Thursday, March 27, 2008

The US Experiences Death Penalty Drought

I remember an episode of "The Simpsons" where there was a sign reading "4 days without a tornado" outside of a trailer park. Of course, the joke was that tornados took place so frequently that the time that had elapsed between tornados was worth recording. Well, life imitated art today when the United States marked six months without an execution.

Before one comes to the conclusion that those Bible-believing Texans are becoming more compassionate, it's worth pointing out that their hooting-and-hollerin' killin' ways have been temporarily stopped by the US Supreme Court, who are considering the legality of the lethal injection. This follows submissions by arguments from several death row inmates that lethal injections were unconstitional because they constituted "cruel and unusual punishment". Of course, that such punishments are cruel is quite obvious, but I suspect that given the prevalence of lethal injection as a method of execution, they may have more trouble establishing that such a punishment is unusual. Maybe in the rest of the civilised world perhaps, but certainly not in the good ol' US of A, and particularly not in Texas.

Those of you who may fear the end of "tough love" in America need not fear. The state of Louisana plans to break the death drought in July, when they will execute yet another underprivileged member of a minority group. And after that, there are another 3,260 participants who are waiting in the queue to take the ride of their life. Add that to the 4,000 Americans who have died in combat in Iraq, and one must begin to marvel at the ability of the United States to kill its own citizens in record numbers ...

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