15,543 and Counting by D.L. Carcara

Reviewed by David McCorquodale, Green Party of Delaware

Abolition of the death penalty is certainly a goal of most state Green Parties. But could most Greens make an effective argument about why the death penalty is wrong against the common rationales used for justifying it? 

Author D.L. Carcara, a Green and an adjunct professor of social science at Manhattan’s Interboro Insitute has done just that. The book’s title, 15,543 and Counting refers to the number of state sanctioned executions that had occurred at the time the book was finished from the time official records were kept. Carcara has written a short but detailed examination of all of the arguments used to justify legalized killing by the state.

Anyone who reads this book will come away with a broader understanding of the cruel lengths to which the state goes in legalized killing. The process of killing a prisoner usually takes decades. The execution is only the culmination of the endless dehumanization of death row in which prisoners exist in almost total isolation, slowly going insane.

It is a revelation to learn that a prisoner may not be led to the death chamber in restraints, but must go willingly. Why don’t the condemned simply refuse to go? Because death row was so designed that over time the will to live, in those condemned, is gone. This is the true meaning of “dead man walking”—the prisoner who has lost the will to live surrenders his life to the state.

15,543 and Counting is available through major online booksellers or from Publish America.