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Beyond Vengence (11/00)


"When we abolished the punishment for treason that you should be hanged and then cut down while still alive, then disemboweled while still alive, and then quartered, we did not abolish that punishment because we sympathized with traitors, but because we took the view that this was a punishment no longer consistent with our self-respect."

These words, spoken by Lord Chancellor Gardiner during the 1965 death penalty abolition debates in the British Parliament, illustrate the view of most people opposed to capital punishment. It’s not sympathy for the murderer that we feel. Indeed, most of us feel a great deal of anger and revulsion toward murderers and their actions. Our objection is that the death penalty is a renunciation of all that’s embodied in our concept of humanity. Or, more simply put, executions degrade us all. read more