Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Revisiting the Death Penalty



So maybe I’m a knuckle-dragging war-monger flesh-eating conservative, but I support the death penalty. I not only support it but I think it should be doled out a bit faster and harsher than it already is.

I’m not calling for the Islamic beheadings of people who shoplift a pack of gum or burning a woman at the stake because some asshole didn’t like the color of the burlap sack she was forced to wear. But rapists at the very least should be castrated, and if they kill the victim in the process, they too should be killed. And muderers? Yeah, kill ‘em, too.

It costs about $50,000.00 a year to feed, clothe, and house a prisoner these days. While I don’t advocate a total solitary-confinement, chain-gang deal for all convicts, I also don’t want these guys sitting around watching free cable, eating ice cream, making tattoo kits from sharp objects, and smoking cigarettes all day, and lifting vast amounts of weight to get bigger & stronger to commit worse crimes. Job training, remedial education (not free college degrees), and lots of counseling & rehab; yes sir, all day long. Rehabilitate the offender instead of letting them languish and have no way to better themselves once they get out. But for those on death row……

I’m not saying the death penalty should be handed out pell-mell, either. It’s the most severe punishment there is. And while I believe there should be no shadow of a doubt as to guilt before sentence is carried out, there exists such a backlog and logjam in our justice system that the appeals process takes 20 years. That’s a million dollars, not counting legal costs, of taxpayer money. I’m also not saying that there aren’t innocent people in jail or on death row; DNA evidence is exonerating more & more innocent people every year.

But I propose a few changes. First off, no plea bargains for a confession or information on a crime. Don’t allow a killer to bargain down to life in prison for information like where a body is hidden or to get a confession, unless that life sentence will be at hard-labor or solitary confinement or both. Life in prison watching Jerry Springer and ass-raping a cellmate is too good for them. Let the rest of their life be spent on a chain gang making crushed gravel by day and watching a blank fucking wall all night. Otherwise, you can opt out for death. Hell, take the life sentence and then opt for death after it starts to drive you nuts, sweet-pea. We’ll accommodate.

Second, I propose that these capital crimes get sped through the process. None of this waiting in jail for 2-3 years before a court docket comes available. Trial within 60 days. That’s time enough to get your shit together. And fast-track the appeals process. If it’s a capital crime with capital punishment, the appeal is heard immediately within 6 months by the state supreme court. Screw going through 10 levels of appeals courts up & up & up the ladder till it gets heard by the United States Supreme Court. Unless it’s a Federal case, it’s not the federal government who is executing you. It’s the state; therefore, the highest court in the state should hear your appeal. And once the court upholds the conviction and sentence, that sentence needs to be carried out swiftly. Within 30 days, you’re gone and no longer a burden on society.

Of course, that will put a hefty strain on the courts. However, this IS a life & death matter, kids. Less-pressing cases like some dickhead suing a dry-cleaner for 57 million dollars over a pair of pants can wait. If there’s DNA evidence, then that evidence takes priority over less pressing shit like paternity testing for the Maury Povitch show. Baby-Momma-Drama can wait another few days. To ease the strain on existing overworked criminal DNA labs, private labs should be required to assist the police as part of their state license certifications. You can still make an ass of money off paternity tests, but now & again you’ll also be doing some testing for the good of the people, a little pro bono work. It also puts a lot of pressure on both the defense and prosecution, but then again it also ensures that they’ll be scrambling to do their absolute best.

And then there’s the execution itself. Last I knew, no one stopped before killing someone and pondered the most humane way to murder someone. No, murders are generally painful, messy affairs. Though some would say it’s barbaric to execute someone in the same manner in which they killed their victim, there are others who would say if you shoot someone, then you should be shot too, etcetera. The flaw in that reasoning is that where are you going to find people who will carry out these sentences? If someone out there is willing to be a paid state employee who has to occasionally strangle people or stab them 56 times with a rusty screwdriver, then I am very afraid of that person.

Now we have all these bleeding-hearts out there who made us come up with lethal injections because hanging and electric chairs and gas chambers were inhumane and cause the condemned to suffer unduly. Excuse me? I’m supposed to have sympathy for someone who beats someone to death with a shovel for the $17.00 in their wallet? No way. And now we have more whining sissies complaining that even lethal injection is cruel and inhumane. So? Your point is? Tell you what; let’s do it the old-fashioned way. The guy who came up with the lethal injection concept was recently quoted as saying that the best way to execute someone so that it’s over instantly and without pain is the guillotine. Yep, lop off that head lickety-split. Let ‘em eat cake. I guarantee facing a giant stainless razor blade might be a deterrent for some people.

But the better option for deterrence? Public executions. Now, earlier I spoke against the public executions that get performed in the extremist Muslim nations. I should clarify a little. Don’t kill someone for a trivial crime. Islamic Sharia law (or more rather whack-job fundamentalist zealotry) has you being killed for everything, it seems, from parking violations to having a Koran written in the wrong font to just being a woman. But if we started televising executions it might act at as a deterrent. Or just put it on Pay-per-View, with the proceeds going towards victims’ recompense. There’s like 250 million people in the United States. If say, twenty million people paid 25 dollars to watch the event, that’s $500,000,000.00. Yes, half a BILLION dollars. If the victims get say, 10% of that, that’s still fifty million. Hell, charge more for really notorious criminals. Charge fifty bucks for a serial rapist or triple homicide. A hundred bucks to watch a terrorist get executed. Shit, I bet if they’d put Saddam’s hanging on PPV, it would have been a sellout at five hundred, and that’s for High Def multi-angle coverage, not some bullshit cell phone video.

Then you’ll get some dicks like Golden Palace dot com to sponsor the condemned. The guy shaves his head, and as he lays it on the chopping block, you see the big letters saying goldenpalace.com before the beheading. But what’s in it for the condemned? A last request for a hooker, and the advertiser picks up the tab. There’s a buck to be made here, and you know they’ll make it.

1 comment:

Track-A-'Crat said...

Steve,

Love the winning combination of justice and the free market (plus PPV and sponsorship - kinda morbid but people would pay to watch it in droves).

About the guillotine, though - it wasn't always as swift as one would imagine. The blade could get rusty and dull, wobble room might develop in the shaft (meaning that the blade targets the skull not the neck), etc.

Still, any method of capital punishment that counts French royalty among its decapitees has gotta be good enough for the common criminal...