October 10th is the tenth anniversary of World Day Against the Death Penalty. This is a good opportunity to be mindful of honoring our Kansas City Province Corporate Stance against the death penalty that we took 15 years ago. Say a special prayer that day that Missouri, Kansas, Texas, etc. abolish the death penalty in their state someday soon. Pray especially for Allen Nicklasson in Missouri, who is scheduled to be executed on Oct. 23rd. Pray that Governor Nixon stops the execution or the means of execution by lethal injection stays tied up in court. Consider coming to a vigil in St. Joseph or Kansas City the day before the scheduled execution. The one in Kansas City will be held at JC Nichols Fountain on the Plaza on Oct. 22nd at 5 pm. Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty will be holding the vigil, and we encourage sensitivity to the murder victim(s)’ family members as well as to the family members of the person scheduled for execution. There will be opportunity to sign petitions of “I Support Repeal.” This is a good way to give public witness to your stance against the death penalty. MADP will be a signer of a clemency petition usually prepared by Missouri Catholic Conference.
This year’s World Day focuses on the progress made in the past ten years and on challenges ahead. The last decade has seen a large increase in the number of countries that have officially abolished the death penalty or eliminated the use of the death penalty in practice. According to the Human Rights Education Associates: 141 countries are abolitionist in law or in practice, 97 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 36 countries have abolished the death penalty in practice, 8 countries have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes. Even the USA, one of the worst offenders in the use of the death penalty, has shown progress as individual states have abolished or limited the death penalty. Many other countries have also abolished the death penalty in the past decade, including: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Bhutan, Burundi, Cook Islands, Gabon, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mexico, the Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Togo, Turkey and Uzbekistan.