By Al Jacobs
The arguments for and against capital punishment are usually cut and dried. The proponents are normally law and order type citizens who proclaim the Godliness of an “eye for an eye,” while bemoaning the cost of housing incorrigible felons at taxpayer expense. The opponents, on the other hand, regard themselves as morally opposed to the taking of life under any circumstance and stress the possibility that an innocent person might, through a miscarriage of justice, be inexcusably put to death. The argument between these two groups has been going on for a long time and will probably continue forever.
Strangely enough, the anti-death penalty supporters recently acquired an adherent from an unlikely source: Bethany Webb, the grieving sister of a woman gunned down in October 2011 by a mass murderer in Seal Beach. Ms. Webb’s attitude is based, not upon compassion for the perpetrator, but a realization that “… California’s death penalty is a broken system, these cases drag on for decades, and the reality is they’re never going to be executed.”
Over the years enactment of capital punishment throughout the nation has become less common. Through a combination of legislative actions, administrative rulings and judicial decisions, imposition of a death sentence is rare. For the few that actually take place, it’s common for the execution to occur more than a quarter century after the offense. As a result, whatever deterrence the penalty was designed to convey is lost.
What’s the result of a system which implements “life imprisonment without the possibility of parole” rather than eliminate persons who can never function in society? We know the result: an overburdened legal system, crowded prisons, and eventual release of dangerous individuals into the general population.
It’s clear that capital punishment will end in the United States in the not too distant future. You may debate the pros and cons, but its passing will reveal one reality: Any society unable to dispose of its refuse may expect to be engulfed by it.
Al Jacobs, a longtime Dana Point resident and a professional investor for nearly a half-century, distributes a monthly newsletter in which he shares financial knowledge and experience. It is available at www.roadtoprosperity.net.