25 June 2008

The death penalty

Posted by Dirk under: musings; politics .

The other day I got in a discussion with my mom about how we punish criminals. I don’t know how it started. She has a grandkid now and it sends her thoughts out on strange paths. At one point she said she thought that child molesters should have their “thingies” cut off so they can never do that again. I disagreed. Don’t get me wrong, I despise pedophiles, but cutting off body parts is wrong. We went round and round and finally I asked her, what if the little girl who lives across the street accused me of doing something bad to her and I was convicted and had my tallywhacker chopped off and then it was found out that I was innocent (as I had told everybody all along). Too late for my dick though, isn’t it? An apology is hardly sufficient. She agreed that would be bad.

She tried that “What if somebody did something really bad to Evangeline (my little niece)? Wouldn’t you want to kill them?”

The answer is Yes, of course. I’d kill them with my bare hands. Beat them to death, lick their splattered blood off my lips and take satisfaction in hearing them beg for their mother as they died. That’s personal though.

That’s the crux of the matter to me. Death should be personal. It shouldn’t be institutionalized. Killing someone should not be a function of the bureaucracy, not a matter of paperwork and filling out forms.

I can’t really fault a father who seeks revenge on the killer of his children. I might wish that we could all be zen about it and forgive, but most of us aren’t that kind of saint. I can find fault in somebody who kills because they are doing their job. Because they got Form 290.A with box 13 checked.

When death becomes part of the bureaucracy like that then nobody takes responsibility for the execution. It becomes too easy to pass the buck. Death by committee. I think some individual has to take the moral burden of making the decision for each death.

It bothers me a bit that Obama is for the death penalty. I feel it’s a bit of pandering. Like he’s saying that because he thinks he has to say it to get elected.

The Jakedog.org forums talk about this subject here.

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