Well, it’s a good thing that nobody has ever been falsely convicted of child molestation, isn’t it? I’d hate to think that somebody might be put to death in one of the most gruesome ways imaginable for a crime they didn’t commit.
Child molestation is terrible, and it certainly evokes a visceral response from any loving parent, but let’s be rational for a minute. Imagine that you are a person who has been falsely accused of abusing a child. Imagine that your jury finds you guilty, despite the fact that you’ve never hurt anybody in your life. Imagine that you’re sentenced to hang by the neck until you’re dead.
I understand the appeal, so to speak, of the death penalty. It satisfies our need for revenge – for ultimate justice. And if we could somehow guarantee that every person we send to the gallows is in fact a murderer, or a child molester, or a rapist, then it would greatly change the dialogue. But we can’t. We’d like to believe otherwise, but court cases are not decided on objective evidence alone. They’re decided on emotions, and prejudices, and opinions. For me, that’s just a little bit too sketchy a premise to hang my certainty on, let alone a human being.