I initially intended to just bring up discussion on this, but as it seems the thread is now over 6 months old, I figured I'd stat it anew. So, a brief background first. Currently, the U.S. is one of only 4 developed countries that still use the death penalty, the others being Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan, and even in many countries not considered 'developed' capital punishment has been abolished. In 2009, the United States executed 52 people, taking place in only 11 states, led by nearly half in Texas. In its implementation in the U.S., at least in accordance with the Supreme Court's ruling in 2008 on Kennedy v. Louisiana, the only crimes against individuals that can result in the death penalty are those in which the victim's life is taken. Now, the reasoning I wanted to bring this up is that I recently think I've gone through a change of thought on the matter and would like to really put this to the test to see just what my thoughts are now. Best way to show what's changed is to start with what hasn't. First and foremost, and one of the big questions with capital punishment is if it is viewed as a punishment, as removing a threat, or as deterrent. Personally speaking, I've always viewed capital punishment very directly as a punishment for taking someone else's life, with the reasoning that if you kill someone and deprive that person of life, I don't think it is fair that you are able to continue to enjoy life on any level. Eliminating that they might kill again or deterring others isn't really the main point of it to me. I also don't view it as state-sanctioned murder in that sense, in that it's carrying out the punishment for a crime, in the same fashion as that imprisoning someone isn't just state-sanctioned kidnapping. Ultimately, I think there is an element in that the person that murdered opened themselves up to such punishment by killing, and they ultimately bear that responsibility and have, in a sense, forfeited their life. However, the greater issue, to me, is not the government involvement in killing someone, but the presumption of government infallibility, something that I've been reassessing at every point. I've said elsewhere, although it's tangential here but I provide for context, that I don't trust turning over my health solely to a government entity, and feel that anything in regard to my body should ultimately be my choice, ranging from health care to seat belts to trans-fats. Not that it should be a matter of legislation. If there are adverse effects because of that, then the responsibility is mine, and I'm not forced into something that might turn out to be bad for me and retain the higher level of freedom. That the government hasn't YET abused a power is not a reason that they should have it, and that the fewer their powers, the better, keeping only that which is absolutely necessary. I've recently been realising, then, that when it comes to the risk of someone being executed that was innocent of his or her crimes, I would have to presume both perfect performance on the part of the government, and that it would never be misused by any individual or system. I'm not willing to treat the government on that basis for ANY other system, and so with logical consistency, I can't apply that to the death penalty system either. Particularly as the stakes here are higher than they are in many other circumstances. Consequentially, and my main conclusion here I've realised, is that the death penalty, while conceptually I consider acceptable as a punishment for the taking of another's life, is not something that I can, in good conscience, endorse as a government policy because I simply don't feel it logical, or even possible, to presume that the government can be guaranteed to prosecute such crimes efficiently without either mistakes or bias, and a flawed system like that has no place in government.