Friday, September 26, 2003

I’ve been having a lot of discussion about this which I found at The North Carolina Experiment. It’s a pretty macabre document but you just can’t stop reading it once you start.

Seriously : I’m against the death penalty – I just am. Not because I really have much sympathy for evil criminals but because it demeans the people who do it just as much – if we live in a state that condones licensed murder then we are all at least partly culpable. It’s simply wrong to take life. I can’t prove that – it’s a belief.

And there’s plenty of evidence that :-

a) The death penalty is not a deterrent to crime

b) Criminal justice systems worldwide have a less than perfect record in terms of getting the right man. Doesn’t matter where in the world you are – even with the fairest most honest systems available innocent people get convicted all the time. If they’re still alive mistakes can be corrected. If not . . .

c) I don’t believe a vengeful authority and a vengeful society is in anyone’s best interest long term.

I don’t blame the relatives of the victims for wanting these executions. I hope in similar circumstances I wouldn’t but of course I might well want exactly that - reading what these guys did is pretty horrific.

I just don’t really see how the state indulging in what could be described as ‘revenge slaying’ on behalf of the victims families is going to help long term. I would be quite interested to know if there are any resources available where victims relatives describe their feelings at the time of the original murders, during the trial and execution and then in the years subsequent to that. Maybe I’m wrong – if the victims families gain some level of relief from this then that at least is one positive outcome. I hope the above doesn't come across as mawkish.

Obviously these guys are not going to re-offend so I suppose that is something too, but this doesn’t negate the central issue – why is it OK for a group of people (ie the State) to carry out what is illegal for the individual to do? You can make all sorts of arguments about the morality of the masses and the legitimacy of elected government but they don’t amount to jack in the end. It’s a moral issue. Killing is just wrong. Whether it’s done by a robber with a .357 or by a state appointed criminal justice operative in a sanitized tile lined prison cell; killing is wrong.

Fatuously : If you want to avoid legal execution it’s simple : Every day sit down with a plate of fried chicken, a cheeseburger and a Coke. Take a portion of one and then stick your toe in the electricity socket. Repeat with the others. After a few days of this even the thought of these foods will make you nauseous = safe from state execution. To be doubly sure you may want to add ice cream, Mexican food, steaks and salad to the list.

16 People (6.25%) requested my own carbonated beverage of choise: Dr Pepper. Perhaps they can use this in their advertising.

Doctor Pepper,
What’s the worst that could happen?

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