I wrote a letter to my two Tennessee legislators today, Senator Rusty Crowe and Representative Matthew Hill.
Here it is:
March 28, 2011
As your constituent, I want to thank you for your service and encourage you to vote in favor of HB2064/SB1692 to exclude individuals with severe and persistent mental illness from receiving the death penalty in Tennessee.
Frankly, the death penalty should be abolished altogether. But this is a start. The United States can count itself in the company of Yemen, Iran, China, and North Korea. These are the top four executing countries in 2010. The United States ranked fifth.**
This is shameful.
I would be happy to talk with you at any time why the death penalty is bad for Tennessee and the United States on moral, legal, practical, and financial grounds.
HB2064/SB1692 is a start.
Thank you for your consideration, and I hope you will let me know if you support this bill.
Rev. John Shuck
**Here are the top five countries with numbers of executions in order: China (over 1,000 executions), Iran (252+), North Korea (60+), Yemen (53+), and the US (46). (Amnesty International, March 28, 2011)
Our congregation had a visit from Rev. Stacy Rector a couple of months back. She encouraged us to write letters on behalf of this legislation. Our Peacemaking Committee took on the task and set up a bulletin board and a mailbox.
It supplied pen, paper, stamps, a sample letter and the addresses of our legislators and encouraged us to write individual letters. So I did.
It is a good idea.