Every time there’s a particularly outrageous crime, the public fervor – fanned by the media – for the death penalty as a means to control crime rages higher. Each time the Governor vetoes death penalty legislation, sycophantic politicians – forgive the redundancy – go out of their way to assure their constituencies that they are all in favor of visiting death on malefactors in order to eliminate the crime problem.
Indeed, hand in glove with the clamor for the death penalty is a litany of the derelictions of duty by judges and prosecutors when they fail to mete out the most severe jail sentences on those convicted of crimes.
Lack of the death penalty and turnstile justice, is blamed, as not only a significantly exacerbating factor, but as the root cause of the crime problem.
This clamor persists, despite the fact that the death penalty and harsh sentences are the last and least effectual measures in a long line of failures that began long before the malcontents and neer-do-wells arrived at the jailhouse.
First in the line of responsibility, of course, are the parents. Each and every horrific crime is committed by somebody’s once upon a time baby. Swaddled in ‘jammies, the little tikes were each raised or abused, treated or tortured, by parents into being the man or woman he or she was at the moment they undertook a life of crime or prostitution.
Are the parents in the crowd of clamorers for the death penalty even aware of how they contributed far more to the crime problem and the un-quality of life today? When parents shout and hoot for death for some unalterably socio-pathic personality, do they ever consider the fact that they, or some other parents, started this malcreant on the road to perdition?
Second in line of responsibility for the crime problem, are the teachers. Did they not have they hardened criminal in their hands long before the court system; when their pupil was far softer, more pliable, impressionable? And what did they do with the stuff that was entrusted to them for education and guidance? Did the teachers nurture the creative spirit? Did they lead he or she onto paths of righteousness? Was this end product of violence and criminality then apparent? And if so, did the teachers fulfill their responsibility, and re-direct the forces within the then beginning to twist soul?
Do the clamorers in the crowd of death penalty proponents imprecate the teachers as having failed, as being responsible for the production of monsters.
Within our education system, there are facilities and specialists trained to deal with souls taking a wrong updraft, an ill wind. Did these specialists exert their full effort to turn about the souls drifting toward the rocky shore?
Neighbors. Everyone has neighbors. Did neighbors, seeing the young souls floundering exert any interest, any direction, seek any help, advise any authorities?
Priests, clergymen, all, what effort was put into the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind, to ensure that they would be saved and protected?
When the miscreants fall into the hands of prosecutors and judges, it is far too late, the end of the line. All others have failed, and now the cry is for the prosecutors or judges to kill or destroy the mistakes and failures of a long line of others.
Those who shall replace the already condemned failures in jails are amongst the children already in yours or your neighbor’s homes, in the schools, on the road to the courthouse.
Education, not eradication; quality time, not jail time, would be better spent. Educate the educators; educate would-be parents. Perhaps restrict procreation of children until the education of parents is in place.
A monstrous thought, you say? A total violation of personal rights?
Think about what a violation of personal rights it is to ignore a child until he or she becomes the end product of ill-education and mal-treatment.
Besides, if you can’t say ‘you must be educated and able to deal with children before you have them’, how can you say to some other human being ‘sit down in this electric chair’.