Monday, March 2, 2009

The Death Budget

In this global economic apocalypse, U.S. states are looking for any way to trim their bloated budgets. A few of them, including Kansas and New Mexico, are set to vote on bills that would abolish the death penalty to save some cash. Criminal cases where the prosecution pursues the death penalty are far more expensive than those where they don’t. The numbers vary, but anywhere between $500,000 to $2 million per case could be saved if states decided against killing people for revenge. And really, financial issues aside, that should be the reason why we end this archaic and absurd practice. The death penalty puts the power of ultimate vengeance in the hands of government, which necessarily places government in a higher moral position than the people. If you can’t hunt down and kill people who’ve committed crimes against you, why should the judicial system be allowed to? The death penalty doesn’t right a wrong, and it doesn’t punish the people it kills. It’s not a deterrent, and it’s been proven time and again to not be immune to killing innocent people. But if the financial sense of death penalty abolition is what it takes to finally wake up state governments, then I suppose we can’t complain. Here’s hoping no one tries to compromise by turning executions into profitable pay-per-view events. I really don’t want to live in a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. More details here.

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