After a 2014 gubernatorial moratorium and a 2018 state Supreme Court decision invalidating the death penalty, the Washington State legislature has now passed and Governor Inslee has signed a bill officially abolishing the death penalty in Washington State. Here’s more from the Seattle Times, including the role of racial bias in the decision. Twenty-three states have now abolished the death penalty; Oregon has a moratorium.
Several states, including Idaho, have reinstituted the firing squad, in response to the increasing difficulty getting the drugs used for lethal injection.
More on the death penalty, its history, and the factors used in imposing it in Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure.
“Only when the brain is confronted with stimuli that it has not encountered before does it start to reorganize perception. The surest way to provoke the imagination, then, is to seek out environments you have no experience with. They may have nothing to do with your area of expertise. It doesn’t matter. Because the same systems in the brain carry out both perception and imagination, there will be cross talk.”
“I do fundamentally believe that you can change somebody’s mind, you can influence their opinion, you can alter their thought if you do it through art and culture. I think that this is how we develop tolerance, we develop understanding. … Artists are extremely smart. We find ways.”
—Myrna Ayad, Lebanese cultural strategist and art consultant, based in Dubai, discussing an increasing willingness of the Saudi government to allow a greater variety of stories and perspectives in the arts, particularly exhibitions (NPR 3/3/23)
(Tranquility, by Tabby Ivy, oil on canvas; collection of the author)