The anti-death penalty brigades are trolling Delaware. The pro-law enforcement community is rallying. Who will win? Most discussions will focus on the politics, the idea of the one innocent person, racial disparities, or even back and forth discussions about the effectiveness or costs. All are worthy points. Discussing the meaning of justice is not a particularly trendy, but it is fundamental to the discussion. The idea of justice is proportional punishment as opposed to Hatfield McCoy type vengeance cycles. It is an eye for eye and tooth for a tooth not you knocked my tooth out so I take your eye out, you take my eye out so I kill you. You killed my child so I wipe out your entire clan. Justice protects the innocent and even the guilty. It says that when someone steals they repay plus a penalty for the harm done to the victim. The Scripture says if you catch a thief, he shall repay 7 times. You do not cut his hand off and maim him for life. You do not toss him in prison for life. Often times, without justice there is no place for mercy. On the flip side, justice keeps society from devolving into disorder. Just like Draco’s code of blood creates terror and oppression, no effective system of justice is the complete break down of civilization. People who say penalty has no deterrent value are just plain out to lunch with no money. Our murder rate is lower since the return of the death penalty. It also has a very good rate at stopping repeat murder. Every law has deterrent value, it is just a question of how much? What happens to a society that does not value justice? The rule of law becomes a casualty. The foundations of order erode over time. The rule of law is one of the four foundations to any civilized society. Every major civilized society has at its foundations a strong social order, usually the family or tribe, a strong influence of faith, the rule of law and a respected government, and a capable economy. In America, we call it Faith, Family, Freedom, and Free Markets. In Singapore, they call it traditional Asian Values. In Africa, they call it African Traditional Values, in English. In various nations, it has various names, but the concept is near universal among successful nations. I contend the best way to strengthen our weakening society is one block at a time. What ever strengthens justice is good for the whole. How is it just for one to savagely kill another for pleasure or profit, but be allowed to keep his own life? How is it just for Jeffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson to murder out of routine and get to live? Senator Peterson, how is that moral? How would it be moral for Osama Bin Laden to get up every morning rejoicing in his victories against tens of thousands of innocents civilians? There is no justice that we can render. This is why we have to commit such people to the justice of a higher power beyond this life. The Hebrew Scripture tells us that the land cries out for justice when innocent blood is shed. A nation that refuses to prefer the blood of the innocent over that of the killer is one that institutionalizes injustice.