than 600 people have been electrocuted, poisoned, or otherwise
executed by the United States since 1973. In 1998, America earned
the dubious honor of executing more people than countries like Iran,
Cuba, Rwanda, and even Taliban Afghanistan. In fact, the United
States last year ranked third in the world in number of executions--its
tally outmatched only by Communist China and the Democratic Republic
of Congo (which was in the midst of a civil war).
Writing in 1957,
the French author Albert Camus called the death penalty "a revolting
butchery, an outrage inflicted on the person and body of man" that
further disseminates the very culture of violence it is meant to
eradicate. In addition to such well-grounded moral objections, there
are some very real practical reasons for objecting to the death
penalty. In a 1972 majority opinion, the United States Supreme Court
stated that, in most states, the death penalty was applied in such
a random and unfair fashion that it risked violating the Eighth
Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Such warnings
have been borne out. Seventy-six of the more than 6,000 death-row convictions
since 1973 have later been reversed; in other words, one out of 80 death row
inmates came within a whisker's breath of being wrongly executed
by the state.
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support Slowdown's efforts to stop the death penalty in America.
As a leading presidential candidate, you have the power to change
the terms of debate on this topic; as a potential president, you
will be in a position to effect real change. As an American, I ask
you to use your voice and authority to hasten the end of state-sponsored
Atlantic Monthly - Alan Berlow makes a convincing
case that innocents may have been executed, and that the death
penalty is biased against racial minorities and people from
the lower classes. This article reveals the rotten core of
the American judicial system.
Death Penalty Information Center - Contains
news and statistics about the death penalty and its application
in the US and around the world.
International - A stinging indictment from
Amnesty International of the US legal system and its racially
biased application of capital punishment.
- A resource for legal material related to the death penalty.
Human Rights - A comprehensive listing of links
related to the death penalty.
Hartford Advocate - Another article
about mistakes in the application of the death penalty.
- Christopher Hitchens points out that the leading Republican
presidential contender, George W. Bush, is a trigger-happy
executioner. How, he asks, does Bush square his support for
the death penalty with his "compassionate conservatism"?