Friday, December 02, 2005

Civilized Society and the Death Penalty

Map of the US with States Proportional in Size to their Executions:

Most American citizens believe the United States should be a leading example for the rest of the world to follow because we are great nation. Yet we are about to execute our 1000th person since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. The United States should be leading the world to oppose the death penalty instead of its chief supporter. We are ranked fourth behind China, Iran, and Vietnam on the ladder of state-sanctioned killing and at the same time, the United States is trying to prove to the rest of the world that we have the most civilized form of government.

I would argue that this is the time to remove barbaric practices such as the death penalty from our system of "justice" to demonstrate our commitment to moral and intellectual advancement. We should establish laws that are humane, ethical, and reasonable, commensurate of an enlightened society. Revenge and the legal execution of human beings are not consistent with a modern civilized society.

We took the first step recently when the U.S. Supreme Court removed the US from the list of nations that execute juveniles, which allows the United States to join the rest of the international community since international law prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by people younger than 18. Unfortunately, there are still countries that continue to execute children or sentence them to death.

Amnesty International has launched an international Stop Child Executions! campaign, calling for an end to use the death penalty against children.

The Los Angeles Times reported back on October 30, 2004, that juveniles and the mentally disabled are more likely to give false confessions because they are more vulnerable to suggestion and may not have the capacity for understanding what is being said to them.

"They are more likely to go along, agree and comply with authority figures - to say what the police want them to say - than the general population," said Emory University professor Morgan Cloud


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