Sunday, March 06, 2005


I Think Hell Has Frozen Over or I have had myself another stroke. It is also possible that since I am taking this story from secondary sources, i.e. the American Press, that I may not have my facts right.

According to both liberal and conservative media and internet sources, the Supreme Court has voted to abolish the death penalty for persons under 18.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court voted to abolish the death penalty for mentally retarded people. You may recall that during the 1992 campaign, Bubba C- decided to establish his good ol' boy bona fides (in the same way that John Kerry did when he went hunting for little animals, and in the same way that W- will whenever he gets around to asking his mommy's permission) by executing a retarded boy on death row. Accounts of that story say that the boy asked for ice cream for his last meal, but put it aside for later (i.e. after his execution).

Anyway, I was so happy that we wouldn't be seeing that again, that I never bothered to read the Supreme Court's opinion. Therefore, I said nothing about it to anyone. Back in those naive days, I thought I had to actually read something, actually had to know something to shoot off my mouth. Now that we all live in WMD/ Fox News world, I know that none of the so called "facts" that are handed to me have any connection to the truth, so I just assume things, and find that everyone else is behaving in the same way.

Anyway, this is the part where hell may have frozen over, or I may have had another stroke. Justice Kennedy, speaking for a majority of the Court (5 supposedly intelligent Americans) apparently has now said that 16 and 17 year olds should not get the death penalty because a consensus has developed in EUROPE that says that the death penalty for teenagers is wrong. In dissenting, Justice Scalia apparently said that he has a problem with that.


The consensus in Europe. Who cares? The consensus in Europe is to put your wet finger in the air to catch the way the money blows, then let your mother die in the hot summer heat because you are too busy on vacation to call to see how she is doing. Kill a person who doesn't dress like you, take a nap, and wait for the August holiday to roll in. That is Europe.

In Europe they don't believe in killing people for what they have done because they have a 5,000 year history of getting their jollies by killing people for what they look like.

I am not saying that the U.S. doesn't have a lot to answer for ... slavery, genocide, etc. ... but I don't take lessons in MORALITY from the corrupt stinkhole that is Europe.

Surely there are better reasons to spare the lives of under 18s than the worldwide consensus.

I do think this, and this is where it has always been hard to have a political discussion with me. Because I consider myself to be a good liberal, and people who know me also consider me to be a good liberal.

However ---

The general rule is that people who murder should be murdered in turn.

There are exceptions. I don't think killing someone who is trying to murder your wife is a capital crime. I have changed my mind a number of times through the years over whether you should be able to murder someone who is robbing your store if you yourself are out of harm's way.

None of these murderers get to say that they have exhausted their appeals and can choose their time to die. They die when it is convenient for us. And if we feel like having more appeals, or if we feel like going off to watch Ren and Stimpy, murderers are going to have to wait and die when we tell them. Maybe we could just surprise them, like they surprised their victims.

I do not think that we should be executing retarded people. I haven't really thought about where the age line should be for executing young murderers, although 18 sounds reasonable to me. Blood thirsty proponents of the death penalty have plenty of older people they could execute if they really wanted to. Since many of these older murderers are white, and some of them are even women and Christians, I don't know how many true believers in the death penalty there actually are, even in Texas and Mississippi.

Younger murder suspects are less powerful, less connected. I haven't seen the statistics (Like all good Americans, I'm faith-based now), but I bet there are a lot of non-whites to choose from. You can hang them with less effort, with less hand-wringing, easier to kick back with a beer later. That's probably why George and Alberto did so much executin' back in their Good Ol' Boy Days.

I believe that people who are found guilty of capital offenses should have the right to government lawyers, that if DNA could show that someone didn't do it, then the state has the obligation to get that DNA-evidence, even if the defense lawyer is not sharp enough to think of it. In fact if these lawyers can't do their jobs properly, the judge should step in and make sure that a fair trial is held in whatever way possible.

I will go one step further. I believe that if prosecutors and judges willfully suppress evidence that cause us to execute an innocent man, or fail to ask a question that they know would exonerate someone, then those prosecutors and judges should join the dearly departed themselves.

However, once we have known everything we can know, and we have run all the tests, and we know to the best of our ability in the imperfect world of 2004, that someone has murdered someone else -- that murderer should be executed by the state.

Why? Because people who murder should be murdered in turn, and the family of the murderer should not be forced to stop what they are doing to arrange the drive-by. Government has to step in, do the deed, and stop the cycle.

The notion that the government has the right to step in, and say, well, we don't have the money to conduct a proper manhunt or a proper trial, or we lack the moral courage to kill the millionaire murderer, so we beat the confession out of the befuddled retarded kid next door, or we'll sentence the guy to 3,330 years in prison instead, just in case, in some future time, it turns out that we may have been wrong, or we don't care who confessed, we already convicted someone, and there is no reason to go through it again. That government is, to me, illegitimate.

We are obligated as a people who claim to be moral to hunt down the real adult killers, even when they are white male fathers with jobs, and attend to their hangings.

I read a lot of words on this internet, and I read the Bible, too, but I have seen no actions to tell me that, as a species, we have evolved past that point.