81 Pro Death Penalty Quotes by Journalists

“If we are to abolish the death penalty, I should like to see the first step taken by my friends the murderers.”
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (November 24, 1808 – September 29, 1890) was a French critic, journalist, and novelist. His brother Eugène was a talented engineer and his aunt Carme Karr was a writer, journalist and suffragist in La Roche-Mabile.

Simon Heffer. "The case for capital punishment". 23 Nov. 2005 - We waltzed into a plenary session about the need to curb serious crime - murder, rape, armed robbery, drugs trafficking, all those little things that make life in our inner cities so vibrant today. When I uttered the fact - not at that stage reinforced by an expression of opinion, but simply a fact - that the murder rate had quadrupled since the abolition of capital punishment, an embarrassed silence permeated the room. It was as if my personal hygiene had suddenly taken a turn very much for the worse.

Afterwards, however, I was approached by a meek, mild little gentleman, who turned out to be a Professor of Ethics at one of America's leading universities, and an adviser retained by the police departments of several major cities. He wanted to apologise to me for not having spoken up in my support, but explained that he had felt intimidated by the weight of liberal opinion engulfing us.

As we shook hands and I urged him not to be concerned, he told me a story. 'Of course capital punishment works. In China recently they had a drug problem. One day, they took out 6,000 drug dealers and shot them in the back of the head. The result: they don't now have a drug problem.'

Now before you reach for your pens or your computer keyboards, I should clarify that I am not advocating the mass slaughter of criminals in this country, agreeable though that might be to many people. We are not a repressive or barbaric state, at least not yet. The rule of law suggests that we do things more moderately here: but many would, equally, say too moderately.”

Why I'd gladly hang Huntley

26 April 2004

The liberal society has been guilty of many mistakes over the past 40 years. However, none was quite so profound as the abolition of the death penalty for murder, as many were reminded with the conviction of Ian Huntley yesterday. There is, quite simply, no reason to keep Huntley alive.

Why I'd gladly hang Huntley

26 April 2004

Not only is it hard to keep sentimentality and emotion out of a case such as this, it is utterly wrong. Our law is founded, or should be founded, on justice. And justice means doing what human beings, emotional and sentimental as they may be, believe to be right.

Why I'd gladly hang Huntley

26 April 2004

But for a crime as bestial and calculated as this, where a young man has murdered two small girls for what can only be construed as his own gratification, anything less than Huntley paying with his own life is singularly inappropriate.


Why I'd gladly hang Huntley

26 April 2004

Thanks to the liberal society, of course, Huntley will not pay the fair price. Of course, there will be much hand-wringing among those who govern us about the fate of these two poor girls, and about how such a crime must never happen again.

But, sadly, it will happen again. And it will happen again because our rulers systematically put the rights of criminals above the rights of their victims and the victims' families.

Why I'd gladly hang Huntley

26 April 2004

Much has changed - for the worse - since 1964, when the last murderers went to the gallows in Britain. It is not just that the widespread availability and use of drugs has made human life much cheaper, and removed much of the psychological restraint on people killing in the pursuit of gain or gratification.


Why I'd gladly hang Huntley

26 April 2004

However, so long as Huntley and other murderers like him live, we shall inhabit a society where evil is, in the twisted minds of the potential killer, all but condoned. Tragically, the only position taken by our rulers towards such wickedness is their surrender to it - and their utter hypocrisy in claiming to be fighting it.

Make junkies pay for hospital treatment

By Simon Heffer 12:01AM GMT 12 Jan 2008

"The evil that drug dealers do cannot be adequately punished under our present law; I would take a leaf out of China's book, and have them taken out and shot in the back of the head. That isn't going to happen. But using the laws we do have more effectively, applying them with zero tolerance, and making junkies pay - literally - for the damage they do to society would be a start. I fear, though, that it is already too late."


