Paul graduated from university in 1987. He has done a variety of jobs, including librarian and researcher. He currently lives in Florida.
The Death Penalty Debate
Capital punishment is a difficult and emotional topic for many. Although it has been abolished in two-thirds of the world's countries, it has a long history and is still used in many places, including many states in the USA.
Its use continues to divide people. To those in favor, the death penalty is seen as the most suitable punishment and effective deterrent for the worst crimes. Those who oppose it, however, see it as inhumane and expensive. They point to data and comparisons of societies with and without capital punishment and argue that there is no evidence that it deters crime.
This article lists all the key pros and cons of executing people who have committed serious criminal offenses—first, the arguments in favor, followed by the arguments against.
I will admit, like Socrates and Aristotle and Plato and some other philosophers, that there are instances where the death penalty would seem appropriate.
— Jack Kevorkian
Death Penalty Pros
- It deters criminals from committing serious crimes. Common sense tells us that the most frightening thing for a human being is to lose their life; therefore, the death penalty is the best deterrent when it comes to discouraging people from carrying out the worst crimes.
- It is quick, painless, and humane. The methods of execution have gradually become more humane over the years, so the argument that the death penalty is cruel and unusual is not valid.
- The legal system constantly evolves to maximize justice. Just because it is feasible that a wrong decision could be made by the legal system doesn’t mean that the death penalty is wrong. Every effort is made in the US to give death row prisoners opportunities to challenge the court's decisions. Modern methods of crime detection, such as DNA testing, also give greater certainty of guilt than existed in the past.
- It appeases the victims or victims' families. The death penalty can provide families of victims with some closure, which may help them to deal with their suffering.
- Without the death penalty, some criminals would continue to commit crimes. It deters prisoners who are already serving life sentences in jail from committing more serious offenses.
- It is a cost-effective solution. The idea put forward by abolitionists that it costs more to execute someone than imprison them for life is simply not true, and there is plenty of evidence to show this.
- Retribution is not the same as revenge. Retribution is a necessary part of the punishment process—without it, the friends and family of the victims, as well as the public in general, would not feel that justice had been served.
Death Penalty Cons
- There is no credible proof that the death penalty works as a deterrent. In the US, in states where the death penalty has been abolished, there has been no significant change in the rates for serious criminal offenses, such as murder.
- It is a cruel and unusual punishment, where basic standards of human dignity are compromised or undermined.
- It continues the cycle of violence. Retribution is just another word for revenge—it is essentially just a form of the flawed thinking that two wrongs can make a right. The pro argument is that killing people is wrong; therefore, you should kill people for killing, which makes no sense. . .
- It affects the poorer segments of society and racial minorities disproportionately, in part because they cannot afford the costs of good legal support. In the USA, although only 13% of the population is African-American, 50% of death row prisoners are African-American.
- It is an old-fashioned and ignorant solution. America’s image would be improved in places like Europe if the death penalty were abolished. The places where executions happen regularly include repressive regimes like Iran, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.
- The justice system is bound to make mistakes. In the case of people who are wrongly imprisoned, they can be released from prison and given compensation, but a wrongful execution can never be righted.
- The death penalty is not cost-effective. When all the practical and legal costs are taken into account, it is clear that the execution is more expensive than imprisoning for life.
- A life spent in prison is a worse punishment than an execution. A life sentence prisoner has many years to endure their punishment, as well as experience remorse and reflect on his or her crimes.
- There are strong religious arguments against the death penalty. Life is sacred and God-given. Divine judgment comes in the afterlife.
The death penalty, I think, is a terrible scar on American justice, especially the concept of equal justice under law, but also of due process. And it goes state by state, and it's different in different states.
— Burke Marshall
Death Penalty Facts and Statistics
How many people have been killed by the death penalty?
There have been more than 1,400 since 1977. In the US, between 1967 and 1977, there were no executions. In 1972, as a result of Furman v. Georgia, the US Supreme Court reduced all pending death sentences to life imprisonment. Later, in 1976, the court affirmed the legality of capital punishment in Gregg v. Georgia.
How many states have the death penalty?
Which states allow the death penalty?
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North, Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.
Which states don't have the death penalty?
