Some states are re-instating firing squads as an option to carry out the death penalty. The move is, of course, controversial, with staunch opinions for and against this method. But my question is, why do we even still have the death penalty?!
Before anyone starts writing angry letters about me being a bleeding heart, tree-hugger liberal, or glowing letters about me being a committed fiscal conservative and champion of harsh punishment, let me say up front that I’m neither. My frustration with the death penalty has less to do with personal conviction, and more to do with recognizing a common sense move when I see it.
Wasting Days, Wasting Nights
The death penalty is not a deterrent to violent crime. These thugs know that even if they get hit with a corporal punishment rap, it will take decades for the sentence to be carried out (minimum 25 years). And even then, there will be last minute stays, new evidence, protests, and on and on.
Just look at the statistics for all these rabidly pro-death penalty states. Even Texas takes years to kill anyone. And with recent botched executions across the country, more states are looking into commuting all death sentences to life in prison.
Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?
Even life without parole isn’t that bad, depending on what your life “on the outside” is like. For most of us, being denied our freedom would be devastating. But if you’re from some slum without enough to eat and constantly having to look over your shoulder to avoid getting whacked, suddenly “three hots and a cot” doesn’t sound so bad.
I personally know a homeless dude who was just looking for a way to get into the clink. He told me he was willing to do anything short of murder to get locked up. The dude eventually burned down a church… three times. He kept going back to the scene of the crime to torch a new building, just hoping to get caught. He finally ended up blazing a fire in the middle of the afternoon, with a bunch of people standing around, witnessing the whole thing. He didn’t even care! He got what he wanted.
I understand he’s about to get out. Somehow he’s been in touch with his old homeless friends, and one of them told me the other day that the day he gets out, he plans to burn down another church so he can get sent right back to prison. So much for rehabilitation!
Punishment Fits the Crime
It’s no secret that today’s prison system is way too comfortable. It’s well past time that we, as a country, re-evaluate the benefits of the death penalty. And, if we decide to keep it in place, at least speed up the process. Make it a deterrent to crime again. Someone gets sentenced to life in prison? Shoot ’em dead before they leave they even leave the courtroom. Let’s stop beating around the bush here.
by Tuppence “Penny” Piazza
Residential Life Magazine