Capital Punishment

Breaking news: Gov. Schwarzenegger denied clemency to Tookie Williams, which means it’s nearly certain Williams will be executed after midnight.

The ACLU has a useful death penalty FAQ.

According to Amnesty International
, “In 2004, 97 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Viet Nam and the USA.”

Also according to Amnesty International, homicide rates in death penalty states tend to be higher than in non-death penalty states.

I have read arguments that the death penalty encourages violence, because it legitimizes a violent “solution” to problems. I suspect there’s something to that.

See also: Attywood.

6 thoughts on “Capital Punishment

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  2. maybe death penalty states are more brutal societies to start out with.
    The US society is geared to punishment, the more the better, no rehabiliitation.

    The question then is, what comes first, the brutality of society or the brutality of the indivual?

  3. Renate, I bet you could lay the maps of death penalty states, the high death rate states and the high fundamentalist states on top of one another and you’d get a high correlation (and I bet they’re all red states too…)

    My theory de jour is that they are all looking for simple black and white solutions: God said it, I believe it, that settles it. Bad people have to be killed because that’s all they ever will be (Inspector Javert, as it were). And by God, I’ll teach you to keep your hands off my wife! (which fits back into the fundie mold, but also into the high death rate…). People are bad or good for these folks, and if you’re bad, the only solution is the permanent one.

  4. AI shouldn’t be making that argument about the states. It’s a correlation, not causation. You can argue it either way. I think the contrary argument, that states with high homicide rates tend to favor the death penalty, because their inhabitants are angry about all the homicides, makes the most sense. The best arguments against the death penalty are, in no particular order: 1) it’s not a deterrent; 2) it’s hideously expensive, and 3) many years of experience show it’s not applied evenhandedly (the large majority of those executed are poor minority group members who had bad representation and committed their crimes in the South).

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