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death is forever

by chris at 05:40 AM on December 13, 2005

I feel dirty. The people of the state of California put someone to death last night. It says a lot about our society when we make a conscious decision to kill someone. It's freakish to sit and listen to a panel of adult witnesses describe the details of an execution just minutes after it happened. The difficulty getting the needles in. The way the prisoner lifted his head to see his supporters on the other side of the glass, and mouth simple phrases of love and support back and forth. The way the guard kept his hand on the prisoner's upper arm during the preparation of the intravenous lines, not out of necessity, but out of a sense of comfort to a person who is about to be killed.

I have several problems with the death penalty. The first is that it's not necessary. We don't have to put people to death for their crimes, but we make a conscious choice to kill them anyway, despite our claims to be a culture which values life. The second is the cold, unscientific and uninformed pessimism by which we declare that people are static, and can not change. The person who committed a crime 25 years ago, and the person being put to death today are identical. There is no deed that can be done, there is no amount of change that can occur, there is nothing to be learned from a mistake. And yet, I can't say this is true of my own experience. I don't think of myself as the same person I was 25 years ago. I know there was a time when I was young and stupid, and capable of all kinds of bad decisions. Thus I don't like it when we say it is true of someone else, and the result is death. If I can see myself making a mistake, how can I disallow it in others?

Last of all, the death penalty is imperfect. We all know it's unevenly applied. It's applied in cases where innocence is possible, and people have been wrongly put to death. We like to call it justice, but I think we mistake it for revenge. I don't think revenge qualifies as a family value, but I doubt the Catholic Church would deny communion to supporters of the death penalty, the way John Kerry was denied communion for being pro-choice.

In the end, revenge via death isn't worth it. Life imprisonment should suffice. I think we all get our hands dirty when we kill people to show people that killing people is wrong. He's dead now, but his body is still warm. It is us who are a little colder.

comments (24)

Chris, well put I must say. I think the death penalty has its place. But it is applied unfairly, even capriciously. And it takes too long. The guy they killed this morn was convicted in 1981! What is needed is a national framework, so that a killer in Kansas doesn't walk because he killed someone one inch over the border from Missouri. And a streamlined appeal process so that the punishment is more immediate and thus meaningful.

by anna at December 13, 2005 7:39 AM

What't the point of feeding scum? Why should a criminal get a meal and a bed to sleep on when the homeless dont? They have turned their backs against our society(however corrupt it may be) and humanity. They have commited a crime against nature, and thus fore, have given up their privelage to stay with us in this existance. It doesnt matter what they have done with their lives after their crime. The crime has still been comited. Whether he changed or not makes little difference. Whats done is done, and the world cannot go without justice.

Mexico has permanately banned the death sentance, so now inmated are forced to live their lives in prison. Many would prefer death.

Oh, and death ISN'T forever. He'll rise again.

by Clonereject1138 at December 13, 2005 11:36 AM

THe next of kin should decide if criminal should be put to death...

An Eye for an Eye is not enough justice... Because the perpetrator was the first one to infringe on the other's life... it should be 10 EYES for One Eye...

True Justice, would be to let somebody KILL BRUTALLY 3 of HIS family members that he loves... then make him LIVE with it till he's 100!
that's assmonkey got off easy.... a simple injection, like heroin...

At the very least, they should have had him FACE DOWN, pissing in his pants, and then SHOOT HIM TWICE WITH A 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN.... JUST LIKE HE DID TO THE FIRST VICTIM.... and even then, what about hte justice for the other THREE IMMIGRANTS?


by LOCKHEED at December 13, 2005 1:04 PM

I see your frustration, but what you are describing is vengense, which steps outside the law, and satisfies human frustration(rather poorley) and not the law of nature. He's dead, now lets do him the greatest disservace and forget him, so some other bloke will comit the same crime.

by Clonereject1138 at December 13, 2005 2:42 PM

It doesn't work... does it. Man, I think I've lost my opinion on the death penalty. When I hear a guy has been caught and convicted for brutally raping and killing a six year old girl, my first thought is that that guy should fry... for an extended period of time. But then I think he may have been wrongly convicted, or aren't I just as bad as him for thinking he should fry... for an extended period of time.

They should televise these things... forget harrowing descriptions offered by news people, let's see it. How many people can watch something like that and not flinch, even a little? How many can still be pro death penalty after watching a human being put to death by other human beings... in such a clinical fashion you realise we've perfected the art of killing one another.

