I'm strongly against the death penalty too.. but I'm not sure I accept much of the reasoning set forth here.
I. Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right
As was said, this argument doesn't make sense unless it's proven that capital punishment is wrong. (Makes one wonder why it wasn't then presented last..) So it was said that killing in any circumstance is wrong:
I was also brought up to believe that killing is wrong. Period.
I think that killing in self-defense (or in the defense of loved ones) is universally considered morally right.
The question is not wether killing in general is wrong, but at which point it crosses the line from a righteous killing, into murder.
II. Vengeance Is not Restitution / III. The Paradox of 'Restitution'
I'm pretty sure when you hear people speak about restitution, they want restitution to be made to the dead, not their families. (Eye for an eye and so-forth.) For example, killing someone with no family or friends still makes you eligible for the ultimate punishment in the eyes of pro-deathers.
There is no repayment for the perminant destruction of something ireplacable (A point which pro-death people never dispute). However, something can still be said for the benifits for revenge. Vengeance against a murderer is an effective way to ease the pain of the family of murder victims. (Be it via imprisonment or capital punishment)
Of course, making a victim's family feel better by killing someone may not be a laudable goal, it's irresponsible to pretend the benifits don't exist.
It's a bit scary that the article didn't even mention the second most popular argument for capital punishment: Deterrence.
It is believed that the threat of death will scare people into obeying the law. However, this is fundimentally flawed. A culture where death is considered acceptable will breed murder among its citizens, and life in prison is a worse punishment anyway.
Also it skipped over the next most popular argument: Cost.
The cost of feeding and clothing an inmate for life is astronomical. We essentially provide them with a free ride as part of their 'punishment', on the dime of the taxpayer.
This however, is NOT a valid argument for capital punishment, at least in the US. Because death penalty cases are automatically appealed there, and the legal costs vastly outweigh the costs of housing the prisoner their entire life several times over.
If cost was truly our chief concern, we'd stamp out crime in its infancy by banishing ideals, such as 'killing is the answer', from young minds, and we'd clean up the prison system so that it successfully rehabilitates criminals before their crimes escalate to murder.
Golden Hawk's Arguments:
I believe we shouldn't have the death penalty for one simple and pervasive reason. The death penalty is perminant and infallable. Executing it invariably produces a corpse; a corpse which can never be reanimated.
However, the court system is not infallable or perminant. Mistakes will and have been made, and people have paid the ultimate price. Until we can be 100% sure that our system is absolutely perfect, we can NOT kill people for their crimes. (Same goes for other perminant punishments, such as severing extremities, castration, lobotomies)
Also I believe that we should focus on rehabilitation. A crime can never be un-committed, but some criminals can be fixed. Our system of murdering and wherehousing criminals simply makes people leave from their stay in prison indoctrinated with values of violence and apathy, poisioning society like a festering wound.