As a philosopher, I can understand, even if not sympathize with, the fact that many still believe the death penalty to be just another form of punishment, differing from other legal penalties in degree but not in kind. I believe the difference is a difference in kind, and that any Court or any State that exercises its authority in this way is the weaker for it. Even if I could find some way to relieve my moral objections to capital punishment, I would still find it impossible to sanction its current application and practice. There is an ever-widening gulf that separates those with access to adequate legal counsel from those without it, those who the court system considers without prejudice and those who it exercises prejudice against, offenders who we treat as if they can be reformed and offenders who we treat as if they are best discarded. Until that gulf is eliminated, justice and fairness remain but a charade.
To view the full list of signatories to our open letter to stop executions in Tennessee, click here.
If you are a student or educator in Tennessee, and you would like to add your signature to this open letter, click here.
If you are not student or educator in Tennessee, but you would like to support the open letter, please sign this petition.