Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A nice thought for 2008

Stumbled across this short essay in the LA Times:

Falling out of love with death
Though a majority of Americans back capital punishment, surveys find growing
unease over it
By Vince Beiser
January 1, 2008

The media are abuzz over the 40th anniversary of 1968, the year that saw so
much change in this country. But one of the most extraordinary of those
changes has been almost completely forgotten: 1968 was the first year in the
history of the United States that not a single prisoner was executed. Today,
we're getting closer than we have in decades to matching that milestone...

According to Amnesty International, 133 countries have abolished the death
penalty. Last month, the United Nations voted for a worldwide moratorium on
capital punishment.

As far back as the 1960s, almost every industrialized nation had abandoned
the death penalty as a barbaric and pointless anachronism. The U.S. in 1968
was on track to do the same -- not because the Supreme Court forced it on
us, but because we as a nation had decided it was a bad idea. Support for
the death penalty hasn't always been a fact of American life. That's
something worth remembering in this new year.

Vince Beiser is a California-based writer who often writes on criminal
justice issues.

No comments: