Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I see what Erickson is saying. Sort of.

Or, or...we could decide not to execute people at all to try and demonstrate the point that murder is wrong. Especially if the state proves to be so wretchedly bad at it that you feel, if you are capable of such feelings, sympathy for a human being suffering the state of a too-long death--no matter what that human being had done. The demonstration of humanity isn't for the benefit of the murderers--it's for ourselves.

There is a point there--a bloodless death by poison has a lot to do with the conscience of the viewer, that might recoil at the sight of blood or the the blackened face of suffocation. It is possible, nonetheless, that this pang of conscience exists because so many of us have the idea that killing isn't right. Sanitized with a medical display of nice clean chemicals, we can imagine that we are euthanizing a monster so he is no longer a harm to himself or others, not that we are cleansing the world of one terribly inconvenient sinning person. Who is, after all, in custody, and likely will not harm a soul so long as he is.

Or that's how I see it. When an execution goes badly, it reminds us of what it is--the planned killing of another person. A crime, if not done by the state, that many states punish by death.

3 comments:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Ugh, leave it to a wingnut to default to the crueler position, rather than the humane one.

Sanitized with a medical display of nice clean chemicals, we can imagine that we are euthanizing a monster so he is no longer a harm to himself or others

Execution by means of lethal injection creeps the hell out of me- it's a horrid parody of a medical procedure.

Yastreblyansky said...

To me it's really the worst moral failure of government, I mean not the worst in terms of sheer quantity of pain and sorrow but the worst in a pure philosophical sense, to say effectively "Murder is the worst thing you can do so I'll have to murder you." BBBB is right obviously that the injection method is intolerably creepy, in addition to these terrible errors that in the Lockett case literally tortured a man to death. Does Erickson mean, "if we chose a more barbaric method then we would effectively have stopped worrying about how barbaric it is"? That would be true enough. Hanging wouldn't be "politically correct", har har har.

Anonymous said...

Hello Vixen,
you have advanced a point of view that has merits, but that's not the whole story.

The reason the criminal justice system exists is to take the administration of justice out of the hands of the victims and put it into the hands of the state.

If you go back far enough even in US history, if one were mortally aggrieved, revenge was the province of the victims' families.

Laws were instituted with the idea that the families of the victims could rest assured that in the capable hands of the state satisfaction and some closure could be guaranteed without the necessity of personal revenge.

I'm sure you've all read of the feuds between families like the Hatfields and McCoys that went on for decades.

And so the state promised that if the victims would simply hand over the justice factor to the state, they would be satisfied with the punishment administered.

There are victims who suffer horrible crimes at the hands of serial killers, psychopaths, organized crime, Islamic fundamentalists, and various drug cartels. In the Oklahoma case, the girl was buried alive after being repeated raped, shot, and forced to watch men dig her grave. Her family could not possibly receive the kind of justice they might wish, because we don't do torture.

It would be a miscarriage of justice if a bunch of people thinking of abstractions were to keep these families from getting what the state has promised to them.

I think there is a problem when we cannot absolutely prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the rapist or murderer or pedophile or sex trafficker is guilty of the crime.

To extend to those criminals who might as well have worked at Dachau a fate less than death would be to deny the families of those victims any kind of justice.

I would, however, be satisfied if the families were able to determine the punishment for horrendous crimes and occasionally some family members were opt for leniency.

--Formerly Amherst