That's the title of an editorial in the Boulder Daily Camera.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, by all accounts, weighed the decision of whether the state should execute murderer Nathan Dunlap very carefully. His decision to grant him a temporary reprieve surprised almost everyone.
Dunlap will not be executed while Hickenlooper is governor.
We acknowledge that Hickenlooper faced a terrible conundrum. He had to make a decision that would anger so many people, and one that could make him seem callous to the victims' families. He could make a decision that might make him the last Colorado governor in history responsible for executing someone.
People who favor the death penalty claimed he was overly political, and "chickened" out of the "tough" decision -- the one that could have scheduled Dunlap's execution by the state in August.
In truth he made the most politically brave decision at all: He made a decision that was unpopular with pretty much everyone.
"No credible evidence on whether death penalty deters, experts say," is the Denver Post news report by Michael Booth.
Go ahead and stake out your opinion on whether a state's death-penalty law will deter future murderers.
But don't pretend that opinion is based on any remotely credible evidence, according to a consensus of criminologists, economists and other academics who have reviewed deterrence studies from both sides and officially declared them useless.
The National Academy of Sciences picked apart decades of deterrence research last year and recommended "that these studies not be used to inform deliberations" on capital punishment. In a blunt report, the academy's National Research Council noted it had made a similar survey 30 years before and was "disappointed" to learn each study since was equally futile.
Such pessimism, and accompanying admonitions to move on to other death-penalty topics, has not stopped statisticians from attempting proofs and rejections of deterrence.
The Death Penalty Information Center points to higher murder rates in states that have the death penalty as proof the sentencing threat does not deter crime. The gap grew in the 1990s, these opponents of executions say, to the point where death- penalty states currently have 35 percent more murders per capita than those who have abolished it.
If deterrence worked, how could Texas, which executes a dozen inmates a year, have a higher murder rate than Colorado, which has executed one murderer in more than four decades?
Boulder Rabbi Joshua Rose writes, "Death penalty -- No value in ending a life," in the Daily Camera.
As a matter of religious conscience I oppose the execution of Nathan Dunlap ("Nathan Dunlap granted temporary reprieve," May 22) and I agree with the governor's decision to stay the execution.
I am one of numerous Colorado religious leaders who urged Gov. John Hickenlooper to commute Dunlap's death sentence to life with no possibility of parole. Many of us from across the religious spectrum who often agree about very little spoke together on this issue because we believe that society cannot affirm the value of life by extinguishing a life.
My own religious tradition views the death penalty as a great moral danger. In addition, the brutal violence of the death penalty does nothing to improve our communities. Dunlap is being held accountable for his awful crime, but in a way that upholds our own humanity.