One of the most interesting and divisive arguments in this country stems over the death penalty, with arguments on both sides filled with merit and reason. Should the death sentence be applied, is it better to keep a prisoner in jail for life (at our expense, including their endless right of appeal) or is it better to execute them, not so much that justice is served but that a rabid animal has been removed from potentially harming others? Certainly there is no rehabilitation – the argument used endlessly for sexual offenders in prisons that are later released. The rate of recidivism is ridiculous and human rights activists arguing the inhumanity of executions rarely address the rehabilitation rate of any offender let alone violent ones.
Ronnie Lee Gardner, a lifelong criminal/murderer was executed by firing squad (his request) yesterday in what was reported as a straight forward and simple death. “A barrage of bullets tore into Ronnie Lee Gardner's chest where a target was pinned over his heart. Two minutes later an ashen Gardner, blood pooling in his dark blue jumpsuit, was pronounced dead at 12:17 a.m.”
Before you answer my question consider how you would feel if you were the family member of a victim. While it is easy to argue the inhumanity of executing what is essentially a life worth less than the birds dying in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the argument often changes were one of our own the victim. If your child was killed by this person… would you be so charitable? Christians argue that Jesus said… but again, those words are easily said when the life lost was not one of your loved ones.
And of the execution methods, which do you believe to be the ones that should be used? Should there be any concern that a murderer about to die feels pain? Or perhaps you argue that they should feel as much pain as possible?
And finally consider that our prisons are busting at the seams, overcrowded with many repeat offenders using the system for free room and board. In many ways the rights of the prisoners outweigh the rights of law abiding citizens. Are we too permissive in our prison sentences? Should we act more effectively and make prison the deterrent it was intended to be rather than the badge of honor it appears to be, especially with rap artists and the youth they influence?
Life or death? Where do you stand?