So the talk around town today is the impending execution of Mario Centobie. If there is any one man who earned the death penalty it is this guy, but I don’t think he should die. Not because I care about his life or that I have some moral objection to the death penalty, but because he has not suffered enough yet.
I don’t support the death penalty. I did for many years, but my opinion has changed. Now before you get too far ahead of me, let me lay out a couple of facts about my personal and political beliefs.
First, I am not a christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or any other religious follower. I don’t believe in God. I believe there is probably some kind of higher intelligence than myself, but not one that is some omnipotent and all powerful super-being. The earthly descriptions of god or gods just don’t fly with me.
Second, I think people should be punished for their crimes. Our recent history has shown that rehabilitation is ineffective. It just doesn’t work and once criminals are released back into society they have a LARGE probability of offending again. We should focus on punishment. People should be overwhelmed with fear of going to jail. I know this will not stop all crime, but it may make some of these scumbags think twice.
Finally, I think a worse crime is to execute an innocent person. Of course this is a possibility with the death penalty and due to that fact alone we should abolish capital punishment. Don’t even begin to argue that this doesn’t happen. You know it has and does. No legal system is perfect.
My opposition to the dealt penalty, however, goes much deeper. Let’s assume, just for a moment, that there is no heaven or hell. In that case, the most despicable people in our society, the child molesters, murderers, rapists, etc., will never have to atone for their crimes after death. The eternal dirt nap is their release. I believe that any person of faith, and I have discussed related topics with many of them, would at least agree with me that it is possible that there is no afterlife. They would immediately follow that statement by saying that they have “faith” that what I think is not true and that their faith tells them that heaven awaits the faithful and hell awaits everyone else. Fine. Let’s move on.
If there is a chance that the afterlife is a myth, then we should make our criminals pay while we have the chance. They must reap what they sowed in this life because there may be no other chance. They should have to pay dearly. They should suffer. There should come a time in their miserable lives where they can think of nothing but how sorry they are for what they did. Then they should suffer some more. They should be forced into a life of hard labor. They should be up at 4:00am to a breakfast of cold eggs and bread. The should spend their day busting rocks, digging holes and filling them back in, declogging county sewage plants, and other horrible, demeaning, back breaking tasks. When the work day is over, around 8:00, they can have their dinner. Meatloaf and kidney beans. Then it’s off to bed. They had better get to sleep fast because remember the day starts at 4:00.
I don’t view this as cruel or unusual for the worst offenders. As a matter of fact, it is fair beyond comprehension. Think of what their victims and the victims family’s go through. No punishment could every erase that pain. Cruel and unusual would be punishing a jaywalker with sodomy. That just doesn’t make sense. A life of hard labor for a child killer does.
My plan also gives some hope to the innocent that have been convicted. Yes, I know it would suck to have to go through what I have described, but at least the convicted person would be alive. There would always be the chance that someone would find a way to prove their innocence. We as a society would never have to worry about killing someone and then finding out later that they did not commit the crime. It gives the legal system the opportunity to correct some of its mistakes.
At the end of the day, we would know that our worst offenders have been removed from society and are paying back a debt that can never be fully repaid. We would be sending a message that violent crime will be met with the most severe of punishments yet would give the wrongly convicted a chance at redemption and we would never become murderers ourselves.
Why do I care so deeply about this issue? I think it is because I am a father that loves his daughter and a husband who loves his wife. We see almost daily reports of children that are abducted, raped and then killed or women that are brutalized, murdered and disposed of like rancid meat. I don’t want to see this happen to anyone’s family especially my own. I want the perpetrators of these crimes to regret their actions for the rest of the life that we have chosen to given them and to understand in some way the pain they have caused.
I know this will never happen but when it comes to violent criminals it is better than they deserve.