Why ban the death penalty when we can go on pretending?

Should Washington be ready to drop the hammer as a judge drops the gavel? Or are voters ready for a different tack? (Blogtrepreneur / Flickr)

Should Washington be ready to drop the hammer as a judge drops the gavel? Or are voters ready for a different tack? (Blogtrepreneur / Flickr)

Ban the death penalty?

Normally I use this space to crack wise about the results of online polls at HeraldNet.com, because let’s face it: If you’re giving any weight to the result of an internet poll, you’re either seriously misguided or you’re the president of the United States.

So, what better topic for a whimsical column about online polls than the death penalty? Our latest poll asked if the Legislature should abolish it.

A shade above 50 percent of voters said to keep the law as it is, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Capital punishment tends to have popular support, even in true blue liberal states. Just this past November, three states voted for ballot measures favoring the death penalty, including the Democratic People’s Republic of California.

Thirty percent said it should go on the ballot. Voters can surprise you, but it seems unlikely that Washington, given its populist streak, will vote out the death penalty.

Opponents of capital punishment might have a fighting chance in the Legislature, but only 20 percent in our poll wanted state lawmakers to ban it, as proposed recently by Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Inslee put a moratorium on the death penalty in 2014, not that it’s had much practical effect. Only one dirtbag has been executed in Washington since 2001, and he was exceptionally dirtbaggy.

With no one being executed, there’s not much urgency to Inslee’s proposal. Death-penalty fans can be glad we have it on the books, while opponents can take solace that it’s never enforced.

If you really want capital punishment, just tune to TVW and watch them in action. It’ll bore you to death.

— Doug Parry: parryracer@gmail.com; @parryracer

The Snohomish County Council appointed a 21-year-old to its vacant 1st District seat. For our next poll, we want to know if that’s a wise move.

Is any 21-year-old mature enough to serve on the County Council?

❏ Yes, the right person can be

❏ No, you need more seasoning

Talk to us

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