Here's some reasons why it's wrong:
- The person being executed might be innocent. (Even if they're guilty, it's still wrong.)
- They may not have been entirely compos mentis when the crime was committed.
- People on Death Row frequently have learning difficulties or mental illness. If they weren't mentally ill to start with, the conditions on Death Row frequently send them over the edge.
- Executing them means they will never have a chance to make good.
- Killing is wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right.
- The judicial murder weighs on the consciences of those who carry it out.
- The process of killing the person is inhumane.
- The endless waiting on death row (20 years in the case of Troy Davis) is extremely stressful for the person waiting to be executed, and for their family.
- We don't have the right to decide to kill others.
- Quite often it is the poor and disadvantaged who get executed, while those who can afford a good lawyer get acquitted, or get their sentence commuted.
- How can any country that has the death penalty preach about human rights and democracy to the rest of the world?
- As Lindsay Beyerstein points out: "the same logic that drives the death penalty is also behind a large percentage of murders. The idea is that some transgressions are so bad that they can only be settled by blood. Encouraging people to think that their pain isn't honored and avenged unless the perpetrator is killed probably makes our society more violent on the whole, not less."
What you can do about it:
- Write to a prisoner on death row
- Support Amnesty and Reprieve - if you cannot give your money, give your time to raise funds and raise awareness.
UPDATE: Special Amnesty page with campaign resources about the death penalty, including a schools pack.