It is time to end an American tradition of cruelty, namely the death
penalty. Surely there can be no question that it is grossly unfair. The
death penalty is the ultimate punishment; it can never be undone. Judges,
juries, prosecutors, they are all, like us, only human. They can make
mistakes. They also, by nature, hold certain prejudices.
Take, for example, the plight of Wanda Jean Allen of Oklahoma, who is
scheduled to die this January. Her trial was wrought with bias over her
ethnicity, and her sexual orientation. The only crime she is definitely
guilty of is being poor. Her state-appointed attorney had never argued a
capital case before, and was paid a mere $800 for his services. Justice in
this country cannot be based on lifestyle or money. It should be based on
the facts of the case alone. Even then, the punishment is not fair.
Life is our most precious gift. We should defend it in all cases. How can
we justify committing violence to prevent violence? Two wrongs do not make
a right. If murder is wrong when committed by the accused, then it is also
wrong when committed by the state.
Wisconsin has understood this for over a century, that is why we have no
state death penalty. Several other states, likewise, have abolished the
barbaric practice, but it is not enough. We must end the death penalty in
all fifty states, and at the federal level.
Senator Feingold understands this. That is why he introduced the Federal
Death Penalty Abolition Act (S. 1917) in this past Congress. This measure
will end the federal death penalty, and is a critical step in getting the
states to follow suit. Let us hope it is reintroduced in the 107th
Congress, and that our leaders have the good sense to pass it.
Contact Senator Feingold, and tell him you support his crusade to end the
death penalty. Also, contact Senator Kohl and Congressmen Petri and Green
to encourage them to vote for the measure if it comes up in the next
Congress. We can end this cruelty. As humans, it's the least we can do.
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