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10 Reasons To End The Death Penalty Now

10 Reasons To End The Death Penalty Now

I have been feeling sick since Wednesday.

Two people in the United States were executed by government decree on that day, and another one on Thursday. What kind of country are we living in, with values like these?

Here’s how it looks from the outside. A prominent global health activist, arriving from the U.K. on Thursday, commented, “It seems like every time I come to America there’s someone being executed.”

China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, United States Carry Out The Most Executions

That’s very possible because along with China, Iran, North Korea and Yemen, the United States leads the world in carrying out the most death sentences. What great company we are in.

Meanwhile, around the world, there seems to be a general trend toward the abolition of capital punishment. Over the past decade, 31 countries have eliminated the death penalty in law or practice. Gabon was the most recent country to end the punishment, making it the 139th country to do so.

Yet another F on the United States’ human rights report card. (To be fair, a total of U.S. 16 states and the District of Columbia no longer use the death penalty.)

The death penalty is immoral. No one has the right to deliberately take someone else’s life.

Here Are Ten Reasons To End The Death Penalty (with thanks to Death Penalty Focus):

*  Innocence
The wrongful execution of an innocent person is an injustice that can never be rectified. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty, 139 men and women have been released from death row nationally.

*  High Cost
It costs far more to execute someone than to keep him or her in prison for life.

*  Immorality
Although isolated passages of religious scriptures have been quoted in support of the death penalty, almost all religious groups in the United States regard executions as immoral.

* Prolonged Suffering For Victims’ Families
Many family members who have lost loved ones to murder feel that the death penalty will not heal their wounds; the extended legal process prior to executions can prolong their agony.

*  International Views
The vast majority of countries in Western Europe, North America and South America, more than 139 countries worldwide, have abandoned the death penalty.

*  Inadequate Legal Representation
Perhaps the most important factor in determining whether a defendant will receive the death penalty is the quality of the legal representation he or she is provided.

*  Deterrence
Scientific studies have consistently failed to demonstrate that executions deter people from committing crime any more than long prison sentences.

*  Arbitrariness
Politics, quality of legal counsel, and the jurisdiction where a crime is committed are more often the determining factors in a death penalty case than the facts of the crime itself.

* Racial Disparities
The race of the victim and the race of the defendant in capital cases are major factors in determining who is sentenced to die in this country.

* Alternatives
In every state that retains the death penalty, jurors have the option of sentencing convicted capital murderers to life in prison without the possibility of parole – much cheaper to taxpayers.

Rick Perry, are you listening?

To quote Eugene Robinson, in Friday’s Washington Post:

There was a chilling moment in a recent GOP candidates’ debate when Texas Gov. Rick Perry was asked about having authorized 234 executions, more than any other governor in modern U.S. history. The crowd, drawn largely from Tea Party ranks, cheered this record as if it were a great accomplishment. “I’ve never struggled with that at all,” Perry said, referring to execution as “the ultimate justice.”

But he should struggle with it. We all should.

Yes, we should all struggle with the fact the deliberately taking another person’s life is not justice, but nothing more than a crude instrument of revenge. We should banish the death penalty now.

Related Stories

Each Execution Costs California $300 Million

BREAKING: Illinois Abolishes Death Penalty

Photo Credit: amnestysfoffice

 

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Photo Credit: amnestysfoffice

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152 comments

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8:24AM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

Hello, i am a friend of Gerald Marshall. He is on death row in texas. Gerald has a save gerald marshall page and petition. He also has his own website called geraldmarshall.org. Please if you have a minute to look at his website he would really appreciate it. Gerald is poor and as aresult he was not given a fair trial. He is now trying his very hardest to get a fair trial, so he can save his life. This is not easy but with enought people supporting him it will be.
Thankyou for your time
Geralds Friend

6:00AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44867359?GT1=43001

Well, look at that. Life in prison and STILL murdering. I hope his murdered cellmate was a staunch opponent of the death penalty.

12:55PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

So glad that many people think the death penalty is unjust. bravo!

1:37PM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

I am against the death penalty for the #1 reason listed..."The wrongful execution of an innocent person is an injustice that can never be rectified."

Aside from that, I had NO idea it was so expensive...geez!

3:21AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

The death penalty execution has to be done by somebody, he or she must be severely affected unless he/she is a monster. Always innocent persons get executed, sometimes with horrific secondary affects on relatives etc. The recent execution of Troy Davis should really be described as a state lynching. The evidence of guilt was NIL. It made a mockery of justice and were I a US citizen I would be ashamed of my country that it was carried through. Thank God both countries to which I owe allegiance have long since abolished the death penalty.

11:04PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

Capital punishment is the option of last resort available to protect society from its most violent, incorrigible predators. The arguments against it are largely subjective and arbitrary, though there is a danger it can be abused -- and perhaps in some cases that accusation is justified.

But the opponents of capital punishment would better spend their energies in helping their own neighborhoods and communities. Strengthening marriages and families; encouraging a life's vision of spirituality, education and lawful competition; and discouraging societal decay's breeding of gangs. These are all steps to help steer young lives on a different course: one leading away from the death chamber, not toward it.

If you want executions to go down, model and encourage conscience. Help divert people away from the "me-first, me-only" mentality (or psychopathy) that asserts life can become a real shoot-em-up with no real-world consequences.

10:11PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

Lawrence went above and beyond. Thanks!

6:52PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

You had ME at INNOCENTS.The very possibility of an innocent person may be exocuted IN MY NAME is SICKENING. It gives a whole new meaning to "good enough for government work" doesn't it? WE MUST abolish the DEATH PENALTY!

5:12AM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

The poll here is overwhelming...about 84%. Hope this trend will churn into a moratorium for the US and eventually abolishing it.

8:37PM PDT on Sep 26, 2011

Sherri H., your passion is misplaced. Everybody imagines that would be good revenge, the perpetrator getting killed by a family member. That is a dream, a fantasy, and it will NEVER, EVER happen in America unless you are a vigilante. Quit dreaming and face reality, the death penalty is resulting in the deaths of at least 100 innocent people so far. Everybody would like to kill guilty people but our government is messing up. At least 100 killers are out there right now because they killed the wrong people. How would you feel if you were one of those innocent people?

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