September 1, 2009

Texas & The Death Penalty - You Decide

I have a theory (yes, I can hear you. I have a theory for everything). When times get tough, people get mean. We're witnessing it all around us, especially in the U.S. where the rabid right are agitating many seniors into rallying around opposing changes to the healthcare system by gently explaining that if things are changed, they, the seniors, will no longer have coverage, because it will all be given to horrible, lazy, welfare bums, who are probably all just illegal immigrants in the first place.

This the original Fear Factor. And when people perceive they are in the midst of loss - especially economic - they circle the wagons and start shooting.

I'm waiting for another issue to rear soon: the death penalty. Though it's been proven time and again that it is not a deterrent to violent crime, and it's been proven too many times that historically innocent people have been executed (frankly, one is too many), there are still those who staunchly believe their judgment is above all else, and it's okay to kill people. As a child, I too remember thinking the death penalty made sense. Then I grew up a little, got some education, and learned it's dubious at best, criminal at worst. But, wouldn't want to overload the righteous with too much common sense. Nor deny fear based politicians a surefire vote getter when people are desperate to blame someone, anyone, for their situation.

Anyway. Enough. You have to read this excellent piece from the New Yorker. A young man sentenced to die for killing this 3 baby girls in a house fire. Overwhelming evidence, cut and dried case. Or was it? As we sit and watch show after show full of scientific 'fact', it might behoove us to occasionally look back and see how much science changes as we move forward.

If nothing else, this article should give you pause. Yes, it's long but I guarantee you won't stop reading once you start.

Edit: Good opinion piece on this from the NYT; comments are good too.


Anonymous buzzwhack said...

I know the death penalty won't prevent someone from murdering but it definitely stops someone from killing again.

September 01, 2009 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've implied that it is wrong to kill. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people. Explain why you think he should be alive.

September 01, 2009 9:51 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Actually, I've stated that I believe it is wrong for the state to kill.

Laws unfortunately have to cover everything, and can't be made up as we go along.

Innocent people get executed in states that have the death penalty. It appears there are people that have no problem pulling the switch or pushing that button. I would.

Grab onto the other argument, if you like. It's far cheaper to lock someone up for life than execute them.

September 02, 2009 9:43 AM  

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