Infallibility.

First the facts.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed a bill into law Wednesday that abolishes the death penalty, making his state the 17th in the nation to abandon capital punishment and the fifth in five years to usher in a repeal.

During a Sept. 2011 Republican presidential debate NBC’s Brian Williams asked Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) a question about the death penalty and pointed to the 234 executions during his watch, and even before Perry answered, the Republican debate crowd erupted in applause for the governor’s actions.

Since the death penalty moratorium ended January 17, 1977 African Americans made up 41 percent of death row inmates in Texas while making up only 12 percent of the state’s general population.

According to deathpenaltyinfo.org, since the re-institution of the death penalty, 142 innocent prisoners have been exonerated from the death row. (No. 142, Robert Dewey from Colorado, was exonerated on April 30, 2012.) It is unknown how many of the people executed since 1976 may have been innocent, but some of them were executed although there was considerable doubt about their guilt, e.g. Cameron Willingham (2004) and Troy Davis (2011).

Now the opinion.

When God told Moses “a life for a life”, there was exactly one person who judged an individual’s guilt or innocence. That person’s name was, you guessed it, Moses. Since he was imbued with the perfect Spirit of Jehovah, there was a 100% certainty that every single verdict decided by God’s messenger was correct. In today’s world, where only a handful of nations still have the death penalty on the books, the legal system isn’t quite so infallible.

Sure, there’s the question of humaneness. I find that issue to be of lesser importance, but distinct from, the human error argument. And I understand there’s a chance my opposition to the death penalty might be wrong. After all, I’m only human.

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