House Bill 9
Today my father, myself, and more than a dozen other people all went to the legislative office here in Ketchikan to listen to the House Judiciary Committee discuss House Bill 9, which aims to instate capital punishment in the state of Alaska. In all honestly, the bill is a disgrace. It is a waste of the legislature's time, and it is a threat to the integrity of this state. Basically the committee today went through an hour and a half of discussion with the writers of the bill and various experts on it. Then they turned to public comment, which first came from a few eloquent speakers there in Juneau who all spoke against the bill. Then a crazy man from Fairbanks went on in favor of it, slaughtering the English language and the word guillotine just about as badly as Robespierre bloodied France. (And don't ask why the man used the word guillotine.) When I was called on I read the first article and first subsection of the Alaska Constitution, which reads as follows:
This constitution is dedicated to the principles that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of their own industry; that all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law; and that all persons have corresponding obligations to the people and to the State.
Our natural and inherent right to life is not something that can be taken away by government. Indeed, governments have done so many times in the past and there are states in the United States that continue to do so today, but I will not stand for Alaska taking a step backwards and setting such a precedent here. Government is within its rights to limit liberties, especially when someone has committed a crime, but to destroy life and liberty absolutely is to commite the same kind of crime against nature that the murders we wish to kill did.
The State of Alaska is now fifty years old. All fifty of those years have been free of the barbarism of capital punishment. For those that would support House Bill 9, try to imagine what the world will be like in fifty years. Will the United States be even more of a prison state, committed to keeping order by excessively incarcerating and executed large swaths of its population? Would Alaskans be proud that their state put people to death for the second half of its century of existence?
Would American people so committed to liberty really endorse a policy that encompasses the greatest act of authority there is? To take away life is not human. To give that power to human institutions is folly.
(Image: Let's celebrate our anniversary with progress, not backwardness.)
Note: There's already a good news article with specifics on today's events here.