Something to Think About

Countries with the most executions, 2007-2012

1. China
2. Iran
3. Saudi Arabia
4. Iraq
5. U.S.A.
6. Pakistan
7. Yemen
8. North Korea
9. Vietnam


12 comments on “Something to Think About

  1. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, when you say executions are you saying legal executions or murders? I know the number of murders in certain parts of this country are very high. My city of about 500,000 for the metropolitan area had 41 last year and will be close to that again this year. The saddest one this year was the sound man from the TV show “COPS”. They were working with the city police when they were called for a robbery in progress at a Wendy’s restaurant. There was gun fire and the sound man was hit by a ricochet and killed just hours before the film team was set to leave for home. I know death happens in life but murder just seems so senseless to me.

    Have a great day on the Virginia homestead.


    • Bill says:

      This is just application of the death penalty following conviction, not other kinds of murder.

      Sadly, we live in a violent society. But the good news is that our homicide rate has been falling dramatically and is now lower than anytime in the last 50 years, and just half what it was at its peak (in 1980). Executions are on the decline too (although more slowly). Hopefully the day will soon come when we won’t be on this list any more.


  2. bobraxton says:

    a lot of extra-judicial (by law enforcement) killings do NOT make the national news.


  3. Jeff says:

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” – attributed to Benjamin Disraeli by Mark Twain.

    The rankings change if executions per million people is used instead of total numbers of executions, though the United States still doesn’t fare very well:

    South Arabia
    South Sudan
    North Korea
    United States

    Still nothing to be proud about, even if the U.S. “slips” from #5 to #16. There are no other “Westernized” countries on the list. None. So much for the “city on a hill” (Matthew 5:14), much touted by proselytizers of American Exceptionalism.


    • Bill says:

      Given that this is a list of the number of executions, not the rate of executions, “lie” seems a little harsh. But I suppose I could have been clearer about that. I suppose China could make the case that it ranks number one in the number of citizens who were not executed during that time frame.


  4. Jeff says:

    On a similar thought:

    Incarceration rates per 100,000 people

    1. Sychelles 868
    2. United States of America 707
    3. St. Kitts and St. Nevis 611
    4. Anguilla 543
    5. Virgin Islands (USA) 535
    6. Barbados 529
    7. Cuba 510
    8. Belize 495
    9. Rwanda 492
    10. Russian Federation 470

    The first European country is Lithuania, with 322, followed by Latvia, at 264. Again, nothing to be proud of and something to think about.


  5. EllaDee says:

    Because of media coverage I wasn’t surprised to see the US on the list(s) but the company it keeps isn’t impressive. Whenever an awful crime occurs in Australia there is outrage and a call for the reinstatement of capital punishment but truly it would be a regressive step, when considered rationally I think. It’s good that the US homicide and death penalty execution rates are falling, I can only hope it’s due to a correlation of improved policing, community practices, standard of living, etc that steadily progresses and reforms, and indeed inspires the world 🙂


    • Bill says:

      Even though the steady barrage of news about violence and atrocities suggests otherwise, the reality seems to be that the world is becoming a much less violent place. I think the drop in violent crime in the U.S. is part of a global reduction in violence that will hopefully continue (and accelerate).

      As for this list, I read about it in a book I recently finished, thought it was interesting and decided to share it. Not because I think the U.S. justice system is morally equivalent to that of Iran or North Korea (that would be ridiculous), but because it reveals that we have something grisly in common with this list of countries, and that is something that I think is worthy of some reflection.


  6. avwalters says:

    As a statistic out of context, it doesn’t prove anything. Still, it’s not a list I care to be on.


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