Why capital punishment can no longer be dismissed By Simon Heffer 12:00AM BST 23 Jul 2000 - We all know people who would not countenance capital punishment for any other crime but who, nonetheless, support it for the murderers of children. Those who believe that the state in no circumstances has the right to take life are in a minority - albeit an influential one - and beyond this argument. There are others who find no philosophical difficulty in having the state execute murderers, provided the law enabling execution is passed by democratic means, and provided those executed have been found guilty after a fair trial. However, many such people still withhold support for capital punishment because of the risk of the wrong man being hanged. It is they who most need to reconsider their view after the events of this week, particularly the apparently clinching evidence of Hanratty's guilt.

“There are certain sorts of murders that are so premeditated, so violent and so shocking, that in the interest of maintaining confidence in the rule of law, the only appropriate punishment is the death penalty.” [The story of Capital Punishment BBC Documentary 2011]

For Ian Brady’s continuing baleful presence shows that since the death penalty was abolished, there has been no satisfactory solution for a society when it comes to dealing with the most wicked and depraved criminals. [Ian Brady's victims weren't allowed to choose if they lived or died. Neither should he By Simon Heffer PUBLISHED: 22:55 GMT, 4 July 2012 | UPDATED: 06:25 GMT, 6 July 2012]

I would argue that the taking of a truly evil individual’s life is a way for society to apply justice in its most appropriate form, given the gravity of the offence. [Ian Brady's victims weren't allowed to choose if they lived or died. Neither should he By Simon Heffer PUBLISHED: 22:55 GMT, 4 July 2012 | UPDATED: 06:25 GMT, 6 July 2012]

But we must be aware that once we chose not to put the most evil murderers to death, we dehumanized ourselves a little by what we chose to do instead. In Brady’s case, taking his life all those years ago would have been better for us all — him included. [Ian Brady's victims weren't allowed to choose if they lived or died. Neither should he By Simon Heffer PUBLISHED: 22:55 GMT, 4 July 2012 | UPDATED: 06:25 GMT, 6 July 2012]

Simon James Heffer (born 18 July 1960) is a British journalist, columnist and writer, noted for his conservative political views. He was educated at King Edward VI's School, Chelmsford, and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he read English and subsequently took a PhD in modern history. He joined The Daily Telegraph as a leader writer in 1986 and had since held the posts of chief leader writer, political correspondent, parliamentary sketchwriter, comment editor and deputy editor.

There has apparently been no comment by the legal authorities on the veracity of these claims, although they are surely investigating quietly behind the scenes, but even if all these claims turn out to be demonstrably false, and Hayes is trying deviously to work his ticket to an asylum, his crimes, proven beyond all reasonable doubt or any doubt at all, make him a prime candidate for a punishment which, if used sparingly, should attract no serious criticism at all. [Op-Ed: Some killers deserve to die - the case of Steven Hayes By Alexander Baron Published: 24 October 2011]


The claim that the state has no right to take somebody's life or that capital punishment is the moral equivalent of murder is particularly frivolous. To begin with, although pragmatic politicians like to avoid it, most states have no qualms about going to war when it suits them. Modern warfare is more or less contingent on the killing of innocent people, including at times women and children. A state that is unwilling to execute a serial killer who has been convicted by due process of law ought not to take up arms against another country, certainly not as Britain did in the Falklands War, to take just one example. [A Straight Look At Capital Punishment By Alexander Baron Posted: Sep 30, 2012 in Crime]

Alexander Baron is a Digital Journalist based in London, H9, United Kingdom. He joined on May 12, 2010.

If crime rate was low when capital punishment was in force what is stopping the authorities from imposing the death sentence denying bail to these sex perverts?

Any child is as important as one’s child – punish the perverts for rape with death. [Death Penalty for Rape Thursday 5 July 2012]

Shenali Waduge is a working mother of two from Sri Lanka. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Delhi in India. She has lived abroad in both the UK and India and derives great joy from learning about other cultures. Shenali's journalism is an outlet to express her desire to see a more fair and just society. A voice for truth, she covers politics, social change, culture, woman's issues and education. Shenali regularly contributes to the Asian Tribune and Lankaweb. Shenali is also an artist and volunteers her time to programs that help the needy in Sri Lanka. Her dream is to see the world without armaments, without strife and with the freedom for all to experience world cultures.

