Letters for Monday, September 17
Circuit Judge Carven Angel has decided that the state can kill Ian Lightbourne. In his words, execution by lethal injection is "painless and humane" and is not a form of "cruel or unusual punishment."
The killing of a person can never be humane. Killing, by its very nature, is inhumane. That Judge Angel could call any act of homicide "humane" is ludicrous. The death certificate at the execution lists the cause of death as homicide.
It is time the citizens of Florida admitted what the death penalty is. It is not and cannot be humane. It is not to protect citizens from future harm. This can be accomplished by sentencing the murderer to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The death penalty does not bring closure. There is temporary satisfaction in the killing of the one convicted of the crime. However, research shows that with time this does not bring closure. Nothing can undo the horrific act committed by the death row inmate. Loved ones cannot be restored by killing someone else.
The death penalty is not about justice. It is typically applied unjustly. Race determines who will receive life in prison and who will be executed. The race of the killer and the victim determine who is executed.
The death penalty is about revenge. Only by admitting this can it be justified. It cannot be called justice or protecting the public. It is about the state taking vengeance.
We as a civilized nation must decide if our justice system is to be used to inflict vengeance and retribution. If it is, we need to call it that, the American Vengeance System.
Since vengeance is our aim, we no longer need to put on the faade about being humane. We extract our vengeance with pain and suffering. We extract our vengeance with cruel and unusual punishment.
Judge Angel needs to be honest with the citizens of Florida. Let us kill Ian Lightbourne in any manner that suits the state. Cruel and unusual, humane or inhumane, let the executions resume. We will have our vengeance.