Life vs Death Sentence

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A few days ago the media covered the purportedly botched public execution of a convicted killer in Arizona. It seems Arizona administered an untested drug to a convicted killer who showed not one iota of compassion for the victims he killed. Liberals across the world protested that the death sentence be abolished immediately. All the furor came about because it took the killer two hours to die and the witnesses sickened by the process. It is my opinion that we are missing the opportunity to take advantage of a disaster here. Why not, I ask, don’t we make the death penalty inhumane instead of humane? If the penalty was something like being buried up to your neck in sand and the executioner pours honey over your head just before he releases a colony of fire ants under your chin. The horror of such a scene might just prevent a potential killer from pulling the trigger or slashing your neck with the machete.

Even though I have come up with this concept, I don’t believe it would prevent anyone from murdering anyone. When a person decides to kill, he isn’t playing scenes of Disneyland in his mind. Penalties do not prevent crimes. When you are hungry you do not think about going to jail for stealing a loaf of bread. His main goal is to overcome hunger. The only law that I believe will cause one to think twice is Sharia Law. Muslims seem to react to a public stoning, or a public hand amputation, yet even they fall into sin. If Sharia acted as a deterrent then we would never hear of anyone being stoned.

How many ways has civilization used for execution? Hanging, stoning, starvation, Lion feeding, firing squads, walk the plank, electric chairs, beheading, lethal injection, what have I left out? We consider all of them inhumane. Why? Most likely because killing is wrong no matter who does it. We the people then have to live with the guilt of having killed (executed) someone, and we can’t handle it?

Life sentences don’t do it either. People do the crime and live peacefully in prison with really great benefits for the rest of their lives at a huge cost to the rest of us.  I just finished reading the book Moloka’i. The story depicts how the Hawaiian government dumped lepers on an island to live  by themselves. Should we use that model to dump convicted killers on an island in the middle of an ocean, or maybe we can shoot them to the moon?  Wasn’t that what Great Britain did with criminals, i.e. send them to the Colonies or to Australia? It would be a utopian world of like-minded people living together providing their own food by farming. Didn’t the French try something like that? I seem to recall a movie called Pappilon with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman about a great escape from Devil’s Island.

Perhaps the idea of punishing crimes is totally wrong. Why don’t we just forgive those who ask forgiveness and allow the Devil to handle those who don’t?

Davenport’s Bright Idea

      There was a time when I was in love with the state of Iowa. Twice in my life, I had opportunity to ride my bicycle across the state on the largest organized bike ride in the country called RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). The ride begins at the Missouri River on the west, and finishes at the Mississippi on the east. It takes seven days to complete the course. Every year the organizers route the ride through a different set of towns.  I have ridden my bicycle over one thousand miles of Iowa and have stayed in, or passed through forty towns.  I met a lot of great people. They are friendly, helpful, and cheerful.

     Most of Iowa is agricultural. I peed in many cornrows, and passed by hundreds of acres of soybeans. I rode quickly past many pig farms. The stench being, well let me just say distinctive. Just about every town had at least one church with a cross on the steeple

     Farmers are usually small businessmen. They are independent, and in my mind conservative.  . That is why I was surprised to see the big support Iowans gave Obama. It is also a surprise, that the city of Davenport, Iowa wanted to change Good Friday to “Celebrate Spring Day.”  It was their attempt to separate the church from the state.

     I have a suggestion for Iowa. If you want to separate church from state, do not celebrate the holidays. I believe government should work three hundred and sixty five days a year.  You pay the bill, and as boss it should be your rule for your government to follow. If you do not like it leave, and work for the private sector. The state will improve with fewer people working for it. Besides, by working an extra hundred and five days, you need fewer people to do the work.  Do not try to change two thousand years of tradition and the culture of Christianity because you believe in separation of church and state.

     For the farmers of Iowa, please do not get any more good ideas like Obama again.  I recommend that you get away from the pig farm regularly, and breathe some fresh air. That way when another Obama shows up you will be able to recognize what he really is by the odor.

Ronald Reagan’s reflection on God and morality: “Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under. I’m convinced more than ever that man finds liberation only when he binds himself to God and commits himself to his fellow man. Our liberty springs from and depends upon an abiding faith in God.”

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