Dennis Prager

Had Clarence Allen been executed for the 1974 murder of Mary Sue Kitts, three innocent people under the age of 30 would not have been killed. But because moral clarity among anti-death penalty activists is as rare as their self-righteousness is ubiquitous, finding an abolitionist who will acknowledge moral responsibility for innocents murdered by convicted murderers is an exercise in futility.

Perhaps the most infamous case of a death penalty opponent directly causing the murder of an innocent is that of novelist Norman Mailer. In 1981, Mailer utilized his influence to obtain parole for a bank robber and murderer named Jack Abbott on the grounds that Abbott was a talented writer. Six weeks after being paroled, Abbott murdered Richard Adan, a 22-year-old newlywed, aspiring actor and playwright who was waiting tables at his father's restaurant.

Mailer's reaction? "Culture is worth a little risk," he told the press. "I'm willing to gamble with a portion of society to save this man's talent."

That in a nutshell is the attitude of the abolitionists. They are "willing to gamble with a portion of society" -- such as the lives of additional innocent victims -- in order to save the life of every murderer.

Abolitionists are certain that they are morally superior to the rest of us. In their view, we who recoil at the thought that every murderer be allowed to keep his life are moral inferiors, barbarians essentially. But just as pacifists' views ensure that far more innocents will be killed, so do abolitionists' views ensure that more innocents will die.

There may be moral reasons to oppose taking the life of any murderer (though I cannot think of one), but saving the lives of innocents cannot be regarded as one of them.

Nevertheless, abolitionists will be happy to learn that Amnesty International has taken up the cause of ensuring that Clarence Ray Allen be spared execution. That is what the international community now regards as fighting for human rights.


Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.
 
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