Congratulations, New Jersey, for joining in with most of the rest of Western civilization — and going against most of your fellow American states — and abolishing the barbaric practice of capital punishment. Kudos all around for the brave lawmakers who slogged through the trenches and pounded out the legislation for New Jersey’s enlightened governor, Jon Corzine, to sign.

Corzine, who signed the ban December 17, said, “I think it is the winning side, because it is moral, in my heart and in my soul, and that’s why I feel the way I do.”

Well, okay, so after rereading that sentence three times it still doesn’t make any logical sense, but it’s the all-important feelings of the governor, and of all death penalty opponents, that really matter, right?

Granted, their feelings are a bit different than those of, say, Richard Kanka, the father of a young girl whose brutal rape and murder led to the passage of Megan’s Law. Rather than experiencing the warm and fuzzy sensations that usually accompany human enlightenment, he instead only feels unenlightened outrage, which he voiced to New Jersey lawmakers thusly:

“She was suffocated, she was raped post-mortem, her body was dumped in a park. Now if that doesn’t constitute gross and heinous, I don’t know what you people are thinking.”

We can certainly understand how this poor man must feel, but death penalty opponents would want us to understand that his desire for vengeance is itself immoral and unbecoming, and is something which no modern, civilized society should ever indulge by executing human beings who, for whatever reasons, have fallen from grace.

They would have us know that despite the fact that monsters in human form commit acts like the one described above pretty much every day, every human life, no matter how depraved or seemingly irredeemable, has inherent worth and dignity and should be preserved at all cost.

Death penalty opponents would also ask that we not get caught up in the hoopla over the veritable slew of studies that have been done in recent years which have found that for every executed murderer, somewhere between 3 and 18 additional murders are deterred or prevented. Sure, it sounds like some sort of practical justification for capital punishment, but it fails to change the moral calculus of what is still nothing more than state-sanctioned murder, which, of course, is unalterably immoral.

If you consider yourself a diehard supporter of capital punishment, just read the inspiring words of Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking,” the famous book, later made into a Sean Penn movie, about her experience with a death row inmate:

“And the word will travel around the globe, that there is a state in the United States of America that was the first to show that life is stronger than death, that love is greater than hatred.”

If you are the loved one of someone who was heinously murdered, wouldn’t it be better to wrap your mind and heart around the good sister’s loving message than to continue to wallow in your self-destructive grief and hatred for another human being? Think about it, won’t you?

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website:

Be Sociable, Share!