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21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash

These are the mad musings of a middle aged woman, dyke, nurse, poet. I have a dog, a cat, a mobile home, and delusions of grandeur.

Location: California, United States

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Executioner's Song

Congratulations to the US of A. I found this article by Bradley Brooks on the truthout News & Politics site. Here are some excerpts:

"After a 10-year moratorium, [Gary]Gilmore in 1977 became the first person to be executed following a 1976 US Supreme Court decision that validated state laws to reform the capital punishment system. Since then, 997 prisoners have been executed, and next week, the 998th, 999th and 1,000th are scheduled to die...

"Race is also is a key question in the debate. Since 1976, 58 percent of those executed in the US were white while 34 percent were black, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. But non-Latino whites make up 75 percent of the US population, while non-Latino blacks comprise just over 12 percent, according to the US Census Bureau...

"Since 1973, 122 prisoners have been freed from death row. The vast majority of those cases came during the last 15 years, since the use of DNA evidence became widespread. While there is no official proof an innocent person has been executed, opponents of the death penalty say the number of prisoners whose convictions have been reversed should fuel skepticism."

The Great State of Texas has the dubious distinction of leading the country putting people to death. Here is what one gentleman has to say with regard to the question of the possibility of executing an innocent person:

"...that argument does not impress Charles Rosenthal, district attorney for Harris County, Texas, which has sent more prisoners to the death chamber - 85 - than any other US county and all but two states, Texas and Virginia, according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice statistics.

"'I don't know about every death penalty case in Texas, but I feel quite sure that no one that this office has had anything to do with was factually innocent,' Rosenthal said. (Emphasis mine).

"Scheck believes Rosenthal's claim is based "more on faith than fact." He noted that the police DNA lab in Houston has been shut down since 2002 because an investigation found problems with poor training and contaminated evidence."

To be honest, I don't quite know where I stand on the issue of the death penalty. I used to be a rabid death penalty opponent. Then I got older, and wiser, and began to realize that perhaps some souls are beyond redemption.

Then I got older and wiser yet. And I have to ask myself: Is it our job to determine who lives and who dies? And why is it that so many who are against the concept of abortion favor the death penalty?

Although I cannot say that I am absolutely against the death penalty, I find something fundamentally wrong and discomfiting about the whole idea.

Kinja, the weblog guide


Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

There are times when some particularly heinous crime leaves me feeling no mercy for the person who committed the act, but reason soon overcomes this and I oppose putting them to death.

I cannot reconcile one killing by committing another. I struggle over and feel guilty about eating meat. There is more to be gained by choosing life than by choosing death. What can we learn from this person? I firmly believe getting information about their past, about their childhood, etc. can be of help in other ways.

Sorry for the mini rant!


5:46 PM PST  
Blogger NursePam said...

Rant all you like Nelle. I do believe it is the baser part of me that wants the death penalty. As though it could somehow balance the scales of justice. But how can one heinous act justify the commission of another? Particularly in view of the fact that those who are doing so are supposedly sane and civilized.

8:14 PM PST  

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