Friday, March 04, 2005

If everyone else is doing it....

That was the recent logic behind the supreme court decision to ban the execution of teenagers. The supreme court cited the fact that we were the only country in the world (or that was at least how i heard it reported and i know that is a lie) to still support the execution of teenagers.

Allowing the execution of teenagers in extreme situations and supporting executing teenagers wholesale are two different viewpoints. If you listen to the way this story is reported, you think that some states hold the last viewpoint. That simply is not true. Teenage executions are rare.

The problem that i have with the supreme court decision is two fold. One, the logic is weak. The fact that the majority of states have CCW laws does not affect the few states that do not allow concealed and carry. It never will. The anti-gun groups in those states will never listen to the logic of "what-everyone-else-is-doing". They will explain away the differences with statements of the effect "that they are some how special" or that "other states are somehow different" and what "works there will not work in their own state". The problem i see is the obvious hypocrisy in accepting common consensus in things you agree with and dismissing it when you do not agree. As a corollary, just because the rest of the world is doing somthing does not make it right and it does not make it wrong, it just makes it popular. Right and wrong never change, only our perceptions of it change.

Secondly, it limits the options of judges, juries, and lawyers. Gib at Crosblog says it best.

"The fact that death sentences are rarely imposed on juveniles is cited as evidence that society frowns on such things. I think it's at least arguable that the rarity of juvenile death sentences suggests that they're only imposed in the most extreme cases, and juries are giving the matter the serious deliberation it deserves. If death sentences were handed out across the board every time a 17 year old killed somebody, would there be less of a consensus? If so, should we use the fact that juries rarely exercise this discretion as a reason to take away said discretion entirely? [emphasis mine] "

Limited options only lead to limited results.



Dave Justus said...

I think that with the basic idea of punishment not being 'cruel and unusual' the no one else is doing it idea has a lot of validity.

Cubicle said...

I do not think it is cruel and unusal to kill teenagers who are convicted murders.

If you are going to kill like an adult, then you should get punished like an adult.

I guess my best hope now is that is that the victim will kill the teenager when they attempt kill, to save the taxpayers huge sums of money caring for these murders the rest of their lives.