In a few hours, convicted murderer Stanley "tookie" Williams will be executed in California’s San Quentin prison. His execution has been the cause de jour for bleeding hearts all over the US for the last year. It’s funny how the smallest group (anti-death penalty zealots number less than 20% of the overall population) can influence media the way it does.
I know one of the many arguments that anti-death penalty zealots often use is the idea that the death penalty isn’t a deterent to violent crime. I was completely unaware it was supposed to be… I mean, theoretically anyone who murders other people tends to have a very low regard for human life and I doubt very many things could deter them from their chosen path. I tend to look at the death penalty the way I look at cancer.
I mean cancer is something that doesn’t just get better if you ignore it. Quite the contrary, it gets worse. If you want to survive, you have to address it agressively. You excise it from your body. There is no guarantee that this will cure you, but you stand a better chance of surviving if you take it out. The same thing goes with someone who has proven through action to have little regard for the laws of that society. If you want to use the argument that the death penalty isn’t a deterent to violent crime, you also have to admit that incarceration isn’t a deterent either. All things being equal, i’d rather just get rid of your ass permanently.
While we’re on the subject, modern prisons are little more than criminal universities. If you go to prison, you’re not a good criminal (well, cause you got caught, right). Prison actually is where bad criminals (bad as in not good at their chosen craft) learn to be better criminals. Only the dumbest criminals go back to prison for the same offenses. Which means that the streets are full of the best criminals who have learned, through trial, error, and education, to excel at their chosen profession.
I think the utopia people wish our world to be is impossible without realizing that crime can’t be eliminated through incarceration and behavior modification. The only way to stop crime is to eliminate criminals. Make crime, all crime, an untenable position to hold. If you just kill criminals, all criminals (i’m not talking jay walkers here, I’m talking muggers, thieves, murderers, drug dealers, rapists, pedophiles, etc), eventually there won’t be anyone who is willing to commit crimes.
Don’t even get me started on the justice system in this country…