Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Culture of Death

Warning: This one is a real downer.

I am a Catholic, and my Church speaks out against the Death Penalty. I am proud to be a Catholic because of that stand. I have said my peace on this before, that I see the Church as a moral compass within world. That compass can help us learn the right ways to live. But their view of the world is a utopian one, and I'll say again that we don't live anywhere near "Perfect."

This is why there is a duality in being both an American and a Catholic, and why we must have a seperation of government and Church. Sometimes, what we do can not line up with what we believe.

The only acceptable number of Death Penalties is zero, but because stuff like this happens, that zero number will always be a goal and not a reality. This man and this woman are the reasons I believe we must always have that option on the table. Society must sometimes take lives, in spite of our desire to give a chance at redemption. Sometimes the nature of the crime makes the criminals un-redeemable: not to God, but to Man. We may not judge their souls, but their crimes and their bodies fall within our jurisdiciton.

Even if they are crazy.

To quote Ron White: "[they] should have eaten crayons and rolled their s*** into little balls; the penalty is much less severe."

Sometimes it can't be about rehabilitation or witnessing, it must be about Justice for the dead, and the protection of the living.


Buzzzbee said...

Is it just me, or does it seem like we should be better at finding the lunatics before they murder innocent children?

Patrick Armstrong said...

Oh yes, yes we should.

I wonder where the workers at those homeless shelters were when those parents were beating those children.

I wonder where the other guests of those run-down hotels were, hearing screams through the walls.

I wonder where these folks ran afoul of the law before (because you know they did, somewhere) and why they were allowed to continue with their behavior.

But I understand the power of fear and cruelty, how people in all walks of life can become practiced at turning their heads, and letting stuff like this go. I understand that some folks can't help, because they've got their hands full with more immediate problems.

I also understand, that despite all of these failings, it still came down to the choice of the parents to give in to baseness and lay those angry hands upon their daughter.

mi said...

I hate to say this (some of you who know me will say that I don't, that I revel in this fact...but that's not true...I hate to say this)

There are people who simply do not deserve to live; not because their crimes are so horrible, not because their souls are ir-redeamable, and not because they are simply evil--but because their life threatens mine.

I believe there are those who harm out of necessity. I believe there are those who harm out of fervor and passion. I even believe there are tnose who harm without the knowledge that they are doing harm, those who know no better.

But then there are those who harm of their own volition, of their own idolitry(sp?) and of their own decision. They are people who harm of their own desire, their own greed, and their own knowledge of the consequences of their actions.

For those people, whose crimes range from the snuffing of a single life, a light on this planet, to the mass thievery taking place every day on Wall Street and the thousand Insurance Companies who steal the benefit of a full and healthy life from every one of us; for those people I believe the consequence should be absolute.

I hate to say this, I really do, but they deserve to die.

patsbrother said...

I don't hate to say this: I believe in the death penalty. Strangely enough, the best argument for the death penalty I have heard is that of my mother: if you take away all the liberties of another through murder, you forfeit your own rights to those same liberties. I know the death penalty is administered poorly in this nation. That is why I believe the process should be expanded and improved. I believe that, white or black, rich or poor, if there is DNA evidence that you are the murderer in a case of murder in the first degree, the prosecution must pursue the death penalty. Conversely, in the absence of DNA evidence, I don't believe we should pursue the death penalty except where extraordinary evidence such as clear videotape leads to absolute certainty beyond even most unreasonable doubts.

Just yesterday a friend posited the question, "wouldn't the State be setting a bad example" by executing murderers? As I seem to be on the far side of this particular issue, can one of you explain to me a more explicit rationale for this line of thinking? (My friend didn't have much more to say.)

Dante said...

I'd hate to see DNA evidence be the end-all be-all determining factor for a death penalty. DNA evidence is just playing odds. They might be astronomical odds, but they're still odds. Depending on the quality of the DNA evidence, those odds could be in line with something like winning Powerball. I'd hate to play the odds on a matter of life and death.

patsbrother said...

To my knowledge there has never been a case where a man convicted of murder based in part on DNA evidence is later proven to be innocent. Last time I heard the number, just shy of 100 death row inmates were exonerated based on DNA testing. I do not see this as a crap shoot but as the best evidence imaginable, short of clear footage of the incident. If DNA evidence is too precarious to condemn someone to death, how could you ever, on any evidence, sentence someone to life in prison? At what point can the State affirmatively assert that A killed B, and deprive A of all liberty?

Defense attorneys will always say you have to be certain beyond a shadow of a doubt, which is not in fact true. The trier of facts in a criminal case must be certain beyond reasonable doubt. Else how would the State convict anyone?

dadvocate said...

Although I'm a Catholic, I believe in the death penalty. I first realized this when I was a juvenile probation officer fresh out of college. I met one kid who had shot another through the head. Due to the circumstances this was not a capital offense but this kid was pure evil. I couldn't stand to be in his presence. Apparently, never was executed.

Adults can be unbelievably cruel to kids. Several years ago outside of Cincinnati, a mother ran over her 8 year old son because he missed the school bus and was trying to hide and not go to school. A couple of weeks ago a man in the Cincinnati area beat his 13 year old daughter to death with a golf club while she slept in her bed. And, of course, we all remember Andrea Yates.

I really don't understand. It just doesn't bother me when people like this are put to death. At times, it does bother me when they aren't.

Dante said...

Let's see if I can get through this post without using the word "odds." D'OH!

"To my knowledge there has never been a case where a man convicted of murder based in part on DNA evidence is later proven to be innocent."

That may be true, but to my knowledge DNA has never been lone factor in a death penalty case. It has often been be part of a large (or sometimes small) body of evidence that determines seeking the death penalty.

Your original argument is that the death penalty should be pursued based on DNA evidence even if there is no other evidence supporting the prosecutor's argument. That's where I think you're wrong. DNA evidence is currently the straw (or sometimes the anvil) that breaks a camel's back. It should stay that way in my opinion.

patsbrother said...

Dante, I did not intend for my original argument to stand for the notion that "the death penalty should be pursued based on DNA evidence even if there is no other evidence supporting the prosecutor's argument" simply because I do not envision a scenario in which you would have DNA evidence and nothing else. The only way to use DNA evidence is to have a match, and except where there is a DNA database, such as those for convicted felons, you have to physically acquire the DNA from a suspect. If you are a suspect, there are other reasons to believe the suspect committed the crime. As for the felons, were the DNA match to arise out of a database search absent suspicion otherwise, if that is the only evidence raised against him at trial, he would have a significant opportunity to raise a defense.