The hanging of Ajmal Kasab has provoked another round of debate on the merits of continuing with capital punishment. There are arguments for and against it. Some crimes have to be punished with death. [Death sentence is bad, but it is still needed Friday, 23 November 2012 21:39]

All this leads to the case of Ajmal Kasab. Should his sentence have been commuted to a life term? Frankly, no — and this has nothing to do with the nature of his actions on November 26, 2008. To keep Kasab in prison is to make him a prize for a high-profile ransom operation. It is to invite a hijacking such as the one in Kandahar in 1999 or a similar situation where the LeT or its affiliates could seek the freedom of a mass murderer, and make a political point. It could potentially endanger the lives of many innocent people. [Death sentence is bad, but it is still needed Friday, 23 November 2012 21:39

For similar reasons, it was never going to be possible to capture Osama bin Laden alive and try him in a court in Manhattan. He had to be killed in Abbottabad. This may not have been desirable or perfect, but was the only practicable course. Kasab too needed to be hanged. One man’s life is precious, but the lives of a hundred common people who may have suffered in a Kasab-inspired piracy incident are much more precious. [Death sentence is bad, but it is still needed Friday, 23 November 2012 21:39

At the root of the criminal justice system is the principle of deterrence. A wrongdoer is punished so as to teach him that there is a price to pay for a crime and to prevent recurrence. Keeping Kasab alive would have prevented him from repeating his crime. It would not necessarily have led to deterrence or recurrence of a terror-related crime that would have sought to release him from “Indian captivity”. Without running away from the broader debate about the death sentence, we need to keep that practical problem in mind. [Death sentence is bad, but it is still needed Friday, 23 November 2012 21:39]

Ashok Malik is a senior Indian journalist and columnist. He is currently staying in New Delhi. He writes for a number of national and international publications. His areas of interest are politics, India’s political economy, and foreign policy. Malik graduated from the University of Calcutta, India with a B.A. (Hons) degree. Malik is a popular Indian columnist. He writes regularly for the Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Asian Age, The Pioneer and Tehelka. He has also contributed to various international publications viz. Forbes and YaleGlobal Online. He appears frequently on news television debates.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Chinese Government for carrying out the death penalty on drug smuggling Brit Akmal Shaikh. But what a pity our Government aren't following a similar path with the drug pushers who are wrecking thousands of lives in this country.

Soft on crime soft on the causes of crime, Nu Labour Britain has become a haven for the world's criminals who know they have little chance of being caught and even less chance of ever being prosecuted and handed down a real sentence for their heinous crimes.

However, poll after poll clearly illustrates that the British public want the death penalty reintroduced. Instead of the hand-wringing over one man's execution, politicians like Brown and Cameron should be addressing these demands.


25 Feb 2008

WE need the death penalty - and we need it NOW.

The metropolitan liberal ruling elite dares to sneer at people like you and me, who are demanding its restoration.

What planet do these fools live on? The ultimate deterrent of the rope would make some of the madmen pause for thought.

But forget deterrent. When someone commits crimes as heinous as those of Steve Wright or Mark Dixie, what's wrong with revenge? Poll after poll shows the public wants the death penalty. But every time it is debated, politicians ignore the wishes of their constituents and vote against it.

Forget the human rights of monsters. Let them swing.


Now he's going to spend the rest of his life in a cushy prison, no doubt pumping up his steroid-filled body in between studying the human rights laws so he can screw even more out of the system. He should have been forced to hear his sentence and then forced to watch as the judge placed the black cap on his head. His next stop should not have been a cell with a plasma TV but the gallows.  (Put them down like rabid dogs 29 February 2008)

For the record, I do think it will act as a form of deterrent but, more importantly, some people's crimes are so abhorrent that the only sentence is death. If a vicious dog attacks and kills a toddler it is put down. Can anyone really convince us that animals like Bellfield, Steve Wright and Mark Dixie deserve more rights than a rabid dog? (Put them down like rabid dogs 29 February 2008)


Jon Gaunt (born 3 March 1961 in Coventry), is an English radio talk show presenter, and a former newspaper columnist for The Sun.Gaunt describes himself as a "working-class, educated guy with, in broad strokes, a rightwing agenda". He regularly appears as a newspaper reviewer on Sky News Sunrise.

