A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
I studiously watched Saddam Hussein's hanging ... four times! (The tape made it to the Internet almost immediately due to a cell phone which had been smuggled into the room where the hanging took place. At least, that was the pubic explanation for how it happened.)
"The last legal public hanging in America took place in 1936 in Owensboro, Kentucky. The “event” attracted 20,000 people and turned into such a sickening spectacle that many credit it with ending the practice in the U.S." -- SOURCE: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/01/27/413611/north-carolina-gop-lawmaker-calls-for-bringing-back-public-hangings-starting-with-abortion-providers/
I must tell you that I admire the state of Texas for continuing to exercise the death penalty just as prescribed by that state's law. The recidivism rate, at least for the convicted/executed prisoner is absolutely -- ZERO!
Here in North Carolina we have had over the past two decades, at least, a high influx of liberals from out of state who go weak in the knees when they come face to face with the fact that Tar Heels really DO support the death penalty. As a result there has been a steady attack on our judicial system in a leftist effort to end capital punishment in North Carolina.
We've had moratoriums on executions. We've had the Racial Justice Act, which was mercifully repealed by the Republican Legislature as one of their first acts after taking over the NC State legislature.
Still, cases begun under the old RJA are still winding their way through the high court system in the state.
Eventually the cases will all be heard and verdicts rendered and we can move on, one way or the other.
But there are some Tar Heels who'd like to see justice administered quickly, efficiently -- and in public.
In other words -- bring back public hangings.
Look. I have no problem with a permanent gallows erected on the court house grounds of every court house across the state.
Ghoulish, right? Nah! Just practical.
Back in 2012 NC House Republican (You just KNEW it would be a Republican, didn't you?) Rep. Larry Pittman, expressed his views in an email sent to every member of the NC General Assembly.
In his e-mail Rep. Pittman said: “We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnapers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.” -- SOURCE: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/01/27/413611/north-carolina-gop-lawmaker-calls-for-bringing-back-public-hangings-starting-with-abortion-providers/
" ... last year Republicans in South Carolina, Nebraska, and Iowa pushed legislation that would essentially legalize the murder of abortion providers. Such radical sentiments have been echoed by prominent conservatives like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who said during his 2004 campaign, “I favor the death penalty for abortionists.” --- SOURCE: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/01/27/413611/north-carolina-gop-lawmaker-calls-for-bringing-back-public-hangings-starting-with-abortion-providers/
According to Zachary R. Shemtob, assistant professor of criminal justice at Connecticut State University, and David Lat, a former federal prosecutor, "There is a dramatic difference between reading or hearing of such an event and observing it through image and sound. (This is obvious to those who saw the footage of Saddam Hussein’s hanging in 2006 or the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during the protests in Iran in 2009.) We are not calling for opening executions completely to the public — conducting them before a live crowd — but rather for broadcasting them live or recording them for future release, on the Web or TV." -- SOURCE: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4e4_1312269466#1GyuTP3SmrUjBAry.99
There is some discussion that pubic executions would turn the public against the death penalty. I happen NOT to think so. In fact, once the pubic is reminded of the heinous crime that brought the convict to the death chamber, I believe watching the perpetrator receive his/her just deserts would bring some closure and some finality to the chain of events initiated by the original crime. It might also result in more respect for the law and restore, at least to some degree, people's faith in the system.
"There have been a total of 1320 executions from January 1977 to the end of 2012. Lethal injection is now almost universal in the USA, being either the sole method or an option in all of the states that retain the death penalty. Electrocution, hanging, shooting and the gas chamber are still legal alternatives in some states although very rarely used. There was one electrocution in 2010 and one shooting and another electrocution in 2013, in all cases the inmate elected this method. The majority of executions take place in the southern states, 930 out of 1136 to the end of 2008, with Texas having carried out 422." -- SOURCE: http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/thoughtsUS.html
OK. Do we southerners have a different take on the value of human life than other Americans? I don't THINK so. See, we equate a human life for/with a human life. No life is more valuable than another and no life is less valuable than another. Stated frankly, and flatly, -- southerners feel that of you take a human life, for any reason other than self defense or the defense of others, you forfeit your own life. It's very simple and very straight forward. So far as we are concerned you are a dead man walking from the very moment of the murder. So, to us, an execution is no big deal. It just seals the deal with southern society.
With crime rates spiraling upwards in our cities and even out in the rural parts of America, it sometimes seems we are producing, and raising, young ANIMALS rather than young PEOPLE. Since nothing much seems to make an impression on theses young psychopaths maybe seeing a few of their friends and associates tried, convicted, and hanged -- right in front of them, might have SOME effect.
It's worth a try.
J. D. Longstreet