August 1, 1987
I'll define capital punishment as “that social institution whereby a government punishes a certain crime by putting the offender to death.” The assumed circumstances are that a crime really has been committed, a certain person is known to be guilty, and the verdict and execution is carried out fairly, by a recognized and responsible government.
The issue is not “Is capital punishment always right?” No one maintains that capital punishment is right for every crime, or when carried out by just anyone. When it is mistakenly carried out against the innocent it is horribly wrong. The real issue should ...