Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Whig Party?

Looking at the last election (the one in the U. S., not the one Iraq was FINALLY--after thousands marched in protest against the American authorities to get was able to bring about), I have come to the conclusion that this country has two Tory parties.

After all, the Democratic line about Iraq, tort "reform" proposals, military spending, etc., was "Me, too, but I'd do it better." Yeah, right. As Truman said, if you run a pseudo-Republican against a Republican, the Republican will win every time. So with two Tory parties, it's time for a Whig party to come up and offer some real alternatives.

It's time to do some serious thinking, forgetting "party" lines and look for what we really want to happen in this country, and what has been proven to produce those results.

Today, I'll start with capital punishment. Some people who call themselves "Pro-life" argue for the death penalty for ever-younger offenders. (Why does "right to life" END at birth?) What has the real world taught us about this? First, it has taught us that the death penalty does not deter crime. Capital punishment is just that, a punishment. Not anything else.

Benjamin Franklin made the observation that the certainty of punishment was a more effective deterrent that the severity of the punishment. The real world has proven this to be true. States with capital punishment have higher rates of murder than states that don't, even after factoring in population differences.

The next problem with capital punishment is that it's the one penalty that cannot be ended and compensated for once the prisoner has been proven innocent. I have written to Governor Mike Easly that I would never vote for him again after he let a provably innocent prisoner be executed. I don't want to be standing near him in the final judgment when he has to justify that.
Our court system is not set up adequately yet to ensure that no innocent person is executed.

Once we set up a moratorium on capital punishment, we need to ask, What do we want? Do we want fewer capital crimes committed? I would say that would be a worthy goal. Okay, so what reduces that? Some programs are out there that help keep young people out of trouble and off drugs (which accounts for a lot of all kinds of crimes, including capital ones). So, if we want to reduce crime, we need to fund and support those programs.

What about people who have already committed them--people like Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, etc.? What was it that caused them to take the path they took? We need to keep them locked up and study them thoroughly. Find out what went wrong with them so that we can save future people before they become criminals.

That's a start. Let's discuss these issues, and I'll post more later.


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