This is going to be a short blog entry, partly because I’ve had a somewhat tiring day (and especially before the upcoming Memorial Day weekend). So …!
If you like to keep pace with the current news headlines — even those made in Connecticut — you already know that many of the politicians representing the Nutmeg State want to abolish the death penalty, and have criminals who commit heinous crimes sentenced to life behind bars without any chance of parole. Naturally, Governor Jodi Rell is opposed to eliminating the death penalty — and in some respects, her reasons connected to her decision seem justified, especially after what happened to Dr. William Petit’s family in Cheshire almost two years ago, the kind of crime that you don’t want to see happen to your family, yet serves as a reminder of how darker the world has become.
Personally, I’m pro-life — meaning that I prefer to see the Petit family’s killers and their ilk spend the rest of their lives behind bars without parole. The real question is one that past and present generations have discussed over the centuries: Is either punishment truly effective, especially where convicted criminals are concerned? It’s a question that can’t be easily answered — partly because many of us can only imagine what goes on inside a criminal’s mind, especially if he’s a murderer and a psychopath. And even after we learn a lot about that particular breed of criminal, especially when news of his killing spree (or sprees, take your pick) is printed in just about every newspaper and broadcast on every radio and TV station (not to mention viewed over the Internet) — we realize that we still don’t completely know about both the man and the monster. And also consider the fact that many criminals convicted of murder and/or homicide never show remorse for their actions — as was the case with Charles Manson in the late-1960’s and early-1970’s — partly because they really don’t give a damn about society and its laws, holding firm to the delusion that they’re superior to everybody else in the world. It’s that kind of warped stubborness that sticks with many criminals who end up either serving life sentences without parole or getting executed on Death Row.
There’s one other factor that should be pointed out — namely, the fact that the death penalty (and the fear associated with it) hasn’t helped to decrease our country’s crime rate, a problem that isn’t completely isolated, especially since many countries around the world have long since abolished the death penalty. The world has become a more dangerous place to live in, and the current generation of criminals — especially those who are more murderous than even the gangsters of the 1930’s — have only served to reinforce that fact.
Whatever comes out of the situation to abolish the death penalty — at least in Connecticut — one thing’s clear: the final decision will no doubt bring forth mixed reactions and emotions, especially from those who’ll be greatly affected by it, namely every law-abiding citizen living in the state who, sooner or later, might end up as a murder victim. It’ll also no doubt be a decision that Connecticut’s politicians will have to live with — and one that might end up haunting many of them, especially if it fails to decrease (rapidly or otherwise) the number of murders and homicides in the state. While I’d like to see the crime rate in Connecticut greatly reduced without resorting to capital punishment as a final solution — I know all too well that the vicious cycle of violent crime that’s existed for centuries will probably never end, even if the death penalty becomes a thing of the past all over the world someday. But then, that’s one reason why life’s never fair — even in today’s world.
May 22, 2009