Death Penalty


Death Penalty

Texas carries out the death penalty more than any other state.

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A large majority of Texans continue to support use of the death penalty. Here’s a Texas poll from 2021:



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SOURCE:  University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, April 2021 

But we know several things:

* the death penalty is far more expensive than life imprisonment without parole; 
* the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime; 
* the death penalty is implemented in a racially unbalanced manner; 
* the death penalty has been carried out on innocent victims 
*lots of families of murder victims do not support the death penalty (so the "it brings closure to families" argument is questionable)  or 

If you don’t think those things are true, you can easily use the links above or many others to prove it to yourself.

Given that the above statements are true, why do we still have capital punishment in Texas? What justification is there – beyond simple blood-lust vengeance – for capital punishment? Is vengeance an adequate reason for the state to kill people, even if sometimes we kill someone who is innocent?

Check out this last table:

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  Executions by country, 2020

Does the fact that the U.S. is included in this group of countries, and not other Western democratic countries, cause you to question our continuing to perform executions?

What’s your opinion?

Should Texas, and should the US, continue to carry out executions?

Yes, I know I’ve painted a completely one-sided picture of the death penalty. I haven’t, for example, provided descriptions of crimes committed that have led to executions. I haven’t provided statements from family members of murder victims. I haven’t done several things I could have done to make this a “fair” presentation. I decided not to do that because a) given that we live in Texas, I didn’t think I needed to present that side of the picture, and b) I thought some of you might not know some of the things I've said or linked to, and might not look them up before responding.

You’ll find that in this class I regularly do not give both sides of the story. My goal is to make you think -- to question your assumptions. Hopefully when I present a one-sided story you’ll take the time to investigate the other side. There’s ALWAYS another side! Please do NOT assume you know what I think about this or any other issue based on the way I ask the question or based on what data I present. And please do NOT EVER tailor your answer based on what you think I want to hear. I promise you that you do not know what I want to hear, or even if I “want to hear” anything at all.

The only other rules about your responses to this and all the discussion boards are that you a) stay on topic, and b) remain respectful toward your classmates. Disrespectful posts will be deleted.