Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Me? Wrong? Never Happen

With the Cameron Todd Willingham case being the subject of tonight's Frontline, I decided to poke around and see if anything new had come up recently. One of the things that I found is this recent entry in the Dallas Morning News' Death Penalty Blog. Outside of a certain disingenuousness in the idea that just because arson hasn't been ruled out, that Willingham must have been guilty, I find the adversarial stance taken in the article to be indicative of the problem with the Death Penalty. While it's accurate to say that anti-Death Penalty activists have an agenda, it's also worth noting that they seem to be the only people who think that it's worth getting to the bottom of people's factual guilt or innocence.

To a degree, Death Penalty supporters have bought into the same reasoning as critics - that a finding that an innocent person has ever been executed would render capital punishment completely inappropriate and wrong, for ever and ever. Thus, they seem to become invested in the guilt of the people that have been executed.

This strikes me as misguided. If you're going to accept that any given form of punishment exists, you also have to accept that it's going to be applied to the wrong people at least once in a blue moon. Innocent people have died in prison before - no reasonable person has called for the abolition of incarceration on that basis.

No comments: