Posted by: Jay | April 15, 2008

Useless Numbers

I am an ardent opponent of the death penalty. You read that right. My reasoning for opposition is different from most people. I don’t have a moral opposition to the death penalty. My opposition is practical. I am opposed because I have seen too many times over the last 4-5 years, people being released from prison after having spent years there for crimes they did not commit. The Innocence Project, of which I am a supporter has led to the exoneration of 215 people. 16 of those were people on death row. I’m sure not all of these people are boy scouts, but that’s irrelevant. Our justice system is not perfect and death is final and in that regard, I am convinced there have been people put to death in this country for crimes they did not commit.

That being said, I find lists regarding the death penalty by organizations like Amnesty International completely useless. The United States apparently ranks fifth in the world in executions. The reason why I find these numbers useless is that I am sure the numbers from many other countries are bogus. Here’s the report. Does anybody serious believe Sudan only had 7 executions? Only 5 in Somalia? Only 15 in Afghanistan? Puh-lease.

It’s a report that is not worthy of any mainstream news coverage because it is so flawed. Yet, there’s CNN and MSNBC splashing it on the front page of their websites.



  1. you seem to think the amnesty international report is flawed simply because you don’t don’t like the results. furthermore, the report doesn’t say that sudan only had 7 executions, it says that sudan had at least 7 executions, indcating that there were most likely other executions which could not be definitively confirmed. given the limited resources and instability of sudanese law enforcement/criminal judiciary, why is this so unbelievable to you?

  2. No, it’s flawed because it doesn’t have accurate results and AI actually admits this. Such ‘reports’ shouldn’t be published if they know the information they have isn’t accurate and the media shouldn’t be trumpeting it either.

  3. Hey Jay, congrats on the new site. I’ll get my death penalty position out of the way. Your right, too many innocents probably have been executed. Inherently racist. More blacks executed for the same crime that whites have committed as well. No stats that I’ve seen that shows that the death penalty deters murder. Vengeance is the only honest argument for it.

    Gun rights. I believe I should be able to protect my family and myself. I should be allowed to own guns and defend myself, my family and my home. Do I believe everybody should be allowed this? No. Reasonable Age limits. No convicted felons. No Idiots. I was a hunter when I was younger. Took the NRA hunter safety courses. I’d like some kind of gun handling training to go along with ownership.

    Rights are a troubled concept. Rights endowed and enforced by who? A God, a system, a government? No magic hand is going to drop from the sky to prevent the hit and run or a mugging.

    anyway, keep up the good work

  4. On this position I will agree only that there have been innocents executed and that is a sad day. That said, there is no possible way to get perfect justice and there never will be. We are not all knowing and never have enough information to guarantee this. Technology is helping and I encourage the use to check not just death row criminals but all of them if useful. I hate injustice.

    I fully support the death penalty BUT not in its current form. It is way too slow, too drawn out, and too expensive. It is not meant as a deterrent at all, it is meant as a way to purge heinous criminals from society. Putting them in prison for life accomplishes nothing but expend resources that could be put to better use. Their life is over from a society standpoint. It is not humane to keep them in prison when facing a life or multiple life sentences. They aren’t getting out and are essentially “dead”.

    My argument is probably not going to sway you or anyone but I can try. 🙂

  5. You’re supposed to tell people when you’re moving!

    We agree on the death penalty and we agree regarding the bogus statistics of some notoriously violent and undemocratic nations. I just wish the US would not be in their company when it comes to having legislatively-supported state killings.

  6. I’ve read an interesting proposal concerning capital punishment. No death penalty just life sentances but the convicted murderer could, at anytime during their sentence choose assisted suicide.

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