Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Clarification

I stated in my earlier post about Brian Nichols that the FBI had to be the ones to take him into custody because if they didn't his chances of coming out of that condo alive were slim. I know that there will be people who don't want to believe this, but it's true.

Cops will tell you, the outsider, that they always want the outcome we had today. And in the interest of justice that is right. We, even civilians such as myself, are indoctrinated in the idea that bringing in the suspect is the best, professional thing to do. But among themselves, they will say otherwise. Now, before anyone starts yelling that cops don't think this way, I am not saying that any cop would have taken pleasure in killing Nichols, or would have killed him just to kill him, or to save the cost of the trial, or for retribution because he "killed one of our own", or because he beat his original escort beyond recognition ("one of our own" again) or anything else. They are professionals, after all. And thank God they are. But had he given them any reason to fire on him, yes, they would have.

I'm glad that the various agencies were able to cooperate and take this man into custody. I want his rights to be very protected. I don't want even the thought of his rights being violated. I want him to have a fair trial. And if convicted, as I believe he will be, I want him to serve whatever maximum sentence is handed down.

Do I want Nichols executed? Truth to tell, I've been bouncing back and forth on that issue for a couple of years. I will say that Nichols would never commit another crime so it's a deterent in that sense. Is it a deterent to crime in general? I don't think so. Death penalty inmates sit on death row for years and even decades before they are executed. Many die of other causes before the state can carry out the sentence. I doubt that anyone thinking about killing another person says, "I can't do this because I might be executed" and decides to sue them instead. I believe that anyone who sets out to kill another person either thinks they are smart enough to get away with it or that it's worth spending a number of years in jail before being released, that's if they are caught.

I'm not sure that I want my tax dollars going to keep a death penalty inmate alive for decades before his appeals play out. It costs the taxpayers millions to house a death penalty inmate while the appeal process goes on. Maybe a life without parole is better. It would certainly be less expensive for the taxpayers.

Of course, in certain cases, my idea of the perfect sentence would be to execute the inmate in the same manner he killed his victims. Only, not telling him when he would be executed, But that would be cruel, wouldn't it? Not that the inmate gave his victim any notice of when they would die or how. And that isn't cruel? To kill someone for whatever reason? At least when you execute a death penalty inmate there is a specific reason. They've taken another life.

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