Loquitur Dome: The Eternal Debate

By Michael Kazanjian
April 26, 2001

by Mike Kazanjian

On May 16, 2001 Timothy McVeigh will be executed. Families of the victims have until May 1 to reserve a seat to watch the execution on a closed circuit television within the Oklahoma prison. At this point, 285 people are scheduled to attend. What the families hope to find in viewing McVeigh’s death is closure, closure that they have yet to find since McVeigh detonated his bomb in Oklahoma City. Will they really find closure or will they walk away thinking that McVeigh got the easy way out and no longer has to live a life stripped of the pleasures and confections of the outside world?

It’s been said time after time that no one has the right to “play God” and that putting someone to death for the murder of another creates a vicious circle of destruction. Others, myself included, believe that a life in prison isn’t punishment enough.

About 90 percent of the nation’s executions occur in four southern states; Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Florida. Coincidentally, the homicide rates in these four states double that of every other state. President Bush, while Governor of Texas, took a lot of flack for going ahead with the execution of Karla Faye Tucker, the condemned murder who later found God in prison and won the affections of high level officials and personalities across the world. Bush stood his ground and would not grant Tucker any more time to defend her character. He was a man of his word.

Hundreds of years ago executions were performed in town squares in different parts of the world. If you happened to be passing by you could catch a glimpse at local criminals with a noose tied around their necks while their legs dangled in the air. Executions were a way of showing people that they wouldn’t get away with it, a way to show that severe crimes deserve severe punishment.

I do not agree that we should be able to tune into Channel 12 at 11:30p.m. and watch an execution while munching on Fritos but I do think that if would-be-offenders could get a look at the finality that takes place during an execution that they may think twice about going ahead with the crime.

For me, it comes down to respect. If a person doesn’t respect the lives of others than they obviously do not respect the gift of life that was given to them.

Do people change in prison? I would say so, but that doesn’t make up for what they did in the past. Some think that life lived in prison is punishment enough, but I don’t think people put themselves in the shoes of the families of the victims. It seems like an impossibility that something like this could happen to you or your family, but I’m sure that the people sitting in the doomed Oklahoma building didn’t go to work that day with visions of fire and smoke in their eyes. So what if it was you? Would you want the man who killed your son, or your husband, or wife to be able to live the rest of his life?

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Michael Kazanjian

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