First off, I think he’s kinda hot. There, I said it. I’m shallow like that. But, secondly, he signed into law Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, so he’s hot and an LGBT ally. But now, Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley has abolished the death penalty in his state, making Maryland the second state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to abolish the death penalty in nearly 50 years, alongside West Virginia. Maryland is now the 18th state to abolish the death penalty; Delaware also made a push to repeal it this year, but the bill has stalled.
"I don't know exactly what the timing is, but over the longer arc of history I think you'll see more and more states repeal the death penalty. It's wasteful. It's ineffective. It doesn't work to reduce violent crime."—Governor O’Malley
Here’s the deal, well, my deal on the death penalty. What good does it serve? Does it stop murderers and violent criminals? Does it miraculously bring the victims of violent crime back to life? Does it provide closure?
That last one, I’m not so sure about, but I do know that if murder is illegal—and it is—then how is state sanctioned murder acceptable? Murder is murder. And let’s not even raise the issue of anyone being put to death, only to discover, years later, that they were innocent of the crime. Think that doesn’t happen? Well, Kirk Bloodsworth, a Maryland man was the first person in the U.S. freed because of DNA evidence after a conviction in a death penalty case proved his innocence. He is alive and attended the O’Malley news conference.
For me, the death penalty is barbaric. It serves no purpose, it is not a deterrent, and it costs more money than convicting violent criminals and sentencing them to life without parole. There aren’t years and years of appeals, which cost the taxpayers’ money. The criminal is put away, for good. For good.
For me, putting a man, or woman, to death isn’t punishment; they’re dead, they don’t know anything, or feel anything. But, if you take that criminal and lock them up until the day they die, and they sit in prison day after day, year after year, thinking, and reliving, the reasons why they’re behind bars, that’s punishment. Oh, and before you say that these violent criminals have no remorse, I say, So what? They’re still locked up; their lives, as they knew them, are over.
I can go on and on about why I think this way, but the one person who said it better than me is the best person to quote now.
We all remember that Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson murdered Matthew Shepard in Wyoming in 1998. But, what some may not know is that Matthew’s father, Dennis Shepard, spoke at Aaron McKinney’s sentencing hearing [Henderson, at the time, had already pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole.] With the agreement of Judy and Dennis Shepard, Henderson and McKinney will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. In a statement read to the court, Dennis Shepard said that the sentence means:
“I would like nothing better than to see you die, Mr. McKinney.
However, this is the time to begin the healing process. To show mercy to someone who refused to show any mercy. To use this as the first step in my own closure about losing Matt.
Mr. McKinney, I am not doing this because of your family. I am definitely not doing this because of the crass and unwarranted pressures put on by the religious community. If anything, that hardens my resolve to see you die.
Mr. McKinney, I’m going to grant you life, as hard as that is for me to do, because of Matthew. Every time you celebrate Christmas, a birthday, or the Fourth of July, remember that Matt isn’t.
Every time that you wake up in that prison cell, remember that you had the opportunity and the ability to stop your actions that night. Every time that you see your cell mate, remember that you had a choice, and now you are living that choice.
You robbed me of something very precious, and I will never forgive you for that.
Mr. McKinney, I give you life in the memory of one who no longer lives. May you have a long life, and may you thank Matthew every day for it.”
That, to me, says it all. And so, today, I’d like to thank Governor O’Malley for his efforts to abolish the death penalty in one more state.