Impearls on May Day, the Haymarket Riots, and Capital Punishment

Impearls has a timely look back at the origins of May Day in the 1886 Haymarket Riots in Chicago, which serve as an object lesson in a polemic about the dangers of capital punishment.

Today is May Day, May 1st. People in America are often vaguely aware that other regions of the world, especially Europe and leftist-impressed parts, celebrate May Day as the occasion for a pro-labor holiday, the equivalent of the U.S.’s Labor Day held in the fall. Few Americans, however, recall that this day actually commemorates events which occurred in the United States, in Chicago, on and after May 1, 118 years before this day.

Fifteen years ago, three years after the centenary, I posted a progenitor of this polemic on the Usenet (aka Newsgroups), which rather than emphasizing the labor aspect of the day in history, treated it as an abject example of the dangers of application of the death penalty by society, and the certainty that innocents will be executed in error if capital punishment is employed to any significant extent. I believe the subject is even more pertinent today than it was back then.

Read the rest.

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