Friday, August 31, 2007

The Economist: Capital punishment in America, Revenge begins to seem less sweet

The Economist has a long article titled, "Capital punishment in America, Revenge begins to seem less sweet" which suggests that Americans are turning against the Death Penalty. The article ends by mentioning the fact that 30% of the murders in United States are unsolved and how we can solve more murders by abolishing the death penalty.

In Boulder, Colorado, Howard Morton tells a different story. His son Guy disappeared while hitch-hiking in the Arizona desert in 1975, when he was 18. For more than a decade Mr Morton continued to search for his son. Then, in 1987, a retired deputy sheriff read about Guy in a newspaper, and recalled finding a skeleton in the desert in the year he had disappeared. The medical examiner had mislabelled it as belonging to a Hispanic woman, but dental records proved it was Guy. He had been found with a broken knife blade in his chest. The murderer was never caught.

Mr Morton discovered that over 30% of murders in America are unsolved, like his son's. He found out, too, that the states spend millions of dollars putting a handful of murderers to death while detection is under-financed and thousands of murderers walk free. He became an ardent abolitionist. Anyone close to a murder victim “wants the son of a bitch who did it to die,” he says. “But you've got to catch the son of a bitch. That's more important."

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