As I discussed last week, in the coming weeks I am going to be exploring the death penalty in the state of North Carolina. The crimes that warrant the death penalty mainly include murder, but also consist of intent to kill, as well as treason and espionage. While these crimes are undoubtedly serious, society may be facing an even greater threat by putting prisoners to death, because this permanent act not only dehumanizes these prisoners, but ourselves as members of this society.
“The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, the condemned.”
-Bryan Stevenson, lawyer, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author of Bestselling novel, Just Mercy
When the death penalty is inflicted, society is affected, because each individual member of society stands by and allows it to happen. In North Carolina alone, there are 148 death row prisoners. For every person we allow to be put to death, we undermine the state’s role to protect its citizens, and show the decreasing value we place on human life.
I am going explore these ethical questions later in my analysis post, but for now would wish to pose to you the question that has followed me through my research thus far: What is society hoping to gain through execution? I think it is crucial for this issue to be brought to the attention of each individual in society, and then for us as a whole to acknowledge its consequences. I encourage you to begin this conversation here and now, by commenting below with your thoughts.