Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dead Wrong: The Moral Deficit in Inslee's Moratorium

Inslee's moratorium on the death penalty has uncovered some curious rationales for why the death penalty shouldn't be used.

Inslee claims that by declaring a moratorium on capital punishment while he is governor, he hopes we all will  "join a growing national conversation about capital punishment."

However, instead of setting an agenda for a discussion on the inherent morality or immorality of the death penalty, he wants to talk about the "inherent flaws" in the system, including the costs incurred by the drawn-out procedures and processes leading up to a final execution.

It's true that some counties have more money to spend on prosecuting the death penalty, while others may not be able to afford it. Inslee said the death penalty is currently "unequally applied"--in this sense it's true.

It's also true that on average, a death sentence at the trial level costs about $470,000 in additional costs over the costs of pursuing a sentence to life in prison. Most would agree that this is a large sum of taxpayer dollars spent to win a single death penalty.

Essentially, all Inslee's premises are correct--the system is expensive, and due to unequal budgets, some the death penalty is pursued for some criminals, while it is not for others.

However, I believe our governor's conclusion is dead wrong. Inslee has reasoned the issue this way:

The death penalty is expensive.
The death penalty is not applied equally for equal crimes (largely because it's expensive).
Therefore, we must not apply the death penalty.

Notice that he is not basing his decision on a moral belief that the death penalty is wrong.

There's a serious moral and logical deficit in this argument, and if you haven't identified it yet, you'll see it in this comparison:

     -In Kitsap County, Jonathan Gentry fatally bludgeoned to death a 12 year old girl with a rock in 1988. He is currently on death row.

     -Martin Lee Sanders was convicted of raping and killing 2 teenagers in Spokane in 1983. He did not receive the death penalty, but is in prison in Washington.

I am not an attorney, but it seems from reading the Washington state sentencing laws that both of these cases qualify as aggravated 1st degree murder, and as such, barring certain factors which may "merit leniency", which don't seem to apply here, they are capital crimes.

In other words, in the eyes of the law these men (if you can call them that), deserve to die.

But in the mind of Jay Inslee, if one man deserving of death cannot be sentenced accordingly, then NO MAN, no matter how evil, should be punished with death.

Inslee would rather have no justice served, than half the justice that should be served on behalf of the victims of these horrible crimes and their families.

This is the same perverted logic used by leftists who cry out against the racial disparity on death row (I can't confirm that Inslee has directly related racial inequality to the "unequal application" of the death penalty). If we can't have a racially proportionate death row, then how could we stand to have a death row at all? Because if we don't have racial equality in any aspect of life, then that aspect should conform to proportional regulations in the name of Equality, or else be eliminated.

It doesn't matter whether their crimes were unspeakable acts of evil. It doesn't matter if they deserve to die* (which Inslee has not explicitly denied). It only matters that they all be punished to equal degrees.

Any morally discerning person should be deeply disturbed by this twisted kind of reasoning.

Yet this is the leftist mindset--that equality should be valued above all else, including justice.

*I know there are many people that truly believe the death penalty is inherently immoral, and there are valid and invalid arguments for this assertion. I'm not making a pro-capital punishment argument here; I'm highlighting the perverted rationale on which Inslee and other liberals have based their stance toward the death penalty.

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