A thought about the death penalty

A lot of people have gotten the death penalty for commiting a single murder. Should somebody who committed one murder really get the exact same punishment as someone like Dzokar Tsarnaev or Timothy McVeigh? Yes, murder should be taken very seriously, but killing once is barely even in the same league as bombing hundreds of innocent people.

This is a demonstration of confusing the idea of Justice, with Vengence. I don’t see the Justice Department’s duty to dispense vengence, and feel that whatever the guilty party has done, killing him is killing him. I don’t support the Death Penalty, and will offer up a toast to Darwin if I’m alive to see it abolished.
I think a similar misunderstanding is responsible for what haunts crime victims who are looking for “closure”. There is no such thing.

Many, many family members of murdered loved ones want to see their loved one’s killer executed. The ‘closure’ they experience is the knowledge that that person received proper justice and is no longer walking the face of the earth, and it means a lot to them.

I can’t help but think of the false positives. Imagine finding out that an innocent person was executed for the sake of giving you closure.

A lot of the single killings are someone who personally knows the victim and still premeditates killing them. In someways that’s more troubling to me than someone who kills dozens of unknown people motivated by the passion of some grand cause. The first doesn’t have emotional distance but still manages to coldly decided to plan and execute the crime.

You’ve talked to a lot of these people? I know a few. There’s never any closure. Your loved one is gone. At most there’s relief that the long process is finally over.

This is a point worth consideration. I’d have no problem with life without parole in the instances lacking incontrovertible evidence that the accused was indeed the murder…thus the possibility exists that someone wrongly convicted may be freed at some later date. I’d also like to see that should such incontrovertible evidence be discovered at some later date then the life sentence vacated and the death penalty applied.

I’d happily wager with you, however, that a great many more people have been killed by convicted murders who’ve not been executed than have ever been wrongfully executed for a crime they didn’t commit.

And this is why you so often see the family and loved ones of murder victims attending executions of their loved one’s killer, even decades after the fact and often having to travel great distances to do so?

As I alluded to before there are different types of closure, and the family and loved ones of murder victims most certainly derive the kind of closure I described before in knowing that the killer of their husband, wife, daughter, boyfriend, etc., got proper justice and is no longer experiencing life after having deprived the person or people they loved of theirs.

Again, have you ever talked to any of these people?

Would it make any difference if I had? Or would I hear dismissals because ‘anecdotes are not proof’?

Still, to answer your question, no I haven’t. But I’ve seen and heard them speak on TV many times and I’ve read what many others have had to say. Now and then there’s a family who tries to take what they consider the high road and plead for the killer to be spared, but experience tells me that only happens about once in twenty times…if that much.

Most people want to see their loved one’s killer get the maximum punishment possible. This is really not up for dispute in any honest and reasonable way.

How do you apply fractions? A killer of a hundred people could say, “Well, I didn’t kill 50,000 people.”

Whether the person murdered one person or a million, his message is the same: Human life is meaningless, disposable, and has no intrinsic value. The death penalty is taking him at his word: that his own life is meaningless and disposable; so it disposes of it.

I’d think (in the case of terrorist bombers) they do think human life has value, that’s why they do what they do - to destroy that value, to make whatever group they hate, hurt by the loss of that value.

Not that I agree with the starting premise that we should use the calculus of human value of killers ourselves, of course. It’s an insane argument - we don’t like what killers do, why should we take any input from their rationales?

How about this approach:

One murder: 25 years
Two: 50 years
Three: Life
Four: Straightforward execution
Five: Slow execution
Ten: Moderate torture prior to execution
100: Prolonged torture prior to execution
1000: Prolonged torture indefinitely

I guess I’m trying to make a lame point that, once a line is crossed, there isn’t a good way to ramp up penalties. One either believes in the death penalty or not, and the line that’s crossed is usually (premeditated) murder…

And a mistaken conviction is saying to his corpse, “So sorry; we were taking you at that other guy’s word! Gosh is our face red!”

I suppose I am one of those people that Starving Artist is talking about .
When a drunk ran my daughter off the road causing her car to flip end over end .Witnesses say he never touched his breaks but hit the gas and kept on going . A week later he sobered up and turned his self in . He was charged and then let out on bail. three months later he killed himself by OD on drugs and booze , but dead is dead . The day I heard the news ,it was like a car tire with a leaky valve stem . My anger just sort of deflated and I was able to focus on my grief and start the healing. It wasn’t about revenge , even at the lowest point of my anger I couldn’t see myself trying to end his life , that was what I was part of my anger ,the other part was that he was still walking around able to feel the sun on his face and hug his family , while my 21 year old daughter was cold in her grave.
I felt bad for his mom who dealing with the loss of her son plus she was dealing with the fact that her son had not only killed another person but had taken his own life as well . that has to be rough .
I am not nor have I ever been a religious person so it wasn’t an eye for an eye deal . it was pure cold anger at that fact that a drunk had killed my girl and was still experiencing all the things she had been cheated out of.

My apologies , for rambling on .

The only closure there is , is the closing of her coffin for the last time .
But, the knowing that her killer is not walking around experiencing what he deprived her of and that he won’t ever kill someone else daughter . Goes a long way in helping me to deal and heal …

And why should our own law reenforce that particular sick message?

How about if our law says sign here if you consent to assisted suicide – only instead of “sign here”, it’s “commit murder”? That works for me; would it work for you?

Assisted suicide-a right only for those that have committed murder?
Does that really work for you?