In Makkot, 'bet, amud bet', Rabbi Yochanan offers a kal vachomer in which he says that the one who did the deed deliberately does not go to galut, how much more the one that didn't do a deed? ('she'asa ma'aseh bemaizid'). Everyone understands this person to be someone who murdered someone else on purpose. He is deserving of the death penalty and not the shelter city.
However, how can one compare one who murders on purpose to one who kills by accident? The premise of the kal vachomer seems weak. I understand Rabbi Yochanan to be referring to the 'rodef' and not some unknown murderer. In other words, if the rodef catches the killer before he reaches the shelter city, then he kills him on purpose and we do not send the rodef himself to the shelter city. Now I think the kal vachomer is strong since both sides of the argument refer to individuals involved in the same context.
I believe my argument is strengthened by the fact that the verses in the Torah appear side by side. First the mention of the shelter city and then the mention of the 'rodef'. I am aware that none of the mefarshim read the kal vachomer this way and needless to say I suspect I am wrong for this reason. Unfortunately, I cannot see anything that precludes my reading and I'm wondering if I missed something. I would appreciate any explanation or advise you can offer.
turkienicz, toronto, canada
Rebbi Yochanan is not comparing one who kills unintentionally to one who kills intentionally. Rebbi Yochanan is offering an alternative Limud that Edim Zomemim who wanted to commit someone to Galus do not receive Galus themselves. The Kal v'Chomer is that if one who commited an act of murder does not get Galus since he was Mezid, surely one who did not commit an act (Edim) will not receive Galus. The Gemara then poses your objection, saying that perhaps the reason the murderer does not receive Galus is because it is insufficient for his crime.