It Isn’t Barbarism When We’re Giving Kudos

This week’s GOP presidential debate showcased an eruption of applause for Governor Rick Perry and his state’s track record of 234 more inmate executions than any other state, “more than any other governor in modern times.”  Barbaric? According to Perry, absolutely not.  Americans simply “understand justice.”

Fun Fact:

Between 1973 and 1995, the Senate Judiciary Committee found the “overall rate of serious reversible error in capital cases” to be 68 percent of almost 4,600 cases studied.1

But I can see how one wouldn’t lose any sleep at night over such problems; after all, the real Americans are clapping.

[1] Gushee, David P. and Glen H. Stassen. Kingdom Ethics. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003, p211

Allen Marshall O'Brien

Allen Marshall O’Brien is the pastor of a UCC church in Northern California and co-host of the Irenicast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and ecology, throws things to his border collie Sonata, and writes for multiple platforms.

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  • Right wing war mongerer

    All of the blood I on his hands because Rick Perry made up all 12 spots of the jury panel that convicted all of those murdered right? So should he have overturned the will of the people like a tyrant, cerca prop 8 in California being overturned by a tyrant of a judge?

    Liberals make no sense. Let’s take the average prisoner cost per year of 30,000. Let’s add a conservative 40 years of prison and multiply by the amount of prisoners. This comes out to over 280,000,000!!!! That’s plenty of food stamps/birth control/court fees to bring the word god out of the pledge of allegiance/darfur food money don’t ya think?

    • I’m suggesting that applauding an execution record is a touch barbaric and that Rick Perry’s trust in the criminal justice system is over-confident.

      The it-costs-too-much argument is a dangerously utilitarian one, because it bases the right to life on social ends. What’s good for society isn’t always ethical. But I’ll bite anyway. I know it seems like it would be cheaper to execute than to incarcerate, but that isn’t always the case. It’s actually cheaper to imprison for life;

  • Right wing war mongerer

    .308 ammo is about .90 cents for match grade ballistic tip. That can’t be more expensive than lethal injection.

    So what is this blogs position on abortion? It seems to care about 243 murderers being executed. Let’s talk about the 1.2 million murdered innocent babies aborted in 2008 in the united states. And by the way, those are largely paid for by tax money. Have at it.

    • I’m consistently pro-life, which means I’m against abortion and captial punishment.

  • Chris R.

    It’s called justice. “Have you struggled to sleep at night?” wow MSNBC would ask that. I agree 100% with Rick Perry. I certainly would be able to sleep better at night knowing that there isn’t a murderer possibly on the loose continuing to make victims out of innocent people.

    • But society making victims out of innocent people is necessary and acceptable collateral?

      If we rescinded captial punishment, its not like death row inmates would be released back into society.

  • Eric J.

    If they are innocent victims, isn’t that part of a broader issue. Wouldn’t that mean that our justice system as a whole has failed? And if our justice system makes criminal verdicts with a jury of peers, doesn’t that mean that American people have failed?

    I agree with you Allen, they wouldn’t go back into society. But realistically, their prison life is probably better than their free life. So is that a deterrent of crime? There is support that the death penalty is at least a crime deterrent. What is the crime rate in China after all?

    • Absolutely, Eric! Inconsistencies point to a greater issue at hand; the truth is, our governments are fallible. Because we make mistakes, we should continue to thoughtfully practice, implement law, and confidently pursue justice, BUT we should stop short of making irrevocable decisions.

      Admitting our system is capable of error isn’t failure. Such admission is built into the constitution in the form of checks and balances. It IS a failure, however, to pretend we’re infallible, righteous, and above corrupting influence.