Written by evan keliher
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Sunday, 28 February 2010

image for Grandpa Ganja On Crime and Punishment

Query: Should we have capital punishment across the land? Answer: Of course.

Every state should implement a sound program of capital punishment and it should do so without delay. Contracts should be let at once to build a gallows in every community and a fresh supply of sturdy Manila hemp ordered in and dispatched to wherever it'll do the most good. Hangmen should be put on retainer.

Electric chairs should be stationed here and there around each state so no participant would be inconvenienced by having to travel too great a distance to the site. A new gas chamber should be thrown in now and then to meet today's cries for diversity. Firing squads should be organized and meet on Tuesdays for rifle practice between executions.

Divers other ways of assisting people into the next world could be added, as well. Why, we could entertain the multitudes for days and never repeat ourselves in the process. We are, after all, ingenious creatures.

Of course, there would be no trouble rounding up characters to serve as the leading players in these affairs. Ruthless knaves, cutthroats, blackguards, and rounders abound on every side and in such numbers it would be a simple matter to stock a fairly roomy death house to capacity in no time at all. We could go out on the streets and corral a few dozen citizens at random and we'd be sure to come up with six or seven people who truly deserved hanging for one reason or another.

Naturally, we'd have trials before we hanged them, but that shouldn't slow us up too much. We could conclude the whole business in, say, twenty-four hours. Arrest them in the morning, try them at noon, reject the appeal at sundown, and dispatch them to their Maker at dawn. Nothing to it.

There's no doubt the crime rate would fall after a good round of hangings, electrocutions, gassings, and shootings. People would attend these public spectacles in huge throngs and we'd sell them programs so they could identify the actors and fully understand what's going on. There would be bands playing and balloon vendors selling their wares and the whole thing would make a lasting impression on every citizen and dissuade them from lives of crime and folly.

We could even televise executions. Think of the ratings a first-rate hanging could muster. Or two serial killers at the same time in matching electric chairs with white coated attendants. Or even extravagant affairs with multiple victims gassed, electrocuted, garroted, poisoned, shot, and beheaded in a spectacular prime-time network show that would surpass the Super Bowl in cost of ads and number of viewers.

Potential sponsors might include gun manufacturers and rope companies and all the talk shows would do profiles on the participants and network anchors would do on-the-spot summaries and there's no end to the opportunities these events would provide.

What's that you say? Studies show the crime rate doesn't fall where capital punishment is in vogue? Well, first, I never did believe those studies, anyway. Some guy in a backroom somewhere floats the rumor, the network anchors pick it up, and the next thing you know its a fact. The mere presence of a gallows can make a man rethink a loony scheme altogether. Make cigar smoking a capital offense and I'll give up the practice this very day.

And even if it is true so what? At least capital punishment prevents recidivism, and does so rather thoroughly. You may rest assured that the axe murderer who takes the kink out of a rope will never wield another axe. Nor will the serial killer add another victim to his string. Nor the mad bomber. Nor...well, you get the idea.

Don't forget the economic arguments, either. Rope runs about a dollar a foot and bullets six for two dollars while ten thousand volts of electricity costs mere pennies. Contrast these costs with those required to maintain your average axe murderer for fifty or so years in the big house at state (taxpayer) expense. All this could be avoided by investing a few dollars in rope and some lumber for the gallows.

What? You say capital punishment is cruel? Again, so what? Where was the axe murderer's compassion? Do you suppose his victim took any delight in being worked over with an axe? What could be more absurd than a mass murderer pleading for mercy? (Answer: The state showing him some.)

Another factor. Why give a vicious killer a victory of any kind? Every killer fights to avoid death row. He appeals and whines and promises to do better and wants to live. If we don't fry his ass he wins-and society loses. I say plug in that chair, build that gallows, stock up on bullets and get the eye for the one the bastard took from you.

It's just that old sowing and reaping business again. In a just world, we lie in the beds we make-or we should, anyway.

©Evan Keliher

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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