Sunday, February 12, 2012

Oh No! More Opinions

Well, while I am revealing my dark side by expressing opinions on various topics, I might as well get a couple of more out of the way, so today let's discuss Capital Punishment a bit..

Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment was the law of the land when I was growing up. My friends and family simply accepted it. There was not much discussion and no one gave it much thought. Then, when I was in college at UC Berkeley (a place well known for it's liberal agenda) I was chosen to debate the issue taking the "Pro" side. We won that debate rather handily but the other side had made some very good points and I began to re-think the issue. Now, all these years later, I am still re-thinking it. I am opposed to the idea of taking a human life. Especially when the person being killed is in custody, can do no more harm and is defenseless. But, having said that, my objections disappear rapidly when I hear of a case where the crime is especially heinous, such as when a 46 year old man abducted a 7 year old girl from her front yard, took her out in the countryside, beat and raped her then left her to die. My instincts tell me that man needs to die. My objection then becomes finding a way to perform the execution slowly and painfully. 

Which brings me to the second objection I have to the death penalty, namely the way in which it is carried out. The death penalty should be a deterrent, something to make people afraid to commit violent crimes, but the way it is done in this country negates the deterrent effect. A person sentenced to death in most states today knows that it will take decades to get through the appeal process. One man executed last year had been convicted of killing an entire family back in 1985 -26 years before! How in the world does that deter others from committing the same offence or bring justice or closure to the victims friends and relatives? 

And that brings up my third objection -When it's time to carry out the execution -do it and do it in public so every one can see what happens when people do these bad things. The way they do it now is unbelievable. A quiet dignified ceremony attended by a very few members of the press and relatives of the victims -and they put the person to sleep first so there is no discomfort or pain. No discomfort or pain? Is that crazy or what? They are killing the person for God's sake! And the person is some one who has committed horrible crimes. They do not deserve to be treated with dignity.

I guess what all this boils down to is that I am opposed to the death penalty on both moral and practical grounds. For me, sending a person to prison without the possibility of parole -to spend the rest of their life in an 8 by 10 cell with no chance of ever leaving it is an acceptable alternative.-that is until I hear of another case like the one I mentioned above -then I think we should look to the Spanish Inquisition for more appropriate methods of execution.

Live Long and Prosper....

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