CNN featured a great article this weekend on the death penalty’s unlikely opponents as part of its “Mississippi Still Burning?” that aired Sunday evening, one of four stories on “CNN Presents.” The episode is not yet posted on CNN’s website, but we will provide a link when it is available as well as information on when the story will be aired again.
The article and story highlight numerous murder victims’ families, including the mother and siblings of James Craig Anderson, who was assaulted by a group of white teens because he was black in a Jackson, Mississippi motel parking lot before being fatally run over by a pickup truck on June 26. All of the family members featured oppose the use of the death penalty for various reasons. Many argue that it cannot bring back their loved one, ease their loss, or provide any closure. Some cite religious reasons for their opposition, while others point to concerns over the unfair application of the death penalty where the race of the victim and the defendant’s ability to afford a quality lawyer influences outcomes. Still others feel that its use is more about retribution than punishment, and many agree that there is too much room for error in the system and they do not trust the government to make decisions about life and death.
This story comes at a time when an increasing number of Americans are opposed to the death penalty. It is important and telling that friends and families of murder victims are standing up and speaking out against capital punishment and calling instead for compassion, forgiveness, and healing.
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