Today, an op-ed penned by Jennifer Maffessanti, the Chairwoman of the Atlanta, Georgia America’s Future Foundation, was published. In the piece, she described how she hadn’t always opposed the death penalty, but after considerable thought and research, she turned against it.
Earlier this year, I participated in a press conference announcing the launch of the Georgia Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty, which is a statewide network of conservatives and libertarians who believe capital punishment violates our values. The event featured well-known speakers from across the state, and I was proud to take part. However, I wasn’t always opposed to the death penalty.
I was raised as a conservatarian, which is essentially a cross between conservatism and libertarianism, and I supported capital punishment for much of my life. I felt that there were certain crimes that were so heinous that the perpetrator had forfeited their right to live among other humans, and for some time, I didn’t question my death penalty position. Yet, once I became a mother, I started asking myself what kind of world I wanted my children to inherit. So, I became more politically involved and began to critically reexamine my views on a great many things, including the death penalty. Over the course of about 5 years of considering capital punishment, I finally turned against it, and I now view it as little more than a gross overreach of government power.
In her closing she wrote,
Georgia’s death penalty system is afflicted with the same flaws as any other state’s capital punishment program. We can and must do better, and since nobody has been sentenced to die in Georgia in nearly 3 years, I believe the process of reexamining the death penalty is already underway. However, our goal should be nothing short of eliminating capital punishment because it empowers an error-prone government comprised of flawed humans with a great authority with which it can’t be trusted. Humans are simply too imperfect to apply an irreversible death penalty with regular accuracy. Given what we know, repeal is the only answer.