Alaska (1957)*, Connecticut (2012), Delaware (2016), Hawaii (1957), Illinois (2011), Iowa (1965), Maine (1887), Maryland (2013), Massachusetts (1984), Michigan (1846), Minnesota (1911), New Hampshire (2019), New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009), New York (2007), North Dakota (1973), Rhode Island (1984), Vermont (1964), West Virginia (1965), Wisconsin (1853), Washington (2018) and Washington, D.C. (1981).
*The parenthetical date is when capital punishment ended in that state.
Three states also have gubernatorial moratoria on the death penalty: California (2019), Oregon (2011), and Pennsylvania (2015).
For the most up-to-date information, visit the Death Penalty Information Center's state-by-state statistics.
How many of those executed via the death penalty were later found to be innocent?
According to some accounts, the number might be as high as 4.1%. According to a study cited in Newsweek magazine, one in 25 sentenced to death is innocent.
How much does it cost to execute someone?
The average cost of a death penalty case is $2.4 million. To learn more about the relative costs, visit the Death Penalty Information Center.
How is the death penalty administered?
It varies state by state, but the methods (listed from most to least common) are lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, and firing squad.
My objection to the death penalty is based on the idea that this is a democracy, and in a democracy the government is me, and if the government kills somebody then I'm killing somebody.
— Steve Earle
Did You Know?
- Japan is the only advanced democratic country, besides the United States, that has the death penalty.
- The five countries that carry out the most executions in the world are China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the USA.
- Since 1976, there have been 273 clemencies granted in the US.
Our criminal justice system is fallible. We know it, even though we don't like to admit it. It is fallible despite the best efforts of most within it to do justice. And this fallibility is, at the end of the day, the most compelling, persuasive, and winning argument against a death penalty.
— Eliot Spitzer
Death Penalty Poll
Which Crimes "Deserve" the Death Penalty?
The US government lists 41 capital offenses (different from those listed by separate states) that are punishable by death. They include:
- war crimes,
- extensive drug trafficking,
- murder involving torture,
- and attempting to kill a witness, juror, court officer, or state or local law enforcement official.
You know, the Bible is so clear. Go to Genesis chapter nine and you will find the death penalty clearly stated in Genesis chapter nine... God ordains the death penalty!
— Rafael Cruz
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Why does the death penalty cost so much?
Answer: Mainly due to the legal costs being greater. Because there is a life at stake, there are many lawyers, judges, and other people working for a long time to prepare, try and review all of the issues. Prisoners on death row also cost more to house than general prisoners.
Question: Does the death penalty have anything to do with the religious concept that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell?
Answer: Religious opinion is divided on the death penalty. Some Christian groups, such as Catholics, see life as precious and that only God can judge whether a life should be taken away, with God's judgment generally coming in the afterlife. Advocates of the death penalty typically see it as a natural punishment that enforces Christian morality, which also has biblical justification.
Question: Do prisoners like having a life sentence?
Answer: No one wishes to be locked up for life. Most prisoners prefer a life sentence to the death penalty, though, firstly, because people generally don't want to die, and secondly, it leaves open a possibility, however tiny, of release. Not all convicts prefer lifelong incarceration; some prefer the idea of execution, a famous example being the female serial killer, Aileen Wuornos.
Question: Why is the death penalty legal?
Answer: It's legal in many US states and countries around the world, because it is often perceived by a large proportion of politicians and members of the public to be an effective deterrent and punishment for the worst types of crime. Proponents argue that the death penalty has moral, practical, cultural, historical, and sometimes religious justification.
Question: Could the death penalty substitute life imprisonment? Is there a reason the country doesn't do that?
Answer: Arguments used by critics of the death penalty, who prefer life imprisonment, include: 1. Miscarriages of justice cannot be addressed if a person is wrongly executed 2. Religious arguments include the concept that life is a gift from God and only God has the right to take it away, as well as the New Testament assertion that an "eye for an eye" approach is wrong. 3. In the US, some legal scholars argue that the death penalty goes against the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishments. 4. The death penalty can end up costing more than life imprisonment. 5. It promotes the "two wrongs make a right approach," using violence.
Question: Why do people agree with the death penalty?
