Defending the death penalty
0 comment Wednesday, October 29, 2014 |
It seems I've never written a post on this blog which is specifically about capital punishment. It's odd that I haven't because I feel strongly about it.
Every now and then, there is some mainstream media article attacking the death penalty, and making claims about our 'biased' justice system. Every now and then, like clockwork, Mexico -- Mexico, of all countries! -- has the colossal temerity to condemn us for executing criminals in our prisons, usually in Texas prisons. Well, if they only kept their killers at home, we might not execute so many of them, but that would not occur to them. Mexico, one of the most corrupt, dysfunctional, ramshackle countries in the Western Hemisphere, lecturing us on morality, and striking a superior pose. That really is humiliating.
This is something that really annoys me: the way the left uses the death penalty as an issue on which to lecture to us, from their moral high horse. I find it really rankling when countries like Canada or Ireland or France or wherever refuse to yield up one of our fugitive murderers, actually making said murderers into some kind of perverse heroes, as if they were political prisoners. Ireland and France, for instance, harbored the odious Ira Einhorn, whose girlfriend's body was found in a trunk in his apartment. To me, his guilt was apparent.
Why did some in other countries take up his dubious cause? To teach the U.S. a moral lesson, I think. We are so often seen as the heavies in the rest of the world.
For liberals, capital punishment is merely legal murder. We have quite a few American-born liberals who hold this opinion, but the reality is, most Americans are not opposed to the death penalty where appropriate. The rest of the world seems to be of a different mind.
Sarah, Maid of Albion writes an honest blog entry on the subject, confessing some ambivalence about it. I tried to make a case for it as best I could in a few short paragraphs in a comment, but it's near impossible to do so in a blog comment.
I respect that Sarah has written about her misgivings. I simply think that all too often, this subject is not discussed, and the media relentlessly presents only their side of things.
It seems that there is quite a rift between us and our British cousins when it comes to some of these issues like capital punishment and the right to bear arms. The difference is greater than in previous eras due to the greater influence of liberal/leftist ideas in Britain, and the weakened state of Christianity there. At one time, we were more of one mind with the British on such matters, but a wedge has been driven between us. Unfortunately, liberal ideas, and an increasingly enfeebled Christian establishment may soon cause Americans to lose our traditional perspective.
Fewer and fewer Americans are really conversant with their Bibles, though we still have a Biblically-based system of laws. The Bible lays out the reasons for the death penalty.
However it is now commonly believed even in America that the commandment 'thou shalt not kill' forbids the death penalty, and that the popular statement that 'all life is sacred' means that we must executing killers.
Really? Sparing the murderer denies the value of innocent life; the Bible clearly differentiates between 'shedding innocent blood' and shedding the blood of a mankiller, a murderer.
This distinction between innocent blood, and the blood of a murderer or otherwise heinous criminal, is something that few people today seem to grasp. Why is it so hard to understand? Somehow, in place of the old understandings, we have this new liberal nonsense about how ''all life is precious.'' Really? Where does that idea come from? The Bible makes clear that those who shed innocent blood, who murder, must forfeit their own lives. That is putting the ultimate value not on life per se, but innocent life.
There is a difference. The Bible, contrary to what Christian and secular liberals think, is all about discerning, making distinctions, dividing, separating, judging, choosing a side -- the side of justice and right. It is not about egalitarianism or moral equivalency or blurring differences into nonexistence.
Liberal egalitarian dogma insists that 'all life is sacred' (except, seemingly, that of the unborn); though killers' lives are put on a par with those of the innocents whose lives they take.
Here this website puts forth the usual liberal arguments against the death penalty, such as:
Value of human life: Human life has intrinsic value, even if a person has murdered another individual. The death penalty denies the sacredness of human life. Live is so precious that nobody should ever be killed, even by the state.''
See above.
Other 'arguments' used to oppose death for murderers:
Unfairness: The mentally ill, poor, males, and racial minorities are over-represented among those executed. One pilot study of over 2 dozen convicted criminals on death row found that all had been so seriously abused during childhood that they probably all suffered from brain damage.''
Yes, and let's see some proof of this ubiquitous claim of abuse or 'brain damage.' Criminals always whine that they were themselves abused as children, so they can't help what they do. Never mind that many people who were abused in some way as children --- or as adults -- commit no crimes, and are law-abiding, decent people. Abuse does not guarantee a criminal career.
And again, I have an idea which will shock many post-moderns: criminals lie.
Is that so hard to imagine? Criminals are, as a group, guilty by definition of dishonesty or anti-social conduct. Lies are always part of their self-justifying, rationalizing, self-serving, narcissistic 'defense mechanisms.' They will, almost 100 percent of the time, try to deny everything, and when the evidence is against them, when they are backed into a corner, they try to deflect blame: somebody or something made them do it. They did not know what they were doing. They 'dissociated' and became temporarily insane. They had bad childhoods (which may be true, but does not excuse them), and they are often prone to blame their victims.
So nobody with an ounce of common sense should accept, at face value, unproven claims of childhood abuse on the part of criminals. They are prone to lie when it serves their needs.
