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    Saturday
    Mar072009

    To Die For

    In the WTF department, the State of Connecticut held a public hearing on its death penalty the other day, and supposedly the basis of the hearing was to initiate sentiments for abolishing it. The co-chairs of the State Legislative Judiciary Committee, representative Mike Lawlor and State Senator Andrew McDonald, both admitted during the hearing that they were opposed to the death penalty,while Dr. William Petit, whose family was heinously murdered in the infamous Cheshire home invasion of July 2007, had to wait more than six hours before he could speak in favor of the penalty. Lawlor defended his committee's insensitivity by rambling on about "standard procedure" and the lottery system used by the state to pick the order of speakers at hearings, but in light of the circumstances Dr. Petit should have been afforded a lot more courtesy than Joe Schmoe walking in off the street. In her blog, FOX 61's Shelly Sindland quotes the good doctor from the hearing."These three women never hurt a soul,” he said of his wife Jennifer and daughters Hayley and Michaela. "My family got the death penalty and you want to give their murderers life."

    Shortly afterward, the Hartford Courant weighed in on the subject, supporting Lawlor's and McDonald's quest to abolish the death penalty, partly because of legal inefficiency and partly because of evidence of wrongful convictions in other states. The Courant quotes Lawlor, who stated that no convicted killer in Connecticut is going to be executed "unless they want to be executed" because of delays and appeals. In other words, because the state can't get out of its own way in the appellate process, we might as well throw the baby out with the bathwater. This comes from a state, mind you, that clearly shares at least some of the blame for the Cheshire crime with its incompetant management of the parole system that let killers Komisarjevsy and Hayes out in the first place. The Courant also cites recently overturned convictions for wrongly accused death row inmates due to DNA evidence, which is a fair argument. How that argument applies to two men caught red-handed trying to flee the scene of the crime wasn't clear in the editorial.  

    I've never been a big proponent of the death penalty, but I've also never been able to convince myself that I am 100% for abolishing it, either. I know about the argument from the anti-death penalty side that the state should not be justified in taking a life, because it is in a sense playing God when it does.  Also, it's clear that there is no deterrence factor in the punishment, because murders rates have shown little if any effect between states that allow the death penalty and those that don't.  I don't really buy into the "play God" argument, because when we as a nation go to war against another country and kill civilians, we're essentially doing the same thing. Maybe we should just stop trying to be so noble about it and admit that there are some people in this world who, through their actions, demonstrate to a society of goodwill that they have simply lost the right to live within it. I don't believe that everyone on death row necessarily falls into that category, but the two scumbags who killed Dr. Petit's family certainly do.

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