Answer: People in favor of the death penalty believe that it is a fitting punishment for the most heinous crimes, such as murder, and also that it acts as a deterrent. Other arguments include that execution can bring a sense of closure for the victims and their families.
Question: Do criminals always get the death penalty?
Answer: The death penalty is usually only used for the most serious crimes. In the USA this often means first degree murder along with a number of aggravating factors, such as rape, airplane hijacking, or the killing of a police officer.
Question: Why does the death penalty exist?
Answer: The three main purposes of the death penalty are: 1. To prevent the worst criminals from ever committing any further crimes. 2. To deter people from committing serious crimes. 3. Achieve justice for the family and friends of the victims of serious crimes.
© 2011 Paul Goodman
BANDA MADHURI on July 03, 2020:
Yes Death penalty should impose for worst criminals. Its a lesson for other criminals that life is how precious. It is justice for victims family. If the death penalty imposes for criminals who performed capital offences only then everyone know how the LAW is alert.
Janisa from Earth on June 13, 2020:
As an ESL teacher, I sometimes use this as a debate topic with my students and it is always interesting to hear what people of different backgrounds and with different experiences have to say.
Your article is very detailed and I think that I may begin using it with my students as a supplementary reading task.
Thanks for sharing!
nobody on February 26, 2020:
somebody i know was sentenced two lifetimes in jail instead of the death penalty. In that time he gave his life to Jesus, started singing in a church choir, and started a new relationship with his two sons. So I think if we can, we should give criminals a chance before we just sentence them to death!
Pedro Shwarsh on February 21, 2020:
hi im pedro shwarsh and it has come to my awareness that all people sentenced to the death penalty should die! i have been reshearching to see if any one that has been scentenced to the death penalty was innocent and there has been slim to none! i agree THAT anyone that has such a terrible idea TO kill someone they should be killed to! it will probably strike fear into other crimanals hearts and therefor making the whole world great again!!!
Pedro shwarshe on February 20, 2020:
hello I am Pedro and I live in Canada but you guys need to think about how some people could be innocent and there dying for no reason.
FS on January 18, 2020:
I'm not sure why this argument makes points for one side which are directly opposing to the other side. The death penalty cannot be both cheaper and more expensive than life imprisonment. Please fact check before posting summaries like these.
HG on September 14, 2019:
Almost everyone is for the death penalty -- some just don't know it.
Someone poses an imminent threat to your life or the life of another and almost everyone immediately becomes a proponent of the death penalty. You either eliminate the threat, lose your life, or allow another life to be taken.
The law respects life and it is just to put to death someone who attempts to take a life.
It is no less just to put to death someone who takes a life.
save the turtles on September 03, 2019:
it shold be alowd
Anonymous on May 31, 2019:
I think the death penalty should be legal in all states.
annymous on May 17, 2019:
December 14th. 2014, My aunt was ripped away from our family.she had just given birth 11 days before she was kidnapped from the hospital bus stop. She was bound with tape, her arms taped behind her back, and her legs tapped together, tape over her mouth so she could not scream. She was Injected with heroin, to the point she would be unconscious but not dead. They then buried her under a shed, wrapped in a tarp, and a bed sheet, before she was discovered . The killer admitted it, and got 55 years without a chance of parole. He should have gotten the death penalty. THE DEATH PENALTY NEEDS TO BE IN PLACE NO HUMAN DESERVES TO LIVE IF THEY TAKE ANOTHER'S LIFE OR DO SOMETHING SO SINISTER. THERE IS NO EXCUSE.
Mikah Smith on April 24, 2019:
I just want to say that the government will kill somebody to show us that killing is not okay.
junior walden on April 09, 2019:
this help my essay too ty sempie
Steven A Hall from Holbrook on March 31, 2019:
I don't think a death penalty is a good option due to the likely hood of an innocent person dying. People usually rebuke "couldn't that logic be used for jailing people in general?" The thing is that you're killing someone, you cant change your mistake when the innocent person is dead.
