A Post By Griping Grandpa
Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of speculating who will become our next President, I would like to use this post to cover a different topic that I feel strongly about.
For thousands, if not millions, of years humans have killed other humans. And it’s not getting any better – we have become more and more efficient at destroying our own kind. As was demonstrated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II we can wipe out a city with a single bomb. Can we call that progress?
Perhaps wars are unavoidable, but I want to address the insanity of warfare in a future post. Suffice it to say at this time that we should examine who would benefit from wars.
What I want to cover in this post is capital punishment, the death penalty. We can start on the road to civilization by abolishing it. Why? I have many reasons, which do not include a misplaced sympathy for criminals.
It is illegal for an individual to kill someone, except in self defense. There are bad guys out there who mean harm and if it’s a matter of “you or him”, you have good reason for it not to be you who bites the dust.
Now, let’s take a man who has been arrested and convicted of murder. He is in custody and the “you or him” no longer applies. He can be locked up in prison for the rest of his life and, with proper security, he will be in no position tot kill again. My position is that it is wrong to kill the guy, because individuals do not have the right to kill, except in self defense and, because a government is made up of individuals, nor does it have that right. Besides, government should set a good example for its citizenry.
Another good reason is that sometimes it happens that someone is falsely convicted. While a prisoner who turns out to be not guilty can be released, you can’t un-execute someone.
Is the prospect of a possible death penalty an effective deterrent to committing the crime? Maybe, but I doubt it. Criminals typically believe they won’t get caught, so they don’t dwell on possible consequences of their actions.
And, if they do consider what may happen, they might well prefer a quick and relatively painless death to spending the rest of their lives in a hostile high security prison.
Then there is the cost aspect. While we might believe the death penalty to be more cost effective than life imprisonment, the opposite is true. Some years ago there was a measure on the California ballot to abolish capital punishment in that state. It was projected that doing so would save the state millions of dollars a year. To my surprise the measure was defeated.
But in my opinion the most compelling argument is that government’s job is to protect life, liberty and property of its people. While the anti-social acts of a criminal can lead to his being locked up, so society can continue to function normally, the deliberate execution of criminals can shake law abiding people’s confidence in their own safety. Government should refrain from barbaric acts and instead, by its example, show responsibility, fairness, honesty, compassion and civilized behavior in general, thus inspiring its people the do the same.