It’s cases like these that make me wonder how to classify myself politically (as per the facebook question, am I ‘liberal’, or ‘very liberal’?) Like Matt, I see no principled reason why killing people who have committed serious crimes should be ruled out. So I’m pro death penalty. Except that our capital punishment system is nothing more than a Rube-Goldberg machine of racism and prosecutorial misconduct. So instead of saying there’s no reason to rule out capital punishment, it just better to say forget about it until we have a judicial system that works.
That’s the thing about conservatism: it’s a decent enough theory, but it could never work.