Romeo on March 25, 2019:
Death penalty should be approved
some one that can not be named on March 06, 2019:
this is really useful thank you
Nick on February 26, 2019:
Very helpful for my debate in street law! Man i won on both sides which is amazing!!
dad on February 12, 2019:
this helped me on my essay
Jacob Soto on November 27, 2018:
This helped me on my English essay
Jaseh D. Onfroy on November 24, 2018:
This helped me in my english project
Blyat on November 01, 2018:
I think This is cool
Robert Blasko on September 03, 2018:
One of the arguments against the death penalty is it is cruel and unusual punishment. The victims in these cases also may have endured very cruel and unusual punishment for which they were not given a choice. The victims are never given a choice to vote as to whether the person who killed them should also be killed. retain the death penalty because the people that commit these crimes no longer should be considered part of the human race and therefore not entitled to being treated as such.!!!!!
randomtalking on June 07, 2018:
I think death penalty is necessary and indispensable. personally speaking, penalty is like sth lawbreakers should pay for their crimes, and make some compensations. in most cases, the negative consequences can be made up for by fines and other punishments. but some serious crimes like murder(taking others' lives), the offenders can do nothing to make it up. but it's not a revenge, it's not an eye for eye. compared to the financial loss, freedom ,the only and the most valuable cost the criminals can pay and should pay are their lives. it's what laws should do, to protect the innocent, to deter the potiential and to punish the evil. and the seriousness of the penalty should be accord with the seriousness of the crimes.
as for the perspective from the God, i am not sure, i am a believer of the ultimate rule of the nature. if there is sth supernatural, i believe that should be sth precise, accurate, univeral and indifferent, rather than a personification. and killing an evil murder or not has nothing to do with this rule because it is a secular law proposed by human-- one of its creations-- no difference with other spicies.
Justice on April 19, 2018:
I think they should add sex offenders to the capital offenses list, and im not talking about a 16 yr old with 20 yr old boyfriend/girlfriend. Im talking about sexual abuse, rape, sodomy of an innocent defenseless child.
Im all for the death penalty except it should be proven by DNA without a reasonable doubt & it should be swiftly done the day of sentencing.
gabe on March 19, 2018:
i think that its murder for murdering killers no matter how many people they killed either way your going to hell for killing in general
its just me on March 14, 2018:
I would love to hear more of your guys opinion on this topic
hey on March 05, 2018:
the death penalty should be allowed
Person on February 28, 2018:
The death penalty should come back.
KatGirl on January 24, 2018:
I think that the death penalty should be banned and not comeing back!!!
Skippy Dinglechalk on January 19, 2018:
The Death Penalty should be allowed. If a man kills many people, rapes many children, and or kills inmates. He should be put to death. Also if he killed them violently.
Shela Robinson on February 28, 2017:
Hey why did they do that
Anonymous on January 25, 2017:
Some people r saying that criminals shouldnt sit on death row for so long or people r saying that criminals r killed without a thorough trial. Of all my research they r on death row for so long so courts have a chance to prove the criminal innocent if that's the case or just verify that he is guilty. Thee criminal will actually be given a very good lawyer to make sure that if there is a chance they r innocent they won't be killed
Psychotic Dreams on January 23, 2017:
the death penalty is baaaaad XD you should not kill someone who has killed someone else... there is the whole eye for an eye thing but i feel like killing someone because they killed someone is very dumb. That is like saying if someone has multiple abortions you kill them. I don't care for abortionists but still come on it is inexplicable.
unknown on January 19, 2017:
im against it because you are taking peoples life. even kids die what are you thiking, have yall ever heard people can change. Do you think god wants people to die. They dont even get time to repent and ask to be forgiven. Just like the president election. You heard donald trumps background why pick him, but one day he could change or be the same. You did you deal with it dont kill people because of their history or what they did. Thats why I cant wait until judgement day when yall will learn. thats when the real penalty will come hell or heaven, only that will determine when you be charged or not. But the world is to stupid to notice that they will die one day and that can change before they do, so why take away their chance.
Anonymous on December 15, 2016:
I am for the dearth penalty mainly because regardless of what others think I believe it is a way of cleaning up society regardless of how crude they are. And if the criminal is mentally unstable then they should be placed in a mental institution for help not be placed in prison for life otherwise thei will suffer much longer for something they couldn't control.
