Friday, June 27, 2008

The Death Penalty

Had an interesting chat with my significant other last night about the death penalty. Both of us, mind you, are against it, and mostly for the same reasons. Where we headed down an interesting road was my insistence that it did not matter to me whether or not innocent people had been executed. Well, that's not entirely true. Innocent people being executed would indeed be a bad thing. What matters to me is that now nearly 200 people have had death penalty convictions overturned...demonstrating to me the imperfectability of our system and the concomitant irresponsibility of an irreversible sanction.

She went just one step further, indicating, as many vehement death penalty opponents do, that innocent people HAVE been executed. This was one step too far for me. I am aware of course, of the work of death penalty opponents in trying to "prove" that folks had been wrongfully executed, and I leave open the possibility that in the history of this Republic it may have happened. The problem though, is that it hasn't ever been PROVEN, and by that, I haven't seen or heard of a single judicial/legislative/executive pronouncement in which the responsible level of government has repudiated a past execution.

Like many positions I take, I prefer to base my opinion on truth and fact. I don't need speculatory inquiries into long dead defendants to tell me the system is imperfect. We have folks living their lives now who were once wrongfully sentenced to death. That's enough for me.

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