To me, capital punishment is a form of societal self-defense. It should not be employed indiscriminately, but in cases of the most heinous crimes, the death penalty may be the only appropriate punishment. Some people believe it is right to take a life to save the life of someone else, but they would not vote to take the life of a convicted criminal, no matter how horrible the crime. Others believe that killing another person for any reason is simply wrong. I respect those opinions, but I disagree with them. I'm convinced that government has a duty to promote community defense. The death penalty, when applied in appropriate cases, can be a strong deterrent to crime. It is certainly a deterrent to the convicted criminal sentenced to death, and it is also a deterrent to other potential capital offenders.

John David Ashcroft
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