Good For New Jersey

There are people in these Untied States who will picket and go to pieces over a zygote who couldn’t care less that there are full grown men and women scheduled to be pumped full of poison and killed on purpose.

I do not understand these people. I actually believe them to be mentally ill.

So, here’s a sentence I thought I’d never in my life put down on paper: Bravo to New Jersey for instantly becoming the most enlightened state in the nation.

With Gov. Corzine’s signature this morning, New Jersey has abolished the death penalty. Bravo to the state for ridding itself of this barbaric, un-American practice.

That’s right. “Un-American.”

We are told when we’re growing up that we are a noble society forged in revolution, and that, as such, many good men and women gave their lives for the ideal of liberty. We are socialized early to the notion that, as Americans, liberty is such a sacrosanct ideal that we should cherish it more preciously than life itself. We are, in fact, now told by our own current president that 3,894 U.S. soldiers have given their lives for the ideal of liberty in Iraq.

The worst, most horrific punishment a society that claims to so adore liberty should be able to mete out should be deprivation of liberty. If liberty truly meant more to us than life itself, then we would consider the ultimate punishment to be life in prison, not death.

A society that practices capital punishment values life more than liberty, by definition. In that society, Patrick Henry’s dramatic pronouncement is no more than myth.

Which America do you want to live in?

New Jersey had more practical concerns. A state commission had found that “…the death penalty was a more expensive sentence than life in prison, hasn’t deterred murder and risks killing an innocent person.”

There are of course many other objections one can find to state-sanctioned killing. It is cruel and has the potential to be unusually so—if, for example, the executioners cannot find a vein, or if the drugs do not have the expected effect, or if the shiny new electric chair instead makes blood spurt out of your body or flames shoot out of your head, for instance, all things which have actually happened during attempted executions. There is no “humane” way to kill a person. None.

The death penalty is racially biased and therefore continues this country’s long history of injustice toward other people based on race. It creates new murder victims, the families of the condemned; it does not actually deter the worst crimes, often committed in the heat of passion; it does not actually create closure for victims; and it actually weakens the stance of the state, morally, ethically. Ending the life of someone you’ve already convicted and incarcerated does not show toughness on crime. Not really. Also: Is it not possible that putting someone to death before they have a chance to feel guilty and tortured and remorseful of their own actions is actually doing them a favor?

No siree bob. New Jersey is right on this one, and it has just become the most enlightened state in these Untied States. And which political party do you think is the one that led them to it? Hmmmmm?

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