I realize that I cannot stand by silently as my government executes its citizens. If I do not speak out and resist, I am an accomplice.
Allowing our government to kill citizens compromises the deepest moral values upon which this country was conceived: the inviolable dignity of human persons.
I saw the suffering and I let myself feel it…I saw the injustice and was compelled to do something about it. I changed from being a nun who only prayed for the suffering world to a woman with my sleeves rolled up, living my prayer.
Every human being is worth more than the worst thing they’ve ever done. All life has dignity, guilty life too.
One way to show remorse is to just say, ‘I am so sorry I killed those people’ Another way is show remorse is with your life, what you do with your life.
The movie ‘Dead Man Walking’ opened a level of discussion. Who’s going to ever be close to a execution? It’s like a secret ritual.
When people of color are killed in the inner city, when homeless people are killed, when the ‘nobodies’ are killed, district attorneys do not seek to avenge their deaths. Black, Hispanic or poor families who have a loved one murdered not only don’t expect the district attorney’s office to pursue the death penalty – which, of course, is both costly and time consuming – but are surprised when the case is prosecuted at all.
Are we cheating the families of the victims of the 98% of all murderers who are never executed out of their closure and retribution? Is the death penalty utilized on a fair, impartial basis? Absolutely not.
The profound moral question is not, ‘Do they deserve to die?’ but ‘Do we deserve to kill them?’
The under-representation and exclusion of people of color from juries has seriously damaged the credibility of the criminal justice system.
We are all more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.
Our criminal justice system treats you better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent.
The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned. We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated.
There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see. You hear things that you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.
We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent.
I believe that many of you understand that the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice. That we cannot be full evolved human beings until we care about human rights and basic dignity. That all of our survival is tied to the survival of everyone. That our visions of technology and design and entertainment and creativity have to be married with visions of humanity, compassion and justice.
Only in America can one be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines and still call yourself ‘pro-life.’
Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders.
To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice.
What says the law? You will not kill. How does it say it? By killing!
The most glaring weakness is that no matter how efficient and fair the death penalty may seem in theory, in actual practice it is primarily inflicted upon the weak, the poor, the ignorant and ‘minorities.’
I have yet to see a death case among the dozen coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial… People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In the US the overwhelming majority of those executed are psychotic, alcoholic, drug addicted or mentally unstable. They frequently are raised in an impoverished and abusive environment. Seldom are people with money or prestige convicted of capital offenses, even more seldom are they executed.
I am haunted by the demon of error – error in determining guilt and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die.
The reality is that capital punishment in America is a lottery. It is a punishment that is shaped by the constraints of poverty, race, geography and local politics.
It can be argued that rapists deserve to be raped, that mutilators deserve to be mutilated. Most societies, however, refrain from responding in this way because the punishment is not only degrading to those on whom it is imposed, but it is also degrading to the society that engages in the same behavior as the criminals.
I think this country would be much better off if we did not have capital punishment…. We cannot ignore the fact that in recent years a disturbing number of inmates on death row have been exonerated.
John Paul Stevens