J'accuse, Mr. Bluebond, j'accuse de n'avoir pas étudier les consequences
Earlier in this semester Andrew Bluebond co-wrote a piece for Campus Progress decrying the supposedly rampant rise of blackface in the world, titled, "The Troubling Resurgence of Blackface." (This symposium on blackface ranks the odiousness of the offense, but of course no data are offered to show just how bad it is.)
Of course, the real affront for progressives is that people change their race at all and so they had to comb people's Facebook photos of cheerleaders (not exactly luminaries) and go to Japanese and Aussie media to prove their point. They believe that you can easily change your gender, but changing your race, why that's a step too far!
Now he's written something arguing that Dexter, a show about a serial killer, is somehow going to change the attitude against capital punishment in America.
Call me skeptical. For starters, opinion polls in the United States show remarkable little change on the issue since at least 2002 and 2-to-1 majorities still favor the death penalty. Bluebond, like much of the anti-capital punishment left, argues that America has probably executed an innocent man. This is an argument and an appeal made to emotion, rather than a sense of the empirical work regarding capital punishment, which even anti-death penalty proponents concede, does show that capital punishment has a deterrent effect.
Nevertheless, for the sake of his argument, let's assume that all 139 of these people exonerated from death row that Bluebond mentions were not guilty -- an admittedly tall order, but let's do it anyways. In a nation of 300 million and a prison population of 2,310,984, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, that's a rounding error.
Now, of course you may make a principled, philosophical objection that one innocent person killed by the state is a dead person too many. (A position a great many of my friends on the right as well as the left take.) But by that same token, imprisonment, which anti-death penalty proponents say is actually worse than the death penalty, must be discontinued for much the same line of reasoning.
Of course, there's a more philosophical objection here. The same people who argue against the death penalty on the grounds that it could kill an innocent person are more than willing to support a form of single payer care that would have the net effect of rationing health care choices of innocent men and women, as the NHS actually does.
Why is it that leftists are willing to get all principled over the death penalty and ignore the real constrained Bethamite calculation of having the death penalty, but totally ignore it when it comes to something like health care choice?
Andrew is a long time abolitionist of capital punishment, as you can see from this article here, in which he argues in support of Roper v. Simmons, the 2005 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court found the execution of juveniles to be cruel and unusual, based upon foreign law. “It reminded me that good lawyers are still needed to argue the basic principles on which our country was founded.”
Professor Rossum has written a solid argument against that case here, which shows that the supposedly "basic principles on which our country was founded" of Roper are the wholecloth invention of Justice Kennedy.
But, of course, unlike Dexter's victim, Simmons was completely guilty. Here's what he did to his victim, Ms. Shirley Cook. She had been tied with electric cable, leather straps and duct tape. She had bruises on her body and fractured ribs. Why? Because as Justice [sic] Kennedy, put it in his opinion:
At the age of 17 . . . Christopher Simmons, the respondent here, committed murder. . . . Before its commission Simmons said he wanted to murder someone. In chilling, callous terms he talked about his plan. . . . Simmons proposed to commit burglary and murder by breaking and entering, tying up a victim, and throwing the victim off a bridge. Simmons assured his friends they could "get away with it" because they were minors.Let's not let Bluebond and his ilk get away with anymore legal sophistry.