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Alan Keyes on Crime

American Independent nominee for President; 2004 Republican challenger for IL Senate


Death penalty sometimes essential to respect for life

I believe that there are certain circumstances in which the death penalty is in fact essential to our respect for life. If we do not, in our law, send the message to everyone that by calculatedly, coldly taking a human life--in a way that, for instance, assaults the structures of law in a society, or shows a cold-blooded and studied disregard for the value of that life--if we are not willing to implement the death penalty in those circumstances, then we are actually sending a message of contempt for human life. We are encouraging people to believe that that step is not in fact a terminal step when they premeditatedly and fatally decide to move against the life of another human being. So I believe that there are circumstances under which it is essential, in fact, that we have and apply the death penalty in order to send a clear moral message to people throughout our society that we will not tolerate that kind of disrespect for life.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.alankeyes.com, “Issues” , Oct 1, 2007

Opposes lowering age for trying children as adults

I am opposed to lowering the age at which we adjudge people to be adults. The tendency in that direction now, to want to treat our children as if they are adults, is a confession of our own failure as a society to maintain the structures of family life, to maintain the basis of moral education. As a result, we have children now in whom there exists a shocking moral void, and those children engage in some acts that are heinous to us. But we need to respect the difference that exists between children and adults. We need to insist, from adults, moral accountability and moral responsibility--and we also need to help our children develop that ability to be mature adults. But we shouldn’t take out our failure of moral education on younger and younger children. That is a great error.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.alankeyes.com, “Issues” , Oct 1, 2007

Let neighborhood justices of the peace determine sentencing

Q: What policy would you support to guarantee young Black and brown men a fairer equal justice system?

A: In my book called “Masters of the Dream,” there was a proposal to restore real local self-government, which would be neighborhood self-government in a lot of our urban areas. One of the features of that neighborhood government would be the reinstitution of what were called in the old days things like justices of the peace. They were people who lived in the community, came out of the community, were empowered to judge offenses committed by folks who were in and lived in that community so that there would be sensitivity to the truth that you’re not just dealing with crooks. Sometimes you’re dealing with young people who, if you treat them in the right way, can be put on a path that will be constructive instead of destructive. But only the people who live in the community would understand that. They need to have judges who come from amongst them.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

Death penalty is about universal justice

Q: Do you think the death penalty is carried out justly in the US? And do you want to see it continued?

A: I support the death penalty. I think it has a basis in universal justice that isn’t just about deterrence and all that, it’s about respect for life. It’s about making sure that we don’t send the signal, especially where Black killers are concerned, because we do understand, don’t we, that they mostly kill Black folks. And I wouldn’t want to send the message that when you kill another Black human being, we somehow don’t take that seriously. We’ll cheapen the significance of that by not applying the understanding that when you cold-bloodedly and calculatingly take another human life, more has [to be paid in penalty than human beings can make you pay]. We can only dispatch you to the ruler of us all so that he may ultimately judge you for your misdeeds.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

Opposes “hate crimes” legislation

Q: I was arrested, jailed, and was charged under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law. I faced up to 47 years in prison plus a $90,000 fine for attempting to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ at a homosexual pride event with those who are trapped in bondage to that lifestyle. If elected, can we count on you to veto any so-called “hate crimes” legislation?
Source: [Xref Brownback] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Prosecute all illegal adult pornography

Q: The Bush Justice Department is reticent to prosecute any but the worst hardcore pornographers--and most often, only the smaller companies that produce such filth. Meanwhile, hardcore pornographers have found their way into major hotel chains. Would your administration prosecute all illegal adult pornography, including so-called white-collar pornographers?
Source: [Xref Paul] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Enforcement should target criminals, not social conditions

OBAMA: [to Keyes]: The fact is I’ve passed 150 pieces of legislation that toughened penalties for violent criminals, everything from sex offenders to domestic abusers to gang bangers. So there’s only one candidate who’s ever dealt with hardened criminals on this stage and that’s me. The other guy only talks about it and I think that’s something voters will be focused on in this election.

KEYES: When I was part of the effort to fight terrorists, I dealt with some of the most hardened criminals on the face of the earth. What I learned to understand, that Senator Obama seems to forget when dealing with domestic crime and foreign relations is that you must go after the people who cause the problem and you must get after them before than can do harm. You must deal with the individuals who pose a threat to the decency of our communities.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes , Oct 21, 2004

No conflict between pro life and pro death penalty stances

Q: Doesn’t your pro-life stance conflict with your support of the death penaty?

KEYES: It doesn’t conflict at all. As a matter of fact, abortion and capital punishment are at different level of moral concern. Abortion is intrinsically, objectively wron and sinful whereas capital punishment is a matter of judgment, which is not in and of itself a violation of moral right. There are certain issues that objectively violate the most fundamental canons of moral decency and abortion is one of them: the takin of innocent life. The question of whether or not you should apply capital punishment depends on circumstances and it’s an area where Catholics have a right to debate and disagree.

OBAMA: Now I agree with Mr. Keyes that the death penalty and abortion are separate cases. It’s unfortunate that with the death penalty Mr. Keyes respects that people may have a different point of view but with the issue of abortion he has labeled people as terrorists for holding an opposing point of view.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes , Oct 21, 2004

Sentencing gang members to death sends strong social message

Q: [to Obama]: On mandatory death sentences for gang members who kill cops you voted no. Would you explain?

