Today's Mason City Globe Gazette publishes the editorial, "State does not need to restore death penalty."
Calls to renew capital punishment come easy in the wake of horrible crimes such as the likely murders of the two young Iowa cousins whose bodies were recently recovered after having been missing for five months.
Some legislators have been calling for the state to bring back the death penalty, and Gov. Terry Branstad has said he supports the death penalty in limited circumstances, although he won’t push for it now because he realizes it has little or no chance of making it through the Democratic-controlled Iowa Senate.
In the heat of emotion, we, too, can imagine wanting to kill anyone who could do such a horrible thing as to murder two small girls. A long, torturous death for that person would seem appropriate.
That’s why laws should be made not in the heat of emotion, but in the light of logic and facts.
The facts simply don’t support any justification for capital punishment other than for pure, simple, brutal revenge, and hopefully our society strives for a higher standard than that.
In Iowa, if you are convicted of a capital crime you are sentenced to a long, slow death behind bars. There is no probation and no parole for people sentenced to life in this state. We’re satisfied that’s the way it should remain, and oppose any efforts to try to change it.
Kathie Obradovich posts, "Let’s not honor the dead with more death," at the Des Moines Register's A Better Iowa blog.
It’s difficult to deny urgent requests from well-meaning people who have suffered unimaginable loss.
That’s why some state legislators might be willing to entertain another debate on reinstating the death penalty in Iowa, even though the bill will almost certainly fail.
Gov. Terry Branstad has agreed to meet on Monday with the parents of 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins, an Evansdale girl who with her young cousin was abducted and murdered earlier this year. Drew Collins, Elizabeth’s father, said just after his daughter’s memorial service that he thinks the girls’ abductor — who has yet to be found — might have let them go if Iowa had a death penalty.
The tragic school shootings in Connecticut on Friday will add to Iowans’ fears that the world has become a perilous place for children.
Iowa repealed capital punishment in 1965 and today is one of 15 states without a death penalty. In 2011, Iowa ranked 44th out of 50 states in murders per 100,000 people. That was lower than every state with a death penalty except New Hampshire.
You can find studies and statistics to support whatever argument you want to make about the deterrent effect of capital punishment. I’m more persuaded by those that show state-sanctioned executions do little or nothing to deter crime. Either way, the sorts of crimes that some would seek to avoid with the death penalty happen here so rarely that we still remember the names of the victims years later.
Earlier coverage from Iowa begins at the link.