The death penalty

The American Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that it will resume capital punishment for the first time in nearly two decades.

Only three federal executions have taken place since 1988, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. All five of the death-row inmates named in Thursday’s release were convicted for the murders of children.  The number of executions in the United States has declined over the last decade amid concerns about whether capital punishment disproportionately impacts African Americans.

Some states have put a moratorium on the practice or have suspended it.  Wrongful convictions have been spotlighted by groups such as the Innocence Project, which have secured the release of a number of death-row inmates in recent years.  Colorado, Oregon, Pennsylvania and California are among  those states with moratoriums, while it has fallen out of general use in other states.  Only in Texas and Alabama is the death penalty common practice.

Worldwide, the death penalty has been abolished in about 70 percent of countries, particularly democratic nations similar to the U.S.  ( Edited version of an article from The Hill, 25 July 2019)

My comment:  for any elected, democratic government to deliberately take the lives of anyone, convicted criminals or not, is immoral as a matter of principle. Secondly, the verdicts in all too many of these death penalty cases have eventually been proved unsafe.  But, more pragmatically, the death penalty is absolutely no deterrent to a killer, who, almost by definition, is mentally deranged.

Red meat for the Trump base, whose defining characteristics are resentment, hatred of the “elite”, fear and disdain for non-whites of all kinds, and curious religious beliefs, unique to red American states.  The fear is that these people, delighted with Trump’s style of “governing”, will ensure him a second four years.

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