Friday, July 10, 2009

The Ultimate Crime, the Ultimate Punishment

My friend Jonathan Warshay had a letter to the editor in Woodward Talk last week criticizing my position on capital punishment. Mr. Warshay believes that civilized nations should ban the use of capital punishment. I have always believed that persons guilty of murder should themselves be considered for capital punishment.

While Jonathan quotes some biblical verses to justify his position, there are plenty of references in the Bible to support my position, so I am not going to go there.

Warshay says my position is not justice, but rather revenge. But whether you call capital punishment revenge, punishment, or justice, doesnt really matter. And I understand there have been cases of people being wrongfully convicted of murder. In any such case with any shred of doubt, I would opt for life imprisonment.

But there are truly evil people in the world, and they do not subsribe to the reason of a civilized society. Someone in Monroe this past spring kidnapped, sexually abused, and then murdered a little 5 year old girl. They then buried her under cement on a river bank. If that criminal is found and proved guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, then he should be put to death.

Last week, a career criminal from South Caroline murdered five people over the course of a week in a small rural area. His life-long history is replete with many charges and convictions of assault, theft, intimidation, and now murder. The sheriff admits he should have been in jail.
Instead, the system failed, and now five innocent people have had their lives taken from them.

Life in prison fails as an adequate punishment. The murderer can kill again. Prisons are full of violence, rape, drug use, and theft. Why allow the murderer to live decades with 3 meals a day, a bed, a television, and even books and visists from loved ones. The persons they killed dont get any more meals, or books, or visits from their loved ones, other than at the site of their own graves.

Finally, I did not call for the ultimate punishment for the man who broke into my home in the middle of the night while I slept because he stole $29,000 worth of cars, tv's and jewelry. I suggested it was justice because he emptied a gun into a young man in Hamtramch last June, killing him with six bullets.

Decades ago, John Wayne Gacy was proved to have killed dozens of young men after torturing them in his home. He buried them under his crawl space. Illinois put him to death. That was justice.