Thursday, July 31, 2008

Death As Penalty

Repost of 9/16-06

An Assignment from blogger John Scalzi Weekend Assignment #129: It Just Doesn't Make Sense!by way of Paul Little's place Aurora Walking Vacation seems to be to write about that which GETS YOUR GOAT, which makes NO SENSE but exists anyway, which is covered in IRONY and you can't wrap your head around.  This one's too easy for me: 

                                  "CAPITAL PUNISHMENT"

                                   "THE DEATH PENALTY"

If I were being punished or penalized, it would mean I'd be taken to task in hopes my deed won't be re-committed by me.  If you kill me, you're assured I'll never do it again, but I'd be DEAD so that's no good.  If I killed your friend or relative or someone you don't know or ANYONE AT ALL, please explain the logic in killing me?  I can put it in scientific terms, even visceral ways, any old way; but the simplest seems the best:  Why is killing the answer to stopping killers?  Some say, "Well at least HE won't kill again."  Right, and how many times have we said that, and how many MORE?  Every time someone is murdered by the State?  "At least those 50,000 won't kill again!"  He's DEAD and the reason he's dead is because he made someone ELSE dead and it CONFOUNDS me, am I simple?  What did I miss??  Isn't killing wrong, morally, ethically, though some say it's instinctual well, yes perhaps in war that instinct is necessary to survive, but isn't the idea of plotting and stalking for the sake of eventually capturing and killing just wrong?  Other animals stalk, capture and kill so they can survive.  We don't need to, we have supermarkets to acquire our needs, we're evolved (ha).    

Our presently sitting Supreme Court says capital "punishment" is legal, but leaves it to each State's discretion whether or not to kill.  Texas, Florida and California lead the way in what I call State-sanctioned murder.  It's clean, but it's not quick.  It's orderly, but it's not painless.  I'll explain that further on.  I know the thinking is "Why shouldn't these vermin be tortured before dying anyway?"  I leave it to you to answer that in your own heart.  As I say, for me it's beyond reason.   

In the forensic/legal world, we have a saying: "L-WOPPED" and if a Judge L-wopps you, kiss the world goodbye.  It means "Life without the possibility of parole" and is there any reason we can't keep our own laws and USE this sentence, making SURE these killers are never freed?  For true killers I say use it more often, stop this 25 to life nonsense - that amounts to approximately 8 years, less with good behavior.  If you take a life, you should forfeit your freedom.  But no one has a right to forfeit your life.  That's why you're in prison, that's what YOU did, you took life, which is wrong, and it's either wrong ALWAYS or it doesn't work.  Some things are just wrong and they'll ALWAYS be wrong and I believe taking another's life is one.  That includes the State.       

As for amenities, no amount of cable or basketball or air-conditioning can detract from the reality of losing your freedom for the rest of your life, and not always naturally.  (Besides, death row inmates don't get any of that).  You WILL die in prison either by violence or old age.  If you hurt a child, you're put into protective custody because every con wants a piece of you.  Every condemned prisoner spends 23 HOURS A DAY in a 6 by 8 foot cell, they're allowed exactly ONE HOUR a day for shower, and walking in a circle on the roof with several armed guards watching.  It's during those times someone can slit your throat, as the guards either watch or turn their backs.  Everyone hates a killer, especially when it involves children and mothers.  But if we decide to kill the killers, we are .... what?  Carrying out justice?  Or vengeance.  Why are WE not then killers, and isn't it just that simple?  Yes, the State is carrying out the Death Warrant signed by the Governor which is law, so you might decide "Well, we're obeying the law".  But these are man's laws, they change, morality shouldn't.  We have to PROgress not REgress in our evolution.  We need to better understand what we now can't control.  In the meantime, lock them down for good.  A LIFE SENTENCE SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN UNLESS YOU'RE PREPARED TO CARRY IT OUT AND KEEP THAT PERSON LOCKED AWAY FROM SOCIETY FOR THEIR NATURAL LIFE.  You don't have to do what they did:  kill.  Segregate and study them, for heavens sake.  As Freud said, "A man with no conscience is hardly human and may be a separate species altogether.  Our conscience is what makes us human." 

