Death sentences in the US


AP is reporting that death sentences in the US have dropped to a 30 year low--amazingly, fewer last year than in 1976, the year the death penalty was reinstated. There is increasing wariness about the death penalty, which is a good thing, but whether this ultimately signals the eventual abolition of the practice in the United States is another question altogether. Still, it is good to see that this issue is being discussed and concerns are being raised. Not too long in the recent past, the question of capital punishment seemed to be politically off limits for discussion. Politicians of all stripes in both the major political parties shared a consensus in favor of the death penalty. But in the past few years, concerns have been raised--concerns that had been previously off limits for discussion in the political arena. How far this will go is anyone's guess, but one can always hope that American society can move forward to a more progressive, civilized approach to crime and punishment.

Sometimes, it seems like the struggle for building a more just world is an impossible task. But I continue to hold out hope that we can build a better world. I'll take whatever glimmer of hope I see, no matter how tiny. And this decline in death sentences in the US is a tiny glimmer of hope.