Until we end state-sanctioned execution in this country, we are diminished as a people. It’s a stain on our national character, a moral failure. Death at the hand of the state is the very hallmark of tyranny, and has no place in a modern open society.
So good for Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon, who just stopped executions in his state by executive order.
Gov. John Kitzhaber announced today he will not allow the execution of Gary Haugen — or any death row inmate— to take place while he is in office. The death penalty is morally wrong and unjustly administered, Kitzhaber said.
“In my mind it is a perversion of justice,” he said at an emotional news conference in Salem.
This is from Wednesday’s debate. There’s no need to watch the whole thing – just listen to Williams’ question and the audience’s gleeful applause about 12 seconds in. Screw schools and bridges; let’s build us some gladiator stadiums!! Yeah!
Too often I get depressed in the ugly torrent of cruelty that has become part of our national character. So it’s a bit reassuring to see this just now.
Illinois has abolished the death penalty and that is a positive step back toward the humanity we’ve been so dismissive of in recent years. They’re the 16th state to do so.
Gov Pat Quinn: “Since our experience has shown that there is no way to design a perfect death penalty system, free from the numerous flaws that can lead to wrongful convictions or discriminatory treatment, I have concluded that the proper course of action is to abolish it,”
One of the Democratic sponsors of the bill that ended executions said “I think we’re on the right side of history.”
I think he’s right.