The same man who built Florida's present "Old Sparky" also concocted the so-called "painless" lethal injection.  There is no such thing, and forensic evidence bears this out.  As for electrocution: 

This is basically cooking someone from the inside out.  Like microwave.  The protocol for the total amount of electricity used is 5,000 volts in 2 separate shocks.  The first shock of 2500 volts is meant to paralyze.  It does not.  Although semi-comatose, the condemned can feel.  How do we know this?  Read on.  The second 2500 volts is meant to stop the heart, which it usually does, otherwise a third shock is administered.  Between shocks, a Doctor carefully checks the condemn's heart, and must wear gloves with his stethescope because the body is intensely hot.  Smoke is seen from the cross copper plating surrounding the man's head and right leg (used for grounding, in order to complete the cycle of electric flow).  How many times this procedure has gone wrong would definitely startle you.  (These are things mainstream Americans never hear, and it's because they'd "rather not".  But a jury of those same citizens can vote for death, so why not have them as witnesses to the execution?  If you never see one, you shouldn't have the right to inflict it by virtue of your jury vote.)  I digress.  Now, there's a sponge used under the cap meant to help the conduction of electricity but it must be natural sea-sponge.  Once, a guard was sent to purchase more when they ran low, and unknowingly bought synthetic ones.  The first man to endure the infernal consequences was Jesse Cordero in Starke, Florida, and his shaved head caught fire.  His flesh.  Flames emanated from his skull.  I know, you may be thinking, well so what he deserved it.  But how do you justify torture?  If you plan to kill someone, just do it.  I never heard of a Judge ordering "tortured until you WISH you were dead, then we'll try and kill you off properly."  Here is some forensic evidence of how we've come to understand that one is still very much aware after the first shock:  EVERY person who is killed by this method has an autopsy done, and in many cases the Medical Examiner finds that the bladder still contains urine, which can only happen if the prisoner had use of his muscles and contracted them so as to prevent loss of control.  Eventually he does.  If urine is found in the bladder it means it was expelled while the person was alive and conscious, he had to be aware enough to contract his muscles.  So he felt it.  I know, you're thinking "So what, the bastard deserved it".  Again I leave you to ponder your reason for chosing torturous death over justice.   

Lethal injection, once again forensics bear out the serious pain endured.  Have you ever closely looked at the gurney?  Most times they're hidden in pictures, but each one has several heavy leather straps, meant for the sternum, chest, torso, pelvic area, arms, legs, feet and even neck area.  Why would they need straps like that, if he's being "peacefully put to sleep"?  Have you never considered this?  I have, I researched it all in the 1990s, and courtesy of "The Execution Protocol" this is what happens:

Three drugs are used to kill the condemned.  After a line is opened with saline, the first drug is Sodium thiopental, which is meant to render the killer unconscious.  He can still, of course, experience feeling.

The second is the worst, most painful:  Pancuronium bromide. This will paralyze the muscular system, making speech and movement impossible.  The killer is now being suffocated, asphyxiated, and cannot utter a word nor barely move a muscle.  You are completely aware but unable to utter a sound.  The normal reaction of any of us is to fight and struggle against being suffocated, that's where the heavy straps come into play.  Another reason is so the "audience" is lead to believe the condemned feels no pain since they don't see a fight for life, our instinctual reaction.  The truth is there is a very high level of pain, which of course makes many all the happier, and I understand that.  If some monster killed my little granddaughter, my grief would turn to anger and I'd want to make him eat his own intestines.  Since I can't, I'd surely want revenge, vengeancebut eventually I'd need justice.  This may not go over well, but as many families have done I'd plead against sentencing DEATH as punishment during my "VIS" (victim impact statement) because no matter how much I'd want to skin this creep alive, I know I'm the last person to assign what his punishment should be, since that was my grandchild.  Leave me alone with him for 2 minutes, I'd say, because my instinct would be to rip his throat out.  I'd feel better after satisfying my baser instincts, but only for an hour.  It doesn't last, there's no such thing as closure, there's NEVER closure when you lose a loved one to a predator.  The answer, I believe, is to L-WOPP him and MEAN it, LIFE IN PRISON.  If it's law, enforce it please!  Besides now that we know sociopathy exists, why regress back to torture and death as "punishments".         

