Friday, March 4, 2011

The Death Penalty

It surprises me how controversial this topic is since it is, in my opinion, the most sensible outcome for a violent criminal in regards to society as a whole. Unfortunately many in opposition to the death penalty attempt to force religious beliefs or emotions into the argument but I do not believe either belongs in a discussion about what is best for society. In fact, through the years decisions based on religious doctrine or emotions have proven to be the most troubling for a society in the long run. Logical prudence is needed for weighty topics and is rarely used. Equally useless is the application of rare exceptions to the norm as an argument against a particular stance. There will always be exceptions and you must consider the magnitude of these exceptions compared to the overall end result, not simply discard the end product due to the few exceptions.

To begin I will say very clearly that I believe the death penalty should be used much more widely than it currently is applied. Examples of crimes that should carry a capital punishment possibility include but are not limited to attempted murder, violent sex offenses, and any sex offense against a child. I do understand that most people reading this will have serious misgivings about application of the death penalty for offenses in which someone else did not die it is not my intent to enforce an eye-for-an-eye approach. I am much more interested in the best outcome for society as a whole and the individuals that perpetrate these offenses are best removed from society permanently.

Life incarceration is costly and burdensome to society and should not be considered a reasonable substitute to the death penalty. Once someone has been deemed unfit to live constructively in society they should no longer burden society in any manner. Unfortunately where many who agree with me so far will begin to disagree is when the topic of violent offenders with mental illnesses comes up. I do not believe there should be any distinction between someone who commits a crime while sane and someone with mental issues who commits the same crime. Neither will contribute to society in any meaningful way and both have proven to be a danger to others.

One of the issues with our current death penalty is that there are too many provisions for delaying of the sentence being carried out. The appeals process, as with many things in our legal system, needs to be revised. I do not think that there should be more than 1 year allowed for appeal before an execution. The goal is to rid society of the burden of supporting someone unfit to live in society and who has proven themselves to be a danger to others. Allowing them to live on the taxpayers funds for many years while arguing for a lessened sentence is contradictory to the goal. I do understand that there is a slight risk of this approach causing a small number of innocent parties to slip through the cracks but the overall reduction of burden to society outweighs this concern.

I would also be interested in allowing the death penalty for anyone currently serving a life sentence who commits any violent crime while in incarceration. This individual does not have the ability to contribute to society and is preventing others in the penal system from serving their sentences in a productive way and returning to society. There are too many protections placed around those who do the most harm to society and the rest of the group pays the price. It is not an emotional nor a religious issue but simply a matter of protecting those that work hard, contribute to society, and mind their own business from those that have only their own interests in mind or that simply do not care about the pain they cause to others.

A society only works as long as there is some semblance of trust that they are all working toward the same goal or are at least not impeding each other from working toward their individual goals. There is no room for those that abuse, assault, kill, or attempt any of these in a functioning society yet these individuals often receive more support from civil liberties groups than the victims. It would be prudent to put legislation in place to permanently remove these individuals from society and allow the limited resources of civil liberties groups to work on more beneficial matters.

It should go without saying that there are many details around this topic that would need to be ironed out and I am not presenting this point of view as a complete and comprehensive stance but as an example of the core around which my ideas on this topic are built. As always I am open to intelligent logical arguments in contrast to my own and have altered my ideas in the past based on others presenting a valid point that required me to rethink my position. Here’s to open debate on controversial topics.

No comments:

Post a Comment