Last night while casting around for something to watch in the desolate wasteland of TV, I came upon a documentary about David Berkowitz - the New York "Son of Sam" murderer. The hook for me in shows like these is all the patient detective work that goes into tracking down the criminal, which I find fascinating.
Anyway, I'm watching the show and all of a sudden, here comes a contemporary interview with David Berkowitz himself! You couldn't have pried my chin off my chest with a 4 foot crowbar. I'm thinking, "WTH? For no reason whatsoever, this guy murdered 6 completely innocent kids, not to mention rendering another girl permanently paraplegic, and he's still above ground?" Are you serious?
He looked pretty good, too. Nice hair cut, clean clothes, new pair of glasses... Except for the scar on his neck from where some fellow inmate tried to slit his throat, he looked for all the world like the kind of guy you wouldn't mind entrusting your Little All with at a fairly conservative investment brokerage ("Gacy, Berkowitz and Manson " comes to mind).
For the heck of it, I went to a list of serial killers at Wikipedia and determined to find out how many of those convicted in the U.S. were ever executed. I got so depressed after the first 15 I had to stop. Of these, it turns out only two had been executed, while most of the rest had been given life sentences.
By the way, Terry Blair was tried on 8 counts of first degree murder, was sentenced for 25 years, got out in 21, then turned around and murdered 6 more women. Now he's serving life without parole. Maybe I'm a little dense, but it looks for all the world to me like 6 women would still be alive if the state of Missouri had been able to just get rid of this guy after the first go 'round.
Incidentally, this list is just of the people we recognize serial killers, and doesn't include the thousands more who murdered by onesies and twosies. Imagine that. If they can give a guy a life sentence for murdering 60 people, what do they give the guy who had the prudence to limit himself to one or two, a gold watch?
Steve, what a farce this is! And here I thought nothing could beat American politics for mind blowing inanity. As it turns out, when compared to the criminal justice system, politics is just a mile marker on the road.
Here's my logic: Some guy does away with someone, just do away with him. Simple, don't you think? I don't view this kind of thinking as liberal or conservative, moral or amoral, Christian or atheist. Neither does this strike me as an expression of vengeance - or even of appropriate punishment (for "appropriate punishment" you can check with one of the moms or dads of the kids the Son of Sam shot down). It is instead to me just ordinary common sense. Follow this plan and we all save ourselves the expense of haircuts, new pairs of glasses and clean clothes for people like David Berkowitz.
This is not to mention the annoyance of having to listen to him blathering on about how "prison is Hell". Why not just punch his ticket and give him a chance to see what Hell is like first hand?