Aug 16, 2011

What if they were wrong?

I'm not the biggest advocate in the world for abolishing any particular state's death penalty laws. I probably should be more concerned, but with everything else that is going on in this country and world...well, sometimes it's easier just not to think about some things.

I don't believe in the death penalty myself.  Not in this day and age.  Although I do get outraged by senseless crimes against children, and I've often thought that those found guilty of those particular crimes should be killed on the spot. But that's just frustration and emotion doing their jobs. When I calm down and really think about it, well...I just don't really feel that death as a punishment is something our government should condone.

And the biggest reason for feeling that way?  What if they were wrong?  They being the prosecution.  What can be done when we put an innocent man or woman to death? How can we fix an absolute wrong?

Like I said, I usually don't think about these things.  The death penalty was reinstated in New York in the mid-90's, but it was ruled unconstitutional in 2004.  And no amount of worry on my part is going to change the mind of lawmakers in Texas or Florida or any of the dozens of states that currently use the death penalty as a punitive measure.

I don't think about it unless it happens to come up.  And, while reading about Governer Rick Perry and his presidential bid, I came across the case of Cameron Todd Willingham.  A man convicted of arson and the murder of his children back in 1992.  Willingham was tried, convicted and eventually put to death in Texas in 2004.  One of the 234 executions that have been carried out during Governer Perry's tenure in Texas.

What if they were wrong?

It's a long article, but a chilling one.  Do yourself a favor.  Take 15 minutes out of your life to read that, then think about how it was possible for a government to put this man to death.  What if they were wrong?  What if they didn't care that they were wrong?

It's depressing as all hell...

PS - This isn't really about Rick Perry's candidacy.  I don't really have an opinion on him yet, or not an opinion I feel like sharing as of yet.  It's just something that came when I was reading about him.


sybil law said...

I will totally read that, but right now - I've got real life depressing going on - my cousin's 22 year old daughter (today is her bday in fact) has been missing - seemingly vanished - since 12:30a.m Saturday. Effing crazy. Her car, keys and purse and no signs of a forced entry or anything. Dog was locked in her bedroom, though. Cell phone and GPS turned off. Gone. I'm kinda freaking out, actually. Sucks being helpless.
My point is, if something's happened - I'll kill the motherfucker with my own hands.

Verdant Earl said...

Sybil - I saw you mention that on Twitter earlier. Fucking nuts! And you are right. Anyone who fucks with mine, I'd want to do them myself. Keep us posted, and I'll send whatever prayers I have left in my bag in your/her direction.

Dave2 said...

My beliefs are currently technically such that I could not be responsible in any way for the death of a human being... or even an animal.

But make no mistake... if somebody even attempted grievous harm on me or mine, I honestly don't know what would happen. Given certain extreme circumstances, I can picture a reality where death would be the very least of their problems by my hand.

Even though it pains me to even think about such a betrayal of beliefs which have saved me over and over again.

badgerdaddy said...

I've always thought that the idea of the death penalty surely depends on the belief in life after death. Otherwise, you're not being punished after the point of death. That's it, punishment over. Surely keeping someone alive means they can keep being punished, again and again. This is why I just don't believe in the death penalty. Because I don't believe in hell.

badgerdaddy said...

Just read the article. That's a hell of a piece.

Slyde said...

if someone killed you, i would don a black mask and avenge you.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a great supporter of the death penalty. Don't get me wrong, I do get that sometimes you feel like battering the crap out of a serial killer, but seriously, what if they got it wrong?? :|

It scares me! Imagine you're falsly accused and your lying on that bed being injected with something that you know will kill you.

What if your administering it and you have doubts on whether the guy "did it".

Who's to blame? The judge? The Jury? The guy who injected him?

If judgement day exists... who is judged on murder of the innocent but accused?

Crap, now I can't stop thinking about it!

Slyde said...

TWO days now without you posting a picture of a cat?

i call Bullshit!

what the fuck do you think we all come here for, anyway...?

Bruce Johnson said...

This is a wide ranging issue with lots of twists and turns. I remember George Bush #2 advocating that the Death Penalty was a way of removing dangerous people from society, and if locking them up for life didn't accomplish the same thing.

As it stands, the death penalty is useless, because it can't be made timely. A felon that sits on death row for 30 years before being executed is justice delayed. It serves no deterrent to put him to death, when most of those affected by his crime have passed away.

To be a deterrent, the death penalty has to be absolute and swift. You are convicted, they lead you out of the court room and hang you. That would be a deterrent. Would innocent people be put to death, sure, but that is why it should only be used in extreme cases, with little doubt of guilt.

I am a proponent of public denunciation of crime. Those little taggers won't be spray painting my wall if they are put in stock in the public square for 24 hours with no food or water. Those shop lifter will think twice about stealing a six pack of beer if they are caned in a public form and humiliated. But no need to worry about that, since the courts have considered this sort of thing 'cruel and unusual punishment'.

Then there is that guy in Norway that killed 70+ people....the most he can get is 22 years.

Punishments rarely fit the crime, we are an imperfect species with an imperfect system.

white rabbit said...

Try 'Rick Perry is a prick'...

Now that's an opinion :D

wv: smorted