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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Death Sentence

Let me tell you a story.

Johnny plots the murder of his girlfriend after he finds out she’s cheating on him and carries it out with perfect success. He gets caught, convicted, and sent to prison for life with parole available in five years. While in prison he gets beaten and raped on a regular basis by the other inmates, and eventually joins a gang for protection. This gang teaches Johnny better ways to kill and how to avoid getting caught. He puts his training into practice by getting away with murdering two of the men who raped and beat him.

Johnny gets paroled after nine years in prison. His experience has made him bitter against the system that sent him to such a hellish place when he was totally justified in killing that cheating whore. His prison contacts have hooked him up with a drug kingpin who needs enforcers. Johnny readily accepts the job and begins to make his living beating drug addicts, threatening witnesses, and even killing the occasional threat to his boss or person who cheated his boss.

One day the police raid a drug warehouse Johnny is assigned to protect. A gunfight ensues between Johnny’s men and the police. Most of Johnny’s men die, and five policemen are killed, two of them by Johnny himself.

Johnny is convicted of drug charges and two counts of murdering a police officer. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Johnny gets to prison where he is immediately placed in a powerful position within a gang controlled by his drug lord. His job becomes to manage the drug trafficking within the prison, and to recruit new people into the gang to be prepared for gainful employment in his drug lord’s cartel when they are released.

Okay, this obviously isn’t the path that every convicted killer follows. The problem is that many of them follow similar paths. That’s how we get “repeat offenders”. So how do we prevent such scenarios in our home?

I have already spoken about corporal punishment in another essay, now I want to talk about capital punishment.

The death penalty is a legitimate and necessary punishment for the worst criminal offenders. I am speaking about murderers, rapists, and child molesters, but drug traffickers are a more controversial group that I feel need to die as badly as a child molester.

These people are monsters who are simply unfit for integration into any sane society. This is why so many of them never get out of prison. But prison just breeds better crooks, especially with people like these in there to recruit and train less violent criminals. Do we really want to pay tens of thousands of dollars every year to let these people spend up to eighty years hurting prisoners and making better criminals? That’s just how I want my paycheck spent. “I’ll have one rapist with attempted on the side please, hold the justice.”

We know these people can never be safely put back into society, so why do we suffer them to live? Killing them not only guarantees they will never kill or rape anyone again, it also frees up a lot of space in our prisons for people who just might be able to be rehabilitated if given the right opportunities. It’s better for honest folks and criminals alike. Not only that, but it will eliminate this little line “I killed five men and two women. It was easy, just two shots to the back of the head. Pop! Pop! The time was easy, now I run this gang.” from the streets of America. These people will not be released. They will be dead.

The guarantee of death upon a murder, rape, child or child molestation conviction will reduce the number of such crimes two ways. First, no one will get the chance to do it again when convicted. Second, some people who might have done one of these awful crimes will be deterred from them. Fear of death is a powerful tool.

What about the falsely convicted? No problem! With genetic evidence and other modern forensic evidence we can usually establish who killed or raped someone with almost no margin of error. It’s foolish to think that no innocent person will ever be convicted, but I for one can’t help but think that more innocent lives will be saved by killing people convicted of these crimes than are saved by simply imprisoning them

That’s what this is all about really, saving innocent lives from the predators who would seek to end them. Murder is simple, the life ends utterly. Rape is far more complex, but the innocent life ends just the same.

I have had the misfortune of knowing several women who were raped as adults or as children. A few of them I even knew before they were raped, and I can tell you that their lives ended that day. They lost all self respect, many of them, thinking they deserved it quit protecting their bodies entirely and became the most promiscuous people I ever met, and suffered the physical consequences. Others lost all drive and will to succeed in life and wound up homeless on the streets without an education, an opportunity, or any hope at all. Others became drug addicts, and some of them may have died of it by now. All of them lost their ability to have rewarding, healthy relationships with men, sentencing them to a life of emotional solitude and mistrust. I can think of noting sadder than watching a vibrant life full of promise ended by a rape, and being unable to stop the downward spiral as it happens right in front of you.

