After our nice evening, imagine how weird it was when I came home to find an email from the Alaska ACLU stating that the AK Legislature is considering implementation of the death penalty in our state. What in the world could they be thinking? In these times when officials in one state after another admit the folly of applying the death penalty, more and more individuals are being released after DNA evidence clears them, and increasing numbers of prosecutors and police chiefs are speaking out about the many issues associated with this ultimate form of punishment, Alaska wants to go the other way? I worked on death penalty cases in Texas for a few years before moving here (yes, Texas, the death penalty capitol of the US) and, although it put me out of a job when I relocated, I was happy that Alaska did not use such a horrifying sentence. There are many arguments against the death penalty: that it is applied unevenly and unfairly, that individuals are convicted because of ineffective representation, mistakes and outright lies, that it has never been shown to be a deterrent, and that keeping someone on death row (including the costs of appeals) costs a whole lot more than life in prison. Most civilized societies have done away with the death penalty. We are left in the company of countries like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia, which most of us would agree do not have the best records on human rights. Alaska has been on the right side of this equation and I hope that our Legislature will not send us back to the Dark Ages. I emailed Bryce Edgmon, my district Representative, and I was pleased to get an email back stating that he is opposed to the proposed bill. Thanks, Bryce! For the rest of you Alaskans, please educate yourself about the issue. Sometimes people tend to have opinions based on emotion rather than facts, so it's good to do some research. For more facts, see the Death Penalty Information Center link on the right side of my blog. Let your Representative know that we don't want Alaska to start executing people.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Girls Night Out and The Death Penalty Question
Work has been very hectic and busy lately. A couple of weeks ago, after a particularly stressful day, my coworker Judi suggested we find a night that we could all go out for sushi. The conversation devolved into silliness and laughter as we contemplated ordering several "bitchin' rolls" to match our moods. With too much going on, we didn't make it out till last night, a bad choice since we arrived at Harbor Sushi only to find it is closed on Wednesdays. We sure were set on that "bitchin' roll," but decided to stay and order from the Harbor View Grill instead. Judi, Donna and I grabbed a table looking out onto the beautiful evening (sunny, blue skies, calm water, people working on their boats, seals swimming by) and had such a great time just talking and laughing and unwinding from all the stress. At some point, Donna mentioned sitting at my desk at work and noticing a quote on my bulletin board, "why do we kill people to teach people that killing people is wrong?" We were discussing parents hitting kids to teach kids not to hit each other, or parents hitting kids while they are crying, saying, "Okay, I will give you something to cry ABOUT!" None of that ever made any sense to me.