Needle for One

Well, Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams felt cold steel this morning and hopefully his novelty celebrity will go with him.

After all the ruminations and lamentations for and against putting him down for the good of society I have come away with a couple observations and kept one deep seated belief:

My observations were that while he had said that he redeemed himself, he never publicly admitted his guilt. I’m sure that some left-wing head-shrinker has come up with an explanation on how you can be redeemed without admitting guilt, but I won’t believe it.

All over the talk radio spectrum there were right, left and middle of the road hosts discussing this topic. One of the talking points I heard over and over from the liberal anti-death penalty types was the Sermon on the Mount and other biblical anti-death penalty references.

How ironic that the vast majority of these folks support the ACLU and their fight against public displays of Christianity, but when it comes to the death penalty, they’re the first that demand the government follow the bible. Besides that, they should read Ecclesiastes at least once before spouting off.

I haven’t brought this up in the recent past and will therefore probably shock most, but I have a deep-seated belief that the state has no right to take your life.

Yes, we have empowered the state with keeping the peace by giving them the power of policing and to follow up with the handing down of civil and criminal judgments that our societal contract requires us to follow. But I think we have gone too far in empowering the state with the ability to sentence criminals who are found guilty of certain crimes in a court of law to death.

You do not want the government to have the power to take your property and give it to someone else to develop because they can deliver more tax dollars, in the case of the Kelo decision or to impound your property in the case of a failure to pay taxes, so why would you give them the power to take your life just because twelve of your fellow citizens gave them the thumbs up? Yes, our continued voluntary residence in those sections of the society that allow the death penalty are a contract of acceptance of that punishment, but that doesn’t make it right.

All that being said, I do not think we should abolish the death penalty altogether because there are some crimes that absolutely warrant a person’s permanent removal from society in a way that ‘Life in Prison Without Parole’ do not cover.

So, if you’ll allow me to split some hairs here,

Like I said, I would still like to see the ultimate in capital punishment available to the legal system, but there are changes, some minor, some major that need to be included.

First off, the death penalty isn’t an option for a prosecutor to toy with. It is automatically an option for punishment for certain crimes such as aggravated first degree murder, premeditated and/or conspiratorial murder, rape of child with, each with positive DNA or corroborated evidence confirmation, circumstantial evidence is a deal breaker. Also, the representative of the state is not the person who decides whether it is on the plate, that decision resides with the family of the victim or victims after guilt is determined by the jury.

Screw ‘societal forgiveness’ or ‘redemption’, the folks who would commit the crimes I have listed above do not deserve forgiveness, they deserve the most lasting sentence that society can dish out, death. The only people who have the right to forgive the person or persons who commit capital crimes are those who are directly affected by the crime and will have to live with the after effects for the rest of their lives.

Yes, you can call this ‘An Eye For An Eye’ or just plain carnal revenge, but it is what is just and the “Justice System� is called such because it is supposed to hand down “Justice� to the common person so that they don’t go out and enact their own ‘justice’ on possibly the wrong person.

Now, if the family wants to show the person who affected their lives so dramatically mercy, they are of course, allowed to commute the person to life in prison without parole as you cannot force someone to order or take the life of another either.

And when I say take the life of another, I mean it. The family who demands the life of a criminal in exchange for their closure is also required to drop the hammer on the day of said criminal’s “Pull Date�. They are also required to decide the method. States may determine the available methods, but must supply at least two.

The state will supply the facility and the necessary ingredients in the case of gas or injection death or the rope in the case of a decision to hang. Here in Washington, the firing squad was still an option, the last I heard, though it hasn’t been used in just about forever. The family can supply the firearm and ammo for that if they feel like it.

The sentence would be scheduled for four years from the date of conviction to allow the criminal ample time for their appeals to try and have their verdict overturned, but only on grounds pertaining to the facts and evidence of the case and not someone’s ability to find a personal savior while behind bars or some lawyer’s ability to turn juror flatulence into an successful appeal.

On that day four years later, come hell or high water, the sentence will be carried out unless the family has granted the criminal clemency.

We have let groups like the ACLU neuter the current incarnation of the death penalty so that their talking point about it not working as a deterrent is has become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. The nearly endless number of appeals available to someone sentenced to death means that verdict and the fulfilling of the sentence are so far disconnected from one another that the crime is forgotten by society or becomes just an anecdote during the media circus. If we want to see capital punishment become a deterrent again, we need to make it as immediate as possible.

In the case of getting a decision from a family, this can be done either by a single representative of the family who is elected by a direct vote from all of the family members above the age of eighteen or by a vote of the above mentioned members with the simple majority of the votes deciding yes or no. The same goes for multiple families from multiple victims.

The method can be decided by the state.

But, any member voting for execution has to be willing to do the deed. There will be no unaccountable votes in this decision.

And those are my thoughts on the death penalty.

What say ye? Additions? Objections? Corrections? Feel free.

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One Response to Needle for One

  1. Rivrdog says:

    Let’s get to your core argument: As I read it, you said: The state does not have the right to take your life, but may provide the opportunity for the victim (or his/her successor) to do so.

    Actually, in most primitive societies, this used to be the case. It even has a name from ancient Italy (not Rome): vendetta.

    Since the members of such societies were using considerable artistic license in pronouncing their vendettas for whatever reasons, said societies decided that it would be advantageous for the state to take over for them, in effect, carrying out their vendettas for them.

    And that’s how it stands today. You could re-consider your anti-state view by (you might call it rationalizing) evolving your permissible family “vendetta” to one that the state handles for the family.

    That said, the states are doing a damn poor job of handling these family vendetttas. In CA, there are now 647 persons on death row, and even here in Oregon there are 32.

    The states need to get back to the understanding that the vendettas MUST be carried out, and stop permitting them to be postponed ad infinitum.

    There must be a way that the state can determine what the typical family would thinks is an acceptable passage of time for a vendetta to occur in, and guarantee the results during that time.

    No, the idea of vendetta is not bad, if we accept the family as the core of our society, and even if we accept the individual, supported by family structure as the core.

    The state needs to get back to the roots of the vendetta, and not pretend that the idea has totally morphed into state control.

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