Anon on October 19, 2016:
The death penalty is only used in extreme cases. It is only used if known for sure that the perpetrator is guilty. Nobody will ever be falsely put to death. I agree with this method. Contrary to what everyone thinks, it is not expensive for lethal injection. For those saying its inhumane, it's not. They don't feel any pain. If someone kills people, then them themselves should be killed. I don't really mind though. Maybe they should spend the rest of their life in jail. I say this because hopefully they will suffer in jail, maybe death is an easy way out. Nevertheless, they deserve what's coming to them.
PugFather on November 18, 2015:
In my opinion the death penalty should only be used in extreme cases.
aka Pug Abusers @thepugabuser :(
prayojan on June 17, 2015:
I agree fully. I do not put deterrence as my first issue but justice and protection as my first two. I used to be an opponent of the DP but became a supporter. Here is the reason why I changed from an opponent to a supporter of the death penalty. http://www.billionairesnewswire.com/ten-countries-...
Phil Perez on February 28, 2015:
The Death Penalty is illogical. I'll explain why. How can you teach the person not to act criminally if they are dead? Why do people continue to act criminally if the Death Penalty is to show others what will happen if you commit a severe crime? What if fear isn't good enough to teach others?
I agree it costs a lot to have a better method, but Sweden seems to be doing a pretty good job at it. America however, is focused on war and does not care much for the pawns in their cruel game of chess. We should not have different ways of "teaching" just to seem unique, we should all strive to have the best way! Or the better way than everyone else, for now until we as human beings are intelligent enough to know the best way.
Kristi Sharp from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 02, 2012:
Interesting hub. I'm against the death penalty and have been for my entire adult life. As a child of someone who was murdered, people are often confused as to why I would want the guilty man to go to prison as opposed to be put to death. I worked at a Kansas prison and know first hand what oppression looks like. It seems that there are several comments here that are more emotional than logical but it's easy to let emotion control you when it's people you love. Nevertheless, great hub. -K
babydoll webb on April 15, 2012:
I very much agreed with James Nash.What a concept. Who ever give anyone the permission to killed someone.What do you an eye for an eye? Do you think that if someone was convicted of murder, Do think that the person should be executed? What a laugh. Sin is Sin. Death is Death.There is only one god and he would be the judge.He gave life and he should take life. No one should
James Nash on April 10, 2012:
so you think justice is being served by execution, what a concept, you can't bring the victim back by executing any-one, what you mean is revenge is being served, and why do you not think that life in prison with-out a chance for parole isn't a punishment, why should we let a murderer bring us down to their level? the u.s is one of the only civlized countries left still executing, look it up on the web, and see who we're in company with when it comes to the death penalty.
Murod on February 21, 2012:
I think so
country girl101 on February 17, 2012:
i am for the death penalty because once a person goes to jain for life they don't really care what happens so what if that person killed lots of people and they escape then what we has a murderer back on the streets. Then not to mention if a person is a murderer then there is something wrong with there head and they would take advantage of being in jail and many people are ok with jail because they rule it there and they wouldn't have aproblem killing in there. So i am for the death penalty completely to get those ruthless murderers off the earth
fruity juicy on February 17, 2012:
juicy fruit on February 17, 2012:
juicy fruit on February 17, 2012:
Joe on February 13, 2012:
I feel no remorse for those who murder, because they should have considered the consequences before commiting such an act. Even the death penalty is a very mild form of the experience they put there victim through. I feel bad for the victim who had endured such a nightmare and not the one who caused it all to happen.
vcollum from alabama on February 11, 2012:
I am totally against death penalty and I haven't always had this soft heart..since my moms exhusband is on death row for her murder. I never want the man on the on street but since he has lived in that cell for 22 years I don't see what 20 more would hurt. Alejandra the cost to try death sentence I feel is myth. Well i know here in alabama those on death cant afford to pay an attorney and the ones they get over appointed through there life on death row your top of the line high quality lawyers. And that's how the system fails them especially the innocent ones.
