This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty on someone convicted of raping a child, when the rape did not result in death. The majority opinion states that execution is not a proportionate punishment for rape, and therefore falls under the Constitution’s definition of “cruel and unusual punishment.” Was this the right decision?
It seems like the gut reaction of most people to the Supreme Court ruling out the death penalty for child rapists is a combination of disgust and righteous indignation. “How could they side with child rapists over those poor little children whose lives have been ruined?” The justices on the Supreme Court realize that it’s not that black and white. (Well, five of them do, anyway . . .)
The idea wasn’t to do all those child rapists sitting on death row (of whom there aren’t that many, anyway) a favor; it was to draw a boundary around capital punishment. The specific case before the court dealt with a convict from Louisiana, but the justices had to consider the bigger picture when they made their decision. Louisiana’s just one of fifty states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, and Texas is right next door. If the death penalty for child rapists was affirmed by the highest court in the land, how long would it be before those kill-happy cowboys to the west decided it’s okay to send people who fail to pick up after their (non-stuffed) dogs to the gas chamber? I’m telling you, they’re just waiting for an excuse. It’s mostly just raw bloodlust, but there’s also a misplaced sense of pragmatism at work there. The people of Texas figure they spent good money building those gas chambers, so dammit, they’re going to use them.
This was a good decision by the court, and not just because it holds the slavering Texans at bay; justice, in order to be just, can’t be based on emotion. Sure, if you have a child who gets raped by some sicko, your first reaction — possibly your only reaction — will be to want to kill the guy. That’s why we have an impartial legal system. Killing a person is a big deal. I think the government methodically executing a person is an even bigger deal, and if they insist on doing it, I’d prefer they at least restrict themselves to killing people who killed someone else first. That doesn’t mean I approve of child rape — what a silly idea that is, that if I don’t favor killing the guy I must automatically be on his side. Throw the guy in prison and never let him out. I’m fine with that.
I prefer the courts to be suppliers of justice, not instruments of vengeance. It starts with killing child rapists, then they push the line out further, and a little further, and before you know it they’re coming after people who abandon their beloved stuffed animals in the tool shed for two years. And I’d hate to see anything bad happen to Steve.
As a veteran of law enforcement and a stuffed dog, I have strong feelings about the Supreme Court striking down the death penalty for those convicted of child rape. It’s a real shame. Now, we taxpayers (well, you taxpayers) will have to put these sick fuckers up in the lap of luxury for the rest of their lives, instead of just sending them to the cyanide sauna and getting it over with.
I could tell you stories.
Back when I was a cop in Colorado Springs, I responded to a disturbance call at this shithole of an apartment complex downtown. I knocked on the door and announced myself, but there was no answer. I kicked the door in and entered the residence. I could hear noises coming from down the hall. I made my way to the back of the apartment and threw open the bedroom door, and . . . my god. There was a fully grown Pound Puppy — I don’t want to mention any names, but it was Scrounger — mounting poor little Squealer the Pig (who was, I have to say, aptly named).
If you’ve never had to pull a plush hound dressed like a hobo off of a Beanie Baby, you are not qualified to decide what constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment,” I don’t care if you are on the Supreme Court.
But I don’t want to be the sort of fella who just sits around complaining without offering something constructive. The court decided what it decided, so now it’s up to those of us who disagree with it to find another way of exacting retribution. So we can’t kill convicted child rapists. Fine. We won’t kill them. We’ll just get more creative in sentencing. All I need is one open-minded judge and before you know it “Life in prison without parole, with a thousand whacks to the nuts from a bamboo cane every day” will be the standard punishment for raping a kid.
Or how about we sentence the kid-fuckers to have “KID-FUCKER” tattooed on their chest, back, and forehead, and release them into the general prison population. And we all know what happens to child molesters in prison. Moderates get better treatment on the Rush Limbaugh show than kid-rapers do on the inside. They don’t call it the pokey for nothin’.
I’ve got another one: sentence child rapists to get a fucked-up special kind of lobotomy that turns on the pain receptors in their brains and just leaves them on, so they get non-stop searing agony from every nerve in their body. And cut their vocal chords, like that guy did to win a bet on that episode of The Twilight Zone, so they can’t scream and bother the other inmates.
Does that sound cruel and unusual to you, Supreme Court? Then maybe you should let us do the humane thing and hang the bastards, Baghdad style.