Until recently, my view on capital punishment was purely pragmatic: serving the death penalty costs more to the state than life in prison, and it's not effective as a deterrent. But two movies I saw recently made me think a little more about death.
You Don't Know Jack is about Jack Kevorkian, Dr. Death. It's very one-sided, but they certainly don't leave out his character flaws. He makes some good points in there, like that when someone says they're going to "pull the plug," that often means removing a feeding tube, so the patient starves to death. I'm pretty sure that counts as cruelty. He's right, people should be able to choose when and how they die (barring any terrible accidents), and the state shouldn't interfere. Assisted suicide should be legal, though it should be regulated (requiring a license and inspections) to avoid the unprofessional way that Kevorkian resorted to doing it.
The Stoning of Soraya M. is a true story that takes place in Iran. Soraya's husband Ali wanted a divorce, and she wouldn't agree because she wouldn't be able to provide for her children. So Ali framed her for adultery, and she was stoned. It's very hard to watch. I know this is a completely different situation from capital punishment in the US, but I wonder how someone from a more progressive culture would see our situation? It doesn't seem right for the government to sanction someone's death, even in extreme situations.
Connecticut has the death penalty. Steven Hayes recently received it for his part in the rape and murder of a Cheshire family. The killer of Annie Le, the Yale med student whose body was found in a lab utility closet last year, may also get it. I wonder if the families of these victims feel any better about the situation. It doesn't bring their loved ones back, and although they may feel it's justified, there must be something inside them that says more death won't solve anything.