Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Thoughts on Capital Punishment

Here's the problem in the US, we have capital punishment but we kill the wrong people, in the wrong way, for the wrong things.

The Death Penalty is not a deterrent to gang bangin' accidental nihilists or people strung out on meth robbing liquor stores, those dummies are gonna do what they do heedless of the consequences. Naturally, I understand that if your loved one is senselessly killed in a robbery you think whoever did it should be put to death and I have trouble disagreeing with that sentiment. Idiots who kill because it's easier and quicker to pull a trigger rather than spend five minutes tying someone up probably deserve to die for being lazy and stupid.

Then there's the matter of how we go about putting people to death. A lethal injection 10 years after the fact that no one sees? BORING!! When executions go down usually all you ever see is people marching outside the prison talking about how the death penalty is inhumane, blah, blah, fucking blah and precious little talk about the victim and their family. Where is the spouse of the victim or their kids talking about recovering from the emotional and financial scars of having a family member killed? Just once I would like to see the victim's spouse/sibling/parent/child looking the killer right in the eyes as they throw the switch on the electric chair and tell them, "See you in Hell!"

But let's not kid ourselves, we value money more than we do human life in this country. If we didn't we wouldn't give corporations the same rights as people, but with none of the responsibilities or have insurance companies denying people coverage because they aren't a good risk. I'm complicit in all of this, I'm a capitalist that owns a condo with granite counter tops and shiny appliances, but I think we should update our criminal code to reflect what our true values are and make destroying shareholder value a capital offense.

Junkies and career criminals don't worry about the death penalty much, but I suspect that CEOs and other top level corporate execs might act a little more carefully if they knew a date with the executioner could be in the cards if they fuck up badly enough. We could set the bar high too, you have to destroy a billion dollars in shareholder value before a case even gets reviewed by the HillRat Star Chamber ®. If it's an honest mistake; new technology renders the company's primary product irrelevant, bad year for crops causes wild fluctuations in prices, judgment errors, etc.; you're off the hook and you may even be allowed to keep your golden parachute. For the most part that's what I would expect to find judgment errors.

However, in the case of accounting fraud and other kinds of shady shit that's kind of legal but ethically dubious, well that's a whole different story. The very top cut of corporate officers, (CEO, CFO, and COO) who profited from false earnings reports or other fraud or gross negligence that ultimately leads to a corporate meltdown that cost shareholders more than $1B, would become eligible for the death penalty.

Executions would be vastly different too, no sanitized room where you get strapped down to a gurney to meet your maker. I'm talking about sending in MOB Six to their gated communities, where these thieving motherfuckers would be snatched up and killed in front of their families live on pay-per-view. Or maybe we could get all Running Man (the book, not the movie) and see how far one of these coddled jerkoffs gets with a few grand, his wits, and every person in the country calling a tip line to get themselves paid and to see the dude killed live without having to buy the PPV.

Now that's change I can believe in!

14 comments:

clara said...

In China they are executing the people who made the decision to put so much melamine in the baby formula.

I am mostly opposed to the death penalty, but I think that your point makes more sense than the way it is now. If greedy corporate types knew it was a possibility, maybe they would be more decent. In the vast majority of cases here in the US it is definitely no deterrent.

Knockout Ed said...

Your comment about the "masters of the universe" are interesting & funny, but I am fully against the death penalty in any form. We shouldn't be putting people to death. One innocent life worth far more than whatever fleeting satisfaction comes with the sanctioned murder of criminals

Hill Rat said...

KE,

We'll have to agree to disagree about this one 'cause I want to see motherfuckers like Ken Lay, Fastow, and all the rest of these pricks killed on PPV. Not only that, their families should be stripped of all their ill-gotten assets and put out on the street with a driver's license, a SS card, and 50 freshly printed copies of their resume. Let's see how talented and smart their kids are when they aren't backed up by Daddy Stealbucks.

Tim said...

If we humans were omniscient and infallible I may agree with you. But, we are not. We do not see everything and we err. Because of that, and the complete finality of the death penalty, I'm left wondering how anyone can be so confident about the guilt of someone that they're willing to kill them.

Consider giving a lesson to the album by Michael Franti and Spearhead called 'Stay Human'.

Tim said...

Clearly I should read my comments first...lesson should be listen.

Hill Rat said...

I'm left wondering how anyone can be so confident about the guilt of someone that they're willing to kill them.

I understand your ambivalence about being "certain" of someone's guilt, but in the case of someone like Ken Lay there's no question that he engaged in systematic, fraudulent business practices. His actions cost tens of thousands of people funds they had been saving for decades so they could retire, those people are left with nothing. In the meantime Ken Lay's family will be able to live quite comfortably of their ill gotten funds, that doesn't seem right to me.

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