It doesn't work though, according to statistics... you people over there... yall nutts!

by Ex Crimson Guard NCO at December 13, 2005 5:14 PM

NO, it doesn't work... but Saddam style TORTURE would work as a deterrent...

IF I killed anybody brutally and for no reason, I would feel SO ASHAMED if they MERELY injected me to death....

...I WOULD NEED prolonged TORTURE...

THese pussies.... PUSSY PLANET.... I hereby leave this planet of pussies... oh wait... NO.... I will CORRECT IT.

by LOCKHHED at December 13, 2005 8:19 PM

I totally agree with you that people can change, and if anyone is an example, Tookie is that jail can rehabilitate. However, how much did he change? I read Governor Schwarzenegger's response to the clemency request, and though I'd never have imagined quoting Ahnold on a subject like this, it was interesting and a percpective to the story that hasn't been covered on the soundbite news. These points swung it for me:

"The basis of Williams' clemency request is not innocence. Rather, the basis of the request is the "personal redemption Stanley Williams has experienced and the positive impact of the message he sends."4 But Williams' claim of innocence remains a key factor to evaluating his claim of personal redemption. It is impossible to separate Williams' claim of innocence from his claim of redemption.

Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise? Stanley Williams insists he is innocent, and that he will not and should not apologize or otherwise atone for the murders of the four victims in this case. Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings there can be no redemption. In this case, the one thing that would be the clearest indication of complete remorse and full redemption is the one thing Williams will not do. "

If you don't admit you've done wrong, have you really changed? If, in 25 years, you haven't changed, do you deserve mercy?

by mg at December 13, 2005 10:10 PM

Common decency precludes televising executions, as they often don't go smoothly. See: botchedexecutions.com.

by anna at December 14, 2005 8:13 AM

I say we starve em like we do our brain dead!

by Clonereject1138 at December 14, 2005 5:11 PM

I don't see why we can't modify Anna's statement as such, "Common decency precludes executions." And, clonereject aside, follow it up with: civilized countries isolate their criminals, rather than revel in their annihilation.

by chris at December 14, 2005 6:36 PM

I like that, if we had sigs in here that'd be in mine: "Common decency precludes executions."

It's impossible to argue 'for' execution isn't it? S'like being racist... you've got no sure footing taking up that kind of stance.

by Ex Crimson Guard NCO at December 14, 2005 8:27 PM

I would add that the most ridiculous label on the planet is "pro-life." Who alive isn't in favor of life?

by anna at December 15, 2005 7:39 AM



i WILL BE EXPECTING AN EMAIL: alai10023@yahoo.com


by LOCKHEED at December 15, 2005 11:18 PM

OH yeah, and the LAST SENTENCE ON THIS POST.... something about US BEING COLDER?


Trust me, what seems COLD is actually the WARMEST FUCKING THING...


I WAS EXECUTED in 1987 and again in 2003.... I know

by LOCKHEED at December 15, 2005 11:21 PM

Well, y'know, had he been brought up properly, with love/compassion/respect for human life, he would have nneded to die, but such is the way of the world. Too bad we poisoned his flesh, we could have sold him for parts. Hell, why dont we sell our criminals to china as slaves? At least then they can do something usefull, like building missle silos.

by Clonereject1138 at December 16, 2005 12:03 PM


blacks can do no wrong... that's actually written in the Hebrew Bible

by LOCKHEED at December 16, 2005 1:41 PM

Aha! So it is just like Irans president stated, and the Holocaust was a shame!

Heard of the Estate tax? AKA Death Tax, where, when you die, your heirs iheirit yourstuff, but the man taxes it. This is why the Man has actually been paying off the tobacco, alchohol nad firearms industires, so more people die, and they get more money.

by Clonereject1138 at December 16, 2005 2:46 PM

What the hell are you lunatics talking about?

by mg at December 16, 2005 10:31 PM

I'd second that sentiment.

by anna at December 17, 2005 9:07 AM

Uhhh Death and Taxes?

Or is that a death in Texas?

by Long Time Lurker at December 17, 2005 2:42 PM

No, TAXES! Tax, y'know, the way the government steals our money?

by Clonereject1138 at December 18, 2005 7:23 PM

Funny how, when they executed Tim McVeigh, they had a place designated for the standard candlelight vigil. Nobody showed!

by anna at December 19, 2005 7:42 AM

I would have gone but I had to wash my klan suit. Terrorists need love too.

by Long Time Lurker at December 19, 2005 11:01 AM

I laughed a little too hard at that last comment... but meh... eeeee, great stuff...

by Ex Crimson Guard NCO at December 21, 2005 2:22 AM

comments are closed