Joseph Rudolph Wood III had his death sentence carried out today in Arizona. Like some of the previous executions, it didn’t go quite as planned, and it took just under 2 hours for Wood to die.
Death penalty cases brings out all kinds of reactions from different people. Some are for it while others are against it. In my younger days, I didn’t see anything wrong with it as I just saw it as part of our justice system. Nowadays, I’m not quite as sold on the application of the death penalty.
Our justice system, in my opinion, is not set up to determine innocence or guilt. It’s more about what you can prove or disprove. If there is a clear-cut case with no room for error, then if it’s a capital crime, I see nothing wrong with the death penalty. When evidence is less than concrete, that’s where my mind is beginning to change. This is mostly because of the number of innocent men that have been saved from execution. What also weighs on my mind is the disproportionate way the death penalty is meted out.
I haven’t read the case on Woods, so I don’t know what he did to deserve the death penalty. If we’re going to be exceptional as we like to claim, does exceptional also include barbaric methods of dealing with justice? If we’re going with the Biblical “eye-for-an-eye” form of justice, how can we condemn Islamic countries that stone people to death?
I have a high school classmate who’s sitting on death row back at home. He and one other person killed some people in a robbery in my hometown. Had I not had a last-minute change of mind and stayed at school, I could have very well been a victim of that robbery myself. I think about that sometimes, and I think about the friend I lost in that robbery. I’ve thought that case would steady my view on the death penalty, but it hasn’t had that effect. In this particular case, the facts were known, and the correct perpetrators were found. It’s been more than 20 years since the incident, and he’s still sitting on death row. How does that deter anyone from committing a crime?