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Revenge and Justice

On a recent "O'Reilly Factor" news program (Fox Cable), Bill O'Reilly expressed his opinion on the death penalty.  He is against it.  In its place, he suggested a life sentence of abject drudgery and boredom, twelve-hour days of hard labor with no television to come home to, and none of the benefits and comforts enjoyed by law-abiding citizens.  In effect, a convict could look forward to a lifetime of work, sleep and basic meals, seven days a week, with no hope of variance until death ends his useless life.  Mr. O'Reilly feels, as this writer, that punishment is needed in his plan to provide an example for the purpose of discouraging similar conduct by others in a society under attack.  There is only one thing wrong with Bill's plan: It has about the same chance of reality as a snowball in hell.

The newsman, Peter Jennings, just this past week, revealed that in the year 2000, the various prisons across the nation will release 300,000 violent offenders back into society.  The recidivism rate for violent offenders (66%) hints at the seriousness of that release when compared to the rate of felons in general (50%).  A reasonable assumption would split that 300,000 into 10% cold-blooded killers, one-third rapists and child molesters (a growing category), with the rest falling to aggravated assaults (including spousal abuse), and armed robberies.

From my own personal experience as a deputy sheriff and corrections officer, I can tell you that criminals are specialists, just like a brain surgeon and a gastrointerologist.  This means that of the 30,000 miscreants released, 19,800 will return to prison for killing again; 66,000 will return for rape and child molestation; and 112,200 will be re-convicted for aggravated battery (including wife-beating) and armed robbery.  Mr. O'Reilly's vision of a life sentence would prevent those crimes for lack of opportunity, and I'm all for it.  But the bleeding hearts and panty-waisted judges, along with the ACLU (American Criminal Liberties Union), have branded that vision as "cruel and unusual punishment," the constitutional catch-all phrase that has been totally misconstrued by the nine judicial baboons in the Supreme Court.  Because of their "constructionist" views, we are forced into the death penalty as a means of justice to stem the tide of an ever-increasing glut of homicides.

There are those who would label the Criminal Justice System as an institution of revenge, working its evils on so-called scapegoats in a conspiracy of pay-backs, rather than exercising the will of the people in the furtherance of social security and as a safeguard of all civil-minded men, women and children who have a sense of absolute moral values.  To hold such a view makes victims of murderers and dishonors the memory of their prey who would, in a real sense, cherish the opportunity to be a living, breathing scapegoat.  One must question the motives and mental integrity of those who would equate a killer with his victim and who would advocate prison time, which averages about five years for a life sentence, without advocating or even mentioning similar relief for the victim.  If relief for the victim could be provided, by all means, do away with the death penalty.

To call justice revenge is to demonstrate a lack of understanding.  You will not find the word "revenge" in the definition of "justice," nor the word "justice" in the definition of "revenge."  Revenge is the application of mind, in abeyance of the Ego, toward the fulfilling of a vendetta against someone for their words and/or actions that seem to harm one's self-image.  It is a personal thing and results from mental immaturity and a lack of spiritual development.  Justice is absolutely impersonal, has nothing to do with Ego and attempts to even the score in the sense of responsibility and accountability.  It is scripted by law and cannot be manipulated for the satisfaction of either predator or prey.  It would be, in fact, unjust to meddle with the intent of the law by providing a relief for one side without an equivalent relief for the other.  And of course, that is impossible.

We have to meet the criminal conscience in terms it can understand.  Mr. O'Reilly's noble gesture comes from the perspective of common sense and reason.  However, we all know that those terms cannot coexist with "liberalism," and the liberal media, supported by liberal people, with their relative values, and number one in the line of culpability for today's societal destruction.  We do not relish executions.  We are forced into it.  How much are the lives of 19,800 innocent victims worth?

Copyright © June, 2000 dtgosnell

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