According to the Feb. 18 Olympian, ”while capital punishment is still popular, its support is declining,” adding that “32 states have the death penalty, but six have abolished it in the past six years.” There was a time when I supported the death penalty. After all, justice is served when horrendous crimes result in the death of the accused.
That was before I knew that the discovery of DNA evidence has proved the innocence of some who were executed. Victims of mental illness have been put to death. Inmates scheduled for execution would spend years and years on death row, filing numerous appeals and/or seeking new trials (I once wrote to a death row inmate for 10 years before he was sent to the electric chair.)
Execution of a criminal does not provide closure to the victims’ bereaved loved ones in the way they think it will. Time and again, we hear “I thought it would bring relief but it couldn’t bring Susie (or Billy, or Eddie …) back.”
Without doubt, dangerous criminals must be punished; they must reap the consequences of what they have sown. But there are other ways that do not involve killing them because they, too, killed. Gov. Jay Inslee is doing the right thing by doing his homework and taking a deeper look at this controversial subject.