Many people are on the fence about the death penalty. There are those that are just plain against the state sanctioned killing of anyone, no matter what their crime. There are many who worry about the government having the power to “kill” people. And there are some still that feel that capital punishment is not applied “fairly,” and that race, socio-economic status and other social demographics too heavily influence who receives the death penalty (and by extension, who ends up being actually executed, as opposed to spending years and appeals on death row.)
While I do support the death penalty, I do agree to an extent that it is unreliably and irregularly applied. I think, therefore, that there needs to be a more stringent criteria for who is eligible for the death penalty, and furthermore, better follow-through if a criminal fits the criteria. Why, for example, may one person get the death penalty for murder during the commission of an armed robbery, whereas there have been several prominent killers, like school shooter TJ Lane, and even many serial killers, such as BTK and Andre Crawford, who are spared the death penalty and instead receive life in prison on our dime? Some might argue life in prison is more of a punishment than death. I don’t happen to agree. And even if it is, I think the money spent keeping these worthless people alive for many, many years could be better spent elsewhere.
And as I’ve said before, the existence of the death penalty may not be considered to be a deterrent , but I gauran-damn-tee it prevents recidivism.
As to who should get the death penalty, and who shouldn’t, you may have inferred from the above comparison of murder during felony vs. predatory serial murder, I do feel as if some people who have killed may be redeemable…and others are definitely not.
My personal criteria for who would be eligible for (and perhaps even required) to receive the death penalty, in the event of them being found guilty by a jury, is the following:
Anyone that takes another person’s life, either on purpose or by accident, during the commission of any predatory act, especially if said act involves a child under the age of fourteen.
A predatory act would be defined as the act of stalking/kidnapping for the express purpose of committing an assault upon the victim (this would be, for example, detaining/kidnapping with intent to rape or traffic, as opposed to kidnapping for ransom.)
An added addendum to this that might seem controversial to some would possibly be:
Anyone committing felony kidnapping in conjunction with assault and/or sexual battery upon a child under the age of fourteen, whether or not said crime results in death of the victim.
I maintain that a person who kidnaps a child for sexual purposes, regardless of whether or not it results in the victim’s death, is not rehabilitate-able, and an irredeemable waste of space!
Maybe if we’d had more stringent laws, and less bleeding hearts on the sides of the criminals, little Cherish Perrywinkle and other children like her would still be alive.
Stephanie Thornton, the mother of a previous victim of attempted kidnapping by perpetrator Donald James Smith (who had an extended criminal history) did not even realize Smith had been released, and was furious that he had the opportunity to harm another child. I happen to agree with her assessment when she said, “He needs to be electrocuted. He should never be able to get back out, never.”
Edit: In case you are still in doubt as to whether or not predatory killers/child abusers can be “rehabilitated,” let me leave you with one final example. This case took place in England but serves to illustrate my point that some types of predatory criminals will never be “rehabilited.”
In 1993, two year old James Bulger was lured away by two ten year old boys who subsequently tortured him and killed him. Both perpetrators were imprisoned until 2001 for the crime. Not only were they housed in prison for most of their pitiful lives to date, and eventually even received what could be described as special priviledges, and them they recieved new identities to protect them after their release, and much of this was paid for by the tax payers.
By 2010, though, Venables was back in prison for a parole violation; possession of child pornography. So in a strange twist of happenstance, this guy actually killed a child first and then got nailed for the pornography later. Seems he had long had a taste for victimizing children, even while he himself was a child (I suspect he was likely never a child, but always monster…)
Though Venables supposedly “posed no risk” to society upon his initial release for the killing of James Bulger, he has since exhibited behavior that suggests he is both troubled and manipulative, continued to seek out the company of “younger” girls and women with children, and was even heard to be bragging about the killing. Despite all of that, Venables was paroled again in 2013 and took on (his fourth) new identity. I realize there is likely no precedent for a “Oops, we fucked up when we let him out the first time…” law, but if there ever were a need for one, it would be cases like this. This man will never not be a danger to society. He’s a prime candidate for someone not only deserving of the death penalty, but it is really the only good solution, unless the tax payers in his country want to pay to house him and feed him the rest of his miderable life. Lethal injection or firing squad is frankly more than he even deserves.