Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Toookie Williams, Death Row, and Redemption.

much can be said pro and con re capital punishment. but let's strip away some of of the gray areas - race and economic inequality, mental capacity, possible rehabilitation, doubt of guilt. let's take a hypothetical case where the subject admits guilt of a heinous crime, has no remorse, has gotten superb legal representation and is a white male. in other words, an ideal candidate for execution.
so the argument for death is based on justice - he has commited a crime that cannot be forgiven by society, he is in fact a mistake of the human race and must be destroyed. but would it be possible to advance the state of human society by not having the government kill this individual in cold blood? remember, in the prevailing attitude of "karmic justice" terms he doesn't deserve to live -- he killed his victims in cold blood and they weren't given a chance or choice to live out their natural lives, so why should he?
my answer is that he should be given life without possibility of parole. we've taken away most of his physical freedom right there. but what about the "coddling" of prisoners and all their rights? picture our lifer subject's normal daily schedule: wake up, have breakfast in bed, catch the latest news and sports on the radio (maybe Howard Stern if he can get satellite), chat with neighbors, go work out in the gym, shower and maybe get a "woman", have lunch, watch tv, dinner, read, etc... doesn't seem fair to the victims, does it?
ok, this is not what I envision in life without parole. instead, I envision a prison environment where only the most basic necessities are provided. there are plenty of things that can be taken away for the purpose of "punishment". nobody has to be cruel and it won't be unusual -- they just don't get much of what they want. my guess is this is what occurs in many prisons around the world.
the one freedom that I would grant these lifers that they do not currently have easy access to is the ability to take their own life. each cell could be provided with a special firearm - maybe a 12 gauge barrel embedded in the wall. just "insert head here" and pull trigger. easy as flushing the toilet! let people deal with their own demons. this would be the only esape and the state washes its hands of responsibility. if the individuals truly can redeem themselves in jail, then they never need use such a device.
call me "pro-choice", but I believe this would be an advancement in American society and mankind in turn.

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