Maryland to finally fully outlaw murder

More states need to follow Maryland on this:

By a margin of 82-56, the Maryland House of Delegates voted Friday to ban the death penalty in that state. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has pledged to sign it.

“To govern is to choose, and at a time where we understand the things that actually work to reduce violent crime, when we understand how lives can be saved, we have a moral responsibility to do more of the things that work to save lives,” O’Malley said at a news conference.

“We also have a moral responsibility to stop doing the things that are wasteful, and that are expensive, and do not work, and do not save lives, and that I would argue run contrary to the deeper principles that unite us as Marylanders, as Americans, and as human beings,” O’Malley added.

The only part of what O’Malley said that should unite us all is that the death penalty runs “contrary to the deeper principles”. That is, the death penalty is a form of murder. It is not self-defense. It is not during a battle or war. It is not justified – no more so than the murders committed by the people we tend to sentence to death.

Baltimore County state attorney Scott Shellenberger, a prominent opponent of the bill, said eliminating capital punishment was unnecessary, since Maryland’s current policy is judicious and one of the “most restrictive in the country.”

Since a law was passed in 2009, a judge can impose death in Maryland only if one of three factors exists: DNA evidence, a videotaped confession or a videotaped murder.

This marks what is, again, the only important factor here. It doesn’t matter if we are 100% certain that so-and-so killed someone. The death penalty is still nothing more than state-sanctioned murder that is only differentiated by mere process, not principle.

Good on you, Maryland.

Keep your eye on the sky

I’m particularly excited about the comet ISON. From a little I’ve read here and there, it should be visible to the whole world (at one point or another) and it will be brighter than the moon for a short period.

Star gazing events of 2013