Hart: Can a murderer's execution be 'botched'?

Hart: Can a murderer's execution be 'botched'?

August 1st, 2014 By Ron Hart in Opinion Columns

Ron Hart

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

The recent "botched" execution in Arizona sparked more debate about the death penalty. But if the execution ended in the murderer's death, then it was not botched. What did his victims endure?

The New York Times inadvertently committed journalism when it reported that about 12 recent studies have determined that the death penalty saves lives and serves as a deterrent. Some studies concluded that, for every execution, up to 18 murders are prevented.

I was once asked whether I was for or against capital punishment. The moderator knew the answer but was shocked when I answered that I was against the electric chair. When he asked why, I said I was in favor of electric bleachers -- until we get caught up.

My father was in law enforcement. I have seen the worst of mankind -- and not just at our family reunions. There are very bad people out there whom we need to eliminate from the gene pool.

On both an intuitive and practical level, it is very clear to me that swift and certain consequences for killing (and, in my view, molesting or raping) another person should be imposed by our society. In short, we should make it clear that "If you kill someone, we will kill you back."

With advances in DNA evidence, surveillance cameras and other law enforcement technologies, there will be fewer mistakes in the future, thus eliminating every other Hollywood movie script.

There is always the liberal knee-jerk reaction that, in the course of executing 1,000 murderers, we might execute one innocent person. This comes from the same people who are OK with abortion. Apparently there is nothing "innocent" about a baby.

Liberals love to say they are against the death penalty. It makes them feel so superior to those who are for it because, by their opposition, they theoretically just spared a life. In their personal narratives, liberals are invariably kind and heroic. They so want to be liked. If the murderer didn't rape, torture and kill their daughter, it's easy to be merciful. Like most liberal dogma, it is about them, not facts. Feelings always trump facts.

Liberal icon Norman Mailer was the toast of the media when he won the release of a convicted murderer. But there was just a small footnote: The guy murdered again within weeks of his release. Oops!

I encourage you to read about the Wichita "BTK" (Bind, Torture and Kill) serial killer, who murdered 10 people from 1974 to 1991. By his own admission, this church congregation president stopped murdering in 1991 when Kansas adopted the death penalty.

If you have ever attended a trial, you know that almost all the benefit of the doubt goes to the defendant. Through our tax dollars, we provide an inordinate amount of legal support to capital-murder defendants.

Trials in capital cases are so high-profile, and there are so many anti-death-penalty groups out there that will pounce on overzealous prosecutions, that I feel justice is served. Yet, convicted murderers sit on death row, filing appeal after appeal, until they die of old age.

I have full confidence in juries. Every jury I have sat on or seen has been sensible, except in Los Angeles. There, you can commit double murder, but you can't steal sports memorabilia.

It comes down to the simple view that the most violent among us only understand and fear such violence being wrought on themselves. Reasoning with them and "trying to understand" them just does not work.

And keep in mind, the recidivism rate among the executed hovers around zero.

Contact Ron Hart at Ron@RonaldHart.com.