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A Couple of Approaches

The death penalty, or the abolishing thereof, has once again (twice again?) been in the news this week.

First, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, whose office is being investigated by the FBI to such a degree that he withdrew his nomination for commerce secretary, abolished the death penalty in his state. He called it the toughest political decision he’s ever had to make (although it almost had to have been harder to go with that Obama endorsement over Hillary in the primary).

In his announcement he said that he’d visited the prison where people serve life without the chance for parole and deemed it worse than death. So that’s good enough. No more death penalty in New Mexico.

Meanwhile, B&E; man-crush Russell “Damn, you” Feingold of the great state of Wisconsin, pulled his long-time favorite death penalty abolishing bill out of his back pocket, just for the pure fun of it. He cited that only China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran put to death more people than the United States. That’s some good company!

Long-time B&E; readers already know that I’m an anti-death penaltier. I’m a pretty cynical person, but nothing is more cynical than the death penalty. I believe in the power of redemption. I believe that even a person who’s committed a terrible, terrible act has the potential to come to terms with that terrible, terrible act, and feel genuine remorse over it. And even if they have to stay in prison and live with that, the potential for redemption makes saving the life necessary.

Oh, and of course, sometimes justice screws up, and people on death row are innocent. Yeah, and the state shouldn’t be in the business of murder.

So props to Governor Bill for getting rid of the death penalty and all, but what’s with this, “Life without parole is worse than death”? Why you gotta make the death penalty sound like it’s all weak on crime? Get outta here. That’s just stupid. Get rid of the death penalty because it’s wrong, Guv. Don’t cop out on the issue, for crying out loud.

And real props to the stunningly and substantively attractive Russ “Your Policies Are” Feingold for putting up a good bill without any need to make excuses for it. God knows it won’t pass, mostly because politicians are cowards. But it’s nice to get the issue back on the table for discussion.

It’s time, America. Let’s grow up here.

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