Monday, January 25, 2010

Death Sentence?

I've struggled to reconcile my conflicting views on the death penalty. I wish for people to die. I would lie if I said otherwise. Some people are so wretched and warped that I know the world would be a better place without them. I'm speaking of serial killers and rapist/murderers not Greg, the guy who stole $90 from me in high school, or the guy who stole my stereo last year (these guys deserve to be kneecapped with a sledgehammer, not lethally injected).

I want serial killers dead. I don't just want them off the street, sucking at our tax money; I want them euthanized. I want to give Louisville Sluggers to the victims' families and let them beat murderers until their arms are too weak to inflict any more damage. They deserve it. I believe in vengeance. Those goodie two-shoes in movies that chastise a father that wants to kill his child's killer by saying, "Don't do it! You'll be no better than them!" don't know what the hell they're talking about (plus they're fake people in fake situations). Of course the father is better than the murderer. The father didn't indiscriminately murder some person he's never met for reasons he doesn't fully understand. He wants a person dead for a very specific reason: the murderer deserves it. I say, go get 'em, dad! I hope the police don't catch you.

That being said, if this father character gets caught, I may feel bad for him and relate to his situation with heartfelt empathy, but I believe he should be tried for murder. We can't let our citizens run around undermining the justice system. We can't let them take the law into their own hands. That's anarchy. This world has no place for that.

I want the justice system to handle the punishment of criminals, even if the system has serious flaws. I trust the government to a point. For a successful civilization, we have to believe in our leaders and elected representatives to do the right thing. I'm not stupid, though. Our government isn't perfect, nor impartial. It has its share of corruption and any government can be warped to fit the needs of corrupt leaders. Despotisms form. Aristocracies bloom. The masses are silenced. I doubt this will happen in my lifetime, if it ever does, but I want a few assurances against it. This is one of the reasons I'm against Capitol Punishment. I don't believe a government should have the power to extinguish the lives of its citizens. It is a power too great to be wielded against subjects.

Also, juries make mistakes. Innocent people go to jail from time to time. This could happen in a case in which the death penalty is handed down. There are no take-backs. I'm against the government killing any citizen, but to kill an innocent person is beyond my tolerance. We try to safeguard against this by allowing several appeals and governorial pardons. Still, that's no guarantee. By striking capitol punishment from the table, we do not have to worry about the government accidentally killing innocents.

I'm not sure if our taxes would go down or up because of the abolition of the death penalty. On the one hand, we would have to feed, clothe and detain those people for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, we wouldn't have so many tooth-and-nail appeal battles. This is an odd circumstance for me. Even if our taxes are raised, I'm willing to take a financial hit to save the lives of people I want dead.

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