If you haven’t heard, back in 2007 there was a horrible triple homicide in Connecticut. The Petit family was enjoying a quiet night at home when two men broke in, beat the father nearly to death with a baseball bat, raped the mother then strangled her to death, raped one of the daughters, then tied them both to a bed and set the house on fire. The girls were left to burn alive. Miraculously the father, who had been tied up in the basement, escaped and survived.
Last week, Steven Hayes, one of the two men who broke in that night, was convicted by a jury of his peers and sentenced to death. Hopefully his accomplice will be as well.
I’ll never forget sitting in a college class when the teacher asked who was in favor of the death penalty. In a class of over 150 students, barely 20 of us raised our hands. We were then berated as barbaric Neanderthals who failed to see how capital punishment is “cruel and unusual punishment,” how it is “expensive,” how it does nothing to “deter crime.”
Cruel and unusual punishment – I’m sorry but sticking a needle in someone’s arm and giving then a mixture of chemicals that makes them fall asleep, then stops their heart, is not cruel. Allowing this person to live is cruel to the victims of their crime.
It’s expensive – The appeals process (lawyers fees) has made it expensive. Also, making sure that the lethal injection is done with a clean needle, in a clean facility and to make sure the procedure is not cruel, all make it expensive. On the other hand, one round of .45 ACP ball ammo is about 40 cents.
It doesn’t deter crime – Prison doesn’t deter crime either. If your litmus test for a criminal punishment is deterring crime, then nothing really works. Capital punishment is about removing and purging evil elements of society. Capital punishment is not there to deter crime, it is there because, at times, some people prove through their choices that they don’t want to live in society and be a productive citizen. And no, in these cases, rehabilitation doesn’t work.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not in any way suggesting that the death penalty should be applied in all cases. But for heinous crimes it definitely should be applied.