Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's time to end the death penalty in America

Last week, Amnesty International released it's 2010 report on the use of the death penalty across the globe.  The information should be particularly embarrassing for Americans, as the United States was among the Top 10 countries to use capital punishment. 

The United States of Evil
What could be more humiliating than murdering more prisoners than all but 4 other countries?  Well, the company we're in.  Only China, Iran, North Korea and Yemen killed more in 2010 than the U.S.  We may like to think we're the good guys of the global neighborhood, but we're rubbing elbows with George W. Bush's entire axis of evil.  If one is judged by the company one keeps, we might have to include ourselves on W.'s list, even without taking into account the number of people Barack Obama's America killed last year using the "War on Terror" as an excuse.

Rounding out the list:  Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Bangladesh and Somalia.  It should be noted here that these countries took the lives of around half or fewer prisoners last year than the United States.  I wonder how many war-mongering, death-penalty-supporting social conservatives in America would consider any of the other 9 countries on this Top 10 as having a "culture of life".

Encouraging developments
But there's reason for hope.  Amnesty International notes the global trend is away from using the death penalty. 
At the end of 2010 the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty could not have been clearer... The number of countries that are abolitionist in law or practice has substantially increased over the past decade, rising from 108 in 2001 to 139 in recent years.
Furthermore, in the American state probably most identified with use of the death penalty, Texas, a two-year moratorium has been proposed in the state legislature.  As goes Texas, so goes the nation?  Let's not get carried away.  That said, the state of Illinois just completely abolished capital punishment.  Maybe MLK was right when he said the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, albeit ever so slowly.

One final glimmer of hope is the recent news that Hospira, Inc. - the only U.S. manufacturer of an essential lethal injection drug - stopped making the drug a year ago, and scarce supplies will soon expire.  We have Italy's opposition to the death penalty to thank here.  (Thank you, Italy!)

Ultimately, you can't fuck for virginity.  You can't fight for peace.  And you certainly can't prove killing is wrong by killing killers.  Let's work together for a less evil America.  Support the movement to abolish the death penalty in your state.  Kansas could be next.  Click here to send a message to Kansas legislators supporting a bill to outlaw capital punishment.

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