No referendum on death penalty? Why not?

I didn’t catch this Washington Examiner article when it came out, but perhaps I can make up for lost time.

According to Delegate Neil Parrott, the person who spearheaded the petition and referendum effort for several bills in the last election cycle, there’s no grassroots effort to kill the death penalty repeal bill through a referendum. This is perhaps true to the extent that there aren’t specific groups tied to the issue like there were for illegal immigration or the preservation of traditional marriage, but there are thousands of individuals who believe that Maryland should maintain the option of executing criminals who callously take a life in a premeditated fashion. I happen to be one.

Frankly, I’m saddened Parrott is rolling over that easily – if he believes that the death penalty is something worth preserving as an option he should stand on those beliefs. If the petition doesn’t draw enough interest, so be it – apparently Maryland has spoken and it’s wrong once again. Just pray none of your loved ones are ever hurt or killed by someone who now knows the worst punishment they can face is being supported by Maryland taxpayers for the rest of their lives behind bars. Three hots and a cot for them, a lifetime of suffering for the families of crime victims.

But then the question comes up – what if Parrott looks at the poll numbers and believes there’s no use in fighting the O’Malley gun bill, either? Of course, there IS a grassroots movement interested in preserving the Second Amendment rights of Americans – even those living in Maryland – but we could lose that referendum so why bother? (Yes, that was a facetious question.) Nor is there an organized grassroots movement for maintaining the very right to go to referendum as it stands but one would hope he’s willing to fight the effort to make that all but impossible too.

It’s very disappointing to see him say this after we heard from Parrott at our MDGOP Fall Convention and elsewhere that had these ambitious plans to expand their efforts based on the failure of having the resources to counter the liberals’ demagoguery and deceit when it came to several 2012 ballot questions. And what happened to “we won by getting them on the ballot?”

This is also important to Maryland voters because those who voted to make these disastrous policies the law of the state will be on the ballot at the same time. I still believe the reason gay marriage was passed last year was that they knew it would be on the ballot and wanted to not be on the docket in the same election as that referendum. (Remember, the traitorous GOP Delegate Wade Kach sold out his vote in return for an amendment to make the effective date January 1, 2013 – after the referendum he knew was sure to come.) Moreover, the death penalty repeal was originally intended to be referendum-proof through the inclusion of a small appropriation; proponents knew it wasn’t very popular with the public.

Frankly, I would be quite happy if the death penalty never had to be used again because people finally learned how to deal with their personal issues in a non-violent way. Unfortunately, I know there are evil people in the world who make the conscious decision to murder and I believe there needs to be a punishment befitting those who forfeit their right to live among the rest of us in civil society by carrying out their plans and being convicted beyond the shadow of a doubt by a jury of their peers. Maryland will no longer have that option.

I know the other side tries to equate the death penalty as carried out here with the policies of less savory nations around the world which also routinely execute people. But the argument is a red herring because these other countries don’t have the safeguards for the accused that we do, so dismiss it out of hand.

Surely there are over 56,000 people in Maryland who believe we should keep the ultimate punishment on the books. Bring me a petition and I’ll sign it and be happy to try and distribute it. I believe in the right to life, and certainly it’s a sad commentary on our society that most of those in the Maryland General Assembly who voted to spare those convicted of first-degree murder their lives feel no compunction or irony in allowing a mother the “choice” to end an innocent life in an execution chamber called an abortion clinic.

2 thoughts on “No referendum on death penalty? Why not?”

  1. What about the other side of the argument which you have not explored in your article? All too often death penalty proponents try to drown out the other side with the accusations that they are protecting the rights of criminals rather than those of the victims when the reality is it’s usually more complicated than that. People oppose the death penalty for a myriad of reasons – fear of executing an innocent and socio-economic & race bias in DP application. 142 people released from DR since 1973 – what if one of those was one of your family members? That not one person on Maryland’s DR is actually innocent should not be a relevant argument – the mere possibility that it could be wrongly applied is sufficient, and leaving it on the books could allow a once careful and cautious approach to be reversed – you only need to look at Arizona, Ohio and now possibly, Pennsylvania to see that. In this day and age, I’m sure we can punish these people without risking the life of an innocent – lock them up for life and throw away the key.

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