Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unusually Cruel

What's it gonna be, Old Sparky?
More points for the firing squad
Grand prize, step inside
The Hundred Thousand Dollar Gas Chamber
Answer one question:
How do we teach, 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'? - "
Generation Execute" by Lard

I admit that this past week I was struck with the somewhat regular test of will that stems from being against the death penalty. A pair of young men had been drinking rum and were angry and frustrated with their lives, so they decided to punch the next person they met. That was another young man, and when the two perpetrators were then confronted by their victim's father, they punched him in the face too. And he fell down and hit his head. He died a couple of days later. Defense attorneys are quick to point out that just because the assailants were African-American and the victims were Asian, this is not a hate crime.

Meanwhile, over in Utah, convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardener was given his choice of execution and picked a firing squad. After all, the only other state in the union that would give him that choice would be Oklahoma. There are those who worry that this is simply another avenue for Mister Gardener to find a way around his sentence since all his other avenues of appeal have run out. Shooting an unarmed man at point-blank range seems like a pretty cruel and unusual way to kill him, after all.

What does it all mean? I still believe that if the rule book says "Thou Shall Not Kill" without any asterisks, then we ought to be able to live with that. Even if they ask us very, very nicely.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey... are you suggesting in some oblique way that perhaps instead of death by injection or firing squad the states should offer being punched to death by depressed and angry youth?