Death Penalty For Cop Killers?
I was vaguely listening to the radio yesterday when an item concerning
the death penalty (in Texas, I think) began to air.
an American police officer was arguing for the
increased use of the death penalty when it comes to child rapists and
murderers; and also to "cop killers"
I confess that I did not catch the whole piece, but it became quite
clear that an American police officer was arguing for the increased use of
the death penalty when it comes to child rapists and murderers; and also to
Further along the line, the police officer argued that the
range of murderers who should more often get the death penalty should
extend to those who murdered medical staff, firefighters and, indeed, to
anyone who murdered government workers who "put their lives on the line in
the call of their duty."
Well, in brief, here is my response to these proposals.
We are already well on the way to giving far too many
special privileges, pay handouts and protections to government workers
1. We are already well on the way to giving far too many special
privileges, pay handouts and protections to government workers, and this
idea that murdering government workers is, somehow, more heinous a crime
than the murdering of anyone else pushes government workers even higher up
the pedestal - the pedestal of life itself - something which is clearly
very dangerous indeed judging by the history books.
2. Why should the life of a police officer - or any other government
worker - be considered to be more valuable than the life of, say, your
daughter, your mother, your father, and so on?
3. In addition, if the state accepts that the death penalty is
legitimate for the murder of certain people - such as government workers -
then it will not be too long before people are demanding the death penalty
for the murders of members of other privileged groups; such as 'women', 'homosexuals'
etc. etc.. And it will surely end up being the case that it is only for
the murder of white heterosexual men that the death penalty will NOT be
Furthermore, even where such demands were resisted successfully, it
would still be the case that people would feel very aggrieved that the
murders of some people (especially those of their own loved ones) did not
attract the death penalty while the murders of others (such as 'government workers') did.
The upshot would be a permanent state of fury and anger being directed
not only at the system - and those who seemed to benefit from it - but
also at those who had, indeed, committed other forms of murder.
For example, abortion is the murder of children - for some people.
Imagine how these people are going to feel towards women who have had
abortions if they are indoctrinated into believing that the death penalty
is a legitimate punishment for murder.
Even if these people do not actually feel that women who abort their
offspring should receive the death penalty, the point here is that they
will still likely feel far more malevolent towards them.
And this leads me directly to my next point ...
The more that we justify the death penalty for others,
the more violence among ourselves do we justify within ourselves.
4. The more that we justify the death penalty for others, the more
violence among ourselves do we justify within ourselves.
In other words, our tendencies towards violence are ratcheted upwards.
The population's overall desire for blood increases.
Is this what we really want?
5. It was suggested that government workers who 'put their lives on the
line' were in need of the 'greater protection' that the death penalty
would bring them, because the death penalty would help further deter
criminals from taking the lives of such government workers.
Well, the notion that the death penalty acts as a good deterrent, in
practice, is not very well supported by the evidence, but, for the moment,
let us just assume that the death penalty does, indeed, help to deter
Well, if this is the case, then this takes us all the way back to point
1 - and to all the points that follow it.
In other words, why should we deter more the murderers of some people,
but not the murderers of other people?
Why should some people be seen as 'special' when it comes to deterring
6. Some time ago, I took a look at the mugshots and the profiles of the
inmates of Death Row inside an American prison.
I can summarise them thusly.
They were mostly black, decidedly unintelligent, mentally challenged
and, I imagine, never had much of a chance in life.
these individuals mostly had criminal histories that
ran to pages upon pages.
Furthermore, these individuals mostly had criminal histories that ran
to pages upon pages.
And so what we really see going on here is a complete failure of the
government to deal with the circumstances, genetic and environmental, that
led these murderers to do what they did.
And arguing for the death penalty is just one of the ways in which the
politicians and their agencies can pass the buck.
"Nothing to do with us," they can say. "These murderers are ENTIRELY
responsible for what they did."
Well, I suggest that you, yourself, do a Google search, and so see for
yourself the type of individual who typically ends up on Death Row. I
think that most of you will see that these individuals had a history that
could have been dealt with quite effectively, in most cases, many years
before they ended up murdering anybody.
Hence, if government workers such as police officers are so concerned
about murder then, perhaps, rather than taking us all down the horrible
pathways through which the death penalty leads us, they should seek to
persuade the government to adopt policies that would reduce the
likelihoods of people becoming murderers in the first place!
reducing the number of single-mother households
would reduce the number of murders
For example, reducing the number of single-mother households would
reduce the number of murders - as well as the general crime rate - quite
Bringing more discipline into our schools and on to our streets would also
help a great deal.
Reducing excessive immigration would also cut the homicide rate.
There are many, many things that the government could do to reduce the
numbers of murders if it really wanted to reduce them.
But governments benefit hugely from murders and from serious crimes,
and so they will do very little to decrease their number.
What they will do, however, is forever try to put the blame elsewhere.
7. Please note that I am not suggesting that certain government workers
do not need extra protection. For example, police officers clearly need
more protection than most of us.
Then make sure that they get it - proper backup, proper body armour etc
8. Of course, we often feel that cold, callous murderers do 'deserve'
the death penalty. And, in my view, some of them actually deserve far, far
worse than the death penalty.
But, in practice, and as indicated above, the death penalty simply
poisons us all by increasing our desire for violence across all other
circumstances. The evidence does not suggest that it reduces the murder
rate. And the death penalty allows the government to keep on passing the
buck and to avoid having to address those policies of theirs which lead to
a higher murder rate.
I am not intending to suggest that all lives are
Finally, I am not intending to suggest that all lives are equal in
terms of their value to society. Indeed, this is clearly very much not the case, in my
Some human lives are definitely more worthy than others. And some
people are just scum.
But my claim is this.
The death penalty poisons us all in very many serious ways; and we
would all be much better off without it.
This might not have been true 100 years ago, and it still might not be
true in certain countries today.
But, in western countries, at this point in time, I can see no benefits
accruing to society from the use of the death penalty, but I can
definitely see numerous very serious disadvantages arising from it.
As such, I believe that we should be sentencing those who 'deserve' the
Death Penalty to life imprisonment - which, in many ways, for many
convicts, is probably a stiffer punishment to deal with.