Djvlad hosted an interview that went from strategic voting to an interesting conversation about the death penalty with activist, author, father (plus more) Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. Vlad asked opened by asking if Hill thought the Charleston shooter, Dylann Roof, should get the death penalty. Hill answered with a resounding no. Hill is correct.
The death penalty may never become outlawed in America again. The American people may not have an appetite for ending it. The same Americans who are scared of “illegals” and are large proponents of the “war on drugs” are fearful of people harming their families. The interesting case about the death penalty is that it’s an atypical conversation in America. Many polarizing opinions can be separated by Democrat vs Republican. The death penalty not so much. There are more in favor of outlawing the death penalty on the left but that doesn’t mean the base left agrees. The issue is it shouldn’t exist at all.
The death penalty is barbaric. Let’s start there. The idea of revenge is such a simple human trait that it makes sense that the death penalty would exist but it’s also quite ridiculous. Revenge never leads to good as it is but beyond these non concrete reasons you see that there lies a very obvious racist undertone like you see in much of America.
The current death row population in America consists of 2905 people. 42% of whom are white, 42% of whom are black, 13% of whom are Latino, and 3% categorized as other. Similar to the overall prison population blacks are being put on death row disproportionately more often. Are the percentages on death row even? Yes. But when considering 64% of the American population is white in comparison to 12% being black then you see the troubling reality of death row in America. If that is not convincing enough, look at it this way, when viewing interracial murders that have led to execution one sees that there is a nearly ten time higher likelihood of a black person being put on death row for killing a white person instead of the opposite. 31 black murders by a white person has led to execution. 297 white murders by a black person has led to execution. Four more executions and you’re ten times more likely to be executed if you’re a black instead of a white in a population where the white people are more than five times more common than black people. How is that ethically possible?
156 people have been put onto death row then exonerated on average 11 years later. There is a troubling part reality in that statement, we concede the notion of 100% correctness by exonerating 156 people. So what else does that mean? That means we concede that we have not always been right meaning there have been innocent human beings who have been murdered for crimes that they did not commit. That by itself should be enough to abolish the death penalty. If someone is executed for a crime they did not commit they have experienced a cruel and unusual punishment thereby breaking a constitutional amendment, or you know, the supreme law of the land. There are at least 13 cases, admittedly this is a vast underestimate, of possible innocence in cases where lives have been taken by execution. We do not even need to get into the nitty gritty of other cases of possible innocence since the court is seldom, if ever, going to admit to wrongfully executing someone. The other issue other than cruel and unusual punishment is the idea of innocent until proven guilty. The hope is no one truly believes that the courts haven’t been wrong and that every person in prison is guilty because that is simply not true but as humans the ability to rationalize someone being in jails while innocent is, while not okay, more conceivable and easier. The idea that there are those who are dead due to execution and were not without a shadow of a doubt guilty is again enough to state the necessity of the abolishment of the death penalty.
The death penalty is more costly and the easier way out. “Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population. There are 714 inmates on California’s death row.” With that out the way let’s move on: the death penalty is the easy way out for all parties. Death penalty plays on revenge, death penalty can many be what the recipients want, death penalty stops our ability to study the individuals to see traits or brain chemistry of the mass murders and more heinous death row individuals. The death penalty slows down the scientific advancement of people. The more science we have on those individuals the better off we are in the long run plus we could acknowledge early signs and help stop these actions before they take place especially if taxpayers are paying for death row as it is.
The idea of the death penalty in this country is foolish. The only thing that needs the death penalty is the death penalty itself.