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For nearly the first forty-five years of my life, I believed in the death penalty.

Some things—child rape, premeditated murder, terrorism, serial rape and the trafficking of certain drugs in massive quantities—were simply so horrible and corrosive to society that only death was a fitting punishment.

In fact, it’s only been a few months since is circulated a petition to replace lethal injection with nitrogen suffocation or a firing-squad.

This was, of course, predicated upon the notion of a fair system, clean policing and the absence of any Augustinian sins on the part of anyone involved in the legal process. That is to say, total shit. A steaming truckload of it, to be blunt.

I had realized that problems existed within certain states’ legal systems, in the Lone Star State’s. I had even been aware that an innocent man, Cameron Todd Willingham, had been executed, but believed it to be a good-faith error based on faulty techniques and scientific “knowledge”.

At the beginning of June, Lester Bower was executed for a murder of which he was factually innocent. Upon reading more about the case and the circumstances surrounding it, I learned that Federal and state authorities knew of his innocence at the time of his trial, which was literally a circus. (Read the articles. People in clown make-up literally drifted in from a carnival on the courthouse lawn and then left when they desired something more entertaining.)

Having become aware of at least three executions by the State of Texas and the plight of two other innocent individuals awaiting the same fate, I realized that I could not trust people.

It is impossible to remove the “human element” from a capital case, and therefore the death penalty is untenable. There are no bedrock guarantees that the case won’t be figuratively folded, spindled and mutilated, I therefore withdraw in perpetuity my support for any death sentence.

I understand about Dzhokar Tsarnaev. Yes, he does deserve it; however, that one in a million case cannot be enough to keep the option of death available. If someone killed six people on a bus, there would be a hue and a cry to kill the terrorists, but if those same people died as a result of prosecutorial or investigative avarice, no one would speak. Not enough to matter, anyway.

I’ll speak. We’re in the second decade of the twenty-first century and still relying on a horribly error-prone system to kill people we believe need to die.

As the saying goes; Killing to punish murder is like fucking for chastity, raping rapists, fighting for peace or remaining silent to make your voice heard. It’s an oxymoron…emphasis on the moron.

To regain our place among civilized nations, of which we were once the guiding light, the death penalty must be replaced with a sentence of life without parole in a “super-max” prison.

Europe has done it. Canada has done it. Australia has done it. Even some of our own states have done it. It’s time to kick the “death habit”.

This blog entry began as a simple poll. A referendum on whether we, as Americans, are willing to back our words with actions.

Approximately twenty-fours after its posting, a total of two people—excluding myself—have deigned to vote

I shouldn’t be surprised, since most Americans don’t even deign to vote in Federal elections. Last November’s was the lowest turnout since 1942. People were fighting a World-War then. What were you doing?

Alright; enough with the upbraiding. We have something serious to discuss.

If you believe in the death-penalty, would you volunteer to be a citizen-executioner? When Gary Gilmore was shot by a firing-squad on 17 January, 1977, it was one composed of volunteers who had signed onto rolls placed in Utah’s sporting-goods stores.

While the state of Utah now uses law-enforcement and correctional officers, other jurisdictions are considering adopting firing-squads and the sign-up rolls could reappear. Would you, for want of a better term, have the balls to shoot someone, if your government told you he or she deserved it?

Utah’s current arrangement also begs another question; with accusations—the spuriousness of which are debatable—of police militarization and brutality, what effect does carrying out executions have on the officer inside the police-cruiser? Vietnam used officers for firing-squads, but went to injection, due to the effect firing-squad participation had on officers.

Returning stateside and on the other side of the window; could you even witness an execution, whether or not the murder-victim was one of your friends or family members? If allowed a few last words for the condemned, could you muster any?

This blog isn’t about whether to abolish the death-penalty. That question will be the subject of a later blog entry. Tonight’s discussion is about the fact that most Americans claim to support the death-penalty, yet get squeamish when people like me ask just how far that support extends.

To borrow from the Japanese, do not kill this discussion with silence. Look within yourselves, vote and comment. I don’t even care if you’re from Britain, Bulgaria, Greece or Canada. It’s sometimes good to hear from those outside of our “Bubble”, also borrowing Bill Maher.

Say something! We stand poised to adopt a new method of execution, suffocation by nitrogen gas, so this is a good time to think about the ultimate punishment and the future of American criminal-justice.

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