Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Capital Punishment

I’ve finally figured it out.

Some background: Capital Punishment as a concept gives me no problems, I believe the State has the responsibility, or at least the authority, to condemn someone to the first death for such things as murder, treason, child abuse, and rap music to name a few.

Take a step closer, though, and I start struggling. In reality it isn’t the State executing someone, it is a person doing it. People killing people just isn’t good. Even within war, where it is a necessary evil, it’s still evil (though I believe no judgment is levied on the soldier). Even if you develop a machine to do it, whoever turns on/plugs in the machine is the executioner.

Another step closer and I see some of the scum on death row, I think death by dull spoon is perfectly acceptable, but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve figured out the answer.
We have someone provide the means of life – not death – to the death row prisoner. A study is done to figure out the minimum amount of dirt, nutrients, sunlight, water and seeds is required to sustain someone on a vegetarian diet (both for them and the garden. Minimum levels, only). And that’s all they get. We can even give them a book saying how to do it, I suppose, and leave them alone forever. If they can manage to get their garden to produce, they can stay alive. If they can’t, they die.

Ah, you’re thinking death by dehydration and/or starvation is cruel and unusual punishment. Not so. The Terri Schivo (sp) case took that argument away (and if you say, ‘but she was brain dead,’ then you’re saying conditions excuse C&UP, and isn’t THAT a dangerous precedent. I could say the death-rower is morally-dead and there you go.)

No one, then, is responsible for the death of the condemned except himself. By virtue of (or lack thereof) their crime, they have said they want to live outside society, and this simply fulfills that. If they are diligent and disciplined, they can make a go of it. If they still have a crop failure, that’s an act of God and who are we to stand in the way of that? (Also, to qualify for the DP, physical evidence as well as - or instead of - witnesses is required. Witness only means a maximum of life imprisoned).