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Tag Archives: Illinois

Is the Death Penalty Really Necessary?

I’m sure a lot of my conservative pals will completely disagree with me, but it’s past time that we got rid of the death penalty in America.

3  states–New York, New Jersey, and New Mexico–have done just that in the past 2 years.  Recently, Illinois joined the club

The governor of Illinois signed a law on Wednesday ending capital punishment, saying it was impossible to fix a system that wrongly condemned 20 men who were later found to be innocent.

When the law signed by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn takes effect on July 1, Illinois will become the fourth state in the past two years to dispense with the death penalty after New York, New Jersey and New Mexico.

“To have a consistent, perfect death penalty system … that’s impossible in our state,” Quinn told reporters. “I think it’s the right and just thing to abolish the death penalty and punish those who commit heinous crimes — evil people — with life in prison without parole and no chance of release.”

The ultimate punishment will remain an option in 34 states and for federal inmates. No other Western democracies carries out executions.

Anybody catch that last line? We are the only Democratic nation in the West that puts people to death. That really jumps out at me. I’m sure folks will say that just means the other countries are soft, but does it?

Aside from that, here are my other reasons why we should abolish it across the board:

1.  It’s  not a deterrent for crime

If someone could show me that the possibility of getting the death penalty has stopped someone from committing murder (which is typically the level of crime that nets execution), then I may be open to changing my mind.  I don’t believe the stats exist.  People will still kill.  They will still maim, assault, ect.  The death penalty just isn’t something that sticks in the mind of someone about to do something bad.

2.  It’s not necessary

Back in the old days, I’m sure that it was easier for criminals to escape from jail and go back to doing whatever it was they were doing in the first place.  Now?  Escape is a rare occurrence.  The logic behind having a death penalty is to ensure that the criminal never gets back into the general population to become a menace again.  You going to tell me sending someone to a supermax prison doesn’t do the same thing?

3.  Its costly

I’m sure this reason may get dismissed out of hand, but do the research.  It costs more for the state to pay for dealing with the appeals process involved with someone on death row than it does to actually house them as an inmate.

4.  Its barbaric

Every time I hear “Death Penalty” and “closure” used in the same sentence, i cringe.  I’m not ridiculing those who lose someone and feel the only way they can get closure is if the person responsible is put to death.  No, I have a problem with the fact that no one has told them “an eye for an eye” doesn’t work.  To put it bluntly, killing the murderer does not bring back that person’s loved one.  Closure comes in accepting that that person is gone.  As for “justice,” to me justice is making that murderer live the rest of their natural life knowing they no longer have freedom because of their crime.

I would be interested in hearing a case for the other side of this discussion.  But under the circumstances given, other than “it’s justice,” I don’t forsee much coming from the other side in this.

Wisconsin Dems Now Angry After Their Holdout Backfires

14 Democrat Senators in Wisconsin continued to stay holed up in Illinois in what had been a successful attempt to prevent the passing of a bill that would strip collective bargaining abilities from public workers (important sidenote:  they would retain the ability to bargain for pay, something that seems to get ignored).  In their view, leaving town was their way of fulfilling the will of the people–even though the obvious “will of the people” was that they wanted Republicans in charge, based on the last election results.  They were determined to prevent what they felt would be a removal of of rights from occurring.

All that changed in minutes.

Republicans realized that a quorum is only needed for spending bills.  So, they removed the collective bargaining piece from the spending bill and passed it as a separate bill which did not need a quorum.  Just like that, Dems’ out-of-state foray was rendered moot.  Of course they are crying foul. One senator, speaking on the Lawrence O’Donnell show on MSNBC, talked of how he was driving back doing 80 miles per hour in an attempt to stop what was happening. O’Donnell, sympathetic to the guest, failed to make an obvious point: if they had actually been in Wisconsin instead of hiding out, there would’ve been no need to have to “come back!”  Very simple idea, really.

Now, there you have it.  a group voted into the minority who leaves the state in order to avoid legislation they don’t like and putting the government process on hiatus now screams bloody murder because business continued on without them.  How does THAT make sense?

Links:
CNN: Union supporters to rally after Wisconsin Senate passes limits
Runaway Wis. Dem Drove Back As Fast As He Could To Stop GOP

More on the Wisconsin fiasco

The wackiness in Wisconsin over proposed changes to collective bargaining for government employees just keeps getting…wackier.  Is that a word?  Well, for today, it is.  Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate have been on the lam for 3 days, preventing any further work in the Senate.  Attempts to have then retrieved and compelled to attend by state law enforcement were stymied by a simple counter move:  all 14 of the Dems in question jumped on a bus and have taken “refuge” in Illinois.  By crossing state lines, Wisconsin troopers can’t come get them, and Illinois law enforcement isn’t going to get involved.  From the Dems:

“This is a watershed moment unlike any that we have experienced in our political lifetimes,” Miller said. “The people have shown that the government has gone too far. . . . We are prepared to do what is necessary to make sure that this bill gets the consideration it needs.”

Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) said the decision on when to return had not been made yet. Sen. Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee) said Democrats were prepared to stay away “as long as it takes.”

In a situation like this, one has to wonder which set of “people” should have the most say in this? The people that are part of the union, with something to lose? Or the people that elected the politicians (and in this case put Republicans in power in Wisconsin)?

Another great article on this comes from Patrick McIlheran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called Unions want to overturn election result where he not only makes the point about the will of the electorate, but also makes a very important point in regards to public sector unions:

They insist this is the end of unionization in government, something to which they have as much right, they say, as anyone else.

But they miss a bedrock difference. Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company’s owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness. In government, workers are already protected against unfairness by civil service laws, and Walker has supported expanding those. Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public’s interest, that of taxpayers and voters.

Private sector unions are one thing. But personally, the idea of a group demanding more perks, paid for by taxpayer money, that are over and beyond what the normal taxpayer gets, gives me pause. Isn’t it enough that public sector unions use what is essentially taxpayer money to support candidates of their choosing, donating millions to politicians that will further their interests?

Wait. That’s another story for another day.