After my article on the government execution of Mary Surratt, I have been reflecting on the entire concept of execution by the State, Up front, I haven’t got any answers. All I’ve come up with are more questions. But I think we are at a point in time where we need to start asking these questions. We need to start asking where the State has now gone with the entire concept of execution.
Let’s talk about another government execution: The execution of Japanese military leader Hideki Tojo, convicted of war crimes. Now, when American military police were battering down his door to arrest him, Tojo attempted suicide. And he would have died had American doctors not worked hard to save his life, which they did. And for what? So the U.S. military could hang him not much later than after his recovery. I ask you, does this make sense? I understand that if a death row inmate attempts suicide a scant couple days before his execution, they will save his life and just postpone the execution until he recovers. To me, it would appear that the State would feel cheated if it wasn’t Conspiracy Theory in A... Best Price: $5.66 Buy New $13.40 (as of 04:25 EST - Details) them who got to flip the switch on the condemned. That is, if the condemned takes his or her own life, the State now feels it got short-changed because they didn’t get the rush of killing that person. And demonstrating that the State has ultimate power over life and death and when those things take place.
We were told in the 1970s that we needed to bring back the death penalty to restore order to our streets. Crime was off the charts and the death penalty had been abolished in most states and not used in others where it was not abolished. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the execution chamber. The reinstatement of the death penalty coincided with the re-legalizing concealed carry of handguns in several states. Did we confuse the ability of self-defense to deter crime with the State killing the people that already committed the crimes and had already been caught? I think the best method to avoid having murderers in jail is having people able to defend themselves on-the-spot. Not the State taking revenge after you’re already dead and buried.
However, the State told us that the death penalty was a deterrent. In actuality, the true deterrent is criminals literally playing Russian roulette in committing crimes against an armed public. Because they don’t know who is carrying a gun and who isn’t. I think that we cannot confuse the two. The death penalty isn’t self-defense. It’s a punishment, yes, but does it work? I don’t know. I can’t answer that question. But what concerns me is the slippery slope we’re on now having given the State this power.
The State has now told us they can use a quasi-military and judicial hybrid death penalty to “protect” us from murders that MIGHT happen. This is the entire concept behind the use of drones to kill accused terrorists. I say “accused” because the State is carrying out an execution without a trial having convicted that person. And had that person even been brought to trial, the death penalty might not have been a legal punishment that could be applied to the case. So where has the State gone with the death penalty now? Are we to think now that these drone executions serve as a “deterrent”?
What I see is that the State, having been given popular support to the death penalty some decades back, now can apply this punishment across a very broad spectrum of crimes both real and alleged. The State will not tell us who is on this secret “death row”, how they got there, what the evidence against them is, or how many of them are American citizens whom the Bill of Rights is supposed to protect against summary execution. Make no mistake, it is illegal whether they are American or not. But we were told back in the 1970s and 1980s that the death penalty being brought back would be done differently this time. They’d make darn sure the people were 100% guilty before sentencing them to death. If that is the case, why can we not see the evidence against the people on “Drone Death Row”?
It’s a common human reaction to want to see harsh punishment against someone whose murders are horrific in nature. But has the State used this emotion against us? Because we want these murderers punished, have we then fallen through The Looking Glass into a realm where the State now decides who MIGHT commit a crime worthy of death and then beat them to the punch, so to speak? The problem with that is anyone can be accused of anything and cannot defend himself against those accusations in a court of law before his life is taken away from him by the State. This is dangerous territory and we are well into it now. In our quest to be “safe”, have we not inadvertently fallen into one of the most dangerous places one can be? That is, into a place where the State decides who lives and who dies based on secret evidence and allegations no one is allowed to see.
What if, in the future, the State decides everyone better sign a loyalty oath or be considered a threat? What if the State decides to carry out a drone attack on U.S. soil and, oops, hits the wrong house? They’ve done that already overseas and killed innocent people. They’ve barged into the wrong house during police raids here already and killed innocent people. How far are we away from that being done with drones? Are we then willing to submit to this so we can feel “safe”? Now that we’ve had two ISIS shooting attacks within the United States, can drone attacks within the United States be far behind? And, as we know, there will be secret evidence against whoever is executed by them.
Have we given the State the power that the Founding Fathers would be horrified to learn we have given it? Yes, we want criminals punished. But what has the State done with this? Can a truly corrupt State do else but subvert the law to its own ends? The reality is, when people are given the ability to defend themselves, soaring crime rates will drop. But then where does that leave the State? And since the War on Terror will never end, there is no end to the ability of the State to begin drone executions anywhere it pleases and without any messy courts of law that might say the State is wrong about the accused.
I am not arguing about the morality of taking a life in self-defense. But there is a definite difference between self-defense and revenge. The State argues that drone attacks are self-defense. But what would a court of law say about this scenario: Bob has a neighbor named Yousef. Bob is suspicious of Yousef and, late one night, sees Yousef loading a large bag into his garage. He sees Yousef has a rifle. Bob sneaks over and sees blood on the driveway from where the bag dragged from the car. Bob then decides Yousef might pose a threat and cannot wait for police to investigate. What if that bag is a weapon of mass destruction? Lives are at stake! Bob bursts into Yousef’s house and shoots him dead.
In a court of law, Bob will be charged with murder. See, in a court of law, it will be revealed that Yousef had gone hunting and what was in the bag was a deer. That’s where the blood came from and that’s also why Yousef had a rifle. But had this been the United States government, none of this would ever come out because the evidence would remain secret and unexamined. It would be as follows: “Yousef had a suspicious package. Possible NBC weapon. Evidence of crime on scene. Suspect is armed, considered dangerous. Therefore, subject is to be terminated.” End of story. No trial where the evidence is examined to reveal Yousef has done nothing wrong.
I don’t have any answers. I only have more questions. But we are not allowed to ask questions of the State as to this drone execution program. The State refuses to answer such questions. And when someone loses a son or daughter, it will be too late. People overseas already are losing their children. And do we think there won’t be consequences for that? The State has basically said that revenge and summary executions of “anyone will do” is acceptable. Do we think the State is innocent? Is the State making enemies for us that will plague us for decades to come?
I think we better go sit by the grave of Mary Surratt and ask ourselves these questions.