Thursday, October 30, 2008

Executed Today

Executed Today is a blog of history, sociology, biography, criminology, law, and kismet — an unrepresentative but arresting view of the human condition across time and circumstance from the parlous vantage of the scaffold. ...

The death penalty, as a subset within that vast category of “acts of violence homo sapiens do to their fellows,” blends insensibly into a dozen adjacent territories — murder, assassination, warfare, torture, low crime and high statecraft, even suicide.

If we know for certain that extinguishing life is an essential component of the death penalty, our everyday language nevertheless reflects ambiguity about how. We might speak of crime victims as being “killed execution-style” to evoke a sense of deliberation and even ceremony about the act; conversely, we might derogate the formal and official act of a state organ as a “summary execution” to underscore the absence of an appropriate juridical atmosphere. In situations of war and revolution where the legitimate authority of the state is contested, the water muddies still further.
and, just to be clear...
This blog is neither pro- nor anti-death penalty in general nor in any particular. Its interest is the perspective on humanity we gain through the window of this human institution.

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