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Friday, May 6, 2016

From the Midway: Dead is dead in my book

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

There is an old saying, you can judge a society by the way they treat their prisoners. South Dakota had its first execution in 60 years last week. Elijah Page was put to death by lethal injection for his role in the 2000 torture and killing of a 19-year-old man named Chaster Allan Poage.

Poage was tortured for over three hours, he was stabbed, beaten with rocks and forced to drink hydrochloric acid. Page was put to death on July 11, 2007 at 10:11 p.m. So were the scales of justice balanced? Most people agree that they were.

The severity of capital punishment has been tolerated since the beginning of mankind. We as a society still practice an eye for an eye although morally we have been taught thou shall not kill. So by my understanding that means if you do kill you're going to have to die as well. That is where the problem lies.

In many cases when a criminal kills someone and they know that they have nothing to lose they are more apt to continue to keep killing in the hope of trying to get away. Ironically, more murders are committed when this happens.

There is no chance for a murderer to ever become a member of society again. The trust is lost forever with the victim's life. No one would want a murderer living next door.

For the record, I used to support capital punishment when I younger but as time has gone on my view has changed. Back in the day, I would proudly state that if someone tries to harm my family, or me, I would take care of business or at the very least let the law handle it. Even today no one can really predict what actions they would take in a situation like that.

The reason my view changed over the years is the fact that one day it occurred to me what if that person sitting on death row was my brother, niece, father or daughter. I would not want to see them dead even though they did the most unspeakable act to another human being.

That is what is so horrifying about murder; there is always more than just one victim. The victims themselves have lost their lives and their future too. One also has to consider the survivors of the victim and the overwhelming grief they must endure. The murderer's family must also live with the shame of what their relative has done.

To me, it seems that capital punishment is too easy of a solution to solve this problem. It really is not a deterrent for the crime of murder; history has proven that. Life in prison has seemed more of a punishment to me. A person might think twice if he or she knows that he or she will have to spend the rest of his or her life stuck in a five by nine cell to reflect on the pain caused by the act of murder.

We like to think that we're more humane today, we don't string'em up by a tree anymore or line a prisoner up in front of a firing squad or use Old Sparky, the electric chair. Today the most dignified method is lethal injection but no matter how a prisoner is executed the fact remains that the prisoner is dead.

There is no real solution to murder. That is also the dilemma we face in our society.

Mike Leckband
From the Midway