Alejandra on February 08, 2012:
so what do you think about the cost is there more to it ?
drose12 on January 29, 2012:
zk there are not inicient people dying they have the dna evidence and with the technology today there arent inicient people being put to death
nick on January 28, 2012:
if there sentecned to life without parole they usually have nothing to lose so what keeps them from constantly killing in prison? those people are going to not put any thought into there actions and there going to do what they think is right in that moment
wilmiers77 from Oklahoma City, OK on January 23, 2012:
Thanks, I like hearing the pros and cons concerning anything, than I can think it out better.
die hard penis on December 13, 2011:
u will only kill one person and if u did not kill a killer then u would have less people in the world because he would kill a lot of them and what if he killed someone in your family u would want him killed right right??? i think so
Anonymous on December 05, 2011:
I am aganst the death penalty. it is horrable, and what if the peson was forced by another.
thieshajones from Savannah, Georgia on December 01, 2011:
@Cheaptrick I agree!
Another difference is:
* one is legally (and politically) accepted
* the other is immoral or unethical legally (from a political perspective)
I say politically because the death penalty still exists.
mayra on November 17, 2011:
zk on November 15, 2011:
skittle chick is right what if that person did not do the crime but was killed eneywhases.
zackary k on November 15, 2011:
i hate the death pentalty!
Skittle Chick on November 07, 2011:
I Am doing A Report/ Essay About This And Im Against It. Ive Read Your Coments And I Agree And Disagree With Some Of Them. I Feel That They Shouldn't Die,Life In Prison Can Be Better Than Loosing Your Life. I know That You Guys Have already Writtin This But I Want To Make Sure You Understand Because I Know people Want Justice, But Is It Really Worth Someone Loosing There Life? I mean The Killer,Murder,Rapest can Be Sick In The Head. You Don't Know That, Maybe They Were Born That Way And Cant Help It.Do You really Think They Ment To Do It? Ask Yourself One More Question. What If That Person Was You WHo Commited The Crime?
hiyae on November 04, 2011:
necrofeliacs should be put to death because dead bodies do not deserve what they do to them
SanXuary on October 27, 2011:
When the crime is taking someone elves life and it is beyond a doubt the death penalty is the only cure. So many criminals have been caught and later discovered to have gotten a way with it before. The same truth our those who our released only to commit the same crime again. All other crimes our petty in comparison to horrific acts of murder. There is no cure for socio-paths and people who have no feelings towards others or their humanity. Simply put pre-meditated murder crosses the line in terms of ever curing ones self from evil.
Anonymous on October 23, 2011:
I see everyones point of view but put yourself in the place of the victims family. Would you want that hurt that you felt on anyone else? I know I wouldn't and I talk from experince. Another thing is that what is the difference between the person who committed the crime and us?
toygurus on September 20, 2011:
I like how you weighed the pros and cons. There is no clear answer. Two people may have different viewpoints and both may be absolutely right. the important thing is to have a debate in your head before coming to an opinion.
cheaptrick from the bridge of sighs on September 15, 2011:
An eye for an eye...and eventualy,the whole world goes blind.
The only difference between murder and execution is the order in which it takes place.
b. Malin on September 15, 2011:
I am for the Death Penalty...Some Criminal do not deserve to live and be a burden for the rest of their lives on Tax payers... and some get out and KILL again...If there is NO Doubt they should be put to death, and not be allowed to sit on Death Row for l0, 15, or 20 years...There Victims did not have a choice...if they did they would have chosen not to be killed.
Paul Goodman (author) from Florida USA on September 15, 2011:
@McCordRM - Thanks for your comment. The argument that the death penalty is more expensive than life in prison without parole is often put forward by abolitionists. This is disputed by death penalty advocates. You would think that it would be straightforward to work out the figures and provide a definitive answer, but as the figures are disputed, I thought that I would include both points of view in the interest of balance.
Richard McCord from Texas on September 15, 2011:
I'm curious why you posted the same arguments as both Pros and Cons. Either it costs more to keep criminals alive, or it doesn't, for example.
Nick Lucas on September 15, 2011:
Why do people worry about the method being humane? If the person is guilty without any doubt, then money could be saved by using a bullet. The person who is sentenced to death didn't worry about their actions being humane as they killed and or torchured another.
Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on September 15, 2011:
Nice hub. If you like the death penalty, Rick Perry's your man. He surpassed George Bush's record as a Texas death machine governor this week.