What Cathy Believes, Part One
For years, I used to believe that murders and child molesters should be executed. No middle of the road - the bastards deserve to die. However, in the last few years, I've become a staunch anti-death penalty advocate. Advocate may not be the right word because I don't rally or protest or anything (when the kids are older maybe), but anti-death penalty "person" didn't sound as good. Yes, I believe that murders, child molesters, and the like should suffer severe punishment, but we, as a society, do not have the right to kill other people. I'm not sure that some people really stop to think when they say "fry him!". If it not ok for Joe Blow to murder Jane Doe, why is it then acceptable for us to murder Joe Blow? It's been proven that the death penalty is not a deterrent for violent criminals. They still do it. It's more expensive to have an inmate on death row (think appeals processes) than to house a prisoner for life without parole. Here is a great link with a lot of money stats on it. (If you feel inclined, the rest of the site has all kinds of information on the death penalty). http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?Did=108&scid=7 Everyone is always bitching about where the taxpayers' dollars are going - I sure as hell don't want my money going to kill people.
I hear a lot that violent criminals will go to hell and "why not help them get there faster?" Well, A) I don't believe in hell and B) if, going by what most of these people believe, a person repents, is forgiven by God and absolved of their sins, won't they then go to heaven? Why on earth would you want someone who committed such a horrible crime to go to heaven sooner rather than later? I understand that God forgives all sinners. Ok, then God forgives the man who raped and murdered a little girl, the state kills him (quite humanely I might add) and then this man is up in heaven. I don't consider that a good punishment. Of course, I don't believe in heaven either, but I'm playing devil's advocate here.
Life without parole, to me, is a much more severe punishment than the death penalty. Prison is not a nice place, no matter if prisoners have cable TV and internet access or not (and that's a whole different issue right there). Prisoners are abused and mistreated by other prisoners. I'm not saying I think that's right, but it's a fact. "What if someone killed your child?" people have asked me, "how would you feel?" I'd want to kill that person. I'd want to torture them and make them feel tremendous pain. I wouldn't, though. But given the choice between having him (I'm going to use him here for convenience, I'm not saying that only men kill people) spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of ever getting out, or being strapped comfortably to a table, given a sedative, and sweetly put to sleep forever, I chose the former. The latter is getting off easy, in my opinion. Some violent criminals want to die - why would you want to give that prisoner the satisfaction of getting what he/she wants?
A good example to me of this is Timothy McVeigh. He was executed in 2001, 6 years after his crime. He was not repentant. He did not feel remorse for his crimes. He wasn't given the chance to really let it sink in what he had done. It might have taken 10, 20, 30 years for it to happen, but I do honestly believe it would have eventually. Perhaps it would have taken the birth of a niece or a nephew for him to realize what he'd taken away from so many people. For the 6 years he was incarcerated, he focused on his appeals. After they were finished, they did a swift job of executing him. He didn't have time to be miserable. He said he wanted to be a martyr and die for what he believed in.
And we gave that to him. It makes me sick, honestly.
Check out that link I posted before - look and see how many death row convictions are over-turned because of new evidence (most of it DNA). The fact of the matter is, there HAVE been innocent people murdered by our judicial system. There will be more if the death penalty is permitted to continue. There is no way to be 100% certain that every person executed is guilty. One innocent person who is executed proves that our system is flawed. One, just one, innocent person being executed is unacceptable to me.
We, do not have the right to kill other humans. I don't care what they have done - it is not our right to kill people.