That the death penalty is outdated is an absurd notion, in my opinion. What exactly makes something outdated? I would say that something becomes outdated when a superior alternative is available. It bothers me when people use the term “outdated” in a sociological context because it is basically a way of saying “traditional” with a negative connotation (even though “traditional” is seemingly gaining a negative connotation of is own), while there are more accurate adjectives available. What I am trying to say is that “outdated,” in a sociological context, is really nothing more than a buzzword designed to add a negative connotation to a traditional custom or behaviour. Which, it seems, is basically a way of saying anything short of progressivism (or constant social change) is inherently a bad thing.
Semantics aside, the debate over the death penalty is becoming heated in the United States with the recent execution of Troy Davis. I am pro-death penalty. In fact, I would prefer to see it expanded to crimes such as sexual abuse of children and drug trafficking. To me, it seems a perfectly ethical, reasonable, and practical option. But only if it were limited to cases with strong evidence. My believing in its ethicality is based upon the fact that the victims should be favoured in a criminal justice system. Murder victims die. They were not allowed the opportunity to be incarcerated and possibly paroled. They’re dead. So, why should their killers be allowed the opportunity not to be dead? In many cases, the victim was relatively innocent, whereas the killer was not. So, basically, a system devoid of the death penalty values the life of the killer over the life of the relatively innocent victim. To me, that does not seem ethical; it, in fact, seems downright unethical. Hence my belief that the death penalty is ethical. With prisons ludicrously overcrowded, the death penalty is also practical (I agree with Homer). It wouldn’t necessarily free up a lot of space, but that is beside the point.
I believe that anyone who believes that the death penalty, or violence, is outdated or barbaric (or, in other words, they believe that humanity has reached a point where everyone can get along without resorting to violence, or something) is living in a delusional fantasy-land.