The Death Penalty

As I mentioned earlier, Longrider did a post on the death penalty in the wake of the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner. This was in response to a question by B&D

The death penalty. What do you make of it?

I realise I'm kind of jumping on the bandwagon by doing a post of my own, but the death penaly is something I've thought long and hard about, so I'm gonna do it anyway.

There seem to be three key points to this discussion:

Key point 1. What if you make a mistake.

Key point 2. Why keep someone in prison at the taxpayers expense.

Key point 3. Is it justice.

Key Point one is the point that means the most to me. I beleive in the freedom of the individual above all else. Providing the the individual does not infringe on the freedom of another, of course. The state takes away many, if not most of our freedoms without a second thought. Almost everything we do is regulated by the state. From driving a car to owning a gun to travelling domestically and abroad. Tax takes away our freedom to keep what we work for and we have no property rights.

A persons life is the ultimate freedom. If the state takes that away there is nothing left and it can't be given back, not ever.

If we sanction the state to take away peoples lives then we have given them the ultimate power over us.

And the state makes mistakes with regular monotiny. I personally have been threatened with court and had a car impounded because of what can only be described as admin errors. Those are only minor issues but we are all aware of the raft of false rape claims making it into the media currently. I know there are many a public joe who would advocate hanging for rapists. People get arrested daily for crimes they didn't commit. People unfortunately go to prison for those crime on occasion. That is because the justice system is not perfect. Only a 100% perfect justice system would be capeable of administering the death penalty. We do not have, and never will have that system.

I am going to take an argument regularly used by the bansturbaturs, one that I regularly rebuff, and I am going to use it for myself.

But surely if it saves just one life, it must be worth it?

What if we take just one life when the state makes an error? Is it still worth it?

Key Point Two is an interesting one. Do we factor cost into criminal justice and to what extent? Is it worth the illusory feeling of saving money if we execute an innocent person?

I have a book by Scott Turow, called, Ultimate Punishment. It's well worth a read. The author dispells the myth that it is more expensive to keep someone in prison than to execute them. His point of reference is the American legal system. A prison on death row in America spends years in prison and goes through numerous appeals before his execution. It is necessary to go through this long winded process to make "sure" that the convicted person is actually guilty of the crime, simply put.

This process costs a lot more tax dollars than keeping a person in prison for life.

Key Point three. Is it justice. What exactly is justice?
To society, justice is punishing someone for a crime, in a manner befitting that crime. Often by removing them from society for a period of time. This is the detatched, unemotional view.
To a victim or a victims family, justice is more often than not, simply revenge. How many time do you see a family leave court and say to the press, "Yes, justice was served today". Can you even remember one time. Victims and their families are emotional. This is perfectly understandable but it not not the basis for making rational judgements about punishment for the perpatrator.
Victims call for tougher sentancing, for more legislation and often for the death penalty. They feel pain. Sometimes they feel that the only redress for this pain is to inflict even more pain on someone else. This often comes more apparent in the aftermath of accidents that have cost lives. Someone dear to them has been taken away, but no one was at fault. Still they look for blame; for someone to punish, because the only way they can ease their own pain is to pass it on to someone else. Do you remember the Selby Rail Crash

If you are in favour of executing serious criminals, ask yourself this. Could you be the executioner?

Don't just answer yes straight away, think about it. Could you hold a pistol in your hand, look someone in the eyes and pull the trigger as they beg for their life?

It may seem a little harder now but what if they had raped and killed your wife and daughter? Easier?

Go on close your eyes and imagine it. The man who raped and murdered your daughter is in the room with you. He is tied to a chair. Think about what he did and how you feel about that.....................
He's begging you not to kill him. He's sorry. He wants to live. Point the gun at his head.

He's crying. He's shaking.

Pull the trigger.

Well done. Justice is served. You have just taken a human life. You are in for some sleepless nights but just keep telling yourself, "The bastard deserved it". Justice.

I'm sorry to have to tell you but we convicted the wrong man.......


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