Capital Punishment & the Sanctity of Life

Dear Editor:

An interesting recent news item was that California twice had to postpone an execution due to the problem of finding a doctor willing to administer the fatal drugs. I wonder about the involved doctors’ concerns over contributing to a “cruel and usual punishment.” Shouldn’t their (and our) concern more properly be over the immorality of killing other human beings?

While the death penalty continues to maintain the support of a majority of the public, I predict that by the end of this new century, thoughts on capital punishment will evolve in the same way that those on slavery did in the 19th century and segregation in the 20th. Both of those concepts had the support of a majority of the public and legal standing, but over time came to be seen as civil evils. The supporters of capital punishment are filling the modern equivalent of the supporters of slavery and Jim Crow, which were both legal and supported by many religious institutions, in spite of their inherent immorality.

We live in a time when respect for the sanctity of life is continually diminishing. This can be seen in a federal government that supports the killing of its own citizens at an ever-increasing rate, a governor who wants the authority to kill Massachusetts citizens, and the ever more violent “entertainments” presented to our youth that demean life and teach them killing skills.

It is time that we demand that the sacredness of life be respected; initial action steps should include ending capital punishment and making sure that our youth are removed from the viewing of violent TV, movies and video games.

Ralph F Cahoon
Barnstable, MA

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