To execute or not to execute?

Jackie Valley

International Socialist Organization speaker says not

Labor activist Staughton Lynd made an apology last night: He said he does not have a radical strategy to oppose the death penalty.

Instead, Lynd recommended lesser forms of action to change Ohio’s current law, such as protesting, signing petitions and registering citizens to vote.

Lynd, author of Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising, spoke to about 25 Kent State students and community members last night at the International Socialist Organization’s meeting.

Lynd said there are two groups of people to consider in relation to the death penalty – the innocent and the guilty.

“I don’t think anyone should be executed – the innocent for obvious reasons and the guilty for less obvious reasons,” he said.

Lynd said he thinks one of the injustices of the death penalty is the jury selection for trials.

“I think there are structural problems in administering the death penalty that result in many innocent persons being sentenced to death,” he said.

For guilty people, Lynd argued there is always hope people can change while in prison. He said he finds it appalling to “cut off another human being’s possibility of redemption.”

“It seems to me that is the process the world needs to be sensitized to in connection with the people who are guilty,” he said.

Jeremy Radabaugh, an ISO member, said he hopes Lynd’s speech will “open some doors to plan to oppose the death penalty in Ohio.”

“We see the death penalty as being another form of oppression under capitalism,” he said.

Radabaugh also said there was a disproportionate amount of executions of ethnic minorities and poor people.

Sophomore French major Katy Kimball said she believes college students especially should take an interest in the death penalty issue.

“Our age group is going to be the future of the country, so we should be the most informed people,” she said. “We should all be very aware of the death penalty.”

Kimball said she disagrees with the principle of the death penalty.

“I think killing to prevent more killing is not necessarily the best idea,” she said.

Contact student politics reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].