Nate sounds uncommonly liberal today:
The problem I have with your premise is your claim that the Death Penalty is not a deterent.
Since its never been widely, and efficiently used, we simply don’t know.
It’s not that it doesn’t work, it’s that it hasn’t been applied properly. Now, where have I heard that argument before?
The truth is that the death penalty has been applied widely to absolutely no effect in many places. Possession of a firearm was punishable by death in China for decades, and yet a single month’s sweep by the authorities produced over 120,000 weapons… and that’s how many they were able to find.
Suicide bombers are a significant argument against the death penalty’s deterrent effect. But even more powerful is the stupidity argument, which is to say that most criminals are not the brightest bulbs on the planet. They commit stupid crimes because they don’t believe they’re going to be caught. Someone who doesn’t believe he’s going to be caught is inherently impervious to any deterrent effect based on the consequences of being caught.