Saturday, September 24, 2011

Preaching To The Choir, and Losing

Lawrence O’Donnell did an anti-death penalty editorial last night that had me sort of scratching my head. Well, okay, he often has me scratching my head and, no, I don’t have head lice, but…

I happen to oppose the death penalty for several reasons, not the least of which is that we risk executing the wrong person, but O'Donnell went into a lengthy tirade about “what we are doing to the executioners.” He has the idea, it seems, that we should be harboring a sense of collective guilt over the “fact” that people who perform executions “have to go home at night after killing someone” and wallow around in the horror and guilt over what they have just done.

He had a former warden on who supposedly confirmed how burdensome that function is by telling us that the executioner had to come to work on the days beforehand and actually practice the task in addition to doing the deed on execution day, but she did not say anything about anyone she had ever known who did it, or how they felt about it. She merely described the process, and O’Donnell drew his own conclusions.

Further, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever been forced to become an executioner. I’m pretty sure one has to actually seek that job, and express a desire to fulfill that position before one is selected to do it, so I'm not terribly concerned about what "society is doing to" people who volunteer to become executioners. I still, of course, am opposed to the death penalty for other reasons.

His diatribe was unconvincing, to say the least, and I’m already on his side.

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