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Diann Rust-Tierney

Executive Director, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

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What will it take to move our nation and then the world to the place where we value and nurture people.

We pay a lot of lip service to the value of the individual or our investment in children as our future. But when you look at what we do there is a gap. We tolerate people and families living on the streets, we accept vast disparities in educational opportunities for children, we keep millions of people locked up and locked down in solitary confinement and we execute some.

I'm looking for concrete steps we can take to build a sense of commitment and connection that will allow us to be a healthier and more compassionate society. I have described the symptoms-- what can we do together to fix the real illness? How would you define it?

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    Jan 17 2014: Here is an example of something that I think undermines our ability to find empathy for one another and move in the direction that we have been discussing:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/16/ohio-killer-executed-with-new-lethal-drug-combo/4512651/
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      Jan 18 2014: I read the clip and was somewhat taken back by the words humane execution. Let me see if I can understand, you have murdered someone and now I want you dead but I want you humanely dead. So now the murderer and the executioner share the same insane wish for death. Something this post has done for me is brought awareness to a higher level. I have been opposed to the death penalty for some time I think it is barbaric and it simply is not a plan proven to work. It is a call for vengeance not justice. Florida imposes the death penalty. There used to be an evil contraption here called Old Sparkey that was used to dole out justice in the form of death by electrocution. Florida is more humane now killing is done by lethal injection. I think it involves three people pushing buttons with only one unknown actually delivering the lethal dose. I wonder why it is done that way? Maybe so a murderer is not made evident. I am curious to know how equal justice can be distributed in our country when death penalty laws vary from state to state. Most people that I have questioned oppose the death penalty. I believe the Federal Supreme Court should consider stepping in and suspending executions until there is a full understanding of what execution means and does to those involved. When that is understood hopefully they will abolish that mindless assault on creation.
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        Jan 26 2014: Thank you I completely agree. Florida today is one of the worst states that continues to use the death penalty with a great frequency. The legislature last year past a new law called the "The Timely Justice Act" which is supposed to speed up executions. The Governor has vowed to have an execution about every two weeks -- and he is not far off on his goal.

        What makes it worse is that Florida has an unbelievable track record of sentencing the wrong people-- innocent people to death. They have released 25 people from death row because of innocence. I think that's more than anywhere else in the country.
        More over the conditions under which people are house on death row in Florida are a real problem as well.

        It really is time for those of us who have these concerns to come together and change all of this.

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