View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Mexico's Richardson Repeals Death Penalty

The death penalty lost some more ground.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who has supported it in the past, has signed legislation to repeal that state's death penalty, effective July 1. According to AP, he said it was the "most difficult decision in my political life."

Difficult - but right.

In New Mexico now you get a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for murders committed after the repeal takes effect.

Richardson said, "Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, I do not have confidence in the criminal justice system as it currently operates to be the final arbiter when it comes to who lives and who dies for their crime."

Absolutely. Too many people have been unjustly sentenced. Too many have unjustly died.

And this gives the genuinely guilty even more time to repent. I believe everyone, no matter how vile their actions, should have every opportunity to realize what they have done and to seek God's forgiveness. Yes, they cut short someone's life, but killing the guilty when it is not necessary does not bring that person back. I would not want to see my brother's killers executed.

I applaud Governor Richardson's action. He was, by the way, my favorite of the Democratic contenders for President.


Blogger Mateusz said...

i personally believe that for those who believe in God and are involved in a case with the death penalty should get a choice of sentencing the accused life in prison. that is because in the word of God nobody deserves to die because of a crime that they did.
i also would disagree with many things in sentencing criminals because they come out after a couple years and commit another crime. i think that the jail system is being to nice to prisoners because they are provided with everything and a lot of people on the street dont even have the luxury that they do. to keep these criminals out of jail i would change it so that the prisoners would be publicly humiliated and have cruel punishment if necessary because if people would actually be scared to go to jail they would think twice before they do anything wrong. another thing with this is people will be willing to go to jail now because of economic crises. people are getting so desperate to put food on the table that they wouldnt mind to go to jail and get food from there.
so i think death penalty should be eliminated and guards should be allowed to do just about anything to scare the prisoners and make them never want to go back there again.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Ricks said...

I agree that the death penalty isn't the best path of action. If you'd like an excellent essay about the pointlessness of capital punishment you should read Camus' "Reflection on the Guillotine." You may find it interesting.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Ricks - I have not read it. I'll see if I can find it.

Mateusz - We agree on the death penalty, but I can't agree on inflicting cruel punishment. As for prison being somehow easy, I used to visit jail regularly to play for Masses, I was in maximum security prisons (Attica and Auburn) to write articles when I was a reporter, and my wife use to run a prison education program. They are not nice or easy places.

5:26 AM  

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