But if it's the case that our justice system is so flawed, then let's scrap our whole justice system, by all means, because if it's not perfect we can't try or punish anyone, apparently. The ACLU and all other such criminal-friendly organizations are constantly bemoaning how blacks, I mean 'African-Americans' are disproportionately arrested, convicted, and punished at all levels. So they say. What is never considered, or even mentioned here, is that this may just be the case because blacks are more crime-prone (statistics certainly suggest this) and they simply commit more crimes. Yet the mainstream media perpetuate the idea of a 'racist justice system', apparently wishing us to believe that all races are 'equal' in the commission of crimes, which is absurd.
If anything, I would suggest that Whites, especially White males may be at a disadvantage. When a White man commits some heinous crime (which does happen; I don't deny that) there is no big media machine or racial advocacy apparatus that goes into overdrive to drum up sympathy and outrage over the 'unfairness' of his being arrested, convicted, or sentenced. There is no 'race card' to be played. There is no NAACP to march or to hold press conferences. There are no crying, hymn-singing, sign-carrying White liberals and black protesters when a White man is about to be executed. No, this only occurs when a person from a 'protected' group is convicted or sentenced or facing execution. So they have far more people advocating for them, at public expense ultimately, and they have a biased media on their side. Who is truly at a disadvantage here?
The website linked above even admits that there is a bias in favor of female criminals in general; it may seem surprising that they state this matter-of-factly, but not really, because race trumps all, even the feminist agenda:
Women convicted of murder are almost never executed; that is a penalty that is almost entirely reserved for men.''
I've mentioned that fact in a previous blog post. I am somewhat morbidly fascinated with women who commit violent crimes. I've followed many of these criminal cases, some involving women who kill, and it often seems as if they kill those nearest to them: spouses, children, siblings in some cases. Even parents.
Most of us still have a residual belief that women are the 'weaker' sex, the gentler sex, but there are always exceptions. The belief still persists, which makes many jurors think that surely something ''made'' the accused woman kill, because they ''know'' women would not do so without some extreme circumstance ''forcing'' her to do it, or 'driving her insane.'
So the justice system is imperfect. So is every human institution. It's an inbuilt thing. Does that mean we abolish courts, laws, and prisons because the occasional innocent person is accused, convicted, and in rare cases, executed?
And if there are a few innocent people convicted, I would wager there are many, many more guilty people who walk free, who suffer no punishment (because they have slick, shrewd, unscrupulous attorneys, or because a biased jury -- as in the OJ Simpson case -- gives them a pass). I am far more worried about the dangerous criminals who game the system being free to continue their crimes than I am about the few innocent ones being punished. It's absurd to expect perfection of our justice system, and I don't think we err on the side of harshness; just the opposite.
And why am I more concerned with the guilty ones being exonerated or getting obscenely light sentences? Because many innocent people suffer in some way at the hands of the guilty who go free. If an innocent man or woman is imprisoned, is there commensurate suffering? Certainly the wrongly convicted, and their family members would suffer, but how much worse is the suffering of an innocent victim of a murderer who should not have been free, and of course the suffering of the victim's family and friends.
I am more concerned about the fate of innocent people on the street who are prey to criminals than I am about possibly wrongfully convicting an accused. Of course we should try to minimize mistakes, but we are leaning far too much toward the lenient side, with predictable results. To fret and worry that we are executing innocent people while guilty and dangerous ones are running free is to have one's priorities upside down.
Here, I will recite the usual cliche that 'one innocent person convicted is too much', but when one guilty murderer or molester goes free, far more than one innocent person suffers, in most cases. And too often it is the most vulnerable who suffer.
One innocent victim of a wrongly-freed criminal is too much.
I think it is the stuff of Hollywood movies and of liberals' fevered fantasies to believe that innocent people, who have never done a wrong in their lives, are whisked off the streets, wrongly accused, railroaded by evil prosecutors, convicted by corrupt, biased juries and 'hanging judges,' and sentenced to death. I don't believe it's statistically likely that an innocent 'first offender' would end up on death row and be executed without a chance at justice.
If anything, the process drags on and on, as delays are sought, appeals are made, and years pass before a convicted murderer is executed, if ever. This process affords more than enough time for evidence to be gathered and presented to exonerate an innocent person, if he is truly innocent.
We hear so often, thanks to Hollywood's and the news media's bias, of some innocent man who is exonerated after years in prison, thanks to DNA evidence. But what of the cases in which the evidence proves the man's guilt after all? I suspect there are more of these cases, but the media plays these down.
Every prisoner claims to be an innocent victim. It's sensible to be skeptical of those claims rather than too credulous.
Another argument often made against executing criminals is that 'it's actually crueler to sentence them to life in prison; I would rather die than spend decades in prison, so we are letting them off easy to execute them." This argument has the advantage of trying to sound rather conservative, as if punishment for the murderer really is desirable, while paradoxically claiming that the death penalty is 'letting them off easy.'
If there were no chance of a killer serving life in prison escaping and victimizing others, which we know is not realistic, maybe there could be a case made for life in prison. But prisoners in maximum security prisons have escaped and have killed again. Think of the Texas Seven.
