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Wendy Kaminer

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For the most part, executions happen in obscurity. If people did hear about executions, if they were publicized, even televised, I fear more would enjoy them than be repelled by them.
"6/24/95 Wendy Kaminer on Crime" (24 June 1995)

Wendy Kaminer

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Executions, far from being useful examples to the survivors, have, I am persuaded, a quite contrary effect, by hardening the heart they ought to terrify. Besides, the fear of an ignominious death, I believe, never deterred anyone from the commission of a crime, because in committing it the mind is roused to activity about present circumstances.

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Is there anything in which the people of this age and country differ more from those of other lands and former times than in this — their ability to preserve order and protect rights without the aid of government? ... We are realizing the paradox, “that country is governed best which is governed least.” I no longer fear lynch law. Let the people be intelligent and good, and I am not sure but their impulsive, instinctive verdicts and sentences and executions, unchecked by the rules and technicalities of law, are more likely to be according to substantial justice than the decisions of courts and juries.

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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.

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