Monday, July 03, 2006

The Death Penalty Makes Us All Murderers

Today is the 30th anniversary of the re-instatement of the death penalty in this country. You know, or have access to, all the data points that you need. How many people are on death row, the racial bias, the inept trials, the number of people exonerated, the number of people killed and then posthumously exonerated....We can not get this right. I don't mean that we haven't yet. I mean that a right and fair way for the state to execute people in my name can not, by definition, be found.

We can -and must- remember the victims, but it ought not be with more killing. Moreover, we need to remember the victims' families. By and large, these people are invisible to us, and yet they suffer the consequences of the murder forever. If you're looking for ways to get involved, you might look at Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights. If you want to learn more about the issue, you could watch The Innocent, a documentary about innocent survivors of death row. I saw it in Chicago a few days ago, and it's really worth watching. It's not easy, heaven knows, but it is worthwhile. Or you read Sr. Helen Prejean's new book The Death of Innocents. I haven't read it yet, myself, so I'm counting on someone to report back.

And we all need to watch what happens in Wisconsin this fall. They're considering a referendum to reinstate the death penalty after 153 years of not having it. Because it works so well everywhere else??? And we need to keep talking about this issue. It ought not be that this rite of revenge happens quietly, out of public view, and unchallenged.

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