Saturday, August 16, 2008

Is There Something To Be Said For The Death Penalty?

For those of you who don't live in this area, the biggest ongoing news story is the sentencing phase of the Joseph Duncan murder trial taking place in Boise. Murder seems to be in the air around here and it's leaving an unpleasant, to say the least, stench. Recently a young couple was found murdered in a remote area know best to Huckleberry hunters. They've left behind an infant son. So far four people have been arrested in conjunction with the crime. Why? What motivate such actions? What will ultimately happen?

Duncan has admitted to the slaying of a mother and her teenage son, her male friend with whom they were living, and kidnapping two younger children, one of whom was also murdered. It rocked the community then and the sentencing phase is rocking it now.

I started blogging just about the time the murders happened. The somewhat ghoulish reason was that I learned Duncan had a blog. It sent me scurrying to blogspot to see just what the craze was all about. What I found was a lot of stuff of little interest and a lot of stuff that was extremely disturbing.

When I decided to see if I could attract readers as one of those with little of interest, I found I needed to generate some kind of exposure. That's when I contacted Dave Oliveria, master mind behind the Spokesman Review's Huckleberries Online. He asked me a lot of questions which I was reluctant to answer. The reason was obvious. I didn't want to reveal too much of myself on the web. Boy, have I thrown that caution to the wind!

The local blogosphere covered the Duncan crime from far more angles than the press. People were glued to the story. The same holds true now. To the point of maintaining a Twitter site for instant updates. People want to see this man gone. These weren't the only kids that suffered from his depravity, but they were the locals!

I have chosen not to read any of it even though it hits me in the face at every turn. The recollection of the previous coverage hasn't faded enough and I haven't the prurient interest for the blow by blow details. To me that belongs in the court room. The lawyers, the judge and the jury have to watch and listen to it. I do not.

Will the final verdict be death or life in prison? I've always had a struggle with it. It brought to mind, however, a Washington state case from the early '90s where another child molester was sentenced to death. Wesley Allen Dodd. There is a certain similarity to their faces. Especially the eyes. I think it must be some version of self-loathing.

During the sentencing phase of Dodd's trial, he was asked if he thought, given the opportunity, he would ever commit such crimes in the future. He said that he couldn't and wouldn't guarantee that he wouldn't repeat his crimes if he got the chance. Furthermore, he stated that if he were ever to get out of prison, he considered it highly likely that he would once again rape and kill other young boys. And he would enjoy it just as he had before.

Not so very different than the spread sheets Duncan had made listing the pros and cons of his crimes.

In discussing my battle with anxiety, I've had more than one doctor tell me it's just the way I'm wired. These men, it would seem, have a wiring problem too. I can help my short circuits with medication. They've chosen a different path. Of course there is a huge difference between my problem and theirs. The similarity, though, is we both know we have it. I prefer to treat mine. The pleasure they derive from theirs outweighs, no, obliterates rational thought.

In an odd sense, perhaps it's a blessing to them to put them out of their misery. It must be a horrible way to live, constantly fighting such vile demons and always losing.

I don't know. It's still taking a life. Yet, on the other hand...


Sylvia K said...

I think for a lot of us this type of person is difficult or even impossible to come to grips with. How do you relate to anyone who is so flippant about a human life? Every time I read of another one of these horrific crimes I just feel sick to my stomach. As to the death penalty? Sometimes I think it is almost doing them a favor, like you said, a blessing. I'm not wise enough to know the answers.


raymond pert said...

I'm wired,too, in a way that has to be medicated because of depression. It's not sadness, it's madness. Am I ever happy that I can be helped.

I've been doing some reading about therapies for pedophiles. Nothing seems very effective.

You and I are very fortunate. We can treated for what throws us out of whack.

I hope the day arrives when the sickness that plagues men like Duncan and his victims can be effectively treated.

It's awful. Your reflections in this post are very good.