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Sunday, March 22, 2009

No great loss...

I have mentioned my conversion to an opposition against capital punishment. Still, there are some cases where I would light no candles and raise no voice of protest were their light to be extinguished by the state. One such case is Lam Luong. A little bit over a year ago, I made a post about his crime on this blog. He tossed four children, the oldest of whom was a mere three years old, off the Dauphin Island Bridge, where they plummeted to their deaths. On Thursday, after a mere 40 minutes of deliberation, a jury of those who are legally considered his peers, but in fact cannot be anything other than his betters, found him guilty on all five capital counts against him: One for each of the murders, and a fifth charge for murdering two or more people in the commission of the same crime. Given the fact that he confessed to the crime on two separate occasions, had pleaded guilty, and then when he found he would still face a jury, changed his plea to not guilty at the last minute, I'm not sure exactly what any defense attorney could do other than what they ultimately tried and failed to do: Get the jury to find him guilty of lesser charges. On Friday, March 20, 2009, that same jury recommended a sentence of death. In this case, I don't see how any judge, be they elected as in this case, or appointed, would possibly go against the recommendation of the jury, and the greatest pity of this case is the money it will cost the state in the following years for him to exhaust his appeals.

Still, given all of the horrors this man committed, given the utter and complete lack of remorse he has shown, and his wanton cruelty, I cannot bring myself to wish for the state to take his life. Part of it is my complete opposition to the death penalty, though I would be lying if I said that was all, or even most, of my reasoning in this instance. The other reason is that I find it insufficiently cruel. Place this bastard in general population, where he would not have a private cell as he would on death row. Deny him the added protections and security he would receive there. Let the inmates do as they will with him. I recalled 15 years ago when Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered while in prison after having been sentenced to 15 life terms. The man who took Jeffrey Dahmer's life was also in prison serving a life sentence. I want to see Lam Luong receive justice, in whatever form it may take, for the innocent lives he took. That said, if one of his fellow inmates got to him, I would consider it no great loss.

As a counterpoint to this discussion about death, I will close by sharing a new song by one of my new favorite recording artists, an Israeli duo known as Astral Projection.


Snave said...

I am also totally opposed to the death penalty. It seems like when humans apply it, they are simply playing God and being barbaric. It seems some people may not deserve to live, but on the other hand, do they deserve to die in some government-sanctioned execution?

Of course there is always the question of why those who are so adamantly "pro-life" tend to support wars and death penalties... sigh... the cognitive dissonance is too much to bear sometimes!

Kvatch said...

I am also totally opposed to the death penalty.

Me as well, but not for either of your reasons.

Governments simply cannot be trusted to determine what constitutes a capital (i.e., 'death-worthy' crime).

1138 said...

"That said, if one of his fellow inmates got to him, I would consider it no great loss."

I would, the state has an obligation to carry out the decision of the jury - failure to protect the convicted until that time is aiding in an additional murder and should get the State a penalty of death.