Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Remember How I Said I'd Kill You Last?

So, Tookie is dead. I feel so much safer, don't you? That menace has been snatched from the chaos of a high security prison, strapped to a gurney, and filled with poison. I know I'll be sleeping better tonight.

I agree with Atrios that this guy was not the poster child for the anti-death penalty movement. If being mentally retarded can't keep you safe from state-sanctioned bloodlust, I'm not sure how being penitent would save you.

10 comments:

Mr Furious said...

Hey, Sully...I lied."

A lengthy post on my feelings on Tookie and the death penalty over at my place.

Otto Man said...

First of all, brilliant title.

Second, while I'm with you on the idea of Tookie not being the best possible poster boy for abolishing the death penalty, I think any arguments about the death penalty that rest on the guilt of a criminal or the intensity of his crimes ultimately misses the point because it rests the issue on the axis of guilty/not guilty and, as all the recent DNA-based reversals have shown us, that's not a sure-fire basis.

I tend to take the attitude behind Dead Man Walking -- even if the criminal in question is unquestionably guilty and evil as sin, I still think the DP's a mistake. Not because I'm some bleeding-heart hippie, but because I think execution is a quick way out. Life without parole in a hellhole sounds much more punitive to me.

Otto Man said...

Just to clarify, I understand that the theme of Dead Man Walking was not, in fact, that the guilty should suffer more. Stupid work distracted me and I jumbled two thoughts together as one.

First, as in DMW, I think all arguments about the death penalty should presume guilt. Otherwise, we're dancing around issues that can never really be resolved, even with tons of DNA evidence.

Second, I personally think that the death penalty is an easy way out for the criminal and, since it's more expensive than life imprisonment, wrongheaded policy for the state. The only people who get anything out of it are the victims' families, but I think emotion and revenge are a bad basis for public policy.

Except, of course, when it comes to making the case for a war in the Middle East. In that case, let the insanity fly!

Studiodave said...

(1) Personally, I don't think killing should be a right of the state. It just strikes me as too much power.

(2)If there is ANY chance, the person is innocent (even if they claimed to be guilty), I think that danger is too great to justify killing.

(3) The impact that the death penalty has on their (generally already unstable) family hurts society as a whole. In short, you are punishing everyone.

(4) It is a sin and an abomination to God.

Yes, I'm playing the religion card; but JC was pretty clear that the "eye for an eye" was old school - the JC plan was different.

(5) Not that I would ever grant freedom, if the goal of the justice system is rehabilitation (for financial and humanitarian reasons), killing seems counter productive to the goal of getting people to see the err of their ways and change.

(6) If we have to kill, its a shame we can't do so in a way that the organs can be used for some good.

Thrillhous said...

I still haven't puzzled out the moral side of the death penalty issue for myself, but I'm definitely against it for practical reasons. Like y'all said, too expensive, not necessarily effective (in terms of deterrence), and not reversible (if the person's innocent).

I guess morally I lean towards the death penalty being immoral, but I am very susceptible to bouts of vengefulness, especially while watching Nancy Grace. And sometimes it's not even Nancy Grace that I want to see executed.

Otto Man said...

Personally, I don't think killing should be a right of the state. It just strikes me as too much power.

I've always been struck by the conservatives who can insist in one breath that "dumb government bureaucrats" are too incompetent to handle minor tasks like paving over potholes will, in the very next breath, say that they're perfectly fine with that same state deciding who gets to live and who has to die.

I guess this is the George W. Bush model of governance. They'll fuck up all the little stuff, but when it comes to executing criminals, they've got that part down pat.

Otto Man said...

I am very susceptible to bouts of vengefulness, especially while watching Nancy Grace. And sometimes it's not even Nancy Grace that I want to see executed.

I'm crying here. Well played.

jt said...

"(4) It is a sin and an abomination to God.

Yes, I'm playing the religion card; but JC was pretty clear that the "eye for an eye" was old school - the JC plan was different."

Here's my thing ... I don't understand how one (such as a die-hard Red Stater) can both decry the immorality of abortion as murder (that is, the taking of another life is, in itself inherently immoral) and support the death penalty. For even if one were innocent and one were guilty -- it's the action of taking a life that is immoral (i think "inherently" sort of takes the relativism out of the picture).

On the other hand, I support abortion (my definition of taking "life" is a little different I guess) and don't support the Death Penalty. So i guess I'm a hypobush, too.

ORF said...

Studiodave, would YOU really want some axe murderer's liver?

And jt, the biggest debate about abortion and whether or not it's murder is relevant to the question about just WHEN it can be considered a human life. Axe murderers on death row are distinctly alive and putting some poison into their system makes them distinctly dead. As for a fetus, well, I would agree that it's a living organism, but depriving a fetus of a life on welfare or in the foster system (because let's face it, most women who get abortions do it for fiscal reasons) could be considered an act of mercy, whereas depriving a bad guy of life in general is a form of retribution.

Otto Man said...

Studiodave, would YOU really want some axe murderer's liver?

Wasn't that a horror movie? Some writer got a killer's hands in a transplant and they started killing people?

Also, it was the basis for the Simpsons episode where Homer gets Snake's hairdo.