Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hell of a thing. . .

Bill Munny: Hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have. The Schofield Kid: Yeah, well, I guess he had it comin'. Bill Munny: We all got it comin'. -From the film Unforgiven I don't know if Stanley Williams was guilty of the crimes that he was convicted of. I don't know if his redemption was genuine. I don't know enough facts about the case or his life to discuss that intelligently. I have been very lucky that those I love and myself have never been the victim of a violent crime. I know that I would want to kill someone who hurt someone that I care about. I would want to kill, but I would not. I also would not support their being put to death. I do not support the death penalty for a number of reasons. Most of the people on death row are poor and could not afford adequate council. It is fundamentally racist. According to the ACLU, "Over 80% of capital cases involve white victims, even though nationally, only 50% of murder victims are white." Death penalty cases vary wildly from state to state. If you are brown, poor and live in Texas, odds are high that you will fry. The main reason, the ace that cannot be argued with is the possibility that the convicted is in fact innocent. In the wake of scientific advances there have been a number of wrongly convicted people released from prison after years, half of their life gone for a crime they did not commit. Since the founding of The Innocence Project in 1992, 164 innocent people, including 14 who were at one time sentenced to death, have won their freedom through their assistance. In 2002 U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff declared that the federal death penalty is unconstitutional because it creates "an undue risk of executing innocent people. . .it is fully foreseeable that in enforcing the death penalty a meaningful number of people will be executed who otherwise would eventually be able to prove their innocence." His decision was of course overturned. For those of you who support the death penalty, for those that say, I would want to kill, I would want them to pay, I would want retribution. I ask you to consider for a moment that you or someone you love are mistakenly arrested, wrongly convicted, live for years in a cell, are perhaps put to death. It could happen. If you don't think it could, you are naive. I leave you with the countries that use capital punishment and those who do not. This data was gleaned from Amnesty International. Consider please the company the United States of America is keeping. 1. Abolitionist for all crimes- Countries whose laws do not provide for the death penalty for any crime. ANDORRA, ANGOLA, ARMENIA, AUSTRALIA, AUSTRIA, AZERBAIJAN, BELGIUM, BHUTAN, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, BULGARIA, CAMBODIA, CANADA, CAPE VERDE, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, COTE D'IVOIRE, CROATIA, CYPRUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, DJIBOUTI, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC,ECUADOR, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, GEORGIA, GERMANY,GREECE, GUINEA-BISSAU, HAITI, HONDURAS, HUNGARY, ICELAND, IRELAND, ITALY, KIRIBATI, LIBERIA, LIECHTENSTEIN, LITHUANIA, LUXEMBOURG, MACEDONIA (former Yugoslav Republic), MALTA, MARSHALL ISLANDS, MAURITIUS, MEXICO, MICRONESIA (Federated States), MOLDOVA, MONACO, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NIUE, NORWAY, PALAU, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, ROMANIA, SAMOA, SAN MARINO, SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE, SENEGAL, SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO, SEYCHELLES, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SLOVENIA, SOLOMON ISLANDS, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, TIMOR-LESTE, TURKEY, TURKMENISTAN, TUVALU, UKRAINE, UNITED KINGDOM, URUGUAY, VANUATU, VATICAN CITY STATE, VENEZUELA 2. Abolitionist for ordinary crimes only - Countries whose laws provide for the death penalty only for exceptional crimes such as crimes under military law or crimes committed in exceptional circumstances. ALBANIA, ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, CHILE, COOK ISLANDS, EL SALVADOR, FIJI, ISRAEL, LATVIA, PERU 3. Abolitionist in practice - Countries which retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes such as murder but can be considered abolitionist in practice in that they have not executed anyone during the past 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions. The list also includes countries which have made an international commitment not to use the death penalty. ALGERIA, BAHRAIN, BENIN, BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, BURKINA FASO, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, CONGO (Republic), GAMBIA, GRENADA, KENYA, MADAGASCAR, MALDIVES, MALI, MAURITANIA, MOROCCO, MYANMAR, NAURU, NIGER, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, SRI LANKA, SURINAME, TOGO, TONGA, TUNISIA 4. Retentionist- Countries and territories which retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes. AFGHANISTAN, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, BAHAMAS, BANGLADESH, BARBADOS, BELARUS, BELIZE, BOTSWANA, BURUNDI, CAMEROON, CHAD, CHINA, COMOROS, CONGO (Democratic Republic), CUBA, DOMINICA, EGYPT, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, ERITREA, ETHIOPIA, GABON, GHANA, GUATEMALA, GUINEA, GUYANA, INDIA, INDONESIA, IRAN, IRAQ, JAMAICA, JAPAN, JORDAN, KAZAKSTAN, KOREA (North), KOREA (South), KUWAIT, KYRGYZSTAN, LAOS, LEBANON, LESOTHO, LIBYA, MALAWI, MALAYSIA, MONGOLIA, NIGERIA, OMAN, PAKISTAN, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, PHILIPPINES, QATAR, RWANDA, SAINT CHRISTOPHER & NEVIS, SAINT LUCIA, SAINT VINCENT & GRENADINES, SAUDI ARABIA, SIERRA LEONE, SINGAPORE, SOMALIA, SUDAN, SWAZILAND, SYRIA, TAIWAN, TAJIKISTAN, TANZANIA, THAILAND, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, UGANDA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, UZBEKISTAN, VIET NAM, YEMEN, ZAMBIA, ZIMBABWE


At 12/13/2005 04:24:00 PM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

What is says to me is that I need to make sure I don't live in a country that puts me in that position. Great list! It's a bit crazy when you match up those names.


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