Sunday, October 9, 2022

Why isn't capital punishment a deterrent?

The following is adapted and updated from a post I wrote in 2015. 

Capital punishment has been society's means of dealing with particularly heinous crimes since antiquity. In recent decades, the Left has told us that capital punishment is not a deterrent. They are correct, in that they have the courts rigged such that there is much too long a time lapse between the crime and the final adjudication of the case. By the time the condemned criminal is finally executed (if ever), so much time has passed that most people won't even remember the details of the crime.

Even Timothy McVeigh, who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, was not executed until June 11, 2001, six years later.

Lately, not only is the death penalty virtually meaningless, but punishment for lesser, yet still serious, crimes has morphed from hard labor in the pen to a sport-fishing catch and release program. Police officers make the collar. Then, between bail and early release, the perp is back on the street in a short time. And while he was in the slammer, he had all his health care needs taken care of by the taxpayers.

We have heard recently of the two convicted killers who escaped from prison in New York.

Had those killers been executed, there would be no escape, and the two murderers would not be on the loose now.

Lest we in Tennessee feel too smug about happenings in New York,

remember the case of Elijah Jackson in Farragut, TN. Jackson was convicted in 2002 of first degree murder, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment - yet he was free as a bird in 2014 when he attacked John Scoggins with a knife at the Farragut Market. 

Had Jackson been executed following conviction in 2002, Scoggins would not have suffered the trauma of a near-death experience as Jackson's hand. Jackson was finally killed in a standoff with Knox County Deputies. He will not attack anyone again.

Interred is deterred.

Time and tides move slowly, so don't expect to see any criminal justice reform soon that is particularly beneficial to the victim. 

In the meantime, more and more Americans choose to be armed. In New York State, following the killers' breakout, reporters interviewed residents who were staying at home and arming themselves. Upstate New Yorkers, unlike New York City residents, find it relatively easy to arm themselves, and even get handgun carry permits.

In Tennessee, good citizens who meet the objective criteria and can afford the price, can get a handgun carry permit * and go forth legally armed. One of these (we assume he had a permit) interrupted an attempted robbery this morning and killed the perpetrator. According to WVLTit appears that the man was attempting to rob the store where he was shot by a bystander.

Interred is deterred.

Forty years or so ago, I was chatting with my boss, Gerald, about crime and criminals. The question was raised, "What is it about the criminals? They don't seem to fear anything anymore."

Gerald leaned back in his chair, took a deep breath, and said, "There are only two things the criminal fears, fear of God, and fear of the hangman's noose, and there's not much of that anymore."

Today, that is true in spades**, with one small addition. They also fear the armed citizen. So while you wait for the criminal justice pendulum to swing back the other way, you might want to arm yourself, get training, and become your own first-responder (video).

UPDATE . . . and now carry without a permit in many places.
** even more so in 2022.

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