Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Discussion about Capital Punishment, Sat. November 20th

A Discussion about Capital Punishment

Let’s talk about “Capital Punishment.” I am having an ongoing moral struggle with the whole concept. For most of my life, I have been an ardent supporter of the death penalty. Especially when used as punishment for some particularly viscous and brutal crimes. There are some people that commit crimes so abhorrent that they simply do not deserve to live. Examples would include any murder following torture of victims --and certainly anything involving the rape and killing of children. People that do these things have forfeited their right to live and to any decent treatment by the rest of us.

My problem with Capital Punishment is really based on two things. First is the way that we administer it. The Death Penalty should be applied for two reasons; as a deterrent to others and as punishment for the actual crime. Our society has abandoned the effectiveness of it as a deterrent by taking what is now an average of 15 years (sometimes much, much longer) to carry out the punishment. By the time the criminal is called to account, the crime itself has become a distant memory and, in many cases, the surviving victims and their families have already passed away without seeing justice done. The other reason is how the punishment is carried out. In most cases the criminal is no longer hanged, shot, or gassed. They are most often given an injection, which puts them to sleep, followed by an injection that stops the heart. This punishment has been delayed on many occasions for really absurd reasons such as “the needles were not sterilized”, “the chemical used causes momentary intense pain to the sleeping criminal” making the punishment “cruel and unusual”, and in one resent case, they actually stopped the execution because the day fell on the same day of the “expiration date” on the poison used. All this serves to obscure and diminish the whole point of "Capital Punishment".

When a crime is serious enough to earn the Death Penalty, the criminal has forfeited all his rights to the same treatment and considerations of decent citizens. We are spending way too much time and effort making the procedure “civilized.” There is nothing civilized about killing a human being --and it should not be. It should be an ugly, painful affair so that it is hated and avoided and so that it can be used as an effective deterrent to anyone considering a crime for which this is a possible punishment. I believe that, if it is to be applied, we should go back to forms such as hanging or electrocution and it should always be done in public. Make the public watch so that the horrible images of the last moments in the criminal’s life are burned into peoples minds. That is the only way to apply it as an effective deterrent and, to my mind, the only way to justify it.

My second problem with the “Death Penalty” is purely moral. My Christian self has a basic problem with killing a human being who is in custody and no longer posses a threat. The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” rings heavily in my mind. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I have no problem with killing when necessary. Soldiers in battle, police in performance of duty, and a man protecting his family are all examples of times when I believe it is not only justified, but may actually be required. Having said that, the question becomes: when a person is in custody and no longer able to threaten, is it still justified or necessary? I honestly don’t know. My instinct is to say no. An alternate punishment would be being locked in a small cell, with no privileges or outside contact for the rest of your life and without any hope of any parole.

Any discussion of this subject cannot ignore the painful fact that our justice system, although often way too slow is a very good system, but it makes mistakes. They have a saying “it is better to let 10 guilty go free then to imprison one innocent person”. There is a lot of truth to that. There is no question that we have some people in prison, sitting on death row, that are innocent. The Death Penalty, once applied, is final and cannot be undone. How do we provide a safeguard against mistakes? I have no answer and would like to hear your opinions.

The bottom line here is that I am still struggling with this issue. My “civilized side” says we should not have Capital Punishment but that side is chased away when I hear about a case like these two men that broke into that home, raped, tortured and straggled the mother, then raped to two daughters, tied them to their beds and burned the house down around them. There is no punishment on this earth severe enough for these people. And when their time comes, worrying about the pain caused at the moment of death by the poison while they are already asleep would be ludicrous! So what is the answer here? Do any of you know? I'd like to hear. 

They say a good wine matures with age. But does champagne lose its sparkle after nearly two centuries under water? An expert who tasted the vintage bubbly billed as the world's oldest drinkable champagne was emotional Wednesday, detecting hints of chanterelles and linden blossom. An person, who also sampled a bottle, found only a slight fizz and flavors of yeast and honey.

The champagne - of the brands Veuve Clicquot and the now defunct Juglar - was recovered from a shipwreck discovered in July near the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland. A total of 168 bottles were raised in the salvage operation. "All bottles are not intact but the majority are in good condition," said Britt Lundeberg, Aland's culture minister.

The divers originally said the bottles were believed to be from the 1780s but experts later dated the champagne to the early 19th century. The exact years have not been established. After a presentation of the diving operation, an archaeologist wearing white gloves presented one bottle of Juglar and another of Veuve Clicquot to expert Richard Juhlin, who sampled both in front of scores of journalists.

"Great! Wonderful!" he exclaimed. Then he paused. "I think what strikes you the most is that it's such an intense aroma," he continued. "It's so different from anything you've tasted before." About 20 other people were also given a chance to sample one of the two bottles. The dominant flavors were yeast and mushrooms, with sweet undertones of honey.

Veuve Clicquot confirmed that experts analyzing the branding of the corks "were able to identify with absolute certainty" that at least three of the recovered bottles were Veuve Clicquot. The champagne house, founded in 1772, said the branding featured a comet, added to pay tribute to one that crossed the skies of Champagne in 1811 "and was rumored to be the cause of a harvest of remarkable quality." Some of the bottles will be sold at an auction, where Juhlin said they could fetch more than $70,000 apiece.

On this day in history in 1910 Revolution broke out in Mexico, led by Francisco I Madera; in 1945 24 Nazi leaders are put on trial at Nuremberg, Germany: and in 1977 Egyptian President Sadat became 1st Arab leader to address Israeli Knesset

Alcoholic Insect

Three men walk into a bar: a Frenchman, an Italian and an Irishman. Each orders one beer. Three flys fly into the bar and one fly lands in each man's beer.

The Italian man plucks the fly out of his beer, says "tutto e bene" (all is well)" and drinks the beer.
The Frenchman shows his beer with the bug still inside it to the bartender and demands another beer.
The Irishman yanks the bug out of the beer, grabs it by it's wings, shakes it while yelling

"Cough it up, you wee theivin' bastard!" 

Live Long and Prosper....

1 comment:

Barco Sin Vela II said...

About the death penalty; Why agonize over it? The final punishment has always been part of civilization. California just needs to abolish it. California likes to roll that way, I suppose.

The oldest society, China, seems to have it down right. They execute Bankers for failing in their duties. They shoot the perp and then send a bill to the family for the bullet.

I think it's great that they got to try some old champagne, Clicquot is awesome stuff. But the pretentious wine snobs never fail to amuse me. WTF is a chantelle or a linden blossom, and how doe ewe know how they taste?

Now, if that educated wine taster had said, "Hmmm, a gravelly mouth feel with a slight aroma of badgers bung and a heavy finish of skunk pith...". Now, that might have impressed me more. I can conjure that image right away in my feeble ganglion!