Friday 4 February 2011

Don't be selective about the death penalty

Calls are being made to bring back the death penalty in light of the recent murder of a Lakewood police officer and other people in Tucson, Ariz.
The call in Arizona is interesting in that it was related to the fact that one of those killed was a federal judge. There was some question about whether he was at the event in an official capacity or on his own time. In either case, he's still dead.
Some have called for the death penalty when those killed are members of law enforcement. Still others make a case for the death penalty when a child is killed.
I am not a proponent of the death penalty. I can imagine no harsher punishment than a lifetime in a state penitentiary without eligibility for parole. But how do you justify selective death penalty statutes?
Is a blue-collar working guy's life not as valuable as that of a federal judge? Is he any less dead, if murdered, than a law-enforcement member?
This type of logic follows that of hate-crime statutes, in which the punishment somehow is tied to the ethnicity or sexual orientation of the victim.
A victim is a victim, period. Murder is murder, period.
Once we start applying punishment selectively, we are placing more value on one person's life or well-being than another's.
Until and unless we start treating all life, from conception to grave, in the highest regard, all the feel-good legislation in the world is nothing but political window dressing.
William C. Longo

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