Thursday, February 23, 2006

Death Penalty issues

Yesterday, Jeff had a long post about the death penalty. His should we/shouldn't we gets summed up pretty well here :

But for me, the complexities both practical and philosophical of death by lethal injection serve as further evidence that we — the people, the state, the United States — have no business deciding who lives and who dies. Life is a state of grace granted us by our Creator, and depriving someone of that state of grace simply isn’t our job. That decision isn’t ours to make. No matter how justified the punishment might be, no matter how egregious the crime that warranted it.

I can respect his position, and I'm not exactly a "gung-ho" advocate of the death penalty.

But then, this morning, I read this in the morning paper. It's a local story. Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy and girl start their family. Then boy and girl get murdered in their home by a "Bonny and Clyde" type couple.

Scott was tied up with duct tape and an extension cord," Cataldo said of the Feb. 15 slayings.

"Then he was brutally beaten in the hands, face and head with the butt of (an) AK-47 assault rifle.

"They then put a sock in his mouth, covered it with duct tape, then beat him in the face some more," Cataldo said. "Then they used a hypodermic needle to inject bleach into his veins."

In a small town, 40 minutes away from Detroit, Patrick Selepak and Samantha Bachynski brutally ended the life of Scott and Melissa Berels. The murder was motivated, they believe, by robbery. Melissa s, who was ten weeks pregnant at the time, was murdered first. Fortunately, she was "only" strangled. Her husband appeared to have arrived home before the murderous pair left the scene, which led to his torture (which lasted several hours) and murder. He was bound and gagged first and left in that condition while Selepak went out to buy beer.

These two animals do not deserve to take another breath. Michigan doesn't have a death penalty- so I suppose my argument is moot. But, if Michigan did have a death penalty, I would expect 20 years from now we'd be hearing stories about how the two had reformed. The names of the victims would be nothing but distant memories to everyone besides their families. It is with the passing of time, that perspective is lost over the violent, senseless crimes for which people are given the death penalty. For some reason, those long forgotten names don't even appear to be real anymore. Someone who has been dead 20 years doesn't even seem real anymore. Did they ever exist outside of the newspaper articles, for while their names received short-lived recognition?

I don't know how I feel about the death penalty. But I do know that my sympathy lies NOT with who the criminals might become in 20 years. My sympathy lies with the victims. Scott and Melissa Berels, and their unborn child.