Friday, November 13, 2009

Off With their Heads

A couple of death sentence cases have been in the news lately, one regarding the execution of John Allen Muhammad — the D.C. Sniper, and the other talking about the death sentence given Brian Dugan by a DuPage County jury for the 1983 rape and murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico. A Facebook friend, and a preacher and teacher I both appreciate and respect, expressed her gladness that Mr. Muhammed was dead. That was quite surprising and made me think, but I didn't respond . . . until now.

I attended the annual awards dinner of the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty last night and was struck by the contrast between this groups actions and my FB friends statement. Their position is No Death Penalty . . . period. No matter what you did, how you did it or even how much you enjoyed it, or if you feel sorry about it or not. Now I'm sure my Rev. friend was speaking from a purely emotional sense, but it still made me consider my true feelings on the subject, and challenge myself to understand why I agree with the CEDP.

My opposition is based on the following:
  1. The state simply should not be in the death business. Executioner is not a job description we should be posting as an open position.
  2. While we have the ability to take a life, we do not have the ability to give it back.
  3. The death penalty is given more often to people of color and the poor, not based on the severity of the crime . . ..
  4. Our criminal justice system has so many flaws, from forced confessions, to police torture, from sloppy forensics to DA's that are only out to make a name for themselves, and
  5. Perhaps the only idea that matters to most folks, it is too expensive. In Texas they estimate it costs $2.2M to execute a prisoner after all is said and done (trials, appeals, etc.) enough to keep the inmate in jail for over 100 years!!!!
In the end, the death penalty serves no one except those seeking revenge. It isn't cheap for the government, it isn't a deterent and isn't reversible.


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