I have not been following the Tookie Williams story, but evidently the Europeans have been paying attention. The AP reports (ht: Drudge):
Europeans Outraged at Schwarzenegger
The execution of convicted killer Stanley Tookie
Williams sparked outrage Tuesday throughout Europe, which has a deep
aversion to capital punishment sustained by the painful memory of
state-organized murder during the Nazi era. The disappointment was
particularly strong in Austria, native country of Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, where many had hoped the former bodybuilder and film
star would spare the 51-year-old Williams.
I love the phrase "Europe has a deep aversion" as if Europe were a person. Are all the Europeans outraged? Are there some Europeans holed up somewhere who think capital punishment is a good idea? If there are, they have not been contacted by the AP or made their presence known.
But the really strange thing about this article is the invoking of the Holocaust as the reason for European outrage. Capital punishment is too close to state-organized murder? Executing a murderer is too close to trying to exterminate the Jews? Sorry, but I don’t quite see the parallel. If Europeans were really affected by state-organized murder, they’d let their citizens carry lots of guns and they’d make their governments less powerful.
Evidently the Italians aversion to capital punishment goes back a little further:
Rome’s Colosseum, once the arena for deadly
gladiator combat and executions, has become a symbol of Italy’s
anti-death penalty stance. Since 1999, the monument has been bathed in
golden light every time a death sentence is commuted somewhere in the
world or a country abolishes capital punishment.
"I hope there will be such an occasion soon," Rome Mayor Walter
Veltroni said. "When it happens, we will do it with a special thought
I am not touched by Mayor Veltroni’s sentiment, but I suspect many Italians find it touching or he would not have said it. I have a different theory for the aversion many Europeans feel for capital punishment. I suspect most Europeans feel that every human being is basically good and therefore, any evil in the world is the result of bad circumstances beyond the individual’s control. If you feel that way, then capital punishment is certainly barbaric. Thomas Sowell has it figured out.