Sunday, March 26, 2006

Capital punishment

A column about the death penalty in today's Washington Post states:
Many, many victims of violent tragedy object to this assumption that their interest in justice is congruent with that of state prosecutors seeking the death penalty. Just last month, Vicki Schieber, the mother of Shannon Schieber, a Wharton Business School student murdered in 1998 by a serial rapist, testified before the U.S. Senate's subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and property rights. As she told the committee: "The word closure is invoked so frequently in discussions of victims and the death penalty that victims' family members jokingly refer to it as 'the c word.' But I can tell you with all seriousness that there is no such thing as closure when a violent crime rips away the life of someone dear to you." Schieber testified that a single-minded government focus on executions shifts the focus away from other, more meaningful legal reforms that might better honor victims and support their families.

The entire article is here.

The New York Catholic Conference has a statement, here, which states, in part:
Based as it is on respect for the human person, the Church’s opposition to the death penalty also includes profound respect for the victims of crime, their family and friends. Respect for the inherent humanity of a person who has committed evil acts should in no way be interpreted as a defense of his or her crimes.