Torture why not but at a minimum the death penalty

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torture (why not?), but at a minimum, the death penalty seems warranted.People often confuseretributionwithrevenge. Gov. George Ryan, who recently commutedthe sentences of all the prisoners on death row in the State of Illinois, in his essay in this volumequotes a letter from Rev. Desmond Tutu, that "to take a life when a life has been lost is revenge,it is not justice."This is simply false. While moral people will feel outrage at acts of heinouscrimes, such as those described above by Mike Royko, the moral justification of punishment isnotvengeance, butdesert.Vengeance signifies inflicting harm on the offender out of angerbecause of what he has done. Retribution is the rationally supported theory that the criminaldeserves a punishment fitting to the gravity of his crime.The 19th century British philosopher James Fitzjames Stephens thought vengeance was ajustification for punishment, arguing that punishment should be inflicted "for the sake ofratifying the feeling of hatred—call it revenge, resentment, or what you will—which thecontemplation of such [offensive] conduct excites in healthily constituted minds." But23
retributivism is not based on hatred for the criminal (though a feeling of vengeance mayaccompany the punishment). Retributivism is the theory that the criminaldeservesto bepunished and deserves to be punished in proportion to the gravity of his or her crime—whetheror not the victim or anyone else desires it. We may all deeply regret having to carry out thepunishment, but consider it warranted.On the other hand, people do have a sense of outrage and passion for revenge at criminalsfor their crimes. Imagine that someone in your family was on the receiving end of StephenJudy’s violent acts. Stephens was correct in asserting that "[t]he criminal law stands to thepassion for revenge in much the same relation as marriage to the sexual appetite." Failure topunish would no more lessen our sense of vengeance than the elimination of marriage wouldlessen our sexual appetite. When a society fails to punish criminals in a way thought to beproportionate to the gravity of the crime, the danger arises that the public would take the law intoits own hands, resulting in vigilante justice, lynch mobs, and private acts of retribution. Theoutcome is likely to be an anarchistic, insecure state of injustice. As such legal retribution standsas a safeguard for an orderly application of punitive desert.Our natural instinct is forvengeance, but civilization demands that we restrain our anger andgo through a legal process, letting the outcome determine whether and to what degree to punishthe accused. Civilization demands that we not take the law into our own hands, but it should alsosatisfy our deepest instincts when they are consonant with reason. Our instincts tell us that somecrimes, like McVeigh’s, Judy’s and Bundy’s, should be severely punished, but we refrain frompersonally carrying out those punishments, committing ourselves to the legal processes. The

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Test, Miranda v Arizona, Capital punishment in the United States

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