The clamour among certain sections of our society to abolish the death sentence appears to be motivated by propaganda from human rights groups. The Government mustn’t succumb. [Some crimes deserve death penalty, no less]

The truth is that crime has ceased to be rare; it has grown in depravity and the volume of victims who could be targeted in a single act of violence — bomb blasts in moving trains, markets, cinema halls, or roads. As technology helps motivated criminals to target more and more unarmed victims with impunity — victims are always more than those caught and punished — some argue that the death penalty has not had a deterrent effect on crime, and hence it should be abolished in favour of incarceration for life. [Some crimes deserve death penalty, no less]

The argument is faulty. The death penalty (or jail term) is not about deterrence; it is a judicially imposed punishment for a crime in which the accused is convicted after due process of law. So, when families or villages or groups of citizens are targeted en masse, resulting in multiple murders, the abolition of the death penalty could make citizens lose faith in the judiciary itself. This could trigger undesired responses from some citizens, as also from an overworked and under-appreciated police force. [Some crimes deserve death penalty, no less]

Ironically, the argument that some convicts must be incarcerated for life and never return to normal society tilts the balance in favour of the death penalty. Jail sentences are for persons who have to pay for certain transgressions, and then return to civil society. [Some crimes deserve death penalty, no less]

Sandhya Jain is a contemporary affairs analyst and independent researcher; she writes a fortnightly column for the daily newspaper, The Pioneer, and edits the web portal www.vijayvaani.com.

People are more inclined to commit murder when they know they can get away with it.

To deter their patrons, complicity for murder should also be punishable by death. [Yes, I support the death penalty September 26, 2012]

Our blood has flowed through the ages and if more is spilled in our quest for justice, we are willing to make the sacrifice. If the death sentence is commuted, convicts will be freed after serving life imprisonment, which is 14 years in Pakistan. [Yes, I support the death penalty September 26, 2012]

The question is not whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent, but whether it serves the ends of justice.

It is precisely because life is precious that people in favour of the death penalty believe justice can only be served if the killer forfeits his own. [Yes, I support the death penalty September 26, 2012]

It is an entirely different matter, however, when the debate focuses on the ‘satisfaction’ the aggrieved family will get out of the killers’ death. There can be no closure for the loss of a life brutally cut short; just a sense of vindication. [Yes, I support the death penalty September 26, 2012]

Hajra Khizran Ilahi is a journalist and a documentary filmmaker. Official designation: Senior Sub-editor on The Express Tribune Islamabad Desk.

We need that safeguard of the death penalty for the very worst cases, and only after the fairest of trials. We need evil people to be scared of losing their own life if they take someone else's. - Death penalty saves lives. Fact

Society has had no qualms, moral or legal, in the past about executing monsters.

I haven't heard my liberal friends protesting that it was wrong to execute the Nazis at Nuremburg, or to hang Saddam. Once, there was a phrase about "the awful majesty of the law" when the judge put on the black cap. Today the law has no majesty. It is a mockery. - Death penalty saves lives. Fact

Fergus Shanahan is deputy editor of The Sun and writes a punchy Friday column on everything from current affairs to football. Fergus lives in Essex with his wife and two daughters. He can't stand Tony Blair or the Labour Party but wishes the Conservatives would be a bolder Opposition, particularly over tax cuts to help the less well-off. Fergus backs British independence against a Federal Europe run by unelected Brussels officials. He thinks Sun readers are the backbone of Britain and believes they talk more sense than any politician.

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002)Since this looks embarrassingly like an undemocratic contempt for majority opinion, opponents of capital punishment realize that they need formidable arguments to justify it. The arguments they use are as follows: that justifying the death penalty on the retributive grounds that the punishment should fit the crime is barbaric; that it does not deter potential murderers as its advocates claim; that there are no other arguments that might justify the state taking a life; that it risks killing the wrongly convicted; and, all in all, that it is a cruel punishment incompatible with a civilized society.

