It's a phony issue. To pretend the death penalty is going to end crime in the United States is to fool people, to promote public ignorance.
Interestingly, the race for Governor in Virginia has begun to highlight different viewpoints on capital punishment. The lovely Republican candidate - Jerry W. Kilgore - is a strong proponent of the death penalty, while his opponent - Timothy M. Kaine is strongly opposed to the death penalty.
I have partially followed this development, and it has been an interesting thing to watch. Not since 1988, when Bush I slammed Michael Dukakis for his treatment of Willie Horton, has the death penalty been used to obviously in a political campaign. So rarely is capital punishment an issue in an election that it is refreshing to see a politician who is willing to stand up and say no, we should not be using the death penalty. This is even more refreshing in a state like Virginia, which second only to Texas in the number of executions they administer.
Kilgore is highlighting Kaine's opposition to the death penalty in order to drum up support in the conservative state by implying that Kaine would have difficulty upholding the law that uses death as a punishment in capital murder cases. Kaine has been very clear in stating that he would enforce the law and only use clemency sparingly. Interestingly Kilgore stays quiet about being able to support the abortion laws in the state even though he is adamantly opposed to abortion.
What is most frustrating is that Kilgore is so willing to use emotional ads and marketing, regardless of the fact that they do not really contain truth, so that he can gather opposition to Kaine. The key thrusts of the ads are that Kaine has defended people in criminal classes. And the sad thing is that it will very possibly work. Too many people in too many places are unable to understand many issues related to crime - especially capital crime. But they to remember is criminals - regardless of the crime - are still people and still deserve to be properly defended. Who cares if someone defended someone charged with murder? They have every right to a quality lawyer. And to twist this right to attempt to discredit a gubernatorial candidate due to his work as a defense attorney is flat out wrong.
For more info see the following:
[hat tip Abolish the Death Penalty]
[cross posted at Random Ravings]
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