are guaranteed these requirements.
Although there is absolutely no correct method to “weigh” the pros or consequences of the death penalty on our scales of justice, we must focus on the very heart and soul of the truly evil repeat offenders. They carelessly disregarded the law and took several lives into their own hands. Given a chance, some would murder over and over. We have the responsibility to protect our innocent citizens against the risk of one of our criminals escaping. Ted Bundy escaped. He went on to murder again, three times. A member of his defense team defined him as a heartless, evil man. And then… he was deterred from committing another murder: he was executed.
All of the following have been deterred from committing another violent crime:
John Wayne Gacy
Donald Henry “Pee Wee” Gaskins, Jr.
Westley Allan Dodd (He is quoted as saying: “I must be executed before I have an opportunity to escape or kill someone within the prison. If I do escape, I promise you I will kill prison guards if I have to and rape and enjoy every minute of it.”)