So I watched Boston Legal the other night--one of my new favorite shows. I find I enjoy all those shows with lots of arrogant, but incredibly intelligent characters--like Chicago Hope, West Wing, Boston Legal and House. Anyway, last Sunday's episode featured a storyline in which a presumably innocent man was set to executed in the state of Texas and Alan Shore (played by James Spader) went down to argue in front of the Texas High Court for the man's life. It really chaps my hide that people who are opposed to the death penalty always have to frame their arguments in terms of innocent people--and saints no less. The character to be executed was borderline retarded and had in the meantime become quite religious and passive--a model prisoner to be sure. And of course, he was in all likelihood innocent. And to top it off, the Texas High Court was cast as all redneck dolts with third grade educations who enjoy killing puppies and people to boot.

This is just so disingenous. It reminded me of The Life of David Gale, the Kevin Spacey anti-death penalty movie slanted so heavily I left the theater with a crook in my neck. Personally, I support the death penalty. There are some people who prove by their actions they're not fit to live in society. And I don't feel like I should have the spend my hard earned money supporting their life sentences. Just kill 'em. Yeah yeah, you say we spend more money on appeals and such in death penalty cases, but that could be reformed. You get convicted, you get one automatic appeal and that's it. If you can kill, you can be killed.

That being said, I have an open mind and I am more than willing to listen to your opposing viewpoints. But at least be honest. The vast majority of people executed are cold blooded killers--not framed saints. I'm not a complete barbarian--I think the death penalty should be reserved for the guilty. For once, I'd like to see someone try to assail the death penalty with an Osama bin Laden or a Hannibal Lector in the defense chair. Convince me that they shouldn't be tortured and hung at the Superbowl half time show. None is this crap about forced confessions and crooked courts. Gimme a break.

3 comments

Blogger L-girl  said...

I would never attempt to convince you, but I assail the death penalty for Osama Bin Laden (and I was personally affected by 9/11), Hitler (and I am Jewish) and any other killers you can name.

There are many people like myself who oppose the death penalty in all instances, in an absolute way.

I respect your beliefs, but please try not to make assumptions about others' beliefs.

Thursday, March 24, 2005  

Blogger Hey Paul  said...

L-girl,

Thank you for your comments. I don't believe I was making assumptions about others' belief. That certainly wasn't my intention. I know there are many like yourself who are categorically opposed to the death penalty. My Catholic friends are examples and I respect their positions on abortion and the death penalty specifically bbecause they are so consistent and absolute--though I disagree with them. What I was taking issue with was the slanted manner in which many death penalty opponents often frame their views--a la Boston Legal and The Life of David Gale. It isn't that I think these people would abandon their views in the face of such monsters as bin Laden, Hannibal Lector or Hitler, but that I'd like to see someone make the argument that such undoubtedly guilty monsters deserve life. Again, I'm sure someone out there can make such an argument, I'm just waiting to see on screen.

Thanks again for your comments.

Thursday, March 24, 2005  

Blogger L-girl  said...

Thank you for your thoughtful response!

Interestingly, I also have absolute beliefs about abortion - I am pro-choice in all cases, for all women - and I see no inconsistency between my position on capital punishment and abortion rights. My thoughts on both have evolved over the years to become more absolute.

Like you, I also bristle at what I see as convenient inconsistencies. For me it's within the anti-choice movement, such as "except in cases of rape or incest" or various other loopholes. If abortion is immoral, why isn't it always immoral?

I think the anti-death penalty movement uses the spectre of innocent people possibly being executed as a way to drive a wedge into a system we find immoral. A "hook," if you will, to sway opinion. This may or may not be an effective strategy, but I do think it's more a strategy than a position.

However, I doubt we'll ever see such absolute positions on screen - they are too unpopular for a commercial medium.

Thanks for your thoughts, too. Hope you're having a good day.

Thursday, March 24, 2005  

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