Here's an interesting juxtaposition of hot-button issues: the economic crisis, the desire to cut "Big Government," and the Old Testament approach to the high crime of murder. (Well, the oldest OT approach shows the Big Guy opting to remove the killer from society while specifically forbidding capital punishment, but whatever. Permanent ostracizing is for pedophiles.) Mother Jones magazine throws out a new article that begins with this spin:
A new study from the Death Penalty Information Center, "Smart on Crime," reports that halting executions could save millions of dollars. This is no small consideration for cash-strapped state governments — especially if the large sums they spend aren't delivering greater public safety.
(Namechecked in the report/article: California, poster child of fiscal failure. We're Number One!)
MoJo's idea (ably distilled to a single stat-infused paragraph by Slate) is that with the public in a wet-nappy state of stark economic terror, the majority of Americans who favor the death penalty (or the majority of politicians too scared of the Ruthless Right to oppose it, depending on how you roll) may reconsider and discover adequate retribution in cheaper options, such as life in prison without health care.
Good luck with that, hippy. It strikes us as unlikely that, for those who favor executions, the abstract concept of balancing the public checkbook is ever going to outweigh the visceral, lizard-brain appeal of eye-for-an-eye justice. But then, we wouldn't have thought "Two & a Half Men" would still be holding down a prime-time slot seven years in, so it's clear that we don't have our pulse on the finger of the American public.
— Brian McDonough