This writeup was deleted by an op because of its ideological content. I am reposting it here for safe storage.
Why is attempted murder punished much less severely than murder? If society wants to get dangerous people off the street, isn't an attempted murderer just as dangerous as a murderer? If we want to deter people from murdering in the future, wouldn't it be just as wise to lock up an attempted murderer as it would a murderer?
Well, yes. But human beings are vengeful and stupid. The purpose of our criminal justice system is to attack people for the sake of attacking them. Murder gives us an excuse, attempted murder less of one. Indeed, there is a communitarian joy from punishing someone, as can be seen from red-state lynchings. But it can be seen clearly: the criminal justice system does not exist for societal regulatory purposes.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. This is the foundation of our criminal justice system. Deterrence and public safety are myths. These "rational" purposes for criminal justice only exist as justifications for our sadism. The Republican in all of us wants to see people suffer. The more conservative among us enjoy suffering the most, but we are all sadistic.