I remember, at the tender age of 18, boarding a bus to Jackson, S.C., for my military physical. That was an age when mere children became adults. Those who passed their physicals were inducted, and many were shipped off to Vietnam. For those who made it back from Vietnam and those who did not go, they got jobs, entered college, pursued careers, got married and raised families – many by the time they reached the legal age of 21.
So what changed that? Why are too many young people so hateful and resentful? It seems that many have no direction, no purpose in life and especially no discipline. Here we are four months into 2013, and with the Boston Marathon bombing we were confronted by perhaps the most horrific issue facing our country since 9/11 – and I don’t see such violence stopping unless we can come up with a means to an end.
THE BASIS FOR these mass murders is right there: the anger, the sociopathic elements of personality, along with the skill with which these people have learned to kill. There is no need to rehash the many incidents that have taken place recently.
No matter how you look at it, each crime, as despicable as the next, was committed – unless the murderer had the nerve to save the court system a long trial by killing himself – by people who are still sitting in prison, enjoying being alive.
While the media tend to linger much too long on the killers themselves, the types of weapons used and gun control, they refuse to press the underlying reason these people are allowed to walk the streets. At hand is a possible deterrent to these despicable crimes.
In this country, and this country alone, we are limited by the American Civil Liberties Union in the forms of corporal punishment we can use to deter crime. In Russia it’s Siberian gulags, in Singapore it’s caning and in many Muslim countries they chop off appendages. When you commit murder in America, the most common form of punishment seems to be incarceration. In many cases the courts will hand down several life sentences as punishment.
If a conviction for murder is handed down, the prisoner is given three opportunities to appeal the conviction – a process that may take an entire lifetime to accomplish. Even after he or she has exhausted all appeals, a prisoner still can cop a mental incapacitation plea and receive an additional year’s court proceeding just to prove it.
I CANNOT FATHOM the mere thought of giving a murderer a life sentence with the possibility of parole, while the victim lies cold in the grave. What a slap in the face of the victim’s families. Where’s their release?
It’s ludicrous to think that the only form of punishment given the murderer in America today is free housing, clean clothing, three meals a day, television, exercise and guaranteed medical care – all paid for by the families of the murdered victims. We simply stick their sorry carcasses in prison with the expectation of the inmate returning to society with a healthy attitude.
And what makes it even more appalling is that our elderly, in the best of care homes, don’t receive treatment as well as many common criminals receive while incarcerated in America.
It has, for the lack of a better term, become open season on Americans unless Americans can figure out a way to restart eradicating these vile, despicable vermin from the face of this planet.
(The writer is a facilities manager at Georgia Regents University.)