Texas kills # 500 since 1982 (Rick Perry's 261st). "You know where I'm going. I'm going home to be with Jesus. God is great".

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Comment by Peter Pimentel on June 27, 2013 at 10:34pm

What a chart, thanks for posting it. Debra: we haven't learned much on this subject, that's for sure.

Comment by Daniel W on June 27, 2013 at 9:30pm

Peter, life in China is cheap.  It's impossible to determine how many millions have been killed there in various governmental shifts - wars, government actions, and take-overs.  10s of millions?  Hundreds of millions?

Chart. Multiple the numbers X 100, so 49,900 is really 49.9 million

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/CHINA.TAB1.2.GIF

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/CHINA.FIG1.6.GIF

It's so hard to fathom the numbers.

That's not to be judging Chinese culture on my part.  Europeans, Africans, Native Americans have all manage to show the murderous potential of Homo sapiens toward Homo sapiens.

But that's no excuse for us.  I have to focus on what I can wrap my mind around.   I would like to see my country be more humanistic in dispensing "justice", than it is.  And more fair.  And more reasonable.  And less racist.

When I went to the Bodies in Motion exhibit I kept wondering if I was looking at recipients of Chinese justice.  It made me feel kind of sick.   The excuse that those bodies are "unclaimed" does not mean they are not executed.  I'm not queasy - I've dissected dead people.   But I wondered.

Comment by Peter Pimentel on June 27, 2013 at 4:00pm

I've read numbers as high as 10,000 per year in China though it's believed that they are probably around 5000 to 6000 per year..and for varying degrees of crimes. Apparently, they're swift and sure with their executing employing either injection or firing squad. In some parts of China (more remote areas) the condemned is marched out and fired on in any convenient place but usually, the executions are not held in public although the people of China are informed about it. China won't release exact numbers as they regard those as a state security issue and not available for public knowledge. It is beyond me how it is somehow alright to deal with such a barbaric country in the world market..and I mean all civilized countries who participate in grotesque profiteering on the broken backs of millions of oppressed people. 

Comment by Daniel W on June 27, 2013 at 1:19pm

Peter - I looked up the data on executions in various countries.  Unfortunately I could not locate per capita data, although I could calculate that, with a wide range of possibilities for China.  The info also depends on definition of death penalty - nonjudicial punishments and what is essentially lynching or executions by mobs represent a grey zone, in marginal broken countries like Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan....

Of courser, those are not the places we should be comparing ourselves with.

My problems with death penalty echo GC's button statement.  In addition, the racial inequity tells me this is a civil rights issue, and not a small one.  Both death penalty and incarceration rates.

All in all, I don't like that we hit this 500th execution in Texas.

Comment by Luara on June 27, 2013 at 12:29pm

I've seen some videos on capital punishment in the US and long prison sentences, and I get the impression that a lot of these people couldn't afford good defense lawyers and are being hugely over-punished. 

Like one woman, who was an accomplice in a home invasion - she knocked on someone's door pretending to need help, and that enabled a couple of guys to break in.  They ended up murdering some people.  So she ... was convicted of being an accomplice to murder and she got a decades-long prison sentence. 

Does this make any sense???  Sure it is criminal to be part of a home-invasion plot.  But she doesn't seem to have plotted murder with the other two.  Taking away a huge part of this person's life, seemed Draconian to me. 

I'm not in favor of capital punishment either.  Actually I think people who have committed horrible crimes should be given life without parole, and they could CHOOSE to be executed at any time.

This idea doesn't seem to in favor - but I don't know why.  It seems very sensible.  Avoid the problems with capital punishment - but let those convicted murderers end their lives and the burden of maintaining them in jail, if they choose. 

Comment by Grinning Cat on June 27, 2013 at 11:49am

Before they're born, potential children are arguably not yet "people".

In addition to the concern, which I share, about executing innocent people, which has happened...

Will we ever get to the point where killing someone as punishment is widely seen as something barbaric, something that civilized societies like ours Just Don't Do? (There's an analogy to certain religiously motivated maimings as punishment.)

A pithy button message:

WHY DO WE KILL PEOPLE
WHO KILL PEOPLE
TO SHOW PEOPLE THAT
KILLING PEOPLE IS WRONG?

Comment by Peter Pimentel on June 27, 2013 at 11:10am

I still struggle (somewhat) with capital punishment. I'm leery of a society that kills its own people (after they've been born). China leads the world (developed countries) by killing thousands every year, Iran, No. Korea and the US are all in the top lists.

I'm not sure how much of this is based in religious belief systems  but I suspect much of it is. I'm attaching an article that gives details.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-Issues/2011/0918/Death-penalt...

Comment by Daniel W on June 27, 2013 at 11:00am

I read the article.  Didn't know Rick Perry has had that many executions on his watch. 

Paging through this wikipedia article, some speculation about why so may executions in Texas.

-population size

-political structure

-appellate court style

I can't say I support death penalty.  I don't.   I also don't feel sorry for some of the people who wind up executed.  I don't know where that leaves me.

Comment by Michael Penn on June 27, 2013 at 6:45am

Well, Kimberley, you killed your neighbor so now they are killing YOU. That means you won't kill anybody any more. Why does everybody have their very own special Jesus??

"Yeah, I'm going home to be with Jebus. God is Great! Hey, wait. This is Allah in here. I'm in the wrong place. I didn't say Allah Akbar. Get me out of here please. I'm being comforted by the wrong religion. I won't wear that veil. I'd rather be a Mormon. Help. Get me out of here. I'm in eternity with the wrong religion. Where is MY God? Hey, let's do this again, OK. Don't shut that door yet . .  . . . .

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