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Crime and Punishment.

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So recently there's been a bit of a stink in the media about Troy Davis' execution, and the possibility that he might have been innocent, and so on.

A lot of people trotted out the usual statistics about how it's cheaper to keep a man in prison for his entire life than to execute him, and how even the slightest possibility of innocence should override the death penalty, and the same old tired crap I've gotten a little irritated at hearing since I turned twelve.

The most common of which being this: "The death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment."

At what point did we lose sight of the concept of "punishment"?

Damnit Billy! You're going to stay in that corner until you learn to stop murdering your siblings!

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of punishment for petty crimes, particularly minor drug offenses. The concept of throwing someone in prison for years because they were retarded or despairing enough to seek out solace in illegal drugs is ridiculous; at best, we're punishing weakness, and at worst, adding substantially to the burden of someone who's apparently too stupid to know better.

I favor rehabilitation, again particularly for drug usage. And I'm not talking about the Hollywood-style rehab, where we wean you off of illegal drugs by means of questionably legal drugs in an attempt to save your public image. I'm talking throwing you in a padded cell with a gallon of water and a mouth guard and saying "See ya in three days!" I'm talking going full-on Clockwork Orange on your ass, spiking your drug of choice with an emetic so powerful that if you so much as hear the word "cocaine", you'll be fighting the urge to vomit for the rest of your life.

Warning: May cause lifelong aversion to Eric Clapton.

For other crimes, work programs, training programs, the American Foreign Legion (which I still think would be a good idea), anything really, so long as its intent is to hopefully break the cycle of criminal behavior.

But punishment?

If it ain't cruel or unusual, it ain't punishment, technically. That's one bit of language I dearly wish our founding fathers had left out of the Constitution. I understand their intent, but the definitions get so incredibly vague that short of listing every conceivable punishment that they wished to outlaw, it'd be difficult to accurately convey it without leaving yourself open to the possibility of being misinterpreted.

Mandatory sentences are, practically by definition, cruel and unusual. And they're certainly among the things that the framers of the Constitution would have considered so; if we disallow the possibility of mitigating circumstances, particularly for petty crimes, then we are certainly guilty of cruelty.

That having been said, there are a wide array of crimes for which I do favor punishment, though typically falling short of execution.

You know what served as an excellent punishment for centuries, coupling the deterrent powers of pain and public humiliation?

The whipping post.

No, not this Whipping Post.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again; it's difficult to get your potential victims to see you as a hard man when they've seen you crying like a little girl in public.

Now, I understand that people feel some sort of negative association is attached to the post, and how it might be taken poorly by some percentages of our population. To which I respond, in a very Dick-Cheney-esque fashion, go fuck yourself.

Honestly, I'd probably do the same thing if I were a Walmart greeter.

I don't care if you have cultural baggage about the whipping post. It works. And if we eradicated everything that has at one point or another caused hurt feelings among one group or another, the last man in existence would be left floating in orbit as he pressed the button that destroying the entire fucking planet. Shortly before sent his spaceship on a one-way trip into the sun. Possibly after blowing up the moon. And maybe the sun. And maybe the entire solar system, and yes I'm stretching this out, but I think you get my point.

Now, execution.

We have to consider execution as both the option of last resort for complete recidivists, and the plainly-labeled deterrent for crimes heinous enough that we find them unforgivable.

Because life in prison is just death in slow motion.

Short of murder, I don't feel any crime really warrants the death penalty. Sure, a "three strikes and you're dead" law would appeal to me, but murder is pretty much the only "one-off" crime where I'd execute you on general principle.

And fuck your quibbling over the various "degrees" of murder. For most of my life I never really understood the concept of a "crime of passion", but not so anymore. These days there's a man I hate with such utter virulence that I can't so much as think of his face without my pulse rising and my breath quickening. And I'm not talking about my hate for certain public figures like Michael Moore, Glen Beck, Bill Maher, or Ben Stein, or for that matter any of the people who have attached themselves to the so-called "9/11 Truth Movement", any one of whom I would gleefully feed face-first into a woodchipper if given the opportunity, secure in the knowledge that I was doing the world a favor. I am filled with such fury that I honestly cannot say what would occur if I confronted him face-to-face, which honestly concerns me a little.

So I take the obvious step of avoiding the hell out of him. And, as such, reinforce my opinion that the concept of a crime of passion is total bullshit; you may be in a passionate state when committing the crime, but at some point, you made a conscious choice to commit it.

And fuck your "attempted murder" clause; the justice system of Raestopia does not reward incompetence. You made the attempt, that's enough for me. It's not like you could have changed your mind if you succeeded; dead is dead.

Well, I suppose some kinds of incompetence in the field of murder are allowable.

The other thing about execution is that, if it's to serve a deterrent function, it has to be swift. Troy Davis spent 20 years on death row; more inmates actually die on death row than are executed in most states. Typically by a very significant margin. Mostly this has to do with the appeals process; when one appeal is denied, they just move up the judicial ladder.

Which is really rather ridiculous. "What, you don't think I'm innocent?! Well fuck you, Georgia Supreme Court, we'll see what the Federal court system has to say about that!"

One appeal. Then we take you out back and shoot you, because it's cheap and effective. Would we occasionally execute an innocent man?


And I can live with that.

Updated September 24th, 2011 at 03:46 PM by Raesvelg

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  1. Morcheeba -
    Morcheeba's Avatar
    Thumbs up.

    The only thing I disagree with is that imo anyone willing to harm a child, molestation/rape is willing to die for their 'needs'. No rehabilitation for them sickos. They don't deserve it.