Others have managed to escape, or have been released by some bureaucratic incompetence or due to bad decisions by liberal judges, and have killed again. Google Kenneth McDuff.
No prison is escape-proof. Dangerous criminals whose lives are spared may one day be walking free and will almost surely do harm to more innocent people. When they do, whoever is responsible for their wrongful freedom should be held accountable for the harm they do.
And as for the supposedly harsher punishment of life in prison: maybe in the old days, the days of solitary confinement in a dank cell, fed on bread and water, or doing hard labor breaking rocks, this might, might have been true. Somewhat. Nowadays, prisons are generally not that bleak; prisoners have many amenities that some on the outside lack, such as cable TV, phone privileges, 'conjugal visits', gym equipment, and so on.
The idea that convicted killers spend time in a dark cell, alone with their supposed 'consciences', living out their lives tormented by remorse, is just straight out of a movie or a bad novel. Instead, the reality is the example of mass murderer Richard Speck in prison videotaping his 'parties' with his prison boyfriend. The videotape was shown, (the the least offensive parts, anyway) on national TV. Or think of Susan Smith, the mother who killed her children, seeking romance via personal ads while serving her sentence. Or Pam Smart, who had her husband killed, having liaisons with guards in prison. Or the Colorado 'black widow', whose name escapes me, who advertised that she would help an illegal get a green card via marriage, in exchange for companionship. I'm afraid that none of these people were sitting and repenting, weeping over their crimes, in prison. They were using and manipulating and having a good time, in many instances, at our expense.
We live in such a liberal age that even many who are in some respects conservative and who believe in being 'tough on crime', will shrink from approving the death penalty. We often hear things like 'if we kill criminals, we are just as bad as they are.' I think this kind of statement shows just how strong and pervasive liberal indoctrination is, and further, how far most people are from traditional understandings and interpretations of the Bible.
It is not just those "harsh" Protestant fundamentalists who traditionally supported the death penalty; the Catholic church followed the authority of Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine in approving of the death penalty for certain crimes, including murder.
If a man is a danger to the community, threatening it with disintegration by some wrongdoing of his, then his execution for the healing and preservation of the common good is to be commended. Only the public authority, not private persons, may licitly execute malefactors by public judgement. Men shall be sentenced to death for crimes of irreparable harm or which are particularly perverted." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Further, Thomas Aquinas also said that executing criminals 'protects those who are undergoing capital punishment from the harm they may suffer . . . through increased sinning which might continue if their life went on."
Surely this makes sense from a Christian point-of-view. If the criminal is truly repentant, I would think the pain of remorse, and the fear of doing the same things again, would make them prefer to pay the penalty.
One such criminal, who was a child-killer, requested the death penalty, and said
"I must be executed before I have an opportunity to escape or kill someone within the prison.''
Further, he said that he knew he would kill again, including killing prison guards, if he had the chance.
Predictably, liberals took this statement as proof that he was just a poor sick man who should be spared and 'helped.'
His statement contained another reason for execution: prisoners have killed, even in prison. Prisoners have been killed (remember Jeffrey Dahmer?) while in prison. Better, from the criminal's perspective, to have been executed than subjected to 'justice' at the hands of another killer in prison, surely.
The fewer killers in prison, the safer for those who work there, as well as for the less dangerous prisoners there. Why keep dangerous individuals alive indefinitely, where they can wreak more harm?
Those who are not Christians will not be persuaded by arguments from Scripture or from Christian scholars, but they should at least concede that our society, though it may have fallen away to some extent from its Christian roots, is centered on Christian morality. The weakening of Christianity, and the decline in familiarity with the Bible and our Western traditions, have meant that our society is becoming more incoherent, in the true sense of the word, every day. We can't just cobble together a crazy-quilt of do-it-yourself liberal 'morality' and expect our society to hold together, or to be a safe and stable place in which to live and raise our families. There have to be some agreed-upon values and standards, and liberalism has made that more and more difficult, as liberalism constructs a warped mirror-image of Christianity which even cites Scripture in the cause of some rather un-Biblical ideas.
Here's another thing which crosses my mind: the anti-death penalty forces often point the accusing finger at the United States as being a 'backward' country because of our (rather infrequent, in some states) application of the death penalty. They like to associate us with some of the more barbaric countries which still execute criminals. Guilt by association.
It's often said that America is the 'only first-world nation still executing people', or words to that effect.
Actually Japan still uses the death penalty, and I think they are actually more sensible about it than we are, though some would say they are too harsh also.
But if our rulers are to go through with this rumored shotgun marriage between the U.S. and Mexico and Canada, and if we ultimately move towards some kind of one world system, with the U.N. having some authority over us all, our justice system is finished. Mexico and Canada do not use the death penalty. We will be the red-headed stepchild made to conform to Mexico's and Canada's ideas of justice. The system of jurisprudence that grew up over the centuries in England and later here will not be part of any New World Order. It's one more part of our longstanding traditions that will be slated for extinction should we lose our sovereignty.
Our system is not perfect, but I don't see any other country as being a superior example to follow. Our forefathers took great care to give us our jurisprudence system and we should not jettison it lightly.

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