Jonah Goldberg has another one of his predictably trite and overly simplistic columns — that is, after all, the only thing he has to offer — about the Aurora shooter and the death penalty. He begins by beating up a rather silly straw man:
Death penalty opponents are fairly mercenary about when to express their outrage. When questions of guilt can be muddied in the media; when the facts are old and hard to look up; when the witnesses are dead; when statistics can be deployed to buttress the charge of institutional racism: These are just a few of the times when opponents loudly insist the death penalty must go.
But when the murderer is white or racist or his crimes so incomprehensibly ugly, the anti-death-penalty crowd stays silent. If your long-term goal is to abolish the death penalty, you want to pick your cases carefully.
But the simple fact is, if the death penalty is always wrong, it’s wrong in the politically inconvenient cases, too.