Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Our state of State Sanctioned Murder

Wonderful that we live in a culture that needs to argue about whether or not it is just to sanction murder of criminals. We're sick: part-time killers. Oh, you may be a devout peace-nik, but we do collectively allow our government to shape our society. We're all responsible.

Don't get too offended. I don't believe in the maxim We reap what we sow. That crap-talk is a weak plea to excuse actions that may or may not occur in the future. And to apply the maxim to events that have already happened is a purposeful refusal to address the altered state of affairs in light of the event at issue. We should, however, each do as much as possible to protest and oppose what we would ideally not have sown on our behalf.

Regardless, it is wonderful that the Supreme Court decided (5-4) it is a violation of the Eighth Ammendment (ban on cruel and unusual punishment) to execute prisoners who were juveniles when they committed their crimes.

Guess which state savored sentencing children to death more than others. Come on. Guess.
The state breakdown of the 72 people on death rows who were juveniles when they committed their crimes, according to the Death Penalty Information Center:

Texas: 29

Alabama: 14

Mississippi: 5

Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina: 4 each

Florida, South Carolina: 3 each

Georgia, Pennsylvania: 2 each

Nevada, Virginia: 1

Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Utah allow the execution of juveniles but do not have any on their death rows.
It wasn't until 1988 that the Court decided it was cruel and unusual to sentence to death those 15 and younger. Only a few years ago did the Court decide it was cruel and unusual to kill the mentally retarded.

Maybe we're becoming more civilized? Satire Alert--skip the following if you are unable to think critically about you and your culture-- I am sure the pro-Lifers will throw a fit. For every "child" they save, they like to kill an unfit adult. A sort of Christian barbarism. Currently more than 3,400 people await execution nation-wide. Maybe, we can gather them into a single building and blow it up on September 11, some year in the future? Since, of course, everybody who died in the WTC was "innocent." Why not execute only the guilty on the day of national innocence. This will serve as a typically, crass American symbol of justice.

Don't like the satire? Too cynical? I don't think so. Why should Our City On A Hill not execute only on the proper day? And what better one could there be?

I am happy a few lives will be saved. There is reason to celebrate today. Our Constitution (in spite of Antonin Scalia's bullshit dissenting opinion) works. It's a beautiful thing when it does.

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