Innocent Man Killed by the Moral Majority

Cameron Todd Willingham has been executed for Arson that resulted in the death of three of his little girls. In a review of the evidence from the fire, an independent expert claims that there is no reason to call this fire an arson. His statements about the Texas State Fire Marshall were more acute, The state fire marshal on the case, Beyler concluded in his report, had "limited understanding" of fire science. The fire marshal "seems to be wholly without any realistic understanding of fires and how fire injuries are created," he wrote.

I'm not fervently against the death penalty on a moral or ethical basis. I do believe a case can be made against the practice on those basis's, but I've never felt compelled. This case might be my tipping point.

What do we gain from executing someone? Some would say closure. I don't buy the argument. Admittedly, I've never had anyone killed in my family. I'm fairly certain that having the person removed from society is a sufficient final answer. My taste for vengeance after some time eases. The healthy answer is to let it go. So what is the cause of the need to execute? I suggest that it's "Eye for an eye" mentality. Here is why.

These rates are down significantly from decades past. 10% of previous numbers(late 70'). The trend of the most religious states doing the majority of the executions holds true. Is it a clear indication that the vitriol of the Bible (Read Abrahamic religions if you please) is the driving force behind our kill'em all attitude? World wide the countries with the greatest number of executions are religious states such as Saudi, Iran, Pakistan, and China (China is demonstrably not religious) executed 88% of the people executed world wide. If the trend is that Religious states are the state sponsored killers here, and internationally it's generally consistent that religious states are the killers, I do believe we have a strong correlation.

Is an eye for an eye an effective way to live our lives? I say no. If you disagree, type in say arm chopped off for stealing into youtube and get back to me. If you aren't willing to swing the machete, then you don't really believe that it's the right thing to do. Posturing is getting innocent people dead. Troy Davis is another man whom may be innocent and fighting for his life. If we hold him in prison and it turns out he's innocent, he would have a chance to get his life back. There are no take backs in executions.

Going for the death penalty endangers all of us for the vengeance of one family. Courts are tied up for sometimes more than a month. Prosecutors are tied up for years. Jails have to have separate areas for the prisoner and practice the routines, maintain the building, etc. The rest of the time, the criminals whom might be caught for real crimes get to walk because the system is tied up, over budget, and over worked. Sure, you get the eye for an eye, but your car is stolen in the meantime. Since the death penalty rates have gone down, so have crime rates. Another "Fancy that" correlation.

As a civilized country we should avoid the death penalty. It's an archaic system that seeks to satisfy the desires instilled from a gruesome Bible and gruesome history. While prisoners can be held for life and not escape, there is no reason for it other than vengeance. Texas has now killed an innocent man, sentenced a mentally retarded man to death (overturned), Georgia is working on executing a man likely to be innocent and refusing to review certain pieces of evidence. And we should continue to support this? Killing one innocent person shows the entire system to be a failure. I find it unacceptable and now reject the morality of executions.

Views: 29

Comment by Doug Reardon on August 26, 2009 at 12:46pm
We kill people, who kill people to prove that killing people is wrong!
Comment by Reggie on August 26, 2009 at 1:03pm
Most of the arguments I have heard in favor of the death penalty are faulty. The best are the emotional hypotheticals people put you in where your family is brutally tortured and killed so that you'll agree to their blood lust.

I'm not necessarily against execution across the board, but if we decide to execute criminals, there had better be an exceptionally high burden of proof that must be met. Otherwise, execution should be off the table, so to speak.
Comment by Gaytor on August 26, 2009 at 4:19pm
A story happened to come out today about the Davis Case. Scallia and Thomas are hard to fathom in their adherence to small details over right and wrong.
Justice Scalia said that even if the district court were to find Davis to be innocent, there would still be nothing unlawful about executing him.
The laws were not developed to free someone previously found guilty. As a result he's saying that adhering to the existing law over human life is acceptable. Ladies and Gentlemen, may i introduce your two most religious Justices... Scallia and Thomas.
Comment by Gaytor on August 26, 2009 at 4:19pm
the link
Comment by Reggie on August 26, 2009 at 4:30pm
Oh, how I loathe Scalia.
Comment by Gaytor on August 27, 2009 at 12:19am
Daniel, we agree quite a bit on the death penalty. Exploratory question: On the Justice question... is there ever a situation where you would be ok with a justice going off script for ethics over law? I know it's a fine line to walk. Thomas and Scallia are at least consistent.
Comment by Gaytor on August 27, 2009 at 12:57am
I can't say that we agree on the 2nd point, but appreciate your stance and can see how you'd defend it. It's a slippery slope, and while I'm happy to stand on oil today, I recognize the problem that you are pointing out.


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