Are these argument formidable? Well, they are repeated so frequently and in tones of such relentless moral self-congratulation that they doubtless come to seem formidable after a while. But they wilt upon examination. Let us take them in turn: Take retribution. This turns out to be a more complex argument that its opponents may have bargained for. To begin with, far from being cruel or barbaric, retribution is an argument that limits punishment as much as it extends it. We do not cut off hands for parking offenses even though that would undoubtedly halt such offenses overnight. Why? Because we recognize that it would violate retributive norms: It would be excessive in comparison to the crime and therefore cruel.

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002) - By the same logic, the death penalty is sometimes the only punishment that seems equal to the horror of a particular crime — a cold-blooded poisoning, say, or the rape and murder of a helpless child, or the mass murders of the Nazis and the Communists.

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002) - Significantly, such civilized nations as the Danes and the Norwegians, which had abolished the death penalty before the First World War, restored it after 1945 in order to deal equitable justice to the Nazis and their collaborators. Was that an excessive response to millions of murders? Was it cruel, unusual, barbaric, uncivilized? Or a measured and just response to vast historic crimes?

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002) - But this particular dispute is likely to be moot since, as soon as capital punishment is safely outlawed, the ACLU and its camp-followers will immediately file suit to have the courts declare life without parole to be a cruel and unusual punishment outlawed by the U.S. Constitution. In the British debates of the 1970s over whether or not terrorist murderers should face execution, I well remember being assured by politicians who later served as Northern Ireland ministers that convicted murderers would have to serve their full sentence; for there was simply no legal way of releasing them beforehand. Ho Hum. Those same murderers are now walking the streets of Belfast "on license." The Grim Reaper grants no paroles.

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002) - So how about the argument from deterrence? Perhaps the loudest and most confident claim made by abolitionists is that there is "no evidence" that the death penalty is a deterrent to potential murders. If that were so, of course, it would hardly be a decisive point in itself. Mere lack of evidence would not establish the reverse proposition — it would not prove that capital punishment was NOT a deterrent. As it happens, however, this claim of "no evidence" is false.

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002) - That brings us to what is genuinely the strongest argument of the abolitionists — wrongful execution. For it must certainly be admitted that an innocent man might be wrongly convicted and executed, that we can never entirely eliminate that risk, and that such a miscarriage of justice would be shameful. For that very reason we take extreme measures to avoid it. As a result, only a handful of such miscarriages of justice are known to have happened; none of them has happened since the restoration of capital punishment in the U.S. in 1976; and the science of DNA has now added a further barrier to such terrible mistakes. The recent release of man as a result of DNA evidence, cited by Rod Dreher (in The Corner) as justifying his opposition to the death penalty, in reality strengthens the case for it since it makes future errors even less likely than they were before.

Even though wrongful executions are exceedingly rare, we know a great deal about them. Yet we hear little or no mention of their exact equivalent on the other side of the argument — namely, murders committed by those who have already committed a murder, served their sentence, and been released to murder again (or who have murdered an inmate or guard in prison.) That is curious. For a few years ago there were 820 people in U.S. prisons who were serving time for their second murder of this kind.

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002) - If the death penalty had been applied after their first murders, their 820 subsequent victims would be alive today. That figure is not a statistical inference but an absolute certainty. Of course, it is intellectually possible for abolitionists to argue that it is better to acquiesce reluctantly in the murder of 820 innocent men than to execute mistakenly one innocent man — but somehow I doubt if that argument, stated so plainly, would convince the democratic majority.

What those 820 murders establish is that, contra the abolitionists, there is another strong argument for capital punishment. It is known technically as the argument from incapacitation (i.e., dead men commit no murders.) And that argument alone is more than adequate justification for capital punishment. That is perhaps why we never hear of it.

