Monday, September 14, 2015

Some people just determined to live in the past (and make us live there too)

I can’t say I was surprised to learn recently that a state legislator is talking about wanting to bring back the death penalty to Illinois.

HAINE: Wants to bring back death penalty
There hadn’t been an execution in this state since 1999, and then-Gov. George Ryan cleared out the state’s ‘death row’ just before leaving office early in 2003. Then, the Legislature and then-Gov. Pat Quinn did away with the capital crimes statute in 2011.

WHICH MEANS THE worst of the criminal element in Illinois get locked away in prison for life, without the option of parole. To anyone with sense, that sounds pretty bad. You can’t get more severe than letting someone know they’re going to grow old and die in a place that no one with sense ever wants to be in.

But there are always those people like Bill Haine, a state senator from Alton (near St. Louis), who last week said he plans to sponsor a bill to bring back the death penalty.

He’s falling into a line of logic that really doesn’t make much sense – some crimes are so high-profile that people are entitled to know someone will die for them.

He brought up the recent cop killing in suburban Fox Lake (which has been getting significant news coverage largely because it’s coming at a time when there’s little else happening – a “slow news day,” so to speak) as such evidence. He probably will get someone with a vengeance streak strong enough to want an execution.

NOT THAT IT would really mean anything. Chances are that anyone with a personal stake would be so offended that even an execution wouldn’t appease them.

My own death penalty stance actually got solidified on that spring night in 1994 when John Gacy was put to death at the Stateville Correctional Center. I was a reporter-type person that night, and got to see the many people who felt compelled to see blood. I was particularly peeved at the batch who felt the need to taunt a pair of nuns and a priest who were among the few who felt any compassion for human life in general.

So excuse me for not being sympathetic to those people who can’t handle the thought that the idea of homicide in the name of ‘justice’ just doesn’t make any sense.

It will be a dark day at Statehouse if death penalty actually returns
Then again, there will always be those people who want to think that the trends of society moving forward is a mistake.

JUST LIKE THOSE individuals like that clerk in rural Kentucky who did a few days in a county jail, and thinks she’s now a victim who suffered for Christianity – all because she can’t handle the idea that marriage for gay couples has the support of the law.

The people who have that hang-up are likely to focus their efforts on trying to figure out how to thwart the concept as much as possible. In their minds, they’re probably looking to all the anti-abortion activists who throughout the years have been able to push for so many restrictions that there are large swaths of the United States where it becomes next to impossible to actually obtain an abortion.

They’d probably like to have only certain places where gay couples could get married – then they’ll try to restrict the ability of their local residents to even think of going to those places.

All issues where a 19th Century mentality is what is being sought by the ideologues of our society.

WHICH IS WHERE the death penalty becomes yet another issue where some people want to live in the past.

It’s another issue where the trend is to ditch the idea (although Wisconsin has not had a capital crimes statute for most of its existence, and it is surviving very well). Some 20 states have done away with the death penalty, some since Illinois.

Does anyone think Dahmer got off lightly?
Wisconsin, of course, was the state that gave us Jeffrey Dahmer some two decades ago. He of the cannibalistic streak whose own lengthy prison sentence came to an abrupt end when another inmate decided to kill him for who knows why!

Somehow, I don’t think that a similar fate for whoever winds up being arrested for the slaying of Fox Lake police Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz would be out-of-line.


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