Geeze this can some days be a tough one, but I'm mostly PRO death penalty.
We have systems of appeal to try and re-try cases so the chances are terribly lessened that an innocent man will be executed.
And an innocent man should not typically be in situations where one might get framed for a capital crime in the first place.
Incarceration and jail seems incredibly cruel. You know what goes on prisons. It's not rehabilitation - especially for life-timers, or those facing sentences of more than 20 years as alternatives to being but to death in the first place.
Prison serves several functions:
1) protects potential new victims, or people who would be re-victimized by the perpetraitors so they can't commit more crimes.
2) deters people who think rationally, and also correctly weigh out the chances they'd be caught committing a crime. - However, in most pre-meditated murders (1st Degree Murders), people are extremely and strongly motivated to commit the crime. Otherwise they wouldn't do it. In 2nd Degree murders, someone is robbing a store with a gun, and shoots to help them escape or defend themselves from being counter-attacked. It is not pre-planned to the same extent (if the jury believes that). - However, if you planned to rob a bank, and absolutely NOT kill anyone, why not hold a squirt pistol under your jacket so no one can tell you don't have a real gun. I suppose you'll have some disappointments as a criminal, but then you are also demonstrating knowledge that you KNOW you shouldn't be robbing anyone in the first place.
3) theoretically rehabilitates a person to get back into society and live correctly. It is punishment and enlightenment supposedly. For short sentences, I do believe it can be, with counseling and education and job training requirements to make parole. But for capital crime punishments, it is cruel punishment for lifers, and a waste of our resources (though I know it supposedly costs more to put someone to death - the retrials, and the time taken while they're in prison anyway, waiting for a re-trial).
Meanwhile, what the death penalty can not counter:
1) killing the wrong man. (If there's that many re-trials and the wrong man is still executed - when we learn this - we can charge the real perpetraitor for the other man's execution as well).
2) suicidal folks who want to die anyway. But a) you can't do anything about them if they suceed in killing themselves and b) if they can't kill themselves and want the State to do it for them, they will lament in prison, waiting for re-trial after re-trial. That should be a deterrant. They sought an end to their life, instead they get that delayed, while they rot on death row.
But these kids who shoot up schools don't know what they're doing. We need it to be a capital crime for sure. But they are almost victims of society. We don't need to torture them further. They killed their victims quickly in these cases, and there are eye-witnesses, so get rid of them, too.
David Westerfield is another story. He basically tortured that little girl we've assumed. The evidence is circumstantial, but there is only the slightest chance and way too many coincidences working against him, to make anyone believe he was framed and innocent. There is either more members of a conspiracy that Westerfield is included in, or he is covering really good for someone else who committed the crime. Maybe Westerfield has a terminal illness and knew he wouldn't stay in prison terribly long (nor on this world anyway - regardless of the death penalty) However, if he was completely innocent and is covering for someone, and does not want to be executed - he is still an accessory, and his death is his own fault. If he is totally innocent and not involved, he should die for being so stupid as to take his "recovered" blood stained clothing to the dry cleaners and not reporting something that strange to the police immediately. Especially when he knew a neighbor's girl was missing. If he's innocent and executed, than he is just the most unlucky guy in the world. If he's innocent and an accessory to this? I really don't think public opinion will care if he's executed though he didn't actually kill Danielle.
Next, why does Europe think they are so enlightened because most countries Do Not have the death penalty over there?
Do they still have life sentences? What do they think about that?
Finally, shouldn't people's opinions about the Death Penalty match their views on abortion? As in "yes and yes" or "no and no?" Why can someones views on this subject be so different?