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002) – Do they then mean a society marked by gentle manners, courtesy, low levels of private violence, and declining crime? If so, that argument too backfires on them. Britain in the 1930s and America in the 1950s were societies that had achieved high levels of social tranquility by comparison with their own pasts and the standards of other advanced societies. Yet they employed the death penalty for serious crimes — indeed, murder trials were among the gripping social entertainments of those days. And as the death penalty was gradually abolished (formal abolition generally following on a growing reluctance to impose it except in the most terrible cases), so crime and violence rose, and so society became increasingly brutalist in its popular culture — the violence of films and television making the murder trials of the 1930s seem, well, civilized by comparison.

Britain is still in the midst of this perverse experiment that combines official squeamishness with rising levels of violent crime; America began to restore the death penalty in the 1970s — and 20 years later violent crime began to fall.

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002) - A genuinely civilized society would take a very different view of the evidence cited above. It would pay more attention to the cries of the victims than to its own squeamishness. And it would transfer its compassion from the David Westerfields of this world to the Danielle Van Dams.

Deadly Stakes The debate over capital punishment (30 August 2002) - For if the death penalty would certainly have saved 820 innocent lives, and might arguably save tens of thousands of innocent lives in the future, almost certainly at the cost of no innocent lives at all, then surely a society that shrinks from using it deserves to be called sentimentalist and cruel rather than civilized. And if in addition it ignores majority opinion in order to indulge its refined sensibilities, then it deserves to be called undemocratic too.

When next the EU ambassadors come calling at the State Department to complain of executions in Texas, Colin Powell might tell them exactly that.

European Dignity, American Rights (Tuesday 27 March 2012) - The European Union is so certain of its own virtue that it simply parades a set of moralistic precepts on the death penalty that the unobservant might confuse with arguments. Its statement of principles on the issue is intellectually trivial and ignores strong points on the other side. For instance, the statement makes the usual self-confident claim that there is no evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect in combating crime. There is, in fact, quite a lot of statistical evidence to this effect. However, even if we let that go, there remains an irrefutable case that the death penalty prevents second murders by those who have been previously convicted of the crime. This is the so-called incapacitation effect. In a phrase: Dead men commit no murders.

European Dignity, American Rights (Tuesday 27 March 2012) - These victims go unmourned by bien pensant opinion. In the British debate on capital punishment, we hear constantly — and rightly — about the two men executed in the 1950s for murders of which they are now considered wholly or partly innocent. But we do not even know the names of the 30 victims of our abolitionist penal policy over the last 15 years.

European Dignity, American Rights (Tuesday 27 March 2012) - Well then, abolitionists usually respond at this stage of the debate, let us keep murderers in prison forever to protect the public. This sounds suitably hard-hearted, but it neglects the fact that some second murders occur in prison. Even if we were to impose life imprisonment without parole, we would not be able give absolute protection to prison guards and other inmates who form a small but important minority of the victims of second-time murderers. Life without parole is, therefore, no solution, unless we don’t mind if guards and common criminals are murdered. I do mind.

John O'Sullivan (born April 25, 1942) is a British conservative political commentator and journalist and currently the executive editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

There is murder in our hearts. We want a trap door to crash open and a rope to break - and then stretch - the neck of Ivan Milat. We want syringes filled with sodium thiopental and potassium chloride injected into the veins of Anita Cobby's killers. And in the next few weeks, we want to know that a firing squad has done away with Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, Ali Ghufron, known as Mukhlas, and Imam Samudra. [Protect life by meting out death By Garry Linnell From: The Daily Telegraph September 26, 2008 12:00AM]

The three men who helped carry out the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, including 88 Australians, are expected to face an Indonesian firing squad when the current Muslim holy month of Ramadan ends in early October. Strange, though, how these men who say they have nothing to fear from death and welcome their impending martyrdom have turned squeamish. They are appealing to Indonesia's Constitutional Court claiming execution by firing squad is a form of torture. [Protect life by meting out death By Garry Linnell From: The Daily Telegraph September 26, 2008 12:00AM]

Revenge is a visceral impulse that is hard-wired into our DNA. It's why we have a justice system in the first place - to extract retribution against those who offend against us. [Protect life by meting out death By Garry Linnell From: The Daily Telegraph September 26, 2008 12:00AM]