He made the mistake of suggesting to conservative enthusiasts for the culture of death that we should not kill people if we don’t have to. One might as well develop Tourette’s Syndrome in Church in some sectors of conservative thought, where the question is intensely focused “When do we *get* to kill people?” The death penalty is, for people focused on that question, a rich and fertile ground for finding people you *get* to kill, and kill with relish. All one need do is read the comboxes after any news piece on an execution and all that rubbish about abstract interest in “retributive justice” melts away. It’s wall-to-wall “I just wish we could have tortured the bastard to death” and displays of the most gruesome sort of glee, reminiscent of nothing so much as the gloating mob at the foot of the Cross.
Anyway, in the flood of hostility Ponnuru received (largely from “prolife” conservatives), somebody managed to actually translate “We shouldn’t kill people if we don’t absolutely need to” as “Execute more white people.” Ponnuru, with the patience of Job, replies to that lunatic charge here.