The Death Penalty

When it comes to the death penalty, the United States finds itself among a select group of countries. In 2011, the United States had the fifth most executions with 43. (Bohm & Haley, 2014). China led the way with 1,000+, followed by Iran with 360+. Saudi Arabia came in third with 82 and Iraq in fourth at 68. Last week, Pope Francis stated that “[a]ll Christians and people of good will are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment,” he said. “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.”  In Europe, for example, the death penalty is viewed as a violation of human rights. A condition for admittance into the European Union (EU) is the abolition of the death penalty. (Bohm & Haley, 2014).

Although less than half of the world’s nations still have the death penalty, those that do have one seldom use it. “Among Western, industrialized nations, the United States stands alone as the only nation to employ capital punishment. However, even within the United States, 19 jurisdictions do not have the death penalty” (Bohm & Haley, 2014). Between January 17, 1977 and May 8, 2013, there have been 1,331 executions conducted in the United States. 53% of these executions have taken place in just three states – Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma (Bohm & Haley, 2014). Texas alone accounts for 37% of all the executions and more than 80% of all executions have occurred in the south. According to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (Fall 2012), 43.17% of inmates on death row are white and 41.93% are black. 98% of the death row inmates are male. According to Bohm’s “Deathquest,” dozens of scientific studies clearly show that the death penalty continues to be administered in a legally impermissible and discriminatory fashion against blacks and the killers of whites. Harmon & Lofquist (2005) noted that as many as 25 people (and likely more) may have been executed in error in the United States since 1976. In 2010, 65% of Americans supported replacing the death penalty with life without parole (LWOP) if the money saved was used to fund crime prevention programs.

On the other hand, Dr. Ernest Van Den Haag stated that “Common sense, lately bolstered by statistics, tells us that the death penalty will deter murder… People fear nothing more than death. Therefore, nothing will deter a criminal more than the fear of death… life in prison is less feared. Murderers clearly prefer it to execution — otherwise, they would not try to be sentenced to life in prison instead of death… Therefore, a life sentence must be less deterrent than a death sentence. And we must execute murderers as long as it is merely possible that their execution protects citizens from future murder.” Late Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University, “For the Death Penalty.”

Do you think the death penalty helps to prevent/deter crime in the United States? Do you think the death penalty should continue to be legal in this country? Do murderers deserve the death penalty? Should other crimes (besides murder) be considered for the death penalty? Is life in prison basically the same thing as receiving the death penalty? Is the death penalty administered in a discriminatory fashion? What message, if any, is the United States sending to the rest of the world that it has executed the fifth most people, right behind China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq? Join us at Pizza and Politics this Wednesday, October 29 at noon in the Entertainment Bureau and let us know whether you think we should keep or abolish the death penalty.

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Israel and Palestine – The Gaza Strip – U.S Involvement

The Conflict – 

The Gaza Strip – located between Israel and Egypt – is a frequent site for conflict between Israeli and Palestinian forces for many years. To put this into perspective, Israel has not occupied Gaza since 1967. However, Israel maintains a large proportion of control of the surrounding borders and airspace of Gaza. With this control comes the power to restrict anything that passes through the Israeli controlled borders surrounding Gaza. Israel believes that the tight blockade is a crucial part of keeping Gaza secure.

Palestinians say these restrictions are unacceptable. It is argued that the tight restrictions are causing Gaza’s economic state to decay. The major Islamist – Palestinian militant group known as Hamas has committed to destroying Israel and claiming its position as an Islamic State.

Cross-border conflicts in recent years have claimed the lives of over 1,000 Palestinians and 17 Israelis. These numbers have increased in recent months with increasing tension and crimes between the two groups.

 The Weapons -

Hamas and other militants within Gaza have a stockpile of weapons that include rockets with ranges up to 160 Kilometers. Israeli forces have a large quantity of nuclear weapons. In recent years, Israel has launched many operations as an offensive move against Palestinian militant groups. Amidst the fighting and destruction, many attempts have been made to agree on a cease-fire, but none have been successful.

 Questions to Consider -

Is it acceptable for Israel to continue to settle on disputed territory such as Gaza and the borders surrounding Gaza?

Is Israel’s nuclear arsenal acceptable to the rest of the world?

Should the U.S. support Israel?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a U.S. – Israeli alliance?

What role, if any, should the U.S have in finding a solution to the conflict in Gaza?

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Iron County Sheriff Debate Thursday 23rd @ 6:00 pm

Join us in SUU’s Student Center Living Room on Thursday October 23rd at 6:00 pm for a lively debate between Sheriff Mark Gower and write-in candidate Sgt. Dave McIntyre running for Iron County Sheriff. There will also be a meet and greet with local candidates before and after the debate!

County Sheriff

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International Skeptics Day

Area 51, We never landed on the moon, and the Kennedy Assassination was plotted by the CIA!
Do you have a favorite conspiracy theory? Stop by the Leavitt Center Monday to see what conspiracies we’ve revealed!

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War – What is it Good For?

International peace day was celebrated this past week with a bang. Now the question is, does war bring peace? Should we send ground troops to fight the ever-growing ISIS force in the Middle East? Is Obama using the correct approach according to his foreign policy?  Of Obama’s approach to ISIS one Democrat, Jennifer Shelton-Armstrong from Mission Viejo California said, “He is ambivalent, and I think it shows. There is no clear plan.”

What is the solution to ISIS? Should we declare war to protect United States citizens? Come to pizza and politics this Wednesday September 24 to state your opinion.

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Do You Know Which Party You Belong To?

Pick Your Political Party

Ever wondered the main differences between Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians? Every wondered which party you should join? Come listen to SUU professors Joe Baker (Republican) and Christine Taylor (Democrat), along with Iron County Libertarian President Barry Short debate the issues and try to convince you their party is best. Thursday 11:30-12:30 in the Living Room during Donuts for Democracy

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Voter Registration Drive – Donuts for Democracy

Love Donuts? Love Democracy? Then this event is for you! Stop by the Sharwan Smith Living Room for a donut and a chance to register to vote! #vote #donut #yum!

Donuts

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