Hey, what about this upstanding citizen? Jesse Paul Speer lured an 11 year-old girl to his car, saying that he was looking for his lost puppy, abducted her at gunpoint, drove her to a church where he tied her up, then took her out into the wilderness, assaulted her and left her to die in the cold.Wyoming Kidnap Suspect Arrested; Samaritans Describe Rescue of Girl, 11
Anyone want to bet he gets less than 99 years? This guy is a fucking monster. He may indeed die in a jail cell, but I bet he gets a parole hearing before 2042.
I understand that heinous crimes, particularly when they're committed against children, have a way of coloring our judgement. Speaking objectively about crime, you might oppose the death penalty, or push for more funds for rehabilitation. But when faced with the details of a crime you often lose that objectivity. Suddenly an otherwise compassionate and reasonable person is filled with anger and hatred. No punishment could be too severe for this crime, right?
But our criminal justice system was put in place to protect people from lynch mobs. Emotion often gets the better of us and we need rules and procedures to ensure that we don't become criminals ourselves in our rage and frustration. Punishment should be proportionate. It should serve to both rehabilitate criminals and protect society from them. Once it becomes a tool of vengeance, it ceases to be justice. It's just a modernized version of a lynch mob.
I'm a strong opponent of the death penalty, but people like Jesse Paul Speers have a way of shaking my faith. But a 99 year sentence is essentially a death penalty too, isn't it? Would you consider these two crimes to be equivalent? I think the people of Montana, Wyoming and America are better off if Mr. Speers never sees the light of day again. Do you feel the same about a woman with serious anger management issues who beat up her own child?