The third is Potassium chloride, which induces cardiac arrest and the man dies from the combination of suffocation and heart seizure or stoppage.  No one "goes to sleep".  That's what we save for our pets, when we euthanize them.  For that we use phenobarbitol so they fall asleep without pain.  One injection, one easy death.  Why can't we use our vast collective minds in the forensic sciences and medicine to find a more humane way to kill the killers, if kill we must?  Again, I know, you may be thinking why bother.    

None of this is about the prisoners, not about what they did.  We all know what we find reprehensible and indefensible.  A defense attorney is NOT there to defend a killer but to FORCE the prosecution into doing its job.  They failed in the OJ Simpson case.  This is why people should understand defense attorneys better - if they don't bring up all the cracks and questions in the State's case, the prosecution certainly won't!  Case dismissed.

No, what this is about is public policy.  Someday we may evolve a tendency to include ethical values and morally intuitive issues, but until then our prisons are left overcrowded with simple pot growers, and our death rows are crammed with killers some States can't afford to execute, and other they can't kill fast enough.  Oh I could list all the innocent men who died at the hands of the State, but we all know that happens.  We all know innocents were killed and those who came so close before DNA and genome sequencing became so specialized and individual.  But it will always confound me - if I tell a child who's written a bad word on the blackboard, "Now go and write that word on every blackboard in the school" how would I explain this helps him learn anything?  I couldn't because it doesn't.  Capital "punihsment" is the same thing.  Explain to a child that killing is wrong, then tell him why we kill certain people.  That child will see right through such facile arguments.   

Someone might proffer: "Well Cathy, isn't shutting someone up for life immoral and unethical?"  I can only say it's preferable to a "nice clean murder".  It costs taxpayers a million dollars for every year they keep one man on death row.  The State of Florida had to cough up $8 million to execute Theodore Cowell (Bundy).  It costs under $30,000 to keep a man imprisoned for life.  Some would rather die than watch their lives drip away, little by little, see themselves age in the reflection of other prisoners, knowing they'll never leave that place, never walk down a street or into a diner.  You want torture?  Don't you think somone has no peace, having his Death Warrant brought before the Governor every 6 months, never knowing if THIS time he'll sign it?    And I picture an island I do, a place so far out in the mid-ocean that one gets there only by helicopter.  The waters are shark-infested, some Pacific area I think.  Walled in completely, a literal colony of the damned.  This was worked to success in history several times before, and many good decent Australians can trace their ancestry back to Botany Bay prisoners.  I mean an Island of Doom, that's it.  You kill someone, you forfeit your right to live amongst people who prefer to stay alive.  You're separated from any society and when you arrive, there are no amenities waitingIf you want to eat, you grow your food.  Want shelter, build it.  Who knows what could come of such an experiment now, but something has to be found to replace death for death, I believe.        

Note:  No extra credit for me I have absolutely no tunes floating around in my head, & I took this WAY too seriously.  Chill out, Cathy! 

13 comments:

valphish said...

My Cateri, heavy, yes.  I am in agreement with you.  One point you missed is about capital punishment and deterrance.  "They" say it works as a detterant.  Well, I think once someone is a sociopathic killer, nothing will make him stop, not even the idea of death.  This is very good indeed.  I don't believe in the death penalty either.  Hugs, your Maire xox
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ThereisaSeason
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/JoyInTheRain

sybilsybil45 said...

Kathy how I wish I had your way with words. You are saying exactly what I would be saying.  Killing is killing whoever does it.  Thou shalt not kill...one of the comandments...is it so difficult? four very easy words...   Ah, but revenge is sweet I hear them say...is it ?  are you really at peace if you do the same as the person who you condem ? what makes he/she and you different.  Thank you for highlighting this barberous punishment. (Thankfuly here in the UK we have a no death policy, (however I know that if it were to be put to the ballot it would be back on the statute books before we could wink)
Love  sybil xx
http://journals.aol.co.uk/sybilsybil45/villagelife/

luddie343 said...

Yes Sybil, I wondered about that in Uk, would it be reinstalled if put to referendum.  As to revenge, I get it how ppl feel, but also know that for most, there's never real closure, so why bother.  Look to your God to help you get on with life, and let Him sort out life and death.  Thanks for your input!

luddie343 said...

My Maire, how right u are!  I missed the "deterrent" myth.  There's NO empirical proof that killing killers deters other killers.

ksquester said...

