In the news is the impending execution of the main DC sniper.
Now, this "wild-eyed liberal" used to be a firm believer in the death penalty: some people are just too mean to be allowed to live. "Kill 'em." that was my attitude.
Since we no longer live in communities of such isolation that we can expel those sufficiently anti-social people who refuse to comply with the general rules of the community, I used to feel the death penalty was an acceptable solution. The Amish--and others--still practice shunning. So what are we to do?
I had an epiphany. The moment I became convinced the death penalty was a bad idea. I changed my mind in an instant. It was before the extensive exposures of the Innocence Project (although, their work has added to my certainty that the death penalty should be discarded). My insight came when Timothy McVeigh stated that he wanted to receive the death penalty.
At the place in time when I heard that, I knew with sudden and complete clarity that he should be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. No quick, easy out for someone who had killed and maimed that many children. He should be kept alive for a very long, long time. Alive, in a cell where photos of the mangled bodies of his victims are displayed for him to view. (I guess I can be a very vengeful person.)
Anyway, a life sentence: give those that are guilty a good long time to consider their sins; give those that are wrongfully convicted time to have their innocence proved.
Change the laws. Abolish the death penalty.