T. M. Smith (solopatriot) wrote in shoresofavalon,
T. M. Smith

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The Right to Choose

CNN.com released a story today about a Virginia inmate serving his last days on death row. Brandon Hedrick was convicted of a vicious abduction / rape / homicide. For these crimes, Hedrick was sentenced to death. With his death date of 20 July nearing, Hedrick has chosen, per VA law, the electric chair over lethal injection. This story set my mind to once again exploring the death penalty.

Allow me to begin the rest of this post by saying that I do believe in the death penalty. I know many of you do not, but we each have our own beliefs. If you commit a violent rape that leads to the victims death, I believe you should die. If you are found guilty of murder one, I believe you should be executed. Yes, I do have my exceptions to the rule, as I believe everyone should have the right to a fair trial and an examination of the evidence against them. Call me inhumane, if you wish. But imagine the following situation:
Your son or daughter, partner or spouse is abducted, brutalized, and eventually slaughtered violently in a manner not befitting anyone to die. Imagine you had to watch their victimization. Would you be pleading to spare the murder's life? Or would you be chomping at the bit to destroy them yourself?"

Hedrick has chosen the electric chair for whatever reason only he knows. Whichever way this man is executed, I feel is just payment for the crimes against his victim and his society. Until put in the situation, no one opposing the death penalty can tell me that they would wish for someone to live who had taken the life of their only child or spouse.

At year end 2004, America had 3,314 persons held under sentence of death. In 2005, 60 persons were executed in 16 states. Around 500 people per 100,000 are incarcerated each year or 725 per 100,000 if one includes jail populations. Based off of reports from 2001, states spent $29.5 BILLION on prisons that year. This was a $5.5 billion increase from 1996.

Imagine what could be done with an extra $7-10 billion a year for the federal budget. (Given the cynicism of society, I can only imagine the answers on this one.) Do I believe in rehabilitation? YES. Do I want to see every criminal locked away for life or executed? NO But I do want harsher and faster sentences of death. I want an amendment to the appeals process so that criminals can not sit on death row for years and years. I want prisoners to not be afforded luxuries and benefits that gives certain prisoners the frame of mind, "Well it's not so bad..."

I don't care how Hedrick dies. But I do care that he does die. He committed a grievous crime against his fellow man. Regardless of his remorse, his crime was intentional and horrific. His death should be the same. He had a choice, when he committed his crimes. And he has choice in VA as to his method of death. But I don't feel he has the right anymore to choose life.
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