Thursday, August 14, 2008

Murder and the Penal Code

So, the recent shooting at the Democratic HQ in Arkansas got me thinking again about a topic I discussed with others in the past. There were some that shared my view, but I would think that most people do not. It really doesn't have anything directly to do with the killing, but it's a tangent that I'll work from.

I think that our penal system defines two main types of murders, 1st and 2nd degree. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe that 3rd degree murder is more like a manslaughter charge. In any case, 1st degree murders, which are the pre-meditated kind generally carry a stiffer punishment than 2nd degree murders, which often are 'crimes of passion' -- spur of the moment types of killings due to a burst of rage or what not.

Anyway, what I have a problem with our penal system is that those murders that are of the passion category seem a whole lot scarier than those that are pre-meditated. And, I don't mean to include random pre-meditated murder, as would be the case for serial killers and their ilk.

Ask yourselves the following... Would you feel safer with the guy that has had a violent outburst in the past that resulted in someone's death, or the calm collected guy that murders his business partner, because he felt that he was being cheated. Do you prefer to put back on the street a guy that drank a bit too much and got in a bar fight resulting in someone getting killed or the guy that carefully planned the killing of someone he hated or has caused him pain?

I just think that anyone who has shown the propensity to lash out in violence all of a sudden is a lot more dangerous to our society than someone who has carefully planned and carried out a murderous plot. Now, I'm not necessarily saying that the 1