The Relative Comment

soothing waves of relativity

Archive for the ‘Roger Ebert’ Category

Suggested read: Roger Ebert on the Death Penalty.

leave a comment »

TRC is adamantly and passionately opposed to capitol punishment, and has been for years. It is one of our strongest civic foundations at TRC: Capitol punishment is wrong in all cases. In the United States, we do or do not execute based on the passions of  a crime, the accused’s presence in a courtroom–do they smile? do they behave as though they are remorseful in the type that we have been shown that remorseful criminals should behave in movies and television?, the often mistaken testimony of eye-witnesses, the emotional reaction to someone’s testimony, the presence in a courtroom of support for the accused, the lack of support for the accused, the gender of the accused, the color of the accused’s skin, the amount of money in the accused’s bank account, the number of men on a jury versus the number of women, the impact on children of a crime, the identity of the victim, the gender of the victim, the age of the victim, the color of the victim’s skin, the wealth of the victim, and, I assume occasionally, guilt.

Anyway, on the subject, Roger Ebert has a nice journal entry, worth reading.

Do you, do I, feel better when a killer is executed? Why should we? What good does the execution do for the killer’s victim? Do family members feel vindicated? Some do, some do not, and in any event their feelings are not a justification for public policy. If the taking of life is wrong, then it is wrong in all cases.

If an execution takes place in an atmosphere of great care and caution, as it should, there is at least some reason for Society to feel confident a guilty man is dying. In a state like Texas and a county like Harris, there is little reason to be sure of that. I suggest it is impossible that the judicial system functions with 100% accuracy, and yet that is what the actions of governors Bush and Perry assume. On the basis of Death Row inmates found innocent and released in Illinois and other states, it is impossiblethat all 387 people executed during their terms were guilty.

Written by Christopher ZF

January 5, 2012 at 10:51