Sunday, October 11, 2009

Five Leading Death Penalty Countries

The Christian Science Monitor reports on a new wave of pressure on the United States to abolish capital punishment, this time from the EU.

The United States does not often find itself in a league with China, Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

But as international human rights groups and a number of countries, particularly in the European Union [EU], prepare to mark World Day Against the Death Penalty Saturday, that list of the five countries where nearly all of 2008's executions were carried out is where the US finds itself.

Proponents of abolishing the death penalty worldwide say the global trend is in their favor, and they claim the march of countries putting an end to executions is accelerating.

But even though a large majority of known executions carried out last year were in China, the US remains a key target of the abolition campaign as a country that in most other instances is seen sharing values with other Western powers.

Mud_Rake recently did a post on the very thing, although I couldn't find a direct link. His point, if I remember correctly is how shameful it is to be in that company. As an American I find it embarrassing and disgraceful that we keep such company. What's your opinion?

Do you think the trend is away from the death penalty in the U.S. It certainly was more popular when George W. was governor of Texas. Should we be satisfied with the progress? Is the fact that China executes thousands while we only execute dozens supposed to be a comfort?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. I'd feel a lot better if we were only executing people who have a predominance of evidence against them -- like the guys who've left tons of DNA or the killers like Timothy McVeigh who left lots of other evidence. We can go ahead and kill those. I don't have a problem with that.

  2. "Proponents of abolishing the death penalty worldwide say the global trend is in their favor, and they claim the march of countries putting an end to executions is accelerating. "

    In the last century, the global trend was genocide and evil dictatorships but the U.S. chose to stand against the global trend. Now, I'm not likening the idea of Capital Punishment to those other European ideals that everyone thought was a good idea at the time until we stopped them, but rather my point is, just because Europe wants to choose something is in and of itself no reason for the U.S. to follow.

    Europe likes to pretend they know what is best for society but we have seen them fail over and over and come screaming for the help them out of their messes.

    If we need to discuss the abolution of the death penalty in America than let's discuss it. But one of the reasons for doing it is not "everyone else is doing it so we should to".

    In spite of our problems, the U.S. is still the greatest country in the world and in history thus far. We do our own thing and are not really concerned with what others think.

  3. FWM, I agree with what you said. It's because America is great and we shouldn't worry about what the others think that we need to quit executing people, especially ones who turn out to be innocent.

    That's what makes America great, or at least it could, that we do it becaues it's right.

  4. I've always had this thing for the guillotine. There is a deterrence effect to chopping people's heads off and putting them on poles.

    Not sure what it deters, but it is a deterrant.

  5. Mikeb.

    I was not arguing for the death penalty in my post. The point I was making was that, regardless of whether or not we should have the death penalty should be determined by moral and social debate within the United States.

    Because Europe or anyone else has a certain opinion should not be a reason to argue for or against any U.S. policy. Like any other issue, we should make our decisions independent of the opinion elsewhere.

    Obviously the article you presented and your post was lobbying in favor of abolishing the death penalty in America. However, it did not list any of the rational arguments that you have made in the past. It did not worry about innocents put to death or even the morality of capital punishment. The main point that this post alluded to was that we should do it because everyone else is doing it.

    That is no reason for America to make any decision.