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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Death And Taxes, but Mainly Death

Crime, death, destruction, robbery, rape, other bad stuff. There are multiple reasons that society decides that one of our own should die. We kill in war, in passion, in the name of money, and sometimes just because we are wired that way. As a society we have been putting people to death in the legal system, every since we were walking in and out of caves, like a homes of the stars tour. If someone was a threat to the society they were either cast out or put to death.
The oldest recorded evidence of the death penalty being codified, was in the 18th Century B.C., in the Code of King Hammaurabi of Babylon. Other things they did in the 18th Century B.C.: several cultures were just discovering a use for bronze, besides just being a pretty shade of yellow, a bunch of Middle Eastern tribes were starting to bash each other's heads with aforementioned bronze, someone had found iron and thought, "well shit, this is stronger than bronze," and killed a bunch of idiots still using bronze weapons. This means that we have been killing people for one reason or another, legally, for almost four thousand years. Almost the entirety of RECORDED human history we have been killing the hat industry, because we don't know how to deal with the criminally dangerous.

Oh Let Me Count the Ways

Is There a Doctor in the House? Oh Shit...
We have been very inventive when it comes to killing people. We have invented things specifically to end human life at the end of a trial, or not, such as the guillotine, invented by Doctor Joseph-Ignace Guillotine. The Guillotine is basically an upright Nordick Track with a big axe on the other end. When the rope is pulled the criminal gets promoted to understudy for Washington Irving movie tie-ins.

Shot Through The Heart... head... arms...
Then we have the firing squad, where a bunch of people with very little training get together to hold a prehumous twenty-one gun salute, very badly. It became such a trauma for the people killing the condemned that the officials started mixing up the person that actually was the killer, by giving everyone blanks except one, and no one knew who had the live rounds.

It's a Tie... oh wait a second
We have found many uses for hemp, smoking, clothing, hippie footwear, and for killing people by throwing one end of a large twined pieces of hemp over a tree and putting a nifty little neck-tie then pulling real hard. Someone decided that was too chaotic and came up with a platform with a tricky trapdoor, that gives the condemned a free dance lesson.

Death Potion No. 9
Then some chemists got together and dropped bottles of different materials around the work area, to see which were the most effective at killing the asshole at the end of the hall that keeps using all the toilet paper. This caught on by putting criminals in little boxes and having them take deep breaths of hydrogen cyanide and carbon oxide in it's various forms.

Let's All Rock on Down to Electric Avenue
Old Sparky seems to be the name of every electric chair I have ever heard of. This is a device in which contrary to bad movies does not give hardened killers super powers, but rather sends several million volts of electricity through the human condition and basically boils their moisture in a flash.

I Need a New Drug
The most commonly used modern method is lethal injection. This is an IV drip of lethal drugs that is supposed to be the most humane of all ways to end someone's life. It is supposedly the most efficient way to snuff the spark of life.
Most of this info has come from Just in the United States we have 5 legally sanctioned ways to end someone's life, for their sins.

So Why is Acceptable to Kill People

For all practical purposes, according to, the only reason used for execution, since 1976 is murder. So dude A kills dude B for some reason we, as a society, find repugnant, so dudes and dudetts, decide dude A deserves to die. Okay. Now, according to the same source there are several other reasons for the death penalty, that aren't necessarily as popular.
Reasons for the Death Penalty

Treason, betraying your country is bad, and could lead to a lot of deaths. Okay, that's fine. Kidnapping where there is another crime involved, such as injuring, raping, killing the victim. Yeah, I can see that. Willfully causing a train to crash, is okay if you've ever seen Unbreakable. Perjury is lying under oath, and California is good with the death penalty if that lying led to the accused's death. So you lied, someone died, you are responsible. That seems valid. Hijacking a plane seems a little weird, if no one is harmed, but I'm sure they have a good reason. Sex Crimes against a person under 14, okay, right on, kill that asshole Even more-so if he's a repeat offender, and yeah under 13 and 11 sure. That is sick. Capital Sexual Battery is sexual assault on a minor 12 or under, that causes physical harm to the child's sexual organs. Again, fuck those guys. They are beyond redemption. Killing someone while committing a terrorist attack is definitely bad, because are in a war on terror, so terrorists are enemy soldiers. Giving drugs to kids, is definitely a no-no. Gotta protect them babies. All valid reasons for ending the life of a criminal, except maybe that hijacking thing.

Everything I Just Said is Wrong Because....

Our justice system is broken. 1 in 3 African American men will end up in prison, rightly or wrongly. 41% of the death row population is black and male, and they make up 60% of the total prison population, while only making up 30% of the overall population. That's a lot of numbers and statistics, but here is a list of men and women who were executed and later found to be innocent:

Carlos DeLuna Texas Conviction: 1983, Executed: 1989
Ruben Cantu Texas Convicted: 1985, Executed: 1993
Larry Griffin Missouri Conviction: 1981, Executed: 1995
Joseph O'Dell Virginia Conviction: 1986, Executed: 1997
David Spence Texas Conviction: 1984, Executed: 1997
Leo Jones Florida Convicted: 1981, Executed: 1998
Gary Graham Texas Convicted: 1981, Executed: 2000,
Claude Jones Texas Convicted 1989, Executed 2000
Cameron Willingham Texas Convicted: 1992, Executed: 2004
Troy Davis   Georgia   Convicted 1991  Executed 2011

As you can see above, there is no absolute in determining the guilt or innocence of a person, and without that certainty how are we justified in state sanctioned murder. These were people who were accused, tried, and convicted of murder, then later information came up that proved them innocent. At the point of innocence for most of these people the information came too late, but for at least one of them, Troy Davis, the information was available before he was executed. It has been reported that the witnesses at his trial recanted their testimony, have come forward saying their testimony was coerced, and at least one has admitted he is illiterate and did not understand what he was signing was an implication of Davis. There was also another suspect, who was allowed to testify at Davis' trial. There is no forensic or DNA evidence that was brought forward to implicate Davis. This is according to Ed Pilkington of the Guardian Newspaper.

My Thoughts
I used to believe in the death penalty. I've been through situations that have caused me to say, fuck that person, they deserve to die, what they did was too horrendous to forgive. I would still not be upset to see those people die violently, however I no longer think the death penalty is appropriate. I don't think the state should be allowed to carry out the ultimate sentence when they can't even balance the budget, figure out why it's okay for opposite sex couples to have children but not same sex couples, or stop killing people around the world for no reason other than one of them may have one day talked to someone who may have seen the guy who plotted to fly airplanes into our real estate.

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