There’s a petition circulating calling for the death penalty for those who raped & murdered little Asifa Bano in Jammu. That’s the sentence given to the man who raped & murdered 7-year-old Zainab Ansari last January in Pakistan. Don’t we all want such monsters to be punished maximally? My objection to the death penalty isn’t just the amorality of taking someone’s life in vengeance but that it is foolish to hand such a right to repressive governments who will use it against the most vulnerable & oppressed, not against the most savage criminals. What separates civilized people from savagery is the rule of law & not letting our emotions run roughshod in the courts. So of course, I want the perpetrators jailed for the rest of their worthless lives but I would never sign such a petition sanctioning the death penalty. We uphold the highest standards of human conduct even in the treatment of the worst criminals.