A quick thought on the death penalty

The reason I oppose the death penalty isn’t because of its cost or the possibility of an innocent person being killed or because no government should have the right to put its own citizens to death. Those aren’t necessarily bad reasons – particularly the last one – but I simply can’t wrap my head around someone coming to a profound moral conclusion based on something like cost. That simply should not be an important factor in deciding what is moral and immoral. Rather, I oppose the death penalty because it is murder-by-committee. Instituting a process doesn’t change that fact. Taking the life of a person who poses no immediate threat is murder is murder is murder. (And, no, that doesn’t mean prison is nothing more than kidnapping: ostensibly, imprisoning someone is for the short-term and long-term safety of society, so it serves a legitimate purpose not found in kidnapping.)

Bizarrely, this position is often met with the same asinine argument over and over: murder is a legal concept and the death penalty is not illegal, therefore the death penalty is not murder. I mean, really. Do people actually think that if governments cease to exist at some point in the future – and surely, before the Sun collapses on itself, they will – that murder will also cease to exist? Did murder simply not exist during the first 190,000 or so years of human existence before the first civilizations? Because these are some of the positions a person necessarily must hold in order to assert that murder is defined by government and government alone.

And if that isn’t enough to dissuade someone from taking the above argument seriously, then consider all the horrible regimes that have existed throughout time. How many genocidal events have occurred where the host government considered its own actions illegal? Was the Holocaust not murder on a massive scale because Hitler said it was an okey-dokey thing to do?

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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.

Judge Greg Weeks is an activist

Judge Greg Weeks recently made this ruling in North Carolina:

A condemned killer’s trial was so tainted by the racially influenced decisions of prosecutors that he should be removed from death row and serve a life sentence, a judge ruled Friday in a precedent-setting North Carolina decision.

Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks’ decision in the case of Marcus Robinson comes in the first test of a 2009 state law that allows death row prisoners and capital murder defendants to challenge their sentences or prosecutors’ decisions with statistics and other evidence beyond documents or witness testimony…

Race played a “persistent, pervasive and distorting role” in jury selection and couldn’t be explained other than that “prosecutors have intentionally discriminated” against Robinson and other capital defendants statewide, Weeks said. Prosecutors eliminated black jurors more than twice as often as white jurors, according to a study by two Michigan State University law professors Weeks said he found highly reliable.

Doesn’t this judge listen to Rush or watch FOX Noise? If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past decade it’s that racism does not exist. Well. Okay, that’s not entirely true. It certainly exists. It’s just that there isn’t a single example of it. Anywhere. Ever. By claiming otherwise, Judge Weeks is clearly an activist. And probably a socialist. Maybe gay. Someone needs to call for an investigation.

Good news for the wrong reasons

A man in Texas and a man in Arizona narrowly avoided being murdered this week. In each instance (despite the poorly written article on the man from Texas) the reasoning had to do with inadequate anti-murder protection. That in itself isn’t absolutely awful, but a far, far, far, far, far superior reason would be that murder is wrong. And two wrongs don’t make a right – even if the second wrong helps emotionally.

I can’t wait for the U.S. to catch up with the modern world.

Congratulations, Illinois!

Illinois has entered the mid-20th century:

Illinois abolished the death penalty Wednesday, more than a decade after the state imposed a moratorium on executions out of concern that innocent people could be put to death by a justice system that had wrongly condemned 13 men.

Gov. Pat Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates remaining on death row. They will now serve life in prison with no hope of parole.

It’s always satisfying when one finds out that planned murder has been thwarted.

Death penalty is about revenge

The death penalty is an angry response by people who don’t know how to cope with their grief like adults. It’s only ever about revenge, one of the most petty acts available to humans. One of the family members of Ronnie Lee Gardner’s victims embodies this notion perfectly. (Gardner is soon to be put to death by firing squad for a man he murdered 25 years ago.)

Tami Stewart’s father, George “Nick” Kirk, was a bailiff who was shot and wounded in Gardner’s botched escape. Kirk suffered chronic health problems until his death in 1995 and became frustrated by the lack of justice Gardner’s years of appeals afforded him, Stewart said.

She said she’s not happy about the idea of Gardner’s death but believes it will bring her family some closure.

“I think at that moment, he will feel that fear that his victims felt,” Stewart said.

Well, there you go. If Gardner feels the same fear he caused in someone else, then all is well with the world, right? No? But surely something has been made better! No? Nothing?

Oh, wait, wait, wait. That’s right. Two wrongs still don’t make a right. It’s almost like what everyone teaches every child ignores those lessons when understandable but unjustifiable emotion takes over.

Gov. Ted Strickland murders man

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland ordered the murder of a man, yet remains completely free.

Ohio on Tuesday executed a murder-for-hire triggerman for killing the mother of his intended target, who lay severely wounded nearby as his mother died.

Jason Getsy, 33, was pronounced dead at 10:29 a.m. in the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Institution in Lucasville.

The Ohio Parole Board by a 5-2 vote last month recommended clemency for Getsy because other defendants in the slaying, including Santine, appeared just as guilty but weren’t sentenced to die. Gov. Ted Strickland overruled the board last week, saying the sentencing disparity did not by itself justify granting clemency.

Why is this immoral monster still walking the streets? He is willing to kill an unarmed, nonthreatening person. That is murder.