Speech Against Capital Punishment
Good Afternoon, I am honored to be here, and I thank you for having me.
Today I would like to speak to you about a very controversial issue-
capital punishment. What do those two words mean to you? To most
people they mean a murder victims family receiving justice for their
deceased. Let me see a show of hands. How many people in the audience
believe in the death penalty? I conducted a weeklong survey of two
hundred people of all ages. The purpose was to see how many people
believed in the death penalty and how many opposed it. My results are
shown on this overhead.
As you can clearly see, 98% believe in the death penalty. 57% believe
that the death penalty is a deterrent for murder. A high of 97% of the
people favor capital punishment, where 1% think that our justice system
should not be more lenient on death row inmates. Only 89% think that
once convicted of murder, an inmate should be sentenced to death
I would like to take this time to tell you a story. On August 15,
1997, the Reverend John Miller preached a sermon at the Martha Vineyards
Tabernacle in New Hampshire. He told his congregation, which included
the vacationing President Clinton and his wife, that capital punishment
is wrong. I invite you to look at a picture of Timothy McVeigh and to
forgive him, said Miller. If we profess to be Christians, then we are
called to love and forgive. Once the sermon ended, Rev. Miller,
Clinton, and their wives got together for brunch at the Sweet Life Cafi.
What the Rev. did not know was that 24-year-old Jeremy T Charron; an
Epsom New Hampshire police officer was gunned down in cold blood just
hours before Millers sermon on forgiving murderers. That Sunday marked
Charrons 44th day as a full time police officer, the job he dreamed of
since he was 6 years old.
Jeremy Charron leaves behind his parents, two sets of grandparents, two
sisters, two brothers, a wide circle of friends, and a girlfriend whose
engagement ring he had begun to shop for. Maybe the Reverend Miller
would advise those grieving for Charron to look at pictures of Gordon
Perry, the robber accused of pumping the bullets into Charrons heart,
and 18 year old Kevin Paul, the accomplice, and forgive.
The state of New Hampshire has opted not to forgive, but to prosecute.
Perry has been charged with capital murder. If he is convicted, the
state will seek the death penalty for the first time since 1939.
Jeanne Shepard, the democratic governor, says a capital murder
prosecution will put criminals On notice that if they kill a police
officer in New Hampshire, they will face the death penalty. What if
they kill someone other than a cop? Should criminals not be put on
notice that they will face the death penalty if they kill a cashier in
cold blood? A farmer, or a schoolteacher? They should- but the law
says otherwise. In New Hampshire as in all states with the death