Excellent post Cathy!  You know I used to watch an HBO series called OZ and I learned a whole lot about life in prison.  I also used to believe in the death penalty before that series.  I think people get frustrated with our judicial system. Life in prison doesn't mean that and quite frankly if you only knew you would get 7 or less years, there would be a lot more people going down!  L-WOPPING is a great idea.  As a Christain, I believe that IF a guilty person is put to death and they are to truely accept the Lord as their savior, doesn't that make them go to glory?  I said, L-WOPP is the way to go.  We have the hard 40 here and that is OK. Usually people are so old that after 40 yrs. they are released and don't have a life anyway.   Anne

pharmolo said...

I'm opposed to the death penalty, because any miscarriages of justice cannot be rectified.

jmorancoyle said...

    Okay, I over did it again. Watch for my email! (You're the only person that gets me to react as strongly as I do. Good work. It's good to use our brains for more than choosing which channel I'll watch on TV tonight.
Jude
http://journals.aol.com/jmorancoyle/MyWay

aimer said...

Powerful words and such a rational argument. I am in accord with you with regards to the death penalty. I shudder at the thought that even one person may be executed who is not guilty of the crime with which he or she is charged. I also believe that it demeans us as a society to sanction the taking of any life. Well said.--Sheria

ma24179 said...

I can respect your opinion. I honestly do not agree with either when it comes to certain types of crimes. Child molesters, violent rapists, and anyone who badly harms a child in any way should be tortured in my opinion. I have always felt that way and always will. When it comes to someone hurting a child, I have no remorse. Burn them alive... or what about the old ways of mumification (spelling?)  ... you know hook up the nose, pull your brains out through your skull alive... I would shrug my shoulders and keep walking. Certainly wouldn't feel any guilt for someone who could hurt a child because I could imagine it being my child and if someone hurt him, I would have no mercy...... -Missy

luddie343 said...

Missy, what if you had the wrong person, how would you tell his parents what you did and why?  So why bother?  As I say, I'd be inclined to want that person's head on a platter but when the irrationality of vengeance clears, I'd insist on justice, not torture.      

plittle said...

Wow, you sure picked out an old entry to inspire you!

You hit the nail on the head with one statement for sure: "None of this is about the prisoners, not about what they did." As you say below, there is no empirical evidence that the death penalty works as a deterrent. If you look at the numbers, it is clear that it does not. So why do we "punish" criminals? Well, it's not to allegedly prevent them from committing more crime. In fact, there is compelling evidence that incarcerating first-time criminals simply leads them into a "career" of crime - creates lifetime criminals.

So, again, why do we punish criminals, if it is clear that it in no way reduces crime? Well...we punish criminals in order to make an appearance that justice is being served. Punishing criminals is an appeasement to the public by a government that is unable, or unwilling to spend the time and money necessary to actively attempt rehabilitation.
-Paul

ladymagnolia1963 said...

Hi Cathy,

I am a new reader to your journal. I was reading the J-Lands Anniversary post and your journal caught my attention. I have spent the better part of an hour reading your postings. I love your writing techniques (sp?) and the passion you have for words.

I also could not have said what you wrote any better. And I feel 100% the way you do. I believe it is barbaric to kill others in prision. Too me killing is too easy-and my moral compass as a Christian knows that only Jesus Is the ultimate judge of us all.

I also wish that when we put killers etc in prisions, that they should never-ever get paroled! Again your words ring true-We MUST apply the punishment of life in prision and hold to it at all cost. I don't care how many jails they have to build or that our taxs are paying for them to stay in jail till they die. Just keep them there!

Again I too believe and see no evidence that killing prisioners has in anyway dettered others not to kill.

What really un-nerves me is the fact that the prisioners-when they get into the system they are allowed to take college course! That I do mind paying for. To me that lets the prisioners believe that there is away out thru this venue-just as much as getting their time reduced for "good behavior." Neither of these should be available to them!
As you also said-You take a life, you instantly forfeit the right to live among humans in our society forever! But none of us has that right to be the judge of who and how a prisioner is put to death.

Looking foward to reading all your journal entries Ü.

HUGS~Donna
http://journals.aol.com/ladymagnolia1963/ladymagnolias-daily-blog/

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