For most of my life, I have been vehemently opposed to the death penalty. It simply never made sense to me for all the reasons you’ve heard before.
For starters, there is very little data to support that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to heinous crimes. Then there is the question of vengeance (“an eye for an eye”), which I would argue has no place in a system of justice. Clearly, DNA testing and advancements in science have indicated that innocent people have, in fact, been put to death.
Discrimination is another reason to oppose the death penalty. Most defendants who face the death penalty were in no position to afford an attorney. I won’t even enter the quagmire surrounding the serious questions of racial bias.
In spite of all that, I just hate the hypocrisy of it. It sounds absurd for a government to state to its citizens “it is wrong to kill, do not kill ... or else we’ll kill you.” If killing is wrong, then it should be wrong across the board. End of story, right? Not so fast, it seems, at least not for me.
I’ve recently begun to reassess my position on capital punishment. Mostly, I remain opposed, but there are now circumstances under which I’m ok with it.
This punishment may be acceptable for people who don’t scoop up the poop of their pets. As far as I’m concerned, you knew scooping up his poop was part of the deal when Fido became a beloved member of the family. Yet there it sits stinking up the sidewalk, posing a huge inconvenience to all the people walking to school, to the bus, to the local businesses in my neighborhood. Ran of bags? This is not a problem. Go home, get a bag, and just do it.
My daughter recently dragged a bit home on the heel of her shoe and into our home. Ugh. There I stood on a 25 degree day last week, out in the yard, with the hose in one hand and her shoe in the other. I won’t detail what I had to do to clean the inside of the house ... but there you have it.
Another offense I’d now consider capital punishment worthy is that of texting at red lights. You know what I mean, right? There she sits texting away long after the light has turned green and long after I’ve gently tapped on the horn to alert her to the fact that the light has turned green. Texting, I would inform her (while serving the last meal), is in this state, at least, illegal while driving and is still illegal while sitting at a traffic light!
Then there’s the cell phone talkers. The ones who talk too loudly and for too long in public places. Something like this has happened to you too.
You’re nervously sitting in the dental office waiting room, flipping through the pages of a People magazine from 2006, fervently hoping you flossed just enough to get out the chair without needing additional dental treatment that would provide your dentist with a sizable down payment for an ocean front vacation home. Eventually, the cell phone of the person next to you starts ringing. He smiles politely as he fumbles to find the phone and answers the call.
Then it starts.
“John here. Yea, I can talk, it’s no problem.” (He says turning slightly and sheepishly away from me – as if this helps). “No, no! You never listen. Listen this time, okay? I said to forward the contract to Jimmy’s people over in Salem. Jimmy’s people. JIMMY! Yea, that’s right, Salem. No, no you dork! Not that Salem! SALEM, NEW HAMSHIRE!! Right. Right. Here’s what you do, are you listening? Good. Now, call Jimmy ... ”
And on it goes, until the idea of having a sharp pointy dental tool poking around at my vulnerable gums sounds infinitely better than listening to the rest of this conversation.
So, there you have it. Crimes worthy of capital punishment. In my book anyway.
Hold on, of course, I’m only joking. Penalty by death is abhorrent and barbaric.
Except for the dog poop people.