Alternative Spring Break in Austin

This past week, I ventured down to Austin to write about the Alternative Spring Break for the Death Penalty Blog on the Dallas Morning News.  You can read all about the event on that blog and if you feel so inclined, please post your thoughts about the death penalty in America.  As of this writing, there are only about 3 active participants posting there, one of whom is kind of monopolizing the conversation.  Yes, you will have to register your name and email on the site to post, but it's not like they are going to spam you or make you pay a fee to join the conversation.  It's free.  Free speech, what a concept!

In the week that I was there, I went from being an essayist to an activist, simply because I used the power of my cheapo laptop to write about something I had sort of a personal interest in. I have been called naive, stupid, a zealot--this was on some guy's Tea party site--um pot calling kettle black, don't ya think?

I realize that people have strong opinions on the death penalty.  The pro people think that if you kill a murderer, he or she can't murder again.  I propose that incarceration does the same thing.  Then they refute with, why should taxpayers pay for three hots and a cot to a murderer? I then say that execution costs almost three times as much as housing a person for life in a maximum security facility.  They then say we should just shorten the appeals process and just shoot them because the lethal injection drugs aren't being supplied to the US anymore. 

It goes back and forth and back and forth.  I'm exhausted from the arguing.  If you're against execution, they think you're soft on crime and criminals.  But the thing is, I'm not.  I just happen to think that our government shouldn't kill people.  It's barbaric.  Our judicial system is flawed.  Some people based on the color of their skin or their economic status become the victims of this inequality.  You won't find many rich people on death row.  Do rich people commit less murder?  Well, you won't find them robbing a liquor store, but they have been known to kill their spouses or parents or children.   

I think what gets lost in this debate is that we are talking about real people.  It's quite easy to fear what you don't know.  What I suggest for anyone who is questioning their stance on this issue, is to do your research.  You could also become a penpal with someone who is incarcerated on death row. I'm not telling you to become their best friend or forgive them for their actions.  It's just a quick and easy way to bring a face and a heartbeat to an individual who has been demonized.  I realize these men and women did not afford their victim this same courtesy, but if we continue this cycle of violence, are we any better?

Okay, well tell me what you think.