So, here’s what the pending execution of David Powell–the man who’ll be killed by the state of Texas in Huntsville on June 15th–has me thinking about today.
I know that many folks think of the death penalty as a crime deterrent. But at least according to Amnesty International, that’s not true.
For instance, check out this link.
It shows that, as of 2008, fourteen states didn’t have a death penalty, and ALL of those states “had homicide rates at or below the national rate.”
And more frightening still, it says that “a September 2000 New York Times survey found that during the last 20 years, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 48 to 101 percent higher than in states without the death penalty.”
Which is a terrifying, but fascinating, concept.
Because what if, rather than deterring crime, the death penalty actually encourages criminal violence?
I mean, we know that the family is the smallest, most basic unit of government. And we know that domestic violence very often creates violent children. So wouldn’t it follow that government-sponsored violence encourages violence among that government’s citizens?
I mean, I can’t prove it, folks. But it is possible. In our daily lives, in our everyday human interactions, we know that treating people with violence only tends to make people more violent.
So why do we think that behavior that doesn’t work in human interactions works as a form of institutionalized justice? Why would a government that behaves violently make its citizens less violent?
And in the meantime, David Powell–a man who committed murder thirty-two years ago–has six days left to live before he’s poisoned to death by the state of Texas.
And here’s a clip from a movie about David:
And here’s a website devoted to David’s case: http://www.letdavidlive.org/
And here’s a link to Amnesty International’s clemency campaign on David’s behalf: http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=14311