GOP: Death Penalty Would Have Deterred Murder-Suicde
Newtown, Connecticut (AP) – In the aftermath of the shooting deaths of dozens of Connecticut schoolchildren and teachers in a murder-suicide, the Republican National Committee issued a statement today touting the death penalty as an important measure in preventing massacres of this nature. Republican Congressional leaders also spoke out in favor of tougher penalties against the perpetrators of murder-suicides.
“Some very disturbed people can only be deterred by harsh consequences,” said House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “It is imperative that American states adopt capital punishment for brutal crimes such as this. For some criminals, only by making them pay the ultimate price can we prevent other would-be mass murderers from committing mass murder and then suicide.” He noted that Connecticut abolished its death penalty in April of this year.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) echoed the theme. “The vast majority of Americans are law-abiding people, respectful of the law and of others,” he said at a press conference. “The overwhelming majority of us do not need penalties of any sort to get us to do the right thing. But a few individuals lack, unfortunately, that respect, and the only thing that can deter them from killing other people and themselves is the knowledge that they face the death penalty if they act on those brutal impulses.”
The Connecticut legislature passed the repeal of the state’s death penalty on April 11, and Governor Dannel Malloy signed the bill into law two weeks later. The law does not apply retroactively to the ten people currently on Connecticut’s death row.
Former Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell lamented the repeal of the death penalty. “My administration specifically vetoed the abolition of capital punishment in Connecticut,” she said, referring to her action of May 2009, after the legislature passed a similar measure. “It was exactly this kind of horror I had in mind when I did so. I share the pain and anger of the people of Newtown,” she continued. “We now know all too well what happens when governments refuse to use the death penalty as a deterrent to murder-suicides.”
Rell cited statistics to support her argument, noting that not a single murder-suicide criminal in any state with the death penalty has ever murdered again. Moreover, she pointed out, the criminals in question never again committed any crime at all. “I don’t see how anyone can argue that the death penalty would not be effective under these circumstances, when the facts speak for themselves,” she said. “Life in prison – even without parole – still leaves a criminal with the opportunity to commit more crimes, especially in the event of an escape. These are some of the most dangerous people on the planet, with a reputation to prove it.”
“It’s too late to save the children of Newtown,” said Rell, “but I pray that Connecticut, along with the other sixteen states without a death penalty, reexamines its coddling of the perpetrators of murder-suicides. Then maybe, once again, these monsters can be prevented from taking others’ lives – and their own.”
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