Friday, December 02, 2005

Another Meaningless Milestone

Per the media, it's time again to discuss the death penalty. As of this morning, 1, 000 convicts have been put to death since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. Yes, 1,000, one-K, a grand, if you will. All put to death by the sanction of the state. Legally...

But why is the number news?

And while I don't remember the buzz about the 927th person put to death, with emphasis on the 927 number, I am wondering what makes this execution any different from that one.

So I'd like the media to do what they did when the death toll for the Iraq War reached an equally meaningless 2,000. Just please say what you mean. We hate capital punishment because we think it is wrong, racist, barbaric, or whatever. There is room to debate it, and of course for the left to avoid an intellectual discussion and just to demagogue the issue, as evidenced by this numbers game.

Because if 1,000 is relevant, why isn't 1? And why isn't 378? If it was right to put to death a convicted murderer at 1, it will be right at 10,000 (and please spare me the Barry Scheck and George Ryan arguments about disparate racial impact, please. They avoid the issue). But if somehow 1,000 is wrong because the death penalty is legally or morally wrong, then it will have been just as wrong at 1, and those going to the death chambers across America lack defenders who are able to intellectually make a cogent, reasoned argument for sparing them that steps well beyond the predictable chronic greivances rooted in racial or economic politics.

But I doubt it. If this was based in anything but soft-on-crime leftist ideology, death penalty opponents would have decisively won their arguments long ago.

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