Date registered: Feb 2007
Location: Florida, USA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 62 Post(s)
I am not a proponent of the death penalty myself. I researched the subject at some length and formed my own conclusions.
Here are the words of the most famous British executioner Albert Pierrepoint, as recorded in his autobiography:
"During my twenty five years as an executioner, I believed with all my heart that I was carrying out a public duty. I conducted each execution with great care and clear conscience. I never allowed myself to get involved with the death penalty controversy.
I now sincerely hope that no man is ever called upon to carry out another execution in my country. I have come to the conclusion that executions solve nothing, and are only an antiquated relic of a primitive desire for revenge which takes the easy way and hands over the responsibility for revenge to other people.
I have seen prison officials faint on the scaffold, strong men weep, and woman prison officers sobbing helplessly. I have known prison doctors who could not examine the body after execution because the beat of their own heart was obliterating anything they could distinguish..
I have felt overpowering sorrow for the victims of the crime, for little children murdered, for the families of all concerned, for the special worry which policemen's wives always suffer and for the tragic occasions when it is justified. Yet I have had many friends in the police and in the prison service who also feel very strongly against capital punishment.
It is said to be a deterrent. I cannot agree. There have been murders since the beginning of time, and we shall go on looking for deterrents until the end of time. If death were a deterrent, I might be expected to know. It is I who have faced them last, young lads and girls, working men, grandmothers. I have been amazed at the courage with which they take that walk into the unknown. It did not deter them then, and it had not deterred them when they committed what they were convicted for. All the men and women whom I have faced at that final moment convince me that in what I have done I have not prevented a single murder."
It is estimated that Albert Pierrepoint executed about 600 people by hanging during his carrier as an executioner.
The famous Nazi executioner Johann Reichhart, who beheaded over 3,000 people in Nazi Germany, including the members of the White Rose (Hans and Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Kurt Huber, Willi Graf, and others)also changed his mind about capital punishment toward the end of his life, and decided that it was useless and pointless. (Source: Richard Evans: Rituals of Retribution, Capital punishment in Germany 1600-1987).
Last edited by p100; 03-08-2009 at 05:09 PM.