I’m against the death penalty, but there are times when I wonder whether death penalty opponents actually listen to themselves. This comes from the newsletter of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society:
Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP) has issued an alert calling people to take a few minutes to say “no” to executions. The alert is intended to help stop Virginia’s 106th execution since the Supreme Court sanctioned the death penalty in 1976. This is the second-highest total of executions in the nation, trailing Texas.
Paul Warner Powell is scheduled to be killed by the Commonwealth of Virginia at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 18, for the Jan. 29, 1999, murder of Stacie Reed.
VADP’s alert suggests several actions to help “stop the cycle of violence that state-sanctioned killing perpetuates.”
If I never hear the expression “cycle of violence” again, I’ll be quite happy. Using it in this context suggests that people commit capital crimes because the state executes people who commit capital crimes. Or that’s what it would mean, if in fact it meant anything. Instead, it’s as if because there’s violent crime involved, the writer of the “action alert” simply took the first suggestion out of his cliché machine, which happened to be this one.
And yes, I’m aware that this is a little thing. Take it as evidence that I got up on the wrong side of the bed today. Even so, Harvey Korman stills speaks for me: