Death Penalty

Lacking in Compassion

“Reliving Horror in a Connecticut Case That Tests the Death Penalty” NY Times, 1/19/2010

I am lacking in compassion today. I realized this when I read again about the crime committed in Connecticut on the Petit family. Mrs. Petit and her two daughters were brutally raped and murdered in 2007 and the men who did this are in prison. They are awaiting a decision by the court on whether or not the death penalty should be imposed.

I say, kill them.

I know this is un-Buddhist of me but I really don’t care. If you read the details of the crime you will understand my point of view. I think what they did is so terrible, I can’t imagine not putting them to death.  Dr. Petit, the husband, thinks the death penalty should be imposed. Imagine what his life is like at this point in time. There can never be forgiveness nor should there be. If these two criminals are put to death perhaps he can have a bit of relief.

I have voted for the death penalty in arguments with others many times. I don’t think we can waste more time debating the issue.  When a crime of this nature has been committed, the guilty parties imprisoned, DNA proof is clear, there should be no hesitation in putting them to death.

The argument is that the cost of putting someone to death is exorbitant.  While this may be true for the moment, what would happen if it were made much simpler? I think in 50 years it will be this simple as we will no longer be able to afford the luxury of appeal after appeal. The death penalty will be applied to all who commit these crimes.  There are those who argue this will not stop crime from happening but I disagree. I believe if our society strictly imposed the death penalty on those who were clearly guilty without any doubt there would be less violent crime. Perhaps this is naive but sometimes I am naive.

Life is made to be lived with certain restrictions, certain laws, and certain codes of behavior. Without these laws society would not be ordered. I have little sympathy for those who have no interest in abiding by these laws whether they are murderers or white collar criminals like Madeoff who ruin thousands of lives. I think we need to revise our criminal justice system making it simpler and less costly to run. So much money is spent on “rehabilitating” criminals, and so little on educating our children.  Think about what would happen if we took even 10% of the money spent on prisons and put it into schools.

I know this is a radical opinion and one that won’t be popular. Most people look at me in horror when I discuss it. I can’t help myself as I see Dr. Petit’s face and imagine what his life is now with all his memories, particularly his knowledge of his family’s last minutes of life.

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