OBAMA: [The proposed legislation] was entirely unnecessary and unconstitutional. It suggested that I could kill a police officer but because I’m not a gang member, I would be treated differently. I think both cases should be death penalty eligible.

KEYES: Senator Obama does not think it superfluous to have hate crimes legislation that adds a special animus to certain acts of violence already penalized against the law. But in order to convey against those certain acts a special category of deviation from society. The law provides a special message aimed at discouraging things considered especially harmful to a society and a community.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes , Oct 21, 2004

Don’t lower age of adult criminal prosecutions

I am opposed to lowering the age at which we adjudge people to be adults. The tendency in that direction now, to want to treat our children as if they are adults, is a confession of our own failure as a society to maintain the structures of family life, to maintain the basis of moral education. As a result, we have children now in whom there exists a shocking moral void, and those children engage in some acts that are heinous to us. But we need to respect the difference that exists between children and adults. We need to insist, from adults, moral accountability and moral responsibility-and we also need to help our children develop that ability to be mature adults. But we shouldn’t take out our failure of moral education on younger and younger children. That is a great error.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website www.Keyes2004.com, “Issues” , Sep 9, 2004

Failing to revere God results in violence and crime

We as a people have experienced, sadly, the consequences of forgetting this fundamental truth: fail to revere God in our schools, and the tide of violence, and crime, and drug abuse rises in our schools, along with a tide of low motivation and bad performance.
Source: Rally in Blairsville, Georgia , Oct 21, 2003

Diallo verdict does not need federal review

Q: Are you comfortable with the Diallo verdict [where NYC police were found not guilty of murder]? A: I withhold judgment [because] I didn’t sit through all the testimony. The jury did and they reached a conclusion. The only thing I’ve heard from a lot of the critics of this case have to do with the number of bullets and other things. I haven’t yet heard a good case made that on the facts, one should question that verdict. And until I hear that case I am not going to indulge in sort of emotional rhetoric scapegoating police officers.

Q: Should there be an automatic Justice Department review in a case like this where you have alleged police abuse and the verdict goes in favor of the police? A: No, absolutely not. I really protest against the liberal tendency to want the federal government to take over those responsibilities which rightly belong to states and localities, on the assumption that people at the state and local level are too depraved to do justice without federal supervision.

Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles , Mar 2, 2000

Without death penalty for murder, we disregard life

Q: What is your position on the death penalty?
A: There are certain circumstances in which the death penalty is essential to our respect for life. If we do not in our law send the message to everybody that by calculatedly, coldly taking a human life in a way that assaults the structures of law in a society or shows a cold-blooded and studied disregard for the value of that life, if we are not willing to implement the death penalty in those circumstances, then we are actually sending a message of contempt for human life. We are encouraging people to believe that that step is not in fact a terminal step, when they fatefully and fatally decide to move against the life of another human being. So I think that there are circumstances under which it is essential, in fact, that we have and apply the death penalty in order to send a clear moral message to people throughout our society that we will not tolerate that kind of disrespect for life.
Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

Stricter penalties; truth in sentencing

Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

“Hate crime” laws inappropriately punish attitudes

Let’s say a ruthless drug dealer exterminates a person who crossed him up. Put that side by side with a crime that is motivated by racial, or religious bigotry, but with the end result being the deliberate murder of an individual. Should we have two separate standards for these two murders? The proper approach to take toward crimes is to judge the act, not the attitude. The real purpose behind the hate crime legislation movement, however, is to accord to the government the right to punish attitudes.
Source: (Cross-ref from Civil Rights) WorldNetDaily “hate crimes” , Jun 14, 1999

Supports capital punishment.

Supports capital punishment.
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test, Project Vote Smart , Jul 2, 1996

External violence results from internal lawlessness

The problem [causing crime and violence] is control all right, but it’s self-control not gun control. External violence is the symptom and consequence of internal lawlessness and self-indulgence. I wonder if [liberals] understand the intimate connection between violence on the streets and violence against unborn children?

Crime and violence aren’t just social facts--they are moral realities. Moral problems can’t be addressed with external solutions such as gun control or condom distribution. They need internal remedies. Though we shy away from the subject these days, most decent people know in their hearts that the only solution to these moral problems is moral education. The basic principle of all moral education is respect for our moral faculty, i.e., the human capacity to act rationally, to discipline passion in order to prevent immoral consequences. Lawless ideas have lawless consequences.

Source: Our Character, Our Future, p. 33-5 , May 2, 1996

Capital punishment is necessary to show respect for life

Q: The Pope condemned capital punishment.
A: Having read the Encyclical, the Pope reasserted the Church’s traditional doctrine on capital punishment and He cautioned against the abuse of that position and said that it would be very rare.
Q: You do agree it should be rare?
A: Certainly. I’ve never been somebody who thought that you should be applying capital punishment indiscriminately. But I do believe that it is necessary in certain instances in order for a society to show due respect for life.
Source: Interview on Larry King Live , Apr 4, 1995

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Page last updated: Mar 13, 2014