Nice company we’ve got there. Click for a larger image; found atprisonpolicy.org.
So I’m sure everyone’s readthis New Yorker article about Cameron Todd Willingham. If you haven’t, please do. It’s some sad, sad shit. Basically, the state of Texas almost certainly killed an innocent man in 2004.
A friend sent methis article from Salon the other day; like most Salon articles lately, it really pissed me off. Go ahead, read it. I’ll wait.
Back yet? Good.
agree with what he says, but, in this fucking country, you can’t make
statistical inferences like that. There’s always some yahoo who stands
up and yells about “proof,” as if such a concept even existed in these
simple fact is that, in America, you’ll have to conclusively
demonstrate that an innocent person has gotten whacked by the state
before you can bring more people on board with opposing the death
even if you do manage to build an air-tight case about an innocent
person getting executed, there are hordes of people who will ignore
that case, or say that the evidence isn’t good enough, or they’ll find
some other way to move the goalposts.
advocates, by and large, don’t care about justice. Justice is the
concept of the fair and equitable treatment of all individuals under
the law; it is built on the notion that there are socially prohibited
behaviors, and violation of those prohibitions, once demonstrated in an
unbiased fashion, will result in socially agreed-upon sanctions.
Justice is built on fact and reason. Death-penalty advocates, on the
other hand, care about vengeance. Vengeance is usually (though, it
should be noted not necessarily) an emotional response. It’s a
reciprocation of perceived wrongs. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a
tooth, and “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.” The advocates of
capital punishment believe in it for emotional and quasi-religious
reasons, not rational ones. You can cite reams of facts about the
death penalty being unfairly applied by race or class. Doesn’t
matter. Same with the fact that it doesn’t actually deter crime. Or
that death penalty cases cost the state, on average, four times as much
as life imprisonment. Those are all facts. But facts don’t matter
when you’re dealing with an irrational position.
same logic, such as it is, applies when you’re talking about
homosexuality, or contraception, or abortion, or gun control, or any of
the core “social conservative” causes.
is not to say that all death-penalty opponents are shining beacons of
rational Enlightenment principles. You will find plenty of emotional
appeals on their side, as well. However, the anti-execution position
also includes the aforementioned facts. There really aren’t any
factual justifications for execution in a modern state.