Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm Against Death

I see where Texas whacked another one yesterday. The Arab slayer.

For years, I avoided taking a stand on the death penalty. As a cop, people just assumed that I was a supporter of capital punishment. My problem with the death penalty is that I lacked spiritual intelligence. Let me repeat that. I was not spiritually correct or intelligent enough to render an opinion. I avoided any talk of the death penalty.

Odd, huh?

My job as a cop was simply to arrest violators and bring them before the judicial system. Other than evidence gathering, I had no interest in the outcome or the penalty. Now I say that, but the reality is- is that cops hate to arrest guilty people and watch them get off. It is very counter productive to what we are trying to achieve. Evidence gathering is hard work and it is time consuming.

The greatest serial murderers in the United States? Bundy, Gacy, Harvey? (names that end in Y for 500, Alex) nah... 

Texas and Florida.  About a year ago, I got into a back and forth with some guy who is a huge death penalty proponent. Runs a blog of his own. Uses biblical quotes to try and sell his brand of justice. The problem with killing people is that it is not spiritually correct. In fact, it is spiritually sick. It's not that I am some candy ass or that I am trying to sell you on my belief system. I mean this IS just an opinion. It is simply my personal commitment to trying to be the best human being that I can be. And killing people doesn't fit that description of who I want to be. My adversary at that time, firmly believed that it was spiritually correct- dare I say God approved and perfectly normal- to put people to death.

Has it ever struck you as odd that we consider murderers to be horrible human beings yet when we do the murdering via the state- we can find any number of justifications that entitle us to do what we abhor. It's ok, when we do it. We have legitimate reasons. We have justice as our excuse.

And we don't call it what it is. We use more palatable terms. Capital punishment, lethal injection, things like that. Because when we kill someone, we do it in a humane way. We are better than they are, aren't we?  

I listened to Helen Prejean speak a year or two ago near Boise. (Dead Man Walking) I listened very intently. It wasn't that she brought some new revelations to the table although her figures (and granted they were hers) stated excess of 50% of murder victim families- if given a choice- would not choose capital punishment) The death penalty it appears, is just a political tool for cops, prosecutors, judges, and other politicians. Grieving families it seems, don't seek justice so much as ambitious prosecutors want death penalty convictions in furtherance of their careers. And if that's truly how we arrived here with the death penalty...I am certainly against death. Wrongful convictions aside.

In the end, we all decide what kind of people we are going to be and we make our choices. I am ok with that. I'm ok with the people who disagree with me. Sentencing people to death and carrying out the sentences has been no more effective in curbing murder rates than the "drug war" has been effective in stopping the illicit drug trade. I think at this point it's all morphed into some hideous political propaganda.

At any rate, thanks for allowing me to rant about something other than those buffoons in Washington and the never ending budget drama. Who knows...maybe I'll even conjure up that death blogger guy and get into another back and forth...

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