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When the Death Penalty Is the Only Punishment That Fits

| 4 Comments
I  bring you the beginning of this story from the Washington Post, revolting even by the standards we sometimes need to discuss on this blog (emphasis added):

About 4:02 p.m. on Friday, police in Jerseyville, Ill., were dispatched to the Jersey Community Hospital in response to a 6-year-old boy's death.

Police say the child starved to death last week after his father and stepmother spent two years withholding food from him as punishment.

The boy, barred by Michael Roberts and Georgena Roberts from eating regularly since December 2015, died Friday weighing just 17 pounds, according to court documents. 

Some questions:  Do you think this was really "punishment" for anything?  Do you think it might just have been torture for the fun of it?  How do you think it feels to be starving to death for a third of your life?  Do you think a jail term, whatever its length, is proportionate to the grotesquely prolonged cruelty and sadism of these people?

UPDATE:  Most comments come in during the first day.  I see now, after waiting that day, that our usual abolitionist spokesmen  --  seldom at a loss to tell us how morally and intellectually superior their stance is  --  have nothing to say about this case.  It's usually a mistake to construe silence as an admission, but not this time.

4 Comments

Bill, you are wrong. The only punishment that fits is to slowly starve these things to death.

The death penalty only approximates what some of these people deserve.

Right you are. I would have titled this, "When the death penalty is the only punishment, consistent with current Eighth Amendment jurisprudence, that fits the crime," but I didn't have room.

If I had the stomach for it, which I do not, I would find a picture of what this child looked like in the autopsy. It must be something out of Auschwitz. I would then ask death penalty abolitionists to put it front and center on their desks whenever they chirp that capital punishment should never be imposed.

I'll be waiting to see if any abolitionists have something to say here about how the real problem is how Amerika is racist (the victim and the killers are white); or we might be executing the innocent; or they must have had Child Starvation Syndrome and really need compassion and treatment, not punishment.

As long as abolitionists can muddy the waters or change the subject, they keep on keepin' on. If they had to look at the autopsy, I think (or at least hope) that they would embrace the decency of silence. Or maybe even admit what any person with a normal conscience cannot help seeing, to wit, that this "mother" and "father" should be executed the faster the better, and that to make excuses for them in any form or fashion is to revel in moral squalor.

Prison justice may take care of the father . . . . not that I support that, but it is a reality.

As your first comment correctly implies, a civilized society simply cannot provide justice for a crime like this. There is only grief, and resolution to get as close to justice as a non-barbarian culture can supply.

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