Dale Jr.'s Reviews > Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor

Capital Punishment by Billy Wayne Sinclair
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Jan 04, 2012

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bookshelves: non-fiction, american-law, social-commentary, 3-star

As long as I can remember, I have been against capital punishment. I can remember in high school being the only one who argued against it in a law class. I also remember hushing every argument against me by stating the reality of it all against misinformation and ignorance of the judicial system.

Billy Wayne Sinclair presents incredibly thought-provoking arguments and staggering statistics combined with an insider's perspective of death row and the judicial system in his argument against capital punishment, but, unfortunately, it's an argument and side of the story that the people who should read it wont.

While Sinclair certainly sprinkles statistics throughout the book which may make this read a bit trudging for the reader at times, his unique insight and perspective on the issue bring about feelings that completely statistical and factual arguments cannot produce.

You're not simply reading a report on why the death penalty is a barbaric and useless practice, let alone completely abused and misused, but you're given a window into the humanity of it all. The human aspect and suffering of those who sit on death row. Especially in the last chapter, "The Saga", describing the case of Robert Wayne Williams, a man who Sinclair was able to speak to and interview prior to his execution.

While I immensely enjoyed Sinclair's book, I can see where his continual citing of statistics could become heavy for the casual reader. He also has a tendency to repeat a few things in some areas of the book, but it didn't ruin anything for me and was not noticeable but a few times.

Also, this book is exactly what Sinclair professes it to be. He does not claim his argument to be completely fair an balanced. The man is a death row survivor and has an obvious stance against capital punishment, but he does not claim otherwise.

"This book is colored with our personal and political biases. To that, we readily confess. While the journalists in us objectively presented the facts about the death penalty, our feelings about capital punishment shaped both the content and direction of the chapters in this book. We hope you do not forget them."

One fact remains. That capital punishment is something we must all look at and contemplate. It's an issue which all of us must ask ourselves, "Is this what humanity has come to? Can we really bring ourselves to justify the extinguishing of a life while knowing full well how the loss of life can effect us?"

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. And it leaves none of us any better.
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Reading Progress

January 4, 2012 – Started Reading
January 4, 2012 – Shelved
January 4, 2012 –
page 17
January 4, 2012 –
page 35
January 9, 2012 –
page 72
January 9, 2012 –
page 92
January 10, 2012 –
page 118
January 10, 2012 –
page 158
January 11, 2012 –
page 170
January 11, 2012 –
page 264
January 11, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 28, 2012 – Shelved as: non-fiction
September 20, 2012 – Shelved as: american-law
September 20, 2012 – Shelved as: social-commentary
October 13, 2012 – Shelved as: 3-star

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