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Sunday, June 7, 2009

And Justice For All.......


Well, it’s almost that time of year again. No, not Independence Day or Thanksgiving, but Susan Atkins parole hearing. Susan Atkins is not as well known as her partner in crime Charles Manson but she was just as deadly and brutal as she stabbed to death then pregnant actress Sharon Tate nearly 40 years ago. Since her incarceration, Atkins has on average applied for parole every 2.5 years. If you’ve ever seen her on a television interview, you know she is extremely remorseful for her crime and says the regrets and images she carries in her mind of committing that murder are pure torture. She is also a model prisoner and now has brain cancer and is paralyzed. This September she will go before the parole board and apply for a compassionate release based on the reality that as a terminally ill person she is no threat to society. This may sound cold and merciless but I hope she gets turned down and dies in prison. When she was convicted she was sentenced to death but California overturned the sentence for life imprisonment when the State Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. I have long opposed the death penalty for a host of reasons but mainly because I find it inconsistent to be Pro-Life on the one hand, but supportive of killing people under other circumstances. I do know that the Old and New Testaments affirm the state having the right to execute evil doers, but a right to do so doesn’t obligate us as a society to exercise that right in the face of other more compassionate alternatives. Beside the moral argument is the economics of the death penalty. The cost of a life-without-parole sentence is far lower than the cost of executing a death row inmate. When governments are broke because of a faltering economy it seems extremely goofy to be finding money for executions and of course the funding of overseas abortion clinics (why can’t they pay for their own?), but that’s another issue. The bigger issue with Susan Atkins is one of justice. There is no doubt in my mind that she is sorry and not a threat to society anymore, but she wasn’t put in prison to be rehabilitated. True justice means the punishment fits the crime and just as a human being was deprived of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in a cold and merciless act so long ago, Susan Atkins should remain deprived of the same until she faces a higher court in another world.