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The Desert Argument

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This comment by "mack" over at the Volokh.Conspiracy sums up the desert argument for the death penalty quite well:

Just had the anniversary of the murder of a local family -- the father age 46, the mother age 39, a 16 year old daughter who was sexually assaulted, a 14 year old son, a 11 year old son -- the 3 year old baby girl survived her beating as the perpetrators believed her dead.

So what should we do with the murders? Sentence them to life so they can be eligible for parole in twenty years? Sentence them to 200 plus years in prison so they won't get parole but actually will be in prison for life (unless they escape)? So they should get to go on living, reading books, going to school, working out, having family visits, get married and then get conjugal visits, cruise the internet on the prison library computers, sign a book deal and even if they don't get money they get fame and notoriety.....all paid for by taxes -- including the taxes of the surviving family and loved ones of the victims. No, I don't think so -- I think for brutally murdering five people by bloodily beating them to death one at a time with a tire iron that they need to die. I think they forfeited their right to life when they decided to coldly murder a family of five innocent people. I think they forfeited their lives when they killed three young souls that never had the chance to grow up. I think they forfeited their right to life when they murdered the parents of a 3 year old little girl and beat her half to death.

They should pay for their crime by losing the thing most precious to them, just as they coldly and callously took the lives of their victims. If some here don't have the stomach to do the right thing then I am sure there are enough of us who do have the stomach for it. They committed the ultimate crime and they need to pay the ultimate price -- hell if they had one shred of decency they would save everyone the trouble of having to go through the process and take care of it themselves.

There is nothing noble or civilized about shirking ones duty to exact punishment and to see that justice is done. In fact quite the opposite, it shows a lack of civilization and a lack of nobility and honor to not do the right thing.

I'm sure some will say -- oh well -- they're dead -- so sad -- too bad -- but killing their murderers won't bring them back. And we are civilized so we should not lower ourselves to their level by killing too. Bull, you honor the murdered dead by putting to death their murderers -- you dishonor them by letting their killers live -- by letting them feel the sun on their faces -- to feel their hearts beat -- to feel life.  

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Moral courage. It's what's required to carry out justice in cases like these.

By the way, and I am sure I speak for 99% of fathers, I'd rather die myself than have my family brutalized like that. What these criminals did to the parents is far worse than murder.

Woodson v. North Carolina needs to be overruled.

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