Yes, rapists are murderers, but of a far worse kind than regular murder. A rapist sentences his victims to a living death, literally hell on Earth. Therefore, rapists must die like any other murderer.

I know that the death penalty sounds harsh. And I would be heartless to claim it’s about justice. Justice is getting what we deserve, and thankfully very few of us get that. It’s about mercy. Mercy for society as a whole, but more importantly, mercy for the victims, and mercy for the victims who would have been had these monsters not been killed.

13 Comments:

  • I agree with you 100%. All rapists, murderers, and child molesters MUST be put to death. How can anyone in their right mind feel OK with their tax dollars keeping this scum alive everyday? Imagine all of the money used to keep the filth alive, freed up, and pumped into healthcare or education. Yeah, that'll happen.

    By Blogger The Lohkust, at 9:46 AM  

  • I was with you on that one until the line "It’s foolish to think that no innocent person will ever be convicted, but I for one can’t help but think that more innocent lives will be saved by killing people convicted of these crimes than are saved by simply imprisoning them" and then I got scared!

    Life sentences should be really for life, not some stupid thing like 15 years. That's ridiculous.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 11:51 AM  

  • The problem is that not everyone accused of a crime can afford to hire an attorney that will do the best job possible. Public defenders are notorious for sloppy representation, and this leads to wrongful conviction. Also, DNA evidence is not accepted in all states.
    Everyone, not just the wealthy, deserves equal defense. That might seem a bit too liberal for some, and costly, but it is necessary for a system that would deal out death with the wave of a magic wand.

    We have a system where sometimes the guilty walk free and the innocent are locked up. I think we need to be careful in this imperfect world of ours with these huge decisions.

    Oh well, I'm going to go and drink a big glass of OJ... cheers!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:10 PM  

  • Note that the death penalty was not what the Constitution was referring to when the words "cruel & unusual punishment" were used. Tar & feathering, stocks, and public whipping were what they had in mind.

    By Blogger Tom, at 12:14 PM  

  • anonymous: "We have a system where sometimes the guilty walk free and the innocent are locked up... Oh well, I'm going to go and drink a big glass of OJ"

    What CAN you be referring to? :-)

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 1:40 PM  

  • DP76,

    Scared? Of what? I just think that we should put appropriate faith in the criminal justice system that the vast majority of convicts are actually guilty. It is an imperfect system, but there is literally no way at all to make it perfect. We can only make it better, and we do that constantly.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 1:44 PM  

  • "It is an imperfect system, but there is literally no way at all to make it perfect."

    Would you feel the same way if you were one of the ones for whom the system didn't work and you were falsely sentenced to death?

    We hear every year about people wrongfully convicted. We have a system that way disproportionately punishes the poor and the minority. Until such time that the kinks are worked out and there are no wrongful convictions, I'm fine with sending someone to prison for life for serious crimes that warrant it.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 2:10 PM  

  • Dan T,

    "Would you feel the same way if you were one of the ones for whom the system didn't work and you were falsely sentenced to death?"

    Yes I would.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 2:53 PM  

  • And if it were your child?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 5:02 AM  

  • The same.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 9:57 AM  

  • Dan T,

    You apparently don't understand the concept here. Despite the glamorization of stories where someone who was convicted of a crime is later proven innocent, the fact remains that the vast majority, over 99% are rightly convicted, I would hazard to say that the number of wrongful convictioons is something akin 1 out of 1000, and remarkably few of those wrongful convictions are for crimes as serious as the ones I am speaking of here. There is a FAR higher instance of the guilty going free than there is of the innocent getting punished. This is especially true where rape is concerned.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 10:03 AM  

  • Well, I'm not sure I agree with you all the way... I do think the death penalty should definitely be used more often, and "life in prison" should be that.
    But, for child molesters, sometimes prison is poetic justice. Other criminals don't like rapists, child molesters and child abusers, and often the molester gets what they deserve.

    By Blogger Rebekah, at 2:33 PM  

  • Rebekah,

    "for child molesters, sometimes prison is poetic justice. Other criminals don't like rapists, child molesters and child abusers, and often the molester gets what they deserve."

    Agred, but these scum still wind up being released back into the general population to molest again, and the DO molest again almost every time.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 5:49 PM  

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