Robert Gleason chose the Zapmobile to ride to Eternity in, last night in Virginia. Ten states including Virginia still use The Chair as an option to lethal injection, and so far, only 6 of the 85 executed Virginians, according to this article, have taken this option since it became available in 1995.
Gleason had a nasty habit of murdering people, he wanted to die, and we’re well rid of him. His former attorneys, ever eager to keep milking their cash cow even after he’d fired them, kept filing appeals that Gleason had to fight against, in order to be executed. Too bad they couldn’t have sat in his lap when the switch was pulled.
The only real problem anyone should have with the condemned is that it can take 15 or 20 years from the time of the death sentence until it’s actually carried out, because of the appeals process, and in the meantime, warehousing all these dregs is a billion dollar industry paid for by taxpayers. Who else?
I don’t have any crime statistics for when people were publicly hanged, whipped and put in stocks, but I do know that people were harshly punished for things we don’t even care about now, so I’m guessing that serious crimes almost never happened. These days we keep building more prisons and keep over-populating them with really violent people whom we turn around and let out again after X number of years. All we do is just thin out the crowd of baddies in our midst by doing this, but nothing permanent happens.
I’d like to see us stop being so nice and go back to the old Draconian methods of yore. Limit the condemned to one appeal which must take place within one year of sentencing. Then it’s ZAP time. Do like they do in Singapore and give offenders a few strokes on their ass, in public, with a rod swung by a martial artist, that splits them open, just for spraypainting graffiti. Guess what? Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world as a result. Who’da thought?
It would not be cruel or unusual punishment, if it was administered uniformly. The criteria for “cruel” punishment is if it’s meted out discriminatorily or with evil intent.
Punishment should be painful and humiliating in order to be effective and be lasting in effect, and how many of us would be happy to never see again the scrawls of gang slogans on the overpasses of our highways? We are supposedly a “nation of laws, not men”, but we’re not even that if we don’t enforce them meaningfully. The only people I can see complaining about this are the screw-ups who don’t want to be punished for the stuff they like to get away with.
Being imprisoned may deter that person from offending again, but nobody else takes a cue from it. Public punishment, evenly and fairly inflicted and enforced, reaches a lot of people, and imprisoning them for years is unneccesary. A fast trial, then get your pants pulled down in public while a crowd jeers, yells and laughs at you, and you get your ass whipped bloody. Mighty fine chance that whatever it was you did, you never will again and neither will anyone in that crowd. No one goes to prison, no one continues on a career in crime and no one gets executed. The streets are clean, the people respect each other, and everyone feels pretty safe.
I like it.