The almost overwhelming grief and anger, directed against those who wantonly abuse and even snuff out the lives of others, wreaks a terrible toll on all of us. It even is akin to an emotional cancer.
Similar events have happened in my life, inasmuch as I also have lost both family members and others dear to me from vile acts of abuse and murder.
In one case, Jeffrey Wroten was one of those victims. Jeff was a correctional officer coworker at the prison where I previously worked. He was a close friend, a loving Father, and a brother in my faith. His agonizing murder at the hands of a violent criminal in his custody continues to haunt my heart.
Further, as a former prison case manager, part of my duties and responsibilities also was to endure court and open parole hearings, wherein the families of victims testified and were forced therein to re-live the memories of those awful acts.
Even so, my opposition to capital punishment remains and for the reasons outlined in my original email (see below).
More simply put, supporting the death penalty is a dark place to which I refuse to go.
To me, this is not just a matter of my personal faith. It also is a profound position of my political policy principles.
I replied to this email last month when you sent it originally but just discovered that you never received it. I'm trying again. Hope you get it.
Regarding your three sobering observations;
1. It's hard to restore a murder victims life.
2. We'll never have to worry about our wives/daughters being raped and murdered by Ted Bundy.
3. Looking at the government money spent on programs like planned parenthood that murder more children in a year than we'll execute in a thousand, it's money well spent.
Original email from West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump ("More Horrendous than Halloween"):
With Halloween arriving soon, there already are too many scary and dangerous folks on the prowl (not counting a few of our elected and wannabe elected leaders).
A number of these scary and dangerous folks even commit crimes, and end up serving time in prison.
While some sincere folks favor the death penalty for those who are convicted of heinous crimes, the morality of authorizing our government to take the lives of others for criminal convictions simply is a hurdle that just is too high for me and my personal faith.
Moreover, my seventeen year servitude in the bowels of a high security lock-up, working as a prison case manager, taught me three other sobering lessons about the death penalty:
* It does not provide restorative justice.
* It is not a deterrent to the commission of crime by others.
* It costs taxpayers more to execute convicted felons than to imprison them for life. (This may seem counter-intuitive and contrary to conventional wisdom for many, but this is due to the tremendously expensive and lengthy appeal provisions guaranteed by the 8th Amendment of our United States Constitution.)
Nonetheless. it is a sad and sobering fact of life that it is necessary to imprison many convicted criminals, in order to protect public safety on behalf of us and our families.
Further, I also frankly favor the lack of parole eligibility for horrendous offenses.
However, some good people have asked me, "But, what about parole for those who are falsely imprisoned?". The answer to that concern is that: Parole consideration for convicted felons is not about their guilt or innocence. That is determined by the courts. Those who feel that they are wrongly convicted have the right to appeal their sentences in our judicial system.
And so, the bottom line for me on the question of the death penalty is that, giving our government the authority to deprive citizens of our most fundamental right (to be able to breathe in and breathe out), simply scares the screaming bejeebers out of me, much more so than innocent Halloween frighteners.