"The politics of death is a bottomless pit that sucks everybody in.” This judgment, offered by a California attorney who has tried more than 100 capital cases, aptly summarizes the complicated arguments for and against the death penalty in American culture. After all, who can deny the horrors of a Ted Bundy or a Jeffrey Dahmer?
It took Richard Nixon, a fervent anticommunist, to begin a new era of relations with communist China, and perhaps it takes a Republican supporter of capital punishment to launch a new era of opposition to the death penalty.
After 30 years of directing funerals, I’ve come to believe in open caskets. A service to which everybody but the deceased is invited, like a wedding without the bride or a baptism without the baby, denies the essential reality of the occasion, misses the focal point. It is why we comb wreckage, drag rivers and bring our war dead home.
The number of state-sponsored executions jumped 41 percent in 2009 even as the number of death penalty court sentences dropped, according to a report from the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center.
The 52 executions nationwide last year represented a 41 percent increase from the 37 executions in 2008, the DPIC said in its annual report on capital punishment trends.
Karl Barth once asked a poignant question about capital punishment: “Now that Jesus Christ has been nailed to the cross for the sins of the world, how can we still use the thought of expiation to establish the death penalty?” With that in mind, I eagerly anticipated reading this book by Mark Osler, a professo
Killing people is a grisly business, even in the case of capital punishment. In Florida last year executioners found Angel Nieves Diaz still moving 24 minutes after the first administration of lethal drugs. They had mistakenly injected the drugs into the soft tissue of his arm instead of into a blood vessel.
The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, a body that opposes the death penalty, asked God to grant Iraq “the mercy, justice and compassion that it has long been denied” and “an end to the fear and death that marked Saddam Hussein’s rule.”