By Chic Hollis – Philosophical Musings
I’m not an advocate for or against capital punishment, so don’t put on any defensive airs. This is a practical discussion about how legally “sane” but vicious humans who kill others should be punished. Assassins apprehended immediately after slaying their targets should be shot in the back and the public told the killers were trying to escape. Other convicted perpetrators of heinous crimes should be imprisoned in minimum security prisons, encouraged to escape, and shot during the attempt to do so. Quicker and cheaper justice should be the result of these recommendations.
My carefully reasoned suggestions may be frowned upon in some civilized societies where redemption is still considered possible. However, if life in prison without parole is the alternate to capital punishment, how do you test whether or not a criminal is truly redeemed? A recent official report about recidivism in California found that 70% of released convicts returned to a life of crime. Were they redeemed? No! They were recaptured and returned to prison!
The leaders of our federal government who control the war machine think nothing of ordering the killing of “the enemies of the state” in wartime. They seldom bother with the details about how those orders are being carried out. But compassionate “active” judges in the U.S. are inordinately concerned about “cruel and unusual punishment” when it comes to “offing” anyone convicted of committing a horrendous crime against helpless citizens.
If the judicial system is so inefficient in prosecuting those responsible for murder in the first degree, let’s fix the judicial system and not continue to pay the social consequences for delaying the punishment handed down. Our courts should not be sentencing anyone who is truly innocent to any kind of punishment! Ambitious prosecutors can be over-zealous at times!
Murdered individuals are not only the victims of violent anti-social crime. Their families and friends are emotionally affected by the loss of a loved one. How long must they put up with the snail pace of executing a guilty murderer? The recent case of a convict in San Quentin who raped and murdered a young gal is a good example of the victims who don’t even know the deceased.
This man’s crime was committed in 1980. He was sentenced to death. 30 years have passed, and he is still awaiting execution in San Quentin. Who paid all the costs of confining this criminal? The public. The cost of incarcerating a convict in this state averages more than $30,000 per year. Then there are the expenses of prosecuting attorneys, court hearings, witnesses, and the appeal process including the involvement of the governor. When you add up all these costs, the amount is a tidy sum for the taxpayers to cough up, especially when there are nearly 700 inmates in San Quentin awaiting execution. Any resident who pays income, property, and sales taxes in California is a victim of these convicted criminals.
That is how our current judicial system functions to avoid the possibility that a “non-guilty” defendant is ever convicted and executed. Who audits these judicial proceedings that are so protective of guilty criminals? Who must implement the judicial improvements to facilitate the execution of the undesirables in society? Who judges the judges, as the ancient Greeks asked? When you think about all the innocent people slain in Iraq and Afghanistan because we declared war there, America appears to be hypocritical in our handling of despicable murderers!
There is insufficient proof for either side of the argument about capital punishment. Is life behind bars without parole more humane for hardened criminals than a quick execution? From whose perspective: the family of the convicted criminal, or the family of the innocent victim? Does execution of an evil doer deter other potential criminals from raping and murdering? Should those responsible for the safety of citizens bow down to religious dogma about not killing, or should they make punishment of the guilty more torturous hoping to discourage the daring incorrigibles on the outside from a life of crime that leads to a prison sentence?
Those who were robbed of a family member won’t be pleased with removing a vicious criminal from the streets and paying for his room and board and healthcare until he dies a natural death. Does anyone beside the loving members of a criminal’s family truly care about how a murderer is put to death? Should he or she avoid any suffering during execution as the holier-than-thou judge who stopped executions in California pretends? Has the judge ever lost a friend or a family member to a compassion less assassin or a hateful terrorist? Are the molded statues of justice in America blindfolded for a reason: so they don’t have to watch an execution?
Ask yourself, why do humans kill other humans? Are these murderers crazy? Can they blame parents, teachers, and “bad company” for their actions? Or our modern irrational, corrupt, and polarized society that tolerates their anti-social behavior? Is the prison system such a profitable business that convicts should be kept alive to reduce the cost of housing and feeding them by stamping out license plates as convicts do in Michigan?
Are the majority of gullible American citizens so easily swayed by religious rhetoric to accept “going easy” on vicious murderers? Can a few judges, who insist on reading the law as they choose, require the outrageous delays and expense of getting rid of violent miscreants?
Edgar Allen Poe wrote in his story, The Cask of Amontillado: “A wrong is unredressed when the retribution overtakes the redresser.” Such is the case of the convicted rapist/murderer who has been lounging around in San Quentin for 30 years at the public’s expense!