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Death Penalty Reconsidered

Last year when the advisory referendum on the death penalty came to town I voted hell no. I have always had a problem with the state carrying out this ultimate act of aggression and power.  In the past week or so I have reconsidered that position.

I think we have two main crime groups ; crime against the state and crime against the people. Crimes against the state would include the various (non-political) misdemeanors and felonies that states and local communities deal with day in and day out.  The use of the death penalty for these types of crimes is immoral, inhumane, and an unjust use of power by the State.  Crimes against the people is an entirely different matter entirely.  This would include the briberies and extortion that occur on a daily basis in the White House and state houses across the country.  This would include those that out CIA agents, or attempt to cover for the president. What I’m trying to say is China is on the right track.

 Recently George Bush made a mockery out of our justice system by pardoning an enemy of the people. China when faced with a government official accepting bribes of less that $900,000 was sentenced to death. That’s what I call getting serious about government corruption. In the U.S. $900,000 is just seen as the cost of having breakfast with a politician.

Prior to his execution these were Zheng Xiaoyu last words,

Thinking back on what has happened these years, I start to see the problems clearly. Why are the friends who gave me money all the bosses of pharmaceutical companies? Obviously because I was in charge of drug administration. I am confessing here that I loosened self-discipline, ignored the bottom line. 

Two countries, two messages. In one the message was sent loud and clear that corruption and cronyism will not be tolerated. In the other the message was sent that no matter how hideous the crime or how great the betrayal to the American people, corruption and cronyism will be rewarded at the highest level.  


6 responses to “Death Penalty Reconsidered

  1. EddyPo

    I share you’re frustration. Personally, I’m still against the death penalty, but I would love it if we would start treating these crimes seriously. Obviously, crimes against the people do more damage to our society than do crimes against the state.

  2. Yes, I was only half serious. A good tar and feathering seems like a healthy compromise though.

  3. jody

    I do not know what EddyPo means with “crimes against the state” unless he is using the term to mean that the state takes on the job of defending the violation of rights to individuals so that individuals do not resort to vigilantism.

    Technically that seems to be what he means, though the way it is used here looks more like the state is prosecuting income tax fraud or some impersonal, victimless crime like that.

    So then, the way he uses “crimes against the people” (in a collective sense) seems more personal and ‘weighty” just by virtue of the use of the word people. A closer look shows he is using a kind of an inverse way of speaking. An example, I think, of how “liberals” get that image of being disconnected, ivory tower speakers who lose support of the very “masses” they claim to be representing. I doubt a working-class guy would resonate with what Po has said here.

    If a guy tortures his girlfriend to death, EddyPo would say that is a Crime Against the State (NOT a “people”), if a politician lies under oath that is a Crime Against The People (when in fact it all occurs within the milieu of “state” and it’s bureaucratic functioning).

    So we can get turned around with language use here. And then I think a blue collar guy is gonna say “I need a gun to protect my family if that’s how you’re going to be.” Or perhaps, that is just how I feel then. But I’m a blue-collar wife, so I guess that’s still legit.

    I was actually appalled at the Chinese Execution. I find it barbaric. Only a child will not have noticed that the powerful always choose fall guys to let off public steam. Even when the fall guys are obvoiusly embedded in , and participants in, the system of power, rarely do the MOST guilty face the axe.

    In our country somone else would hang for Cheney’s acts, for Rove’s acts, etc. Not Rove or Cheney, not ever. So it’s just barbarism and public blood-letting designed to maintain the status quo, not to lend true accountability. What do we know about this Chines man or the nuances of their power structure? Nothing but what we are told. Let us not be so easy. We do not have any way of knowing who is accountable for anything in China.

    I am in favor of the death penalty for people like Jeffrey Dahmer, any perpetrator of heinous torturous crimes where there is no question that this is the guilty party – we do have those cases – cases of certainty and horror. yes, kill ’em. THAT is how I vote. And they will be killed with much less agony than their victims, that is enough mercy right there. Someone took it into his own hands to kill Dahmer as he worked alone and unguarded, which is quite interesting in itself isn’t it? Who suggested an investigation of his unguarded and lonely state at the time of his “murder”? No one I ever heard of. And who did not feel relief at his death? Who wanted to know he was “out there” somewhere? YOU?

    A baby rapist does more damage than any Karl Rove and deserves death and misery. If the state can do that, yee-haa. But that is a misnomer and double-talk to then argue that as a “crime against the state” the state represents the baby who died in unspeakable agony, and all it’s relatives who will be tortured with that image for the rest of their lives, night and day.

    A crime against the state…holy moly.

  4. jody


    to come back and say Karl Rove is a Baby Killer by virtue of his bureaucratic actions working thru the organ of the state and the military is not a reasonable extrapolation of the arguement here.

    An indivual killing an individual cannot ever be compared to an individual functioning as part of a massive collective organism which makes astronomically complex series of decisions which result in a specific individual being at a specifi home in Iraq killing a specific babay. You cannot compare the tow senarios.

    If you did attempt that, I susopect it would not be too difficult to them argue that you and are as guilty – or nearly as guilty as we are participants in the collective hand in Iraq – as guilty then as Rove. But in short, the two do not equate. (In the “meting out justice sense”, certainly they are the same for the babies)

    I suspect it would have been in your nature to go that route. See the effort I saved you? But don’t thank me. Go forth, relax, and have a beer…

  5. jody

    “that you and I are as guilty”

  6. He may have got it from my post. I stated there are crimes against the state and then crimes against the people.

    Yes in the collective scheme of things we are all guilty but some are more guilty than others.

    As I stated earlier I was only half serious, but did want to elevate crimes against the people to a higher standard than that’s just how politics is done.

    I’ll let Kris Kristofferson answer your baby rapist and Karl Rove question.

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