Recent posts on Blue NC have prompted me to post this entry. North Carolina prides itself on its progressive tradition amongst its neighbors. I would be a proud Tar Heel voter if our states leaders would act to abolish the death penalty as a means of punishment in the state.
Our nation has endured because of our willingness to adapt to changes throughout our history. Courageous individuals in the mid-19th Century fought to end the institution of slavery , provided women the right-to-vote, and in the mid-20th Century Americans protested to erase the ills of Jim Crow on our nation's society.
These reforms are a few examples of many that have transpired over time to define who we are as a country. They have bettered our nation by advancing the rights of citizens.
The bells of reform are again ringing loudly across our country's landscape. It is time to abolish the use of the death penalty as a means of punishment in the United States.
As we have done before, our nation has recognized the misguided steps in our public policy and corrected them through constitutional amendments and legislation. The current use of the death penalty must be abolished in order to propel American civilization in the 21st Century.
Death penalty cases showcase the injustices that still exist in American society. Minorities and poor whites are more likely to receive the death penalty than wealthy white Americans. Rural prosecutors seek the death penalty more often than urban prosecutors. Males convicted of murder receive the punishment more often than women. The list goes on as you study the demographis of who is sentenced to this punishment.
Besides the unequal issuance in death penalty sentences, statistics show the punishment is not a deterent to murder (see the State of Texas). Combine that with the fact that a lack of adequate counsel in capital murder cases exists in the U.S. today and prosecutorial corruptness (Mike Nifong is not an isolated incident, the Duke Lacrosse boys just had the money to fight back) further advance the argument for abolishment of this barbaric punishment.
Finally, if pleas based on inequality do not persuade one for abolishment, let's refer to the constitution. The 8th Amendment says government shall not use "cruel and unusual" punishment against its citizens. We can all agree murder is wrong, but is there any justification of taking the life of one who commits such a savadge act. I empaphize with the family members of murder victims, but have to ask myself, "does killing the convicted bring the victim back to life?"
This issue is tough, but like so many other issues facing our country in its history, we as a society must make the correct choice based on the facts and abolish the death penalty.