A key driver in the self image of the U.S., at least as defined by those claiming rule over its residents and the favored “intellectuals” of said rulers, is Exceptionalism, the idea that the U.S. as a nation resides on a higher plane of existence compared to everyone else on this giant floating rock we keep slowly trying to destroy. Among the things “We’re (actually) Number One!!” in though are facts I wish were never cheered and ceased to be true as soon as possible: America puts a higher proportion of its population in prison than any other country in the world, and leads all alleged representative-governed nations in executions.
Recent analysis on the U.S.’s tendency to hand out death penalties by the Death Penalty Information Center (well what else did you think they’d be called?) raked up some detail about capital punishment here that I found illuminating:
- Since the reinstatement of the death penalty by the Supreme Court in 1976, 2% of counties in the U.S. took up the majority of executions nationwide.
- Costs of those executions as of when the report was done: $25,000,000,000. Mostly paid by the taxes of people who don’t even live there, many of whom oppose the death penalty.
So basically, most of the country is subsidizing a few bloodthirsty prosecutors.
- The champions in death row population: pretty much Southern California, Philadelphia, & Joe Arpaio’s fiefdom out in Arizona.
By the way: that death penalty sure does get disproportionately thrown at black folk, don’t it?
- The leaders in executions: Texas, Texas, Texas, Texas, some bit of Oklahoma, Texas & St Louis (?). Oh, and don’t forget Texas.
I’m reminded of the time when during a GOP debate bringing up Texas’ love of killin’ was an unprompted applause line. Based on the information above, it’s safe to assume that a Venn diagram of the type of people with such cheery sentiment for death-by-state & who is generally paying for the implements of the recommended death wouldn’t show much overlap. This is obviously not to say it’d be of comfort to the condemned to have this be otherwise, only that if blood is to be on anyone’s hands by way of money it reinforces the client-agent problem of the state that it falls so hard on those who object to the swinging of the axe to begin with.
Even despite the ongoing fallout of the Capital Paradox, crime is still falling in the U.S. Yet law enforcement official elections will still be chock full of “Tough on Crime” statements, and calls for more cages, more force, more death. Because removing each other from society is the price we pay for society…
One more thing: did you know among the myriad methods of execution throughout history was literally tying someone to the barrel of a freakin’ cannon? Well now you do!