HE SAYS:

I have reached the point where our country is becoming less and less recognizable to me as the great country that once nurtured the entrepreneurial spirit to new heights of prosperity, that spawned a wave of technological advances and industries, that had a no nonsense approach to fighting crime, that had the will and fortitude to wage and win a world war on two continents, and that celebrated freedom, independence and self-reliance.

What are we today?   Have we become a country too fearful and timid to aggressively fight and protect ourselves from foreign enemies sworn to destroy us, a country where there are too many of us no longer willing or able to build our own futures and create our own prosperity, a country where we are afraid to take a stand and decisively protect our society from the enemy within, and a country where we have become so ultra sensitive that we are willing to give up our freedoms so as not to offend anyone?

When confronted with a fanatical enemy who will use any means necessary to wage a war of terrorism and destruction against our country, I would rather unleash our own whirlwind of destruction on the terrorists and terrorist countries as I stated in “Reign Of Terror” than  kneel in submission for fear of inciting others to become terrorists+ or be concerned about the opinion of other countries or be hesitant to deal harshly with captured terrorists or refrain from being aggressive in our efforts to find and punish our enemies wherever they may hide.  

When confronted with a severe downturn in our economy, I would rather work harder to restore my own prosperity and maintain my independent and self-reliant spirit as I stated in “Take Back The American Dream, Part 1” and “Take Back The American Dream, Part 2” than feed off of the wealth and prosperity of others or become sheltered and supported by the government or change the rules so that we destroy the incentive to take risks and create wealth.

When confronted with rampant violent crime, I would rather take swift and decisive action against those that would commit the ultimate harm to society as I stated in “Death Penalty, A Personal Statement” than worry about their troubled lives or indulge their self-serving psychological defenses or put up with endless procedural delays or worry about being cruel to the wanton purveyors of cruelty.

When confronted with censorship in the name of sensitivity, I would rather honor our freedoms and be less concerned about offending someone as I stated in “Political Correctness” than stifle anyone’s free speech just to maintain a sense of civility, harmony, or cordiality.

When confronted with ever more rigid and entrenched ideologies, I would rather strive for a healthy balance of ideas and ideals as I stated in “A World In Balance” than follow any one agenda or choose one set of extreme doctrines over another.

I want to live in an intelligent, strong, decisive, courageous, purposeful, free, and success oriented country.

What country do you want to live in?

+   Fighting a limited war without a lasting and decisive victory as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan only breeds contempt for us with our enemies.   A case in point, the recent attacks on our Embassies in various Middle Eastern countries and the murder of the American Ambassador in Libya even though, ostensibly, over a religious insult is, in reality, born out of that contempt and might not have happened if we had pursued the war on terrorism throughout the Middle East with greater intensity and resolve in the first place.

On Wednesday, Joe offers a whimsical look at the possible end of the world in “The End Is Near”.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

HE SAYS:

I have, in the past, in “Death Penalty, Murder or Social Justice?” made a logical argument in support of my opinion that the death penalty is an appropriate response to the harm done to society by cold blooded killers.   However, the death penalty is a subject that cannot be fully addressed by logic since it carries with it many emotional, religious and moral issues.  Therefore, this time around, I would like to explain my support for the death penalty by expressing my very personal feelings on the subject.

It was asked, what harm does murder and murderers do to our society?   In addition to the obvious harm it causes to the victim and the victim’s family and friends, it has an indelible effect on many other people who feel empathy for them.   Also, as a practical matter, as long as the perpetrator is at large (and this can be years in the case of some serial killers) it has a dramatic effect on society in the form of stress, anxiety, and the limitations it imposes on the lifestyles and activities of those who are caused to now live in fear.   Even when caught and sentenced to life in prison, these violent criminals do not stop wreaking havoc on society.  Since they have nothing to lose, they become lifelong jailhouse criminals posing a constant danger to the guards and other prison employees and to any unsuspecting bystanders they may encounter if they should ever escape.   For me, it is clear that society would be much better off and much better able to function properly if these violent criminals were subject to a death penalty.

Some will say that taking any human life is morally objectionable despite how evil that person may be and that the death penalty is not a humane way for society to behave.   It may become easy for death penalty opponents sitting in the comfort of their cloistered homes and offices and even for the jurors sitting in the austere sanctuary of a courtroom to feel sympathy for these murderers after their lawyers have cleaned them up, put them on their best behavior, and expounded on their troubled minds and lives.

I wonder if it would be a different story if these death penalty opponents could be miraculously transported to the scene of the crime as it was happening and were able to feel the abject terror and pain of the child who was raped, tortured and killed or feel the panic and fear of the innocent people being slaughtered by a mass murderer who meticulously planned his attack to cause the most carnage, and then could actually step into the shoes of the murderer and experience the remorseless, demonic glee with which the criminal played out his crime.   I wonder if they could then see these murderers for who they truly are and understand that they are only imposters, merely shadows of real human beings.  For me, it is a blow for humanity to put these inhumane criminals out of our collective misery.

I support the death penalty not only because I think it is the right thing for our society but also because it feels like the right thing to do for the sake of the victims as well as the rest of us.

On Wednesday, Joe comments on taking responsibility for our actions in “Responsibility”.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

HE SAYS:

The heated debate about whether or not the death penalty is ever appropriate will always be with us.  I support the death penalty as a valid way for society to promote the greater good of its members.

The human race has long since stopped acting as self-sustaining separate family units or even banding together in extended groups of families or tribes.  In order to function at the highest level possible, we have formed very intricate and sophisticated societies where an extremely large population of people with diverse backgrounds, skills, experiences, and cultures find a way to live together in a harmonious fashion that promotes the welfare and well-being of both the individual and the society as a whole.

This harmony and collective benefits are fostered both by laws and by unwritten social norms that we are all deemed to have agreed to as a member of society and which are sometimes referred to as our Social Compact.   In other words, we all have an understanding as to how a society should function, how we need to interrelate with each other, and what forms of behavior are acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior.  For example, physically assaulting someone is both prohibited by law and is socially unacceptable whereas a minor infraction such as jumping ahead of a line is not illegal but certainly violates one of our social norms that everyone should honor the unwritten rule that we need to wait our turn.

When someone violates the law or even breaks one of our social norms, they have breached the Social Compact or agreement they have with Society.   If the law is broken, generally the culprit is punished in some fashion which often includes being sent to jail to be part of a more restricted sub-society with its own rules and social norms as a way of banishing him from the larger society.  If one of our social norms is violated, the offender is usually met with some scorn or is otherwise scolded for his bad behavior.

Like it or not, we are all part of society and we will suffer some penalty if we act in an anti-social manner.   In the extreme, the most heinous violation of the Social Compact would be premeditated murder since that breaks one of the most fundamental rules that binds our society together and ensures its existence.  Clearly, murder would be against the Social Compact even if it was not against the law.

That is the dilemma, as I see it, with the death penalty.   If someone commits a premeditated murder and then is put to death have we committed another premeditated murder?  That seems to be a simple question that should have a simple answer, however, I believe one is drastically different than the other.  I am for the death penalty because I believe that the ultimate breach of our social agreement deserves the ultimate penalty.

If you murder another member of society, in cold blood, you have committed the most extreme violation of our Social Compact and have harmed not only your victim but the entire society.   If you are willing to inflict that much harm on society, I believe that you have forfeited your right to exist within that society.

Therefore, I believe that society as the collective enforcer and beneficiary of our Social Compact has a right and a duty to exact the ultimate penalty not only as punishment but also as society’s collective retribution for such a harmful violation of the Social Compact.

The death penalty is the ultimate and final banishment from society.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?