"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

A Tale of Two Lives

Cases like this underscore that the death penalty is not needed merely as a tool of social control when incarceration alone won't work;  it's needed sometimes simply to redress the heinousness of the crime, and will be the only penalty sufficient to address the social and moral evil of the offense:

In Oklahoma, a decorated D-Day paratrooper was murdered, and his 85 year-old wife murdered after being sexually assualted:
An Oklahoma man suspected in a brutal home invasion -- already facing a murder charge for allegedly killing an elderly woman -- could face additional charges after the death last week of her husband, a D-Day veteran.
Bob Strait, a 90-year-old Tulsa resident, died on Friday, and a medical examiner is determining his cause of death, News On 6 reports.
He was injured March 13 when, police say, Tyrone Woodfork, 20, entered the house and attacked, allegedly beating and sexually assaulted Strait's 85-year-old wife, Nancy Strait, who died two days later. The couple had been married for 65 years.
Woodfork was arrested a day after the incident when he was spotted driving around in Strait’s vehicle, a Tulsa Police Department spokesman told FoxNews.com.
Bob Strait was a World War II paratrooper who took part in the D-Day invasion as part of the 101st Airborne Division, where he was awarded a Bronze Star, News On 6 reports.
Yet some would perversely suggest that justice requires that such an offender NOT be executed.

Consider the difference between Bob Strait, who, when he was about 22 years old, earned a Bronze Star for parachuting into Nazi-occupied France in a bloody invasion, and Tyrone Woodfork, who, if convicted, has earned his fame at age 20 by sexual assault, murder, and robbery.


bill bannon said...

Justice Scalia long ago showed how the commensurate punishment of ccc 2266 vanishes once one arrives at ccc 2267...if life satisfies for one murder, what if the criminal killed hundreds like McVeigh. The Bishops still tried to save him.
ccc# 2267 as defective as it is (see below) nevertheless allows that the dp might rarely be necessary. Benedict and the Bishops effectively dissent from that by seeking abolition as John Paul dissented from that rare use by calling the death penalty "cruel and unnecessary".
Here's the final paragraph of ccc 2267:

"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]"

This is what I call the infinite budget myth of all liberal thought which by the way has just wrecked Greece. Myth: There's always extra money laying around to pay for solitary and its teams of camera men, extraction team and cleaning ladies to clean the same cells daily which the solitary prisoners have deliberately sullied with excrement.
In reality Mississippi recently reduced its solitary cells from 1000 to 150 for budget reasons and saved
18 million dollars.

Tom McKenna said...

Thanks, Bill... as I've said many times here, #2267 never identifies what "means" are thought to be in the State's possession that would, to a moral certitude, "render inoffensive" a violent offender.

They can't be referring to life without parole, since that demonstrably does NOT render offenders harmless.

They can't be referring to life imprisonment in solitary confinement, which would be considered cruel and unusual by the civil courts and certainly by contemporary moral theologians.

My conclusion is that the drafters of this section had some situation in some country in mind, but nothing that I've encountered or even heard about in this country would satisfy these mysterious means of rendering offenders harmless. Therefore recourse to the dp is still very much on the table both for practical reasons, and for moral reasons such as those I alluded to in this post.

bill bannon said...

I actually think they meant basic life sentences (not drugs as used in several countries) and the Pope did no research outside the tame prisons of Europe on life sentence violence in more heterogenous countries. Life sentences render Europeans harmless ( see below..Serbia). Because Benedict ( in the Phillipines) and the Bishops are not seeking any use of drugs or any other special technique from somewhere else in the world in the US, ergo they in seeking abolition are perforce seeking life sentences only as the solution in the US. Serbian prisoners for example have knives in their cells for cutting food (a public TV documentary several years ago).
Where you have one ethnic group, prisons are more like family I suppose. Here in the US that would result in stabbings.

Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

Tom, I've noticed over the last few months that a lot of these super-horrendous murders seem to be black on white crimes. Can you explain why this is so?