Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?"
"As the execution of Donald Beardslee looms in California, I've been wondering what argument for or against the death penalty hasn't already been made thousands of times before.
It's true that some circumstances have changed. For example, we have a new governor who takes a more nuanced view on matters of criminal justice than his predecessor. Also, polls show that the public may be gradually losing the taste for capital punishment.
But the honest, though depressing, answer to my question is: nothing has really changed. The death penalty in America is little more than a ritual sacrifice in which various participants -- including me, the crusading abolitionist -- assume their predictable roles."
"The Ritual of Executions," Pacific News Service, Jan. 14, 2005