"Williams: What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of two hundred and thirty-four executions drew applause?
Perry: I think Americans understand justice."
Is “justice” some sort of slot machine that works best, in terms of wins, when it turns out the most bodies? The applause will likely be cited as an example of our national bloodthirstiness. That’s not quite right, though; the truth is a little worse. Even a death-penalty supporter might be expected to remember that each execution is part of a story that involves the death of a victim, maybe more than one. For there to be a lot of executions, there have to have been a lot of murders—and that can hardly be cause for happiness. But one suspects that, for this audience, “death penalty” had ceased to be anything but a political symbol—a word disconnected from actual lives and deaths. It wouldn’t be the only sign of detachment from reality in the debate.
Detachment from reality
Republican Debate: Galileo and the Eight Dwarfs (The New Yorker)