opposing capital punishment


opposing capital punishment

Opposing Capital Punishment is the third post in this current series. As a Jewish-American, I firmly stand against the death penalty in the case of the Tree of Life Synagogue Murderer, quite frankly, I want the perpetrator to suffer in prison without ever seeing the light of day and breathe the air outside of the prison walls. The principles of justice, compassion, and the belief in the potential for redemption guide my perspective. In this post, I aim to shed further light on the reasons why life imprisonment without parole is the appropriate course of action, emphasizing the importance of humanity, fiscal responsibility, and respect for religious values.

Opposing Capital Punishment: Life Imprisonment

A Harsh and Unyielding Sentence: The death penalty may seem like a severe punishment, but it ultimately lets the perpetrator escape the full weight of their guilt and remorse. While it is tempting to seek retribution through death, true justice lies in making them live with the consequences of their actions. Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole ensures that the perpetrator faces a daily reminder of the gravity of their crimes, leading to a more agonizing and transformative punishment.

The Cost-Effectiveness of Life Imprisonment

Choosing life imprisonment over the death penalty not only upholds the value of human life but also proves to be more fiscally responsible. Capital punishment cases involve extensive legal challenges that can take decades to resolve, resulting in a significant drain on taxpayers’ resources. Additionally, this prolonged process further traumatizes the victim’s families, denying them the closure they deserve. By opting for life imprisonment, we allocate resources more wisely, allowing us to focus on victims’ support and invest in rehabilitation programs for offenders.

Robert Gregory Bowers, 50, a truck driver whose vicious antisemitism led him to shoot his way into a place of worship and target people for practicing their faith. Guilty of 63 counts of murder and attempted murder, and a hate crime, Bowers deserves nothing less than 63 consecutive life sentences. Let him think about the reason he spends his life behind locked doors, body cavity searches, and the abject fear of other prisoners. As he had no sympathy for those he murdered, I have no sympathy for Robert Gregory Bowers. Death is the only thing that lets him off the hook and that is good enough for me.

Opposing Capital Punishment: The Possibility of Irreversible Mistakes

No justice system is infallible, and the execution of an innocent person is an irredeemable tragedy. By choosing the death penalty, we risk making grave errors that cannot be undone. On the other hand, life imprisonment provides a chance to rectify any mistakes and to seek justice for the wrongfully convicted, preserving the value and sanctity of human life. This point does not apply to Mr. Bowers but is a general point that must be considered by any proponent of Capital Punishment. There is no going back once one is dead. There is no Lazarus rising from the dead.

Emphasizing the Severity of Life Imprisonment

Some argue that life imprisonment may be too lenient, but this perception misunderstands the reality of prison life. Incarceration means living under strict surveillance, in confinement, and with limited personal freedoms. It is not a comfortable or lenient existence but rather a stark reminder of the consequences of one’s actions. The fear of a lifetime behind bars serves as a powerful deterrent against future criminal behavior.

Opposing Capital Punishment: Deterrence and the Tree of Life Synagogue Murderer

Capital punishment proponents often claim that it acts as a deterrent to potential offenders. However, the actions of the Tree of Life Synagogue murderer along with other mass murderers,  demonstrate the fallacy of this argument. If the threat of the death penalty truly deterred crimes, this tragedy would never have occurred. Thus, it is essential to prioritize evidence-based and comprehensive approaches to address the root causes of criminal behavior.

Religious Perspective: Respecting the Divine Will

For those with religious convictions, including Jewish tradition, seeking vengeance contradicts the fundamental principles of our faith. The Almighty’s sovereignty over justice is clear in the words, “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord!” As human beings, we must demonstrate compassion and understanding, allowing the justice system to focus on punishment rather than vengeance.


As a Jewish-American, I cannot condone the death penalty, especially when the alternative of life imprisonment without parole embodies the principles of justice, fiscal responsibility, and respect for religious values. Let us embrace a criminal justice system that reflects the capacity for human transformation, acknowledges the possibility of error, and truly affords the criminal punishment that fits the crime. Together, we can create a society that seeks redemption and healing while rejecting the notion of vengeance only found through capital punishment.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

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