During a commercial break in "Highlander: The Series" on Saturday, an advertisement supporting Proposition 200 popped up. What caught my attention wasn't the plug for the so-called Drug Bill, but rather the woman who was offering it.
She began by explaining that she was a victim of sexual assault, and that her assailant had served only a brief sentence due to prison overcrowding. She then proposed that Proposition 200, which passed Tuesday and limits prison time for many drug-related offenders, would free up necessary prison space so that men like the one who assaulted her would be forced to serve longer terms.
I applaud her bravery, for it surely took great courage to expose a horrible trauma in her life to public scrutiny. I commend her on her stand on crime, for I believe that animals such as the one who violated her deserve punishment.
I disagree with her solution. The man who did this to her deserves death, not an extended stay in prison.
It's believed that over 680,000 rapes occur nationally each year. In Arizona, the maximum penalty for unarmed rape is 14 years in prison; as the old joke goes, "He'll be free in six months."
Levity aside, such a short sentence doesn't seem appropriate for a crime whose psychological impact alone lasts often lasts a lifetime. Women who are raped are 8.7 times as likely to attempt suicide as their counterparts; a third of all rape victims suffe r a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There must be a reckoning.
The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution sets forth that "cruel and unusual punishments [shall not be] inflicted." Since the Supreme Court agrees with me that the death penalty is not in violation of that amendment, and since the right to life, liberty, a nd the pursuit of happiness is often violently infringed by rapists, I would argue (and lose any chance for future employment with the ACLU) that more of those offenders should be put to death.
In the United States, we are often concerned with the rights of the individual, and that's good, because it shows that we are not removed from human empathy. But it is possible to allow our concern for individual comfort to outweigh our desire for public safety, and that's unacceptable.
In states with the death penalty, capital punishment is reserved for crimes so horrible in either scope or means that the potential for the offender's redemption looks meager indeed; it is therefore the duty of the government to remove the individual from circulation in the most effective manner. That's the crux of the argument, ladies and gentlemen. Rapists, as well as murderers, have given up the right to be considered human beings; they are rabid animals who should be put down before they can cause mor e damage.
I do not seek deterrence. That would be, so to speak, criminally naive. Those who commit crimes that warrant termination are animals with whom rational people cannot reason.
Rather, I seek a world where the price of raping a woman is the rapist's life, where the cost of ripping an infant's life from her tiny limbs is extinction that would make death by natural causes seem like a trip to the Super Bowl by comparison. If we kil l all of the murderers and rapists, I assure you that the incidence of those crimes will plummet.
This plan has other benefits. The cost of sustaining a prisoner is thousands of dollars per year. The total cost of executing that prisoner is a fraction of the price of a handgun, the cost of a maintenance kit, a hollow-point bullet, and a small fraction of the executioner's salary. It's even cheaper if we follow the lead of a few states and return to hanging as our national modus operandi.
Someone out there is probably thinking, What does this idiot know? Killing the rapist or murderer doesn't restore the victim, and anyway, we should show compassion for the poor soul. No, one death doesn't bring the victim back to life, nor would it entire ly restore a rape victim's sense of well-being.
But if you are one who would offer the italicized retort, I defy you to repeat it to a family whose wife or daughter has been raped, or to a widow whose husband was murdered for the contents of his wallet. If you have either courage in surfeit or brains i n deficit, talk to the Goldman and Brown families. I hear they're into the forgiveness game right now.
So let's all make America a safer place. Let's kill some criminals.
Chris Badeaux is a junior majoring in English. His column, 'Cynic on Parade,' appears every other Friday.