Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Virginia's 100th Execution

The article in today’s RTD entitled “100th execution will draw opponents” certainly touched many readers as evidenced by the deluge of reader comments attached to it. While I was encouraged by the number of insightful comments from death penalty opponents, I was equally discouraged by the venomous reaction from death penalty advocates. See if you can glean the underlying emotions behind the following reader reactions:

"The hell with taxpayers money taking care of him and anybody else that takes a human life, they should all be put to death! I hope and pray Gov. Kaine finds no reason to stop it!"

"I saw a execution years ago over seas.The man was tried in court on Monday and found guilty and sentence on Wed. and beheaded on Friday. I think that's they way it should go and stoped waisting our tax payers money. And maybe our crime rate will go down."

"Glad to see there are still supporters of the death penalty. How about we make the opponents of the death penalty pay for these lowlifes to be incarcerated for the rest of their lives instead of those who are for the death penalty? Guy goes to prison at 18 for a brutal murder...that's a long time to pay taxes for him to live the rest of his life when his victim didn't get that chance. Make the bleeding hearts pay extra in their taxes to keep him alive if they're so concerned. I say fry 'em."

"I absolutley support the death penalty, the problem is we do not use it in the proper way. We should not wait 10 to 15 years to do the execution we should also go back to the days when it was done in the view of the general public. I am sick of hearing how these murders should be excused because they had a tough life. The problem is they have no regard for life and took no mercy on the victims so there should be no mercy for them. "HANGEM HIGH" they serve no good to society."

"These so called opponents are a joke . I hope none of their loved ones are ever murdered . But if they were , would they still be happy to pay for the monsters meals and a nice clean and air conditioned cell and his health care for the rest of his life ? If it doesn't effect them they just keep spewing the same garbage that their churches have brain washed them to do . They no longer think for themselves . As it stands they are on the side of the murderer and should be treated as such."

"What is the definition of civilized? Was this punks murderous act civilized? Hardly! That's why he deserves a bullet to the back of the head!"

"Punishment should not only equal but should actually be more severe than the crime committed. The only punishment that can equal murder is the death penalty. This man should have been executed years ago. It is a shame he has spent years living at the tax payers expense. Execute this trash now and get on with the next one!"

So, what are the common emotional underpinnings of these comments? How about anger, frustration, alienation, fear, powerlessness? And let’s not forget about the biggie…. HATE!!! I’m reluctant to point this out for fear that I will be construed as an apologist for violent criminals; however, the emotions conveyed by the vehement death supporters don’t seem too far from the emotional traits attributed to the violent offenders that commit these heinous crimes.

How long can we as a society hold on to the same old paradigms? This is no longer the land of John Wayne. We can no longer afford to wave off complicated issues with a cowboyish “hang em high”, “god forgives, I don’t” mentality.

It’s time to face facts. Children who grow into adulthood with the inherent or acquired willingness to kill others don’t come by that proclivity on their own. They learn it by viewing and hearing the hate that we adults spew on a daily basis. When it comes down to it, hate is hate regardless of its justification.


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