Archive for December 17th, 2010

Are You In Favor Of Capital Punishment?

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Most people who support capital punishment do so for three reasons: 1. it acts as a deterrent, 2. it’s cheaper than housing murderers for the rest of their lives, and 3. the idea of “justice” – “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” – mostly Old Testament dogma (some of which was written on stoned tablets).

The first two reasons are demonstrably false – research shows just the opposite.  So we’re left with the third, “justice” – and here’s where I get into trouble when I start thinking.

“Justice” in America means “for all” – equally.  But we know that’s bullshit. To be executed in this country, you pretty much have to be poor, dumb, and a color other than white.  Hell, O.J. could have BITTEN Nicole to death and if the police found him wandering the streets with her veins hanging from his bloody mouth, he STILL never would have been executed!

I don’t know why we, as a country don’t give murderers a third alternative besides execution or life-in-prison.  The alternative?  State-sponsored suicide.  If someone is convicted of first degree murder, our laws could say,

“You have the option of spending the rest of your life – with NO chance of parole – in a little cage – OR you can take this blue pill and end everyone’s suffering.”

“We will never allow you to join our society again – but we won’t be as uncivilized as you and demand your murder.  Here’s an alternative that might add some dignity to your atrocious life.”

He Who Laughs Last . . .

Friday, December 17th, 2010

In Victorian England, there were many things about Dr. William Palmer on which everyone agreed: he was overly fond of women, gambling, most types of fraud, and he was heavily in debt.

The thing on which people could not agree was if he was or was not – a serial, strychnine murderer who killed more than a dozen people including his wife, his mother-in-law, four out of five of his children, and a half dozen other people he knew.

One reason the English were divided on Palmer was because strychnine was a new, relatively uncommon drug, never before introduced in court as a tool of murder. However when Dr. Palmer and his little bottle of clear liquid were around, an awful lot of people started dropping dead with the same symptoms. Finally, a jury decided the issue by finding him guilty of at least one murder and sentencing him to death by public hanging.

On June 14, 1856, Dr. Palmer was led up the stairs of the gallows and demonstrated at least one more trait on which everyone could agree: the guy had a great sense of humor. At the top step, Palmer put one foot on the scaffolding, turned to the guard and said, “Are you sure this thing is safe?”