Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The torture of Megan Williams

Six white trash low-lifes kidnapped and tortured a young black woman named Megan Williams. For an entire week, they locked her in a small storage shed calling racial slurs while raping her, stabbing her, beating her, pouring hot water on her, choking her with a cable cord, and making her drink from a toilet and forcing her to eat rat droppings.

Prosecutors have decided not to press for hate crimes charges because the state’s hate crimes laws allow up to a10 year penalty while regular kidnapping charges bring up to a life penalty (AP).

Do you think Ms. Williams will ever get over this? Is it really justice to put these people away for life while the tax payers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide for their food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care for the rest of their lives?

Quite frankly, I think it may be time to repeal the amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. These animals should be publically horse-whipped and burned alive at the stake.

15 comments:

Robert said...

Unbelievable. It's sad that such EVIL is still present in the world. I think it'd be much better to throw them in jail for the rest of their natural lives. Every cent they ever earn should go to the young woman. Their lives should be spent repaying the horrors they exacted on her.

Dennis said...

Robert,

How about if we just execute them and give this woman the hundreds of thousands of dollars tax payers will spend imprisoning these psychopaths for the rest of their lives. She'll get much more money that way.

I'd certainly rather my tax dollars go to helping this woman recover than to supporting the monsters who destroyed her life.

Robert said...

Doc -

My understanding is that we spend more in defending people on death row in legal costs and appeals than we do on life time imprisonment. Not to get into a discussion of the merits of the death penalty, but from a purely financial standpoint it makes sense to incarcerate them indefinitely. However, instead of giving them a daily wage, their labor can be made to pay back to the woman.

Dennis said...

Yes, Robert, I've heard that too. I'm not convinced. I can't believe it would cost more to convict these people than it will to incarcerate them for the rest of their lives.

But lets say you're right. My totally uninformed guess is that the reason the court costs are so huge is because anti-death-penalty advocates will drag the appeals process out for decades, not because the criminal might be innocent, but because some people are philosopically oppsed to the death penalty.

I can't help believing that the process could be streamlined in cases where the guilt of the perpetrators is really not in serious doubt. But I could be wrong...and my potential for being wrong is something I think even John will agree with :-)

Robert said...

Doc –

My reasoning for opposing the death penalty is not that I feel sorry for the scum on death row, nor do I buy into the “just one innocent man” argument. Both arguments are not particularly solid reasons to avoid the deterrent effect of the punishment.

My position centers on a couple of things I view as a matter of faith, practicality, and a desire for limited powers of the state.

First, in Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae (March 25, 1995) he stated that execution was only appropriate "…in cases of absolute necessity, in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today, however, as a result of steady improvement in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

It’s not that I believe there is no religious justification for capital punishment; rather that I agree with the late Pope in that our abilities to incarcerate and hold violent criminals indefinitely prevent the need for the finality of execution. The fact that our prison system seems to routinely release such dangerous persons back into the population is more of a question of how we manage release than justification for state sponsored execution. Additionally, I believe in the dignity of the human spirit which I believe is shown in our mercy and our willingness only to take life when it is absolutely necessary.

Secondly, practically speaking, you may be right concerning the endless appeals by anti-death penalty groups causing the costs to be significantly higher. That being said, it is simply a reality that exists. If we accept that such resistance will always be, then we will recognize that our costs for execution are indeed much higher than life imprisonment. I cannot agree with you in stream lining the process because there are instances where the facts do seem “clear” but turns out the person was innocent. Ours is a system based on presumed innocence with multiple opportunities to establish that (even after a guilty verdict). We need to provide those convicted of crimes every opportunity to prove their innocence in the event of a guilty verdict. To do otherwise would shift the intent of our legal system and I think create a miscarriage of American justice. We err on the side of innocence, not guilt.

Finally, I am concerned about giving the State too much power. At this time, I see too large a willingness of the populace to hand over control to the government. I do not trust those in government to use that power wisely and so I prefer to limit what they can do. Giving the Government the power to exact “streamlined” executions seems like handing an irresponsible person a weapon and telling them to only use it on “bad people.” While I do not have an abject fear or paranoia of the government, I still believe it makes the best sense to keep a very short leash on people who have a history of abusing their power.

John said...

Excellent points, Robert. Just to add to your point about erring on the side of innocence: there are cases where people have been released from prison after years, or even decades, because it turned out they were innocent. Imagine if they had been put to death.

Steve said...

Why is it that the people who claim to be most patriotic are always talking about removing or ignoring parts of our Constitution? Why is it that the people who claim to be most devoted to Jesus are the ones who are the most bloodthirsty supporters of the death penalty and the war in Iraq (though Jesus preached nonviolence), care least about the poor (though Jesus preached caring for the poor) and are the most adamantly opposed to gay people (though Jesus never once mentions homosexuality)?

Dennis said...

Steve wrote, "Why is it that the people who claim to be most patriotic are always talking about removing or ignoring parts of our Constitution?"

I don’t recall anyone in this discussion advocating ignoring our Constitution, and there is nothing unconstitutional or unpatriotic in talking about amending our Constitution.

Steve wrote, "Why is it that the people who claim to be most devoted to Jesus are the ones who are the most bloodthirsty supporters of the death penalty"

Many who are devoted to Jesus agree with you on the death penalty. Those of us who are for the death penalty believe that God commanded it for heinous crimes. Even in the New Testament, Paul (in his letter to the Romans) says that God ordained government to punish evil-doers and that the “government does not bear the sword in vain.” The Roman government did not spank people with swords, they executed them with swords. Paul’s metaphor is a metaphor for the death penalty, which is fully in line with his Jewish background. So I support the death penalty 1) because the Bible commands it, 2) because I suspect that many more innocent people have been killed because we have violated this command, than innocent people who have been executed unjustly. 3) Because the money we spend keeping vicious monsters alive could be much better spent on helping their victims recover (the victims who survive), or on various programs designed to keep kids from becoming monsters in the first place. 4) It is not bloodthirsty to want the execution of these monsters who so brutally tortured this poor woman. It is justice. Simply putting these monsters away in air-conditioned cells and paying for their food, clothing, shelter, entertainment, medical and dental care for the rest of their lives is not justice—it is cruelty to the victims.

Steve continued, "and the war in Iraq (though Jesus preached nonviolence),"

Many of us Christians who supported the war in Iraq did so because 1) we love people and Saddam Hussein was brutally torturing, starving, and slaughtering his people by the thousands. Of course the U.S. cannot be the world’s policeman and we have to pick our battles very carefully, but when people are brutally oppressing and even slaughtering other people, sometimes the loving thing to do it make it stop, by force, if necessary (as in our conquest of Nazi Germany).

As far as Jesus preaching non-violence: First, Jesus was preaching about how individuals should behave toward other individuals. He was not preaching about how governments should conduct foreign policy (though there is much government leaders should learn from Jesus). Both the Old Testament before Jesus and Paul after Jesus made a distinction between the responsibilities of individual citizens and the responsibilities of governments before God. To make Jesus’ teaching on turning the other cheek, for example, into a moral absolute makes a mockery of Jesus and the Bible—as if police should “turn the other cheek” when a murderer is threatening their life or the lives of others.

In the second century B.C. there was a time in Israel’s history in which a monstrous Syrian king conquered Judea, slaughtered about 40,000 Jews and sold about 40,000 more into slavery. He forced Jews to sacrifice to foreign gods, and killed those who refused. He outlawed the reading of the Jewish sacred Scriptures and their rite of circumcision (mothers who had their babies circumcised anyway, were forced to wear their baby around their necks after the Syrians butchered it). The Syrians then slaughtered a pig in the holy place of their temple.

In response, a man named Judas “the hammer” raised up a Jewish army and, against remarkable odds, waged war against that the Syrian armies. These battles are favorably alluded to in the Old Testament book of Daniel, a book which Jesus quoted as authoritative. Judas continued his war until he re-captured the Jewish Temple and re-dedicated it to God. This event has been commemorated by the Jewish people ever since. It is called the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah. Jesus didn’t protest this feast or boycott it, according to the Gospel of John he apparently celebrated it. Maybe he wasn’t quite as non-violent as we make him out to be.

Steve continued, "care least about the poor (though Jesus preached caring for the poor)"

Many on the Left love to charge that Christians don’t care about the poor simply because many of us are opposed to government handouts. I think the government should help those who cannot help themselves, but unfortunately, the LBJ and Kennedy administrations created a generation of people who think they are entitled to government handouts. I think Bill Clinton was absolutely right to remove people who were able to work from the government nipple.

The fact is that Christians, in general, are the most generous, giving, loving people on the planet. Much of the food and money that is given out by social service organizations, comes from churches! Millions of dollars flowed from Christians to the victims of Katrina, the tsunami, and other disasters through organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision and many others. Many Christian groups personally traveled to New Orleans to help, and Christian groups are always traveling overseas to help others. My own son and his wife have been to South Africa with others from their church, helping AIDS victims. Christian missionaries continually risk their lives caring for people in other countries—setting up medical and dental clinics, building orphanages, etc.

One thing I don’t understand is why so many on the Left, who absolutely seem to hate our government right now, are so eager to turn so much control and so much of their tax money over to the government for social programs. Generally speaking it sometimes seems like everything the government touches—welfare, social security, public housing, V.A. hospitals, even the war in Iraq—turns into a disaster! But when some Christians—who are amazingly generous people—want to limit the power of government, many on the Left say it’s only because we hate the poor. I suspect they make this charge because they hate Christians.

Steve continued, "and are the most adamantly opposed to gay people (though Jesus never once mentions homosexuality)?"

I will admit that there are some very self-righteous, bigoted Christians who--contraty to the teachings of the Bible--really do hate gay people. Most of the Christians I know, however, (and I know a lot and they are generally a pretty conservative group) do not hate gay people. We believe that your behavior is sin—just like we believe all immoral behavior is sin. Most of us believe it is entirely possible to hate the sin (whether that sin is greed, self-righteousness, lust, theft, etc.) and genuinenly love the sinner (after all, we also fall into the category of "sinner").

The problem is that many gay people want to spread the lie that if we are not totally supportive of your lifestyle, we must hate you. That is simply anti-Christian bigotry designed to silence any views that don’t agree with yours.

You are right that there is nothing recorded about Jesus specifically mentioning homosexuality (he doesn’t mention bestiality either), but he does condemn sexual immorality (Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:21). In a Jewish context (and context is everything) sexual immorality definitely included homosexual sex.

John said...

Steve, the "religious right" doesn't speak for all Christians. In fact, many of us are embarrassed by some of their words and actions. We just haven't found a way to be as effectively vocal as they are ... yet.

Dennis said...

John's right, Steve. Many religious people have been embarrassed by Jesus and the Bible since Jesus’ time--in fact before Jesus time.

To use an example of gay people that you brought up, many religious people today are embarrassed that “homophobic fundamentalists” would dare to use the Bible to support the idea that sex with someone of the same sex is sin.

Many of these religious people jump on the politically correct bandwagon and proclaim that homosexual sex is a perfectly normal and acceptable lifestyle.

Meanwhile, people are dying from AIDS by the thousands due to anal sex and yet religious people somehow think they are showing love and compassion when they encourage people to continue behaviors resulting in such horrible deaths. Unbelievable!

John said...

John's right, Steve. Many religious people have been embarrassed by Jesus and the Bible since Jesus’ time--in fact before Jesus time.

Dennis, that is a low blow, and I ask you to take it back. I have always tried to treat you with respect. You do not know me, what I believe or why I believe it. I have been a churchgoing Christian my entire life, and to have a stranger question my faith or my committment based on our different political views (of all things!) is something I will not accept. Comments like that show why you only have about 3 readers on this blog. Well, now you are down to 2.

Dennis said...

John, I am genuinely sorry for offending you. I really do respect that fact that you generally make an effort to argue logically and rarely (if ever) make personal attacks.

Maybe that is why I was, frankly, a bit shocked by your post, and I must add that I am a puzzled about why you are so offended.

As you said yourself, I don’t know you, but you had just pretty much given a blanket repudiation of everything I (as a member of the Christian right) believed, saying you were embarrassed by us. You seemed to be defending Steve who essentially charged me with being a bloodthirsty, homophobe who hates the poor. I don’t know—it just sounded like a personal attack to me. Go figure.

Many Christians who do not agree with the Christian Right on the best way to handle social issues, do at least agree on the historic fundamentals of the Christian faith—that in Jesus, God became human and lived among us, that he died an atoning sacrifice for our sin, that he physically rose from the dead, that we are saved by grace through faith, that he is coming again, etc.

I know you disagree with my stand on the war and death penalty, but when you issue such a blanket condemnation, I’m left wondering what else you are repudiating. Are you denouncing my stand on abortion? On homosexual sex? Are you disagreeing with my assertion that Jesus condemned sexual immorality? Or are you going even further and denouncing the basic historic tenets of the Christian faith as many on the religious Left do (e.g. Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, et al). Remember, I don’t know you. I don’t know where you stand on this spectrum.

Rather than respond to the arguments I gave in my rather lengthy response to Steve, you simply chose to say I don’t speak for you and I embarrass you. That really didn’t give me much to respond to so I simply gave a blanket response to the religious Left.

If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t fit, I would really like to know exactly where you stand because all I ever hear from you is your disagreements with me.

Finally, 3 readers? So far this week my site reader says I have about 550 page views. Granted, I'm no Michelle Malkin but I think 550 is a bit more than 3. :-)

Steve said...

I'm sorry Robert but any blog that's been around a while can get 550 hits in a week just from random Google searches. Most blogs that have been around as long as yours can get that many hits in a day and have more than 3 commenters. You've driven away most of the people who once read your blog because of the way you attack people who disagree with you the way you attacked John and because of your extremist opinions and your inability to engage in a reasonable discussion the you used to. You've changed a lot since I started reading this blog, which was a long time before I started commenting on it. It's too bad, really.

Steve said...

I meant Dennis, of course.

Dennis said...

Steve, It's much easier to simply declare someting to be "extremist" (or racist, homophobe, etc) rather than actually interacting with the arguments isn't it?

The purpose, of course, is to try to intimidate people in the hope of shutting them up without having to engage in any serious dialog.

For example, in the series of posts above, I gave you an extended answer to a question you posed, but rather than interacting with my answer, you simply declare me to be "extremist" who is incapable of "reasonable discussion."