I was relieved when I learned Newtown, Connecticut, shooter Adam Lanza killed himself before police could apprehend him. Had he been arrested and tried, he would not be eligible for the death penalty, a punishment he duly deserves.
In fact, since April 2012, no one, no matter how heinous his crimes, is eligible for the death penalty in Connecticut. The bleeding hearts rejoice, for there is no longer risk of executing an innocent man. But the risk remains for condemning an innocent man to life in prison. The difference is a matter of degree. Since no justice system can be mistake-free, the logical conclusion of their argument is the eradication of all punishment.
The repeal of the death penalty would not have happened had it applied retroactively to current death row inmates. On July 23, 2007, Steven Hayes and Josh Komisarjevsky broke into William Petit’s house in Cheshire, Connecticut, and raped and murdered his wife and two daughters, 17 and 11. They were sentenced to death in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Said the Connecticut governor in 2009, when the bill to repeal the death penalty first passed his desk:
The crimes that were committed on that brutal July night were so far out of the range of normal understanding that now, more than three years later, we still find it difficult to accept that they happened in one of our communities. I have long believed that there are certain crimes so heinous, so depraved, that society is best served by imposing the ultimate sanction on the criminal.
If what he said was true then, it remains true now. The prospect of Hayes and Komisarjevsky surviving their crimes was asking too much for Connecticut lawmakers. So they applied abolition of the death penalty only to pending and future cases. But, as recent history has shown, Hayes and Komisarjevsky are not the last monsters to take the lives of innocents in Connecticut.
The gift of life is infinitely precious. To steal it from someone is the worst of crimes. God breathed life into man, whom He created in His image, which explains His wrath reserved for those who destroy it. I quote Genesis 9:6:
Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.