The subject of capital punishment is still widely debated. There is a common perception that any society who kills its citizens, even if they are murderers, is uncivilized. Appropriately, they worry about the state executing innocent inmates. The concept that they fail to understand is that the state is obligated to exact an appropriate punishment. The blood of the victims will cry from the ground for justice. Alma apparently understood this concept and, as the chief judge, was concerned that if the state did nothing, the blood of Gideon would come upon us for vengeance.
Joseph Fielding Smith
"CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: It has been the law of the Lord from the beginning that
’…flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.
Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.’ (Gen 9:4-6)
"Moreover, Moses reiterated this commandment to Israel as the Lord commanded him, and it has never by divine decree been revoked. The Nephites taught and practiced it. In this, the last dispensation, the Lord has confirmed this penalty upon those who deliberately kill.
President Charles W. Penrose, speaking of capital punishment, has said:
’This divine law for shedding the blood of a murderer has never been repealed. It is a law given by the Almighty and not abrogated in the Christian faith. It stands on record for all time--that a murderer shall have his blood shed. He that commits murder must be slain. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. I know there are some benevolent and philanthropic people in these times who think that capital punishment ought to be abolished. Yet I think the Lord knows better than they. The law he ordained will have the best results to mankind in general.’" (Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 1, P. 189)
Joseph Fielding Smith
“There is a growing notion in the world today that it is adding a crime to a crime to take the life of those who deliberately murder--a cruel retaliation which cannot benefit the murdered person and likewise the murderer can reap no benefits therefrom. The real purpose which the Lord gave for the taking of life has long been forgotten. The taking of the life of the murderer was never intended to be a benefit to the murdered person or even a benefit to humanity. It was intended to be a benefit to the murderer himself. There are sins which cannot be forgiven, except by the guilty person paying a price by the shedding of his blood. Capital punishment was to benefit the guilty to obtain a better resurrection when the sin had been one unto death.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 3, p. 104)