I Didn't Say That: Uncomfortable and Important

Sierra Leone abolishes capital punishment, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali brings the think.

I Didn't Say That:

Yes, I already changed the name of the new thing that I just told you about yesterday. This new thing. It's now called I Didn't Say That. You can expect me to change my mind about things sometimes. You can also expect me to applaud others who change their minds about things sometimes. Because that's how things get better. By changing things and giving others space to change things. So we might as well get started right away.

Today’s First Notable Thing:

Sierra Leone voted last week to abolish the death penalty. According to The New York Times, that makes the country the 23rd in Africa to formally end capital punishment. That's nearly half of Africa's 54 countries, which reminds me of the numbers in this other place I know.

When I saw the Sierra Leone story, I thought, "Way to go, SL! Way to get with it!" Then I thought, "Surely this isn't something we Americans are still divided on, right? We just haven't gotten around to the abolishing part yet, right? Right?"


From a June Pew report:

A summary of some of what you see above from the same Pew report:

Nearly eight-in-ten (78%) say there is some risk that an innocent person will be put to death, while only 21% think there are adequate safeguards in place to prevent that from happening. Only 30% of death penalty supporters—and just 6% of opponents—say adequate safeguards exist to prevent innocent people from being executed.

From a moral standpoint alone, I have a hard time understanding support for the death penalty even for the incontrovertibly guilty. But I simply do not have the means to reconcile the numbers above.

There's plenty more worth looking at in that Pew report. And I'm just going to assume that I'm not legally supposed to reproduce it here in its entirety. So, should you be so inclined, look it over, and perhaps use some of the data you find to persuade yourself or someone else that it might be a bad idea to kill people who might be innocent, especially when there are a lot of people in prisons who more than might be innocent.

Alternatively, if you support capital punishment, I invite you to persuade me to change my mind. I hope I’ve already established (see up top) that I'm being sincere in this request.

Today’s Second Notable Thing:

In a recent Conversations with Coleman episode, Writer and Podcaster Coleman Hughes spoke with Author and Activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They mostly spoke about the topics in Hirsi Ali's newest book, Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women's Rights, which Hughes summarized as follows:

Her thesis is that the wave of migration from Muslim majority countries into Europe has caused an increase in sexual violence towards women in receiving countries. This is an uncomfortable topic, but an important one nonetheless. And there's no one better to discuss it with [than] Ayaan.

I watched the conversation in full and can agree that the topic is both uncomfortable and important. Conveniently, Hughes released a clip of what I thought was perhaps the most important part of the discussion. I'm sharing it here, not to take a firm stand—I’m not taking one—but to share what I view as Hirsi Ali’s cogent argument for using counterintuitive thinking to closely examine the ways our good intentions and intuitions can sometimes combine to deceive us. If you're sure where you stand on the topic at the end of the clip, I would be suspicious of that certainty.

What Do You Think?

Where I live, expressing certain thoughts and criticisms will land you in prison. So please: exercise, cherish, and defend your right to criticize and say what you really think. Share your thoughts with me. Share them with others. Share Think List with others. Share your thoughts about my thoughts about what I share on Think List with others. Whatever. Just say what you think. Start an honest conversation for someone else who can’t.

28 people received this email. 🤔