Some might say that this is a story that is similar to one of Yogi Berra’s famous quotes, “We made too many wrong mistakes”. I write this blog with the realization that there are strong opinions on both sides of this issue… the death penalty.
Gallup.com, in an article titled Who Supports the Death Penalty?, tells us that the percentage of Americans in favor of the death penalty has fluctuated significantly over the years. Those in favor have ranged rom a low of 42% in 1966, to as high as 80% in 1994.
Gallup polls now indicate a range of a little over 60% of those surveyed, support the death penalty. That breaks down by party in the following way: Eighty percent of Republicans support the death penalty, while 65% of independents and 58% of Democrats support it. So, it appears that there is still a majority that support the death penalty in certain circumstances.
That brings me to recent legislation in Virginia that has been placed on the Governor’s desk for signing into law. It is still a question whether he will sign it. It’s not whether the death penalty should exist… it’s whether method matters.
Currently Virginia carries out the death penalty through lethal injection. The drugs for lethal injection are becoming scarce.
New legislation would bring back the electric chair. This, despite the fact that the electric chaired has been determined to be cruel and unusual punishment in two states. Georgia and Nebraska are the states, with the Georgia court criticizing the execution method for its “specter of excruciating pain and its certainty of cooked brains and blistered bodies.”
As a basis for the passage of the legislation, Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw reasoned that when someone murders multiple people, they no longer deserve to be treated humanely.
“When you commit acts like that, you give up your right to, as far as I’m concerned, to say well I want to die humanely,” Saslaw said.
In 2014, Tennessee passed a similar law to this Virginia legislation. Oklahoma became the first state last year to approve nitrogen gas for executions if the lethal injection drugs are not available. Last year, Utah approved firing squads for executions if the drugs aren’t available.
It is a serious subject. No fiction, all reality! It reminds me of another Yogi Berra saying “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is”.
A lot at stake for the Governor’s signature.
I usually close the blog with pic o’ day. Fortunately, it is not a serious category. After that blog… I needed something that made me smile. Credit goes to Amy M, who sent it: