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Friday, December 02, 2005

The Death Penalty

There has been a lot of news lately on the death penalty. North Carolina executed the 1,000th person since the penalty was brought back nearly 30 years ago.

Tookie Williams is in the news in California because he’s the celebrity cause of the week. George Ryan, Illinois’ former governor commuted nearly every death sentence in the state a few years back, because all the evidence wasn’t perfect.

Peter Slevin at the Washington Post
has an article about it in today’s paper. By reading the headline “More in U.S. Expressing Doubts About Death Penalty” you’d think there was a great philosophical divide about the penalty. The truth is, and it is in the article, 2 of 3 Americans support the death penalty. Yes, it’s down from 80% a dozen years ago, but that is still, by any measure, huge support. (EJ Dionne calls it a "substantial but less intimidating majority")

Eugene Robinson has an
op/ed piece about it also, in which he states he’s against the penalty, but doesn’t think Tookie should get out of it, simply because Jamie Foxx and other stars are in his corner.


William’s case is about the power of redemption, his supporters say, but I think it's more about the power of celebrity. The state shouldn't execute Williams, but only because the state shouldn't execute anybody -- the death penalty is a barbaric anachronism that should have been eliminated long ago, as far as I'm concerned. But it can't be right to save Williams just because he's a famous desperado (or former desperado) with famous friends, and then blithely go back to snuffing out the lives of other criminals who lack his talent for public
relations
I normally don’t agree with Eugene, and I don’t on whether the death penalty is good or bad, because I like it. However, I do agree that just because Hollywood thinks you are reformed, that’s not a reason to commute the sentence.

Even the President is
weighing in on it, saying it deters crime. I’m in that camp, if the penalty is used correctly. One of the problems we have is illustrated by the Williams case; he committed his crime in 1979, and was convicted in 1981. The death penalty must be administered much more quickly to be an effective deterrent.

The other way to make it work more as a deterrent and less as just another punishment is to have it witnessed by more than the state and victims families. Death penalties should be on TV! I’m not joking, we should televise them, from the long walk to the gas chamber, or bed, to the wheeling out of the body. Let people see the person die for his/her crimes, then we’ll get some discussion going on it in schools, and lower level prisons.

Brainsters Blog has a nice take on the penalty also. Newsweek Periscope has an article about jurors who regret the idea of the sentence they handed down.

7Comments:

Blogger Phantom_Driver, USNR, Ret. said...

Deters crime? In the states that have capital punishment, the murder rate is far higher (rate now, not sheer numbers, this is per capita) than states that do not. Do the research.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

I can corelate any two statistics and disprove just about any theory.

For instance, states with higher numbers of drinking related incidents also have higher murder rates.

States with higher numbers of domestic violence have higher murder numbers

States in the south (most with capital punishment) have higher murder rates for "crimes of passion" type killings, which capital punishment won't deter just because of the heat of the momement effect.

But states in the north w/o capital punishment have higher rates of premeditated crime related murder, which capital punishment is meant as a deterrent to.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

CP, I support the death penalty and I agree with you that it should be executed more quickly and that people should be able to view the process.

I think I have a good understanding of human nature and I believe most people are going to think harder about committing a crime if it could mean losing their lives as a consequence...

…give them a better hold on REALITY, so to speak. Which, btw, I think most celebrities are out of touch with.

And…come up with a smart-ass remark for this one *wink*…Is every Friday night Ladies Night??????? *LAUGH*

2:26 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

First off Becky, how can you believe someone with two personal assistants, an agent, a PR person, and personal shoppers would be out of touch with reality?

And on the second question, yes, every Friday is ladie's night at Crazy Politico's, and I'm the one who decides who gets in line for the mustache rides. (If my wife will let me)

2:45 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Bravo Bob!

3:17 PM  
Blogger asacan said...

Why do the libs always love to quote faggoty people, like the ancient Greeks, on all sorts of things, but they just can't read Plato on this one?

Some people just don't belong in society.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Amal said...

I believe in the death penalty for all child molesters, murderers and sexual deviants.

12:41 AM  

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