Monday, June 24, 2013

Dead men walking

I've been conflicted about this for a while. But I think I found a way that works for me.

Should we have the death penalty or not? Sure, why not. Why? Because some people should be destroyed off the face of the earth. But, I bet within the United States, there may only be one or two of those, if that, every year. 

I've confused people most of my life. I don't believe in killing people for much of any reason. I do think you have the right to kill someone trying to kill you, however. I mean, it's one for one, right? And they are trying to kill you, you have the right to stop them. You should try not to kill them but stop them, but hey, sometimes                 passion just gets the better of you. But then if they started it they asked for it. 

Okay, but for the most part we shouldn't be killing people. (War is bad says Subliminal Man). 

If several people are trying to kill you, really you shouldn't be trying to kill a bunch of people to save yourself. Yet then again, if they are choosing to try to kill you and you are better at it than they are, who's to say that you shouldn't, as some would say, use your God given talents at their utmost to save your skin? 


So fine. What about State sponsored killing, like Capital Punishment, the Death Penalty? When I was first in college in my first Philosophy class, our Prof. brought this up one day as a learning experience. I said I thought it was okay for the State to have the death penalty. But he pointed out (many things I won't go into here) that it is basically State sponsored murdered and a Government should never kill it's people to whom it serves. It's just ethically wrong.

Okay then, maybe he had a point. And so I passed that class, I graduated, years passed and here we are.

Now we have Florida who has been letting go like one in three prisoners on death row because they have found that in all the time since their trial and verdict, they were actually innocent as proven by various things like DNA and confessions. Or Texas who are about to celebrate their 500th execution as of mid June 2013, next week. 

The Colorado Governor just interceded to keep the death penalty live in their state, while signing an order so as not to be responsible for any executions during the rest of his term as Governor. He upholds the death penalty but doesn't want anything to do with it, himself.

So, where does that leave us? Well, I know where it leaves me, because I have an idea. 

Go ahead, keep the death penalty. But let's do this, make it possible only if and when the Governor him (or her) self actually goes to the room execution chamber, and personally executes the prisoner. 

Why? Because what we seem to have here is too many people not caring or thinking deeply enough about the situation and so they just let it continue on. Much like with Right Wing Conservatives who are staunchly against the LGBT community or Gay marriage, they are all against it until it turns out to be their son, or daughter, or someone close to them. Then it is fully and finally brought home to them, it becomes personal and so they tend to turn away from their beliefs and change their mind, altering their original position to one of agreeing with say, Gay marriage. 

The death penalty is a very similar and strange animal. The problem is that people seem to be too divorced from it to make a fully qualified decision. So let's make it personal. If someone is really so bad that they have to be executed by the state, then let the highest authority in that state carry out the execution, personally. I think it might only take one execution for one to come to realize that this is a bad thing. It is cruel and unusual punishment to hold someone for years, and then on a day set very much previously, to take that individual knowingly and murder them.

But what about their victims, you say? So we should become like them, and kill them? Besides, isn't life in jail far worse than death? 

Here's the thing. If you have someone that is a seriously deranged serial murderer, someone truly and wholly evil, then I do think that they should be destroyed. But even they could possibly be saved, make a turn around at some point. Still, I'll grant you it's very possible or even likely, that there are people like that who do need to be not only removed from society and imprisoned, but removed from life itself. I'm also willing to recognize that these types of people are very few and far between. 

Even so, we really need to stop killing people as a nation, both internally and more so yet, externally. War is bad, necessary on occasion, but far too many times we have been illegitimately pulled into it. And too many times we have killed too many innocents in the strife and fog of war. But so too have we killed innocent people through the death penalty. If Florida is accurate in releasing people who are innocent at so high a rate as reported, a third, then how many other states have killed how many innocent people over the years? 

I would argue that if we kill even one innocent person it is one too many and we need to stop. One innocent life is more important than all of the guilty lives we could execute. After all, one thing that Time does really well is release information, it loosen lips, allows knowledge to rise to the surface of the social conscience. 

For those who are truly dangerous and evil, I really wouldn't have trouble executing them. And I don't think many who hold a position of power would. But if it were someone who had a moment of anger, who had grown up with a chip on their shoulder and just need to be locked up, then they might just have a problem. If for no other reason than that, we have to consider that old adage, "There but for the grace of God, go I."

Yes some of those on death row are real bastards I'm sure, and have caused a lot of people a lot of grief. But when you also take into consideration those who have to handle these people on a daily basis, those who have to deal with them leading up to their death and those who have to actually execute them on their day of atonement, we have to consider, why would we want to do THAT to our own citizens, either?

I once heard that considering how expensive it is through trials and appeals and so on it is really cheaper to keep a prisoner for life in prison, than execute him. Which surprised me because I would think, you flip a switch, inject to fluid, bingo, money saved. But not really and certainly not assured. And so too there are non-monetary costs we should take into account. 

I'll say it clearly, if someone is trying to kill me (especially if I don't deserve it, which is another matter entirely), I will have no problem killing them instead. Once I know there is nothing left for me to do but kill them, I'm 100% behind the idea. Of course, getting to that realization is what typically gets good people killed and gives the bad guys the edge in being able to more easily kill some unsuspecting victim. They don't have to consider, they just act. They kill. They have the element of surprise. They are murderers and cowards.

However, once you start talking about my Government killing American citizens, I have a serious issue with  it. I have a problem with them killing non-Americans too, but on a list, Americans are definitely on top for who NOT to kill. Consider for a moment that ultimate rule of empathy, "what if one day I'M in that situation, and worse, what if I'm INNOCENT?"

This country needs to start advancing again. We need to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps (we've done it before) and get our act together. We need to get smarter, deeper, funnier, happier, more benevolent and stronger. And Strong, does not mean you kill people. It is after all, harder not to.

I've always said that I always try never to lie, because it makes you smarter as you have to think your way around things. Any idiot can lie, just say the opposite of truth. But try finding a way, any way but lying and it's not so easy. Is it. Probably why so many people lie so much. Telling the truth also sets up a kind of Karma for you as people start to realize you are an honest and loyal type, dependable at least in your word.

America needs to find the high ground again and live it. Inflate our mind, body and spirits and not just inflate our egos and pride as we have done for far too long and far too much in recent decades. We are a great nation and a great people. And we can be more so. If we just have a mind to.

We just need to start looking more closely at the things we do, to be more honest with ourselves, more open, more rational. 

Killing our own citizens, just isn't one of those things that will put us on that road upward and into the future with grand prospects. Because if we don't make some changes like these, we can only have more to look forward to of the same. More and more right wing nutzo propaganda, more ridiculous religious fervor, more partisan patronizing, more stopping intellectual progress, more, more, more...but not of the things we need more of. 

For one, we don't need more dead men walking....

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