Notes: Are you any less afraid of a cold-blooded killer because he's crazy? More afraid? Were you relieved to find that one of the sniper-killers was a juvenile and not a dangerous adult? I don't think any killer strikes fear in society's heart than an insane, homicidal maniac -- that is, killings we can't explain. Yet, that person may escape the death penalty while a sane killer may not.

This past week the United States Supreme Court stayed the execution of a schizophrenic who murdered a woman after she refused his sexual advances. The condemned has even said that he is afraid of what might happen if he were free in society again. The distinctions of who qualifies for the death penalty and who does not, seem unnatural to me. They are based on a belief that people are inherently redeemable and also that one must understand his wrong in order to be responsible. Tell that to a victim's family and see if they are consoled at all. Punishment is about retribution and keeping society safe with a goal of redemption if possible. Society is simply safer with violent murderers out of it.

While I'm not a death-penalty advocate, I'm not a bit sentimental about violent criminals who kill or assault a victim and consequently also screw up the lives of the victim's families and friends. Given the expense and time -- about 15 years -- it takes to carry out an execution in America, I think it would be more practical to mete out a sentence of true life in prison ... lock 'em up and throw away the key. I can't imagine a worse punishment than facing life in prison without hope.

This comic strip points out that to a murder victim, it doesn't matter what kind of killer murdered him. The result is the same -- the violent, untimely end of an innocent life.
11.10.02