Saturday, September 10, 2011

Is It Possible The California Crowd Was Not Cheering for Capital Punishment?

There was an awkward moment on National TV on September 7th when it was announced that the state of Texas has executed 234 condemned murderers under Rick Perry's governorship. In his blog, adapted for RealClearReligion, Rod Dreher calls the reaction (applause) to the announcement a "vile repulsive thing". But what was the audience cheering for and how vile a thing is it really in perspective?

First of all, let me declare my position on 'capital punishment'. A) Intellectually I'd like to say, "I don't know." B) Theologically, I'd like to say "God is a God of Love and a God of Justice, so the answer often must be 'it depends'.  God's 'grace' is more about our eternal salvation than our escaping of consequences here on earth for our sins."  C) Socially, I'd like to say, "Al Capone used it as a deterrent to others who thought they could cross him, and since very few did, I believe it worked and still does as a good deterrent.  I just don't buy those who say it is not."  And finally, D) from a human perspective, I'd like to say, "no should have to die at the hands of another person, but gee whiz that goes for the victim of the murderer as well, doesn't it?"

So what was all that applause down there in California during the debate really all about?   Of course, no state of the union or any other jurisdiction for that matter is perfectly suited in making the call to execute someone.   No court is perfect.  And so on.  And yes, mistakes are made and sometimes the innocent person goes to the gallows.   (You'll be given examples in Dreher's blog.)  Let me remind you that all these bleeding hearts that cry blue bloody murder when a mistake is made with respect to capital punishment, they rejoice or at least stay silently complacent when hundreds of thousands of innocent children are murdered annually through abortions, when more and more doctors want to pursue mercy-killings of the aged (not sure whose mercy they have in mind), and now when some members of the North American public carry-out so-called 'honor-killings' because their culture or religious law calls for it.   Mr. Dreher there's no consistency in your line of argument.

Dreher also suggests that people have a strong need to believe in capital punishment.  I disagree with that.  I was a big fan of capital punishment (perhaps like Dreher himself admits he once was), and although I still accept it as the right way to go in many circumstances, I don't have the "strong need" to believe in it.  In fact, I wish we never had to exercise it -- I wish we were never put in a position to need to exercise it.  But we are.  We are because there are "vile repulsive people out there who do vile repulsive things to others especially children."   That's what's vile and repulsive Mr. Dreher, not people applauding, even for capital punishment, if they were.

If you think, however, they were applauding "for capital punishment" you are more narrow-minded or blind than I thought and certainly more narrow-minded and blind than those you accuse of being 'conservative.'  In case you can't figure it out, let me explain it to you. . .

These people were applauding (and loudly) for the guts that one state and one governor had and have to deal directly with those, and give a clear message to any potential, murderers who carry out such vile and repulsive acts as those that warrant the death penalty in their state.  That is what people were applauding for.

Dreher goes on to say he would rather have society protect itself by bloodless means if at all possible.  But to apply that argument here is weak.  First there is the issue of cost -- (bloodless equals no death penalty in this case) -- and that means a very heavy on-going cost to society for keeping a convicted murder alive, often for decades.  I'm okay with that, but it is the liberals that complain so much about costs when it comes to keeping old people alive or putting GPS tracking systems on convicted child sex offenders.   Secondly, bloodless means we are totally denying any deterrent power of execution -- something I personally believe it has, just by watching human nature -- from the age of young children right up to adults.

Once again, you've heard my side of the story.  It's best i let you get Dreher's and then you can make up your own mind. When you do, let us know how you'd vote on this one.

RealClearReligion - The Ugliness of Cheering for Capital Punishment

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