Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cruel and Unusual

I learned the basis of this from a liberal.

The application is, howeve, all my own.

Way back when I first started college, I took a course called "Logic." It was a philosophy department class, but as it turned out, it came in handy in later years when I studied Discrete Mathematics and Computer Science.

In this class, we learned that the word AND is quite powerful when used in a conditional sentence. It requires all joined conditions to met met in order for the statement to be true.

In other words, if a parent tells a child: "You must eat all your peas and carrots before you get dessert," the child cannot have dessert by eating just the peas or just the carrots. Both must be eaten in order to get chocolatey goodness. At least if the parent wants to retain credibility.

So, you can probably guess where I'm going with this, that would probably drive my professor nuts: The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits Cruel AND Unusual punishemnt. By the logic I learned in class, in order to be unconstitutional, a punishment must satisfy both of those conditions.

I bring this up, of course, due to the recent "botched" execution in Oklahoma. The guy woke up mid-procedure, whied and moaned a bit before eventually having a heart attack and dying. I guess it was "botched" because he didn't go the way he was supposed to, but in the end, he went, so Mission Accomplished.

Anyway, the left is up in arms because he might have suffered a little bit. Maybe not as much as the victim of the crime he was in for, who he raped repeatedly, then shot and buried alive, but close, I guess. Anyone who has ever seen anyone die knows this guy got off lucky, because most of us don't just drift off peacefully in our sleep. It's often painful, surrounded by chaos and confusion, sometimes violent.

And the world is a better place for his removal from it. He was a monster that bore little resemblance to what we would recognize as human, outside the physical.

Seems to me that even if we accept the liberal standard that the death penalty is cruel, we still have to meet the bar of unusual, and considering it had been around for almost as long as humanity has, that seems to me to be a terribly high bar to clear.

The argument could be made that the punishment can be as cruel as you could possibly imagine, as long as it was applied fairly and regularly, but as tempting as it would be to be imaginative, we should keep in mind our own essential humanity. As satisfying as it would be to send a beast like this through a wood chipper...

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