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Red states perform 96% of excecutions in the US since 1976

Bush_and_electric_chair According to the pundits, exit polls from the 2004 Presidential elections indicate that voters chose candidates based on "values". What values?

Evangelical Christians are given a lot of credit for swinging the election for George Bush and they claim to be pro-life and yet when we look at the data regarding capital punishment we find some very interesting things which contradict that claim.

True pro life Christians espouse what is called a "consistent life ethic" meaning that they are opposed to all forms of violence against human beings including abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, and militarism.

So, a naive observer might think that Red states would be consistent in their pro life moral values and hypothesize that executions would be lower in Red states than blue states since they are pro life. The data tells quite a different story.

In the United States capital punishment is a state issue and 38 states provide for capital punishment although six of those 38 states have not used it since 1976. Of the 32 states that have executed people since 1976 25 are Red states and 7 are Blue states so over 3 times as many Red states have executed people than Blue states.

Of the 12 states that don't allow capital punishment 8 are Blue States and 4 are Red states so twice as many Blue states as Red states don't have capital punishment.

What is even more startling is that if we look at the 931 people killed since 1976, 893, or 96% have been in Red States while 38, or 4% have been in Blue States.

The States with the most executions are Texas with 336 which is over 3 times as many as any other state and where President Bush was governor and presided over many of these executions. Texas is followed by Virginia with 94, Oklahoma with 75, Missouri with 61, and Florida with 59 where George W. Bush's brother, Jeb is governor.

Clearly, Red states execute overwhelmingly the majority of prisoners.

Hypocrisy is staggering when we look at the practice of Red states and not the rhetoric.

Further, other research has shown that capital punishment is not a deterent to violent crime, but just the opposite. States with capital punishment in general have higher murder rates that states without capital punishment. Also, the United States is the only industrialized first world country which executes prisoners who committed their crimes as minors and which executes mentally retarded people. The United States has been cited by many human rights groups including Amnesty International for its use of capital punishment. Many European countries view American attitudes toward capital punishment as inhumane and barbaric and refuse to extradite criminals when they could possibly face execution.

And yet, President Bush says that he believes that the United States has a mission from God to make the world safe and to bring freedom and democracy. Is it any wonder that other countries are skeptical about these claims?

Link: Number of Executions by State and Region Since 1976.

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