I didn’t know competency was required to die.
Warren Lee Hill was scheduled to be executed in Georgia last night, but he has been granted a stay of execution because the courts are now convinced he might be retarded. Apparently, Georgia passed a law in 1988 prohibiting the execution of the mentally handicapped, and the Supreme Court has also ruled that this would be unconstitutional. I didn’t know the Constitution talked about mental health issues (must be in the interstate commerce clause), but…
Warren Lee Hill was in prison originally for murdering his girlfriend. He shot her 11 times. While in prison, he killed again, beating another inmate to death with a nail-spiked board. Was he messed up in the head? Clearly. Was he stupid? Undoubtedly. Does this mean he shouldn’t be executed? I don’t think so.
If we can for a moment assume that execution is a valid form of punishment for certain crimes (and murder would definitely be on the list), I fail to see how someone’s mental capacity before or after the crime matters at all.
Let’s take the materialist position briefly and say the man is no more than a mass of tissue and chemical interactions. No different than an animal, according to the materialist. Well, do you put down a rabid dog? It’s not the dog’s fault that it’s a danger to society, but you still kill it before it can do any more damage.
And there will be people that say, “How dare you compare these people to animals! They are human beings!” I agree. And execution has more human dignity than imprisonment, just ask Michel Foucault. You put a man in a cage and feed him dog food, and you force his victims to pay for it. I would have him pay with his life for a life he took. Well, two lives now. Which reminds me. If they had executed Warren Hill for the first murder he committed, he never would have comitted the second. That’s the first benefit of capital punishment. Even if it didn’t deter other people from committing similar crimes (which it does), it at least prevents the executed person from committing any other crimes.
But let’s assume Warren Hill has a soul, which I believe. Then his soul must have some culpability for these murders. If not, how can you blame anyone for anything? How intelligent do you have to be to be culpable for your actions? And why does a person have to understand what he’s doing in order to be responsible for it? I don’t think most big government advocates understand fully how absolutely evil their political schemes are. They are, shall we say, a bit retarded. Does that mean they’re not responsible?
I can’t seem to find the logic in this. Should punishment depend on the understanding of the perpetrator? If you made it so, criminals would suddenly cease to understand anything. “What? Stealing is wrong? I so sorry. Me know nothing.” This method of escaping punishment is ancient. Even King David played cray-cray in front of the King of the Philistines in order to escape death (1 Samuel 21:12–15).
This has been the problem with measures like this from the beginning. Insanity pleas are a sliding line, far too easy to manipulate. And this is no different. Warren Hill loaded and fired a gun. He spiked a board with nails. He was competent enough to kill. He’s competent enough to be executed. Whether or not he understood the full import of what he did is immaterial. The crucial thing here is not what he knows, but what he did. The punishment should fit itself to the crime… not the criminal.