At Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate, the audience erupted in perhaps the loudest applause of all when a moderator stated to Gov. Rick Perry, “Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times.” First, one must question a supposedly “pro-life” audience reacting this way. Second, even if one supports the death penalty, it is profoundly disturbing to hear a bloodthirsty crowd cheering at a “winning” execution record. Watch:
Perry’s statement that he hasn’t struggled with the possible innocence of any of the executed–in my mind the ultimate argument against capital punishment–denies questions about the conviction and execution of one Texan, Cameron Todd Willingham. His flawed trial was explored in an outstanding article by David Grann in the New Yorker. The questions about Willingham's possible innocence are ongoing, yet apparently Perry is sleeping well.