The many arguments for and against the death penalty are once again being closely scrutinized. But the death penalty as public policy is not about having good or bad reasons. We are really killing select killers because of how it makes us feel. It is the emotions that are satisfied.
To occasionally cage some killer for many years, feed him a special last meal, and then poison him to death is irrational. The death penalty makes us feel like we are doing something for the victim, for the victim's family, for society, and for our own justifiable anger fearfulness and disgust. It is a periodic bloodletting by a frustrated society.
Choosing not to execute prisoners isn't about joining a pity party for a callous killer. It is a decision about us, people who respect human life. If killing a person who is already imprisoned was a rational act, good people who know better than to kill in cold blood would long ago have seen the stark evil in it.