TCU Daily Skiff Friday, February 27, 2004
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Convicted murderers forfeit their rights, OK to kill them

Ezra Hood is a junior music composition major from Fort Worth.

Many on the left consider it high piety to moan for the rights of convicted criminals. Terrorists imprisoned in Cuba and well-fed killers on death row have frequent petitions offered on their behalf by the unsolicited self-styled saintly-sensitive lefties. To such people, there is no truer gospel than Thomas Jefferson’s ringing rhetoric, “all men are created equal”; misapplied to refuse consideration of a person’sactions.

I hail from the opposite camp, however, and insist that someone’s actions matter; that they should accept responsibility for their actions and be punished for their wrongdoing.
Thankfully, this civic duty rarely finds itself taken to the point of death, and when it is, we owe ourselves the safety of an impartial inquiry. But when we are confronted with cold-blooded murder, the equation is drastically changed.

A murderer takes away all the civil rights of his victim, and in the act he forfeits all of his own as well. We presume innocence in trials precisely to delay this loss of rights as long as possible. But when a cold-blooded killer is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they live in the cruelest mockery of their victim’s lost life and rights.

Let us remember Thomas Jefferson’s words again and hold the rights of all men dear enough to execute those who commit first-degree murder.

Let us not confuse the legal and moral safeguards that protect the innocent and falsely accused for a trumped-up protection of the guilty. While it is eternally true that a person is born possessing certain “inalienable” rights, it is just a true that a person may forfeit these rights with horrific actions.

There is no irony in executing convicted killers (“depriving them of their rights”, as someone against capital punishment might say) precisely because such criminals have already given up their rights! They forfeit them with their crimes.

For those who abhor the death penalty for its effect on the civil rights of criminals, I pose a question: Where is your bleeding heart’s outrage for the civil rights of the murdered? Where is your outrage for the bereaved who weep aside caskets and six-foot deep holes in the ground while paying for the carefully preserved lives of the creeps who kill?
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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