Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pro-Death Bona Fides

In a strange twist, Republican candidates now must seemingly prove their pro-death bona fides to the Tea Party extremist base.  In the last two Republican debates the crowd has made it clear that death is preferable to life, eye-for-an-eye-tooth-for-a-tooth is preferable to love thy neighbor and blessed-are-the-peacemakers and good-samaritanism and so forth.  (Videos below)

First, last week, the crowd erupted in cheers when Rick Perry's record of over two hundred executions was brought up (including at least one innocent man, and probably others):

Next, this week, the crowd yelled out in favor of and cheered the idea of letting an uninsured man die:

Add to this list the generally hawkish, pro-war Republican stances and suddenly the pro-life, anti-abortion wing of the Republican party seems oddly out of place.  After years of sowing the seeds of fear-mongering politics, the Republican strategy has worked:  I am scared for America.


Architect said...

Even Clinton executed a mentally ill person to show how tough he was on criminals.

You may want some stats...


As a comparison, LA County had 223 murders in 2010. http://www.lacountymurders.com/

In a country with more than 300 million people and more people in jail than any other country ($2 million+), I find that putting less than 100 to death every year nation wide is reasonable. Especially when we offer many appeals and a handful of convicts are exonerated every year.

Jacob S. said...

What if a certain number of those executed were innocent? It has already been proven retroactively through DNA that some executed people were literally innocent, and the link provided and reams and reams of information in addition show that at least one of the men Perry executed was innocent. Aside from my moral objections to the practice, I'm not willing to support a system that has the possibility of executing even one innocent person, even if another 1,000 are guilty, especially when the option of life without parole is available.

But this is all beside the point. It's not that the death penalty exists, it's that the tea party extremists are cheering for it. That is disgusting and barbaric. Even the staunchest supporter of the death penalty and the purest free market health care should approach the death of a human being with some respect and dignity, and those clips show that a certain cross-section of the Republican party does not. I find that frightening.

Architect said...

People don't end up in death penalty cases after one act of passion. Many are convicted with flimsy evidence and many more are set free when faced with mountains of evidence. Our criminal justice system leaves much to be desired, but it is better than every other one on the planet. I fear that without the state sanctioned death penalty, we will find ourselves with more "junk" justice and vigilantism.

Our society could benefit by eliminating unjust laws and restoring liberty. The "drug war" is actually a abridgment of privacy and individual liberty. Drug regulation would serve us better and empty many prisons and diffuse many turf battles.

As for the cheers, putting 200+ career criminals to death is a difficult achievement. It would be the equivalent of passing gay marriage by a popular vote in a state. (You may know how gays "celebrate" defeat at the polls.)

Joseph said...

"People don't end up in death penalty cases after one act of passion."

Do you have data to back that up? Setting aside the well-covered story of Troy Davis, there are also the following in addition to the link that Jacob S. shared:


Innocent people are falsely accused all the time. And when the accusations involve strong emotions, mistakes are made as juries and judges make decisions. While it is not necessarily certain that everyone listed above was innocent, there is plenty of doubt, and that's a real problem when society has actually killed people for committing crimes they likely didn't commit.

And the data you gave a link to actually demonstrates the waste of money the death penalty is, and the clear racial bias involved in administering the death penalty.

There are plenty of things I never liked about Bill Clinton.

I do agree that unjust drug laws waste resources and lives by punishing individuals guilty of minor crimes far too severely. They also create unnecessary surveillance of everyone in society.

That laws can be unjust, as well as those who administer them, is all the more reason why I do not trust governments with the authority to take lives.

Aaron said...

I just discovered your blog- great stuff! It is refreshing to find some like-minded Mormons. Yeah, the GOP debates have been pretty frightening all around, but I was disgusted by the cheers for letting the uninsured die. Yet that is exactly what the new American far-right proscribes in the name of more "liberty."

Anyway, if you don't mind, I'm going to link your blog to mine. I also write about politics from a progressive perspective: http://mormonprogressive.blogspot.com/