I am opposed to the death penalty, let me just put that out there. I don’t believe killing is right. I cringe at the hypocrisy of death penalty advocates who spend Saturday mornings protesting at abortion clinics, because every life is sacred, then go to prisons on Thursday to applaud the execution of adults- usually poor, minority men who’ve been poorly represented in our legal system. What is increasingly disturbing is that with the increasing availability of DNA testing, we are learning that these people are not guilty of the crimes for which they’ve been condemned. Since 2000, nearly 200 convictions have been overturned as a result of DNA testing.
What does our love of the death penalty, particularly in light of DNA testing’s suggestions that its use in our nation is flawed and in some cases, unfounded, do for our reputation as a world leader? As DNA evidence routinely reveals that investigators and prosecutors have hidden evidence that would exonerate the accused, our trust in the system – and our belief that it is the best system in the world – is broken.
In 2010, we executed 46 people….more than Libya, Iraq, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The only nations who executed more people than us were China, Iran, Yemen and North Korea. Leaders are judged by the company they keep.
The Unites States can’t be a world leader simply because we claim to be one. We need to act like one.