1,000 Down, 599,000 to Go: Why America Needs More Executions

Kenneth Boyd’s execution in North Carolina this week marked only the 1,000th time the death penalty has been used since the Supreme Court reinstated it in 1976.

But a simple comparison of the number of murders to the number of executions shows that the murderers are winning—by a long shot.

According to the Justice Department, 32,665 people were murdered in America in 2003 and 2004. In those same two years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, 124 murderers were executed. That was 0.0037% executions per murder.

Michael Paranzino, who heads Throw Away the Key, a group supporting the death penalty, said, “During these 1,000 executions, we’ve had 600,000 murders. We’re only executing a tiny sliver of the number of murderers in this country.”

Boyd, who earned the dubious distinction of being the 1,000th person executed since 1976, was convicted of shooting his estranged wife Julie nine times and killing her father in front of his two sons.

Paranzino believes politicians who fail to enforce the death penalty despite widespread voter support for it should pay a political cost. “We will hold politicians like [Virginia Gov.] Mark Warner accountable when they side with the killers and against the working families of America.”

But he is pleased the debate between pro- and anti-death penalty groups is happening. “We’re trying to turn their milestone on its head and show in fact, the milestone is 600,000 murders and it’s those people we should be mourning and it’s for those people we should be praying for today.”