Death penalty

Lethal injection room image courtesy of Wikipedia

The US Supreme Court is taking a look at the process that Oklahoma uses to administer the death penalty.  They decided on this review a week after denying a stay of execution for a prisoner there who was sentenced to death.  If it was fine one week, then why would it need to be reviewed the week after?

I was dealing with a sinus infection for a while, so I had time to mull over a few different topics, and capital punishment took up a bit of that time.  Georgia just executed a prisoner within the past few weeks as well as Oklahoma.  I actually have a high school classmate sitting on death row in Alabama right now, and his case has caused me the most conflict with my views on capital punishment.

That classmate killed a friend of mine and a few other people in a robbery.  A decision to not come home from school on a Friday afternoon was all that likely kept me from being a victim in that same robbery.  For the longest time, I harbored guilt over not being there to protect my friend.  I also harbored fear that my life could have ended more than 20 years ago that night.

In light of the ramblings on the ISIS killings and other countries using capital punishment around the world, I have come to the opinion that the death penalty no longer serves a purpose in America.  If you seek revenge for the death of someone else, then it’s there for you.  As a deterrent to crime or criminal activity, it is as useful as teats on a bull.

We can’t call people on the carpet for human rights abuses when we house 25% of the world’s prison population.  When we’re using unproven combinations of drugs to execute prisoners, that should be a wake up call to square our actions to ensure that we are not acting hypocritical when we tell others they need to treat their people better.

Maybe this SCOTUS review is a good thing.  I don’t think it hurts that drug companies have decided they no longer want to play a role in executing people.  Whether by lethal injection or beheading, the end result of capital punishment is the same.  Death.  If we’re going to claim that we act better than others, then it would help the case if our actions mimicked our words.

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5 thoughts on “Death penalty

  1. I have to disagree on this. First, as for those executed, I have no sympathy for them; they made their choices. Secondly, the man in Georgia who was executed last week killed 2 people, at two different times (and he’s not the only repeater). If he’d been punished the first time, the second one wouldn’t have happened. Third, you can never prove whether it isn’t or isn’t a deterrent but all value as a deterrent is lost when it takes 20-30 years to carry out a sentence. For any sentence to be a deterrent it has to be carried out or it’s just a game. I believe the accused is entitled to a defense and the proper appeals but the fact Carl Isaacs spent 30 years on death row is ridiculous (for anybody who didn’t live in Georgia at the time, do some research on the Alday killings).

    Some people through their actions, forfeit their right to live, in my view.

    • I can respect that. I wonder if changing the underlying causes of some of these crimes would lead to fewer people committing them.

      I agree that the long delay is an issue, but there has been some people who were found innocent during that time as well. If the death penalty was issued only when guilt is verified, I don’t know if my views would have changed over time.

  2. I agree with you, Brosephus. For the U S to condemn other countries & groups and then turn around & execute a mentally ill man is hypocrisy at it’s most blatant.

  3. “I have come to the opinion that the death penalty no longer serves a purpose in America.”
    Took me awhile to get there as well, but yes, my thoughts exactly.

  4. Have a different take however this was a good read.
    I’m not against the death penalty per say but I am against how and when DAs decide to go after that sentence or not to do so. Criteria seems to be all over the place. Well we asked for it here because of this, but not here because of that……. yada yada yada.
    In my opinion each state should have a more defined criteria in terms of when to ask for it and what evidence is required.
    Maybe that already takes place and I just don’t know about it. I’m sure there is some minimum criteria (1st degree premeditated murder or what have you) but there shouldn’t be a DA in one county being able to ask for it on a case where the DA in the next county isn’t even considering it for a similar type case.

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