EDITORIAL: Wisconsin, a great state

Robert L. Ryan

Although sometimes I am ashamed to live in a state that elected and then continued to re-elect Tommy, I am proud to live in one of the only twelve states that has no death penalty statute. I know you are thinking, “What! That’s ridiculous! The death penalty is a heinously inhumane act that is racist, unjust, murders innocent people, and empowers our government to take the very breath we breathe. How can 38 states actually allow it!?” Well, I am just as shocked as you. Maybe some information will help convince those misguided states to make some changes.Since our nation won its independence, we have successfully murdered 108 people that have been proven to be innocent before and after being killed. Giving my state government the power to end my life, with a track record like our nation has, is not something I am willing to do.

Since 1972, 69 people have been released that were proven wrongly accused in court. The same court system that found them guilty and committed to taking their lives then went on to admit to mistake. This fickle court system that even admits its mistakes is not one I want deciding whether I live or die.

Also, I personally have a problem with racism and racist action. The death penalty is racist action. 89 percent of those executed were convicted of murdering whites, while at the same time more than fifty percent of murder victims are black. That means a white person murdered is much more likely to be “avenged” by the government. Ninety percent of people the U.S. prosecutors have tried to get executed have been black or Latino.

If your government won’t allow you to drink, smoke, make your own legal and medical decisions, and won’t let you elect your representatives, do think it should be allowed to take your life? One hundred and sixty children have been executed since 1973. And it is getting worse—child executions have doubled in the last decade. This appears as a shocking figure as major international human rights treaties expressly prohibit execution for crimes committed under the age of eighteen. The United States of America is one of only six countries in the world that executes children.

Some would say to me, “Yeah, all those racial and child murder problems can be reformed out of the system, but please keep the death penalty because it is a deterrent to murder; it helps to protect us.” The average homicide rate of the five countries with highest homicide rate with the death penalty is only .00000416 percent, so it‘s working right? Wrong, the average homicide rate of the five countries with highest homicide rate without the death penalty is only .00000216 percent, almost two times lower than those with the death penalty.

“O.K., it’s not a deterrent, but it will save the tax payer money to execute the scum, right?” No. Florida taxpayers spend an average 2.3 million dollars per execution, opposed to .4 million dollars for each life-imprisonment without parole. In 1991, the fine state of New Jersey paid 15 million dollars to start the death penalty. The next year over 500 officers were laid off because of lack of funds. Is the death penalty really just popular so politicians can appear “tough on crime,” or is our country just stupid?

I write this article to try to inform some people who may not have ever heard any facts about this problem. And the problem is getting worse. Out of the 739 murdered by the death penalty, 55 were murdered in 2001, and the year isn’t over yet. With all the problems in our society, I think we should try to help change and educate people rather than simply end them. To stop the problems caused by the death penalty, we must completely abolish it.