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):
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.
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.
Scientific studies have consistently failed to demonstrate that executions deter people from committing crime any more than long prison sentences.
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.
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?
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.
Photo Credit: amnestysfoffice
Photo Credit: amnestysfoffice
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