Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 06:06:03 AM EST
With the US state of Texas set to carry out its 400th execution since the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1976, the European Union appealed to Texas to halt the execution, issuing the following statement:
We believe that elimination of the death penalty is fundamental to the protection of human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights. We further consider this punishment to be cruel and inhumane.
Texas Governor Rick Perry was having none of it:
Two hundred and thirty years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination.
... While we respect our friends in Europe, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.
Yes, that's Texas Governor Rick Perry, arguing for self-determination and essentially telling the EU to mind their own business. Perry's predecessor as governor? Why, none other than noted humanitarian and isolationist George W. Bush!
One would think, given Perry's objections to foreign entities sticking their noses in the affairs of other countries, that maybe, just maybe, he and Bush wouldn't see eye to eye on many things. Guess again:
But Governor Bush has demonstrated that he can accomplish great things. (NYT)
How true! For one thing, Bush managed no less than 152 executions
during his six-year tenure as governor! Now, is that an impressive feat or what!
If there's anyone we can count on to protect human rights, it would be Governor Perry. In 2001, he vetoed a bill
outlawing the death penalty for the mentally retarded. Apparently some people are, quite literally, too stupid to live.
Thankfully, many US states have abolished the death penalty (with the state of Michigan leading the way, having abolished it already in 1846), but a majority of the states still have death penalty laws in the books (though some states have the good taste of never sentencing anyone to death). Not to mention the death penalty statutes on the federal level.
When it comes to executions, no US state can compete with Texas. Since 1976, about 1,100 executions have been carried out in the United States, more than 35% of those having been carried out in the lone-star state.
I think I'm just gonna have to side with the EU on this one. I know, I know, how "old Europe" of me. Silly me, thinking that maybe, just maybe, you can't really be considered a leader on human rights by any stretch of the imagination while you're executing your own citizens.
(The execution has since been carried out
, as scheduled. Happy 400th, Texas!)