Keith Ablow, MD is a psychiatrist, New York Times bestselling author and was host of the nationally-syndicated “Dr. Keith Ablow Show.” He is a former member of the Fox News Medical A Team.
By Keith Ablow
Special to the Leader Herald
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has come out in favor of the death penalty for cop killers. I think he’s wrong.
I believe police officers are among the most heroic public servants. I take it like a kick to the gut whenever one is harmed. Weymouth Police Sargeant Michael Chesna, who was gunned down July 15, was a hero. There are really no words to express how selfless a person has to be to stand in harms way and risk his or her life, for the rest of us.
Yet I don’t believe anyone should ever be executed—neither by a state, nor by the federal government.
Is that because I believe that wrongly-convicted individuals could be executed? The Innocence Project has certainly proven that innocent people are sent to death row. But that isn’t my chief reason for opposing the death penalty.
Is my opposition to capital punishment because of the fact that even a person who has committed almost unthinkable acts still might find God and prove that good can overcome evil? I do believe that redemption is possible, no matter how heinous a person’s past. But that isn’t my chief reason for opposing the death penalty, either.
See, I’m not looking, chiefly, to save them; I’m looking to save the rest of us.
I oppose the death penalty because I know, for sure, deep in my heart and mind, that a society that seeks to restore the spiritual lives of those who senselessly snuff out other innocent lives is a far more powerful society in which to live and to raise one’s children. I know for certain that, in not giving up on those who seem to be lost causes, we preserve our ability to resurrect the best parts of ourselves and our loved ones. In taking the stance that there is not one human being who is clearly beyond the power of human empathy and God’s love we harness those forces for the good of all of us.
I am certain that somehow, at some point, and for some very real reason that I promise you I could uncover in one meeting, Governor Baker lost his faith that human beings can ennoble themselves by refusing the easy path of retribution, thereby strengthening and purifying themselves to do God’s work in many, many domains.
How about it, Governor? Give me one hour, on any day and I will meet you in your office.
See, when we give up on one man, even a reprehensible killer, we give up on every man, and we give up on ourselves. We risk losing our power as agents of a Higher Power. And that is an incalculably high price to pay for vengeance.