ultimate penalty

One of the reasons I was prompted to write about Victor Salva is what has been going on here in Massachusetts with the death of John Geoghan. He was serving a sentence of 10 years for a lot less than Salva served 15 months for, though, in fairness, Geoghan was suspected to have done much, much worse than Salva did. His death has brought no comfort to his victims. They understand that this is not justice served. They wanted Geoghan to serve his sentence and face further justice for his crimes.

Which reminded me of how serving time often gets devalued by death penalty advocates. In my book, rotting in prison has to qualify as more punative than a quick end to one's life. Why have we gotten into this mindset of thinking prisoners have it easy? Since when is prison life fun? We underestimate the value of freedom and liberty when we suggest that life in prison is not a harsh sentence.

The death penalty is a tough issue for me. I think the notion of it as a deterrant is a joke. The death penalty is applied so inconsistantly, that it'd be silly to think it has any use at discouraging crime. As a punishment, though, I tend towards having some sympathy to this arguement. If you take another persons life, it makes sense that you should forfeit your own.

Trouble is, the system is horribly unfair. The stakes are so high that it demands a system which is beyond reproach. I think such a system just isn't possible, and that our current system is disturbing far off the mark. I just can't support it. I can understand why someone would think it is a fair punishment, but it just isn't applied in a fair manner.

I have a special understanding of how unfair the justice system can be. An uncle of mine was wrongly convicted of murder back in the 80's. The prosecutors and police withheld evidence. He was able to get the conviction overturned and was never retried, but it ruined his life. This stuff happens, and we cannot let this stuff happen with someone's life at stake. That's why we just cannot trust the death penalty. The stakes are too high. We can correct an error when we jail someone. We cannot take back a lethal injection.

Hopefully, I'll get back to less serious topics, but I wanted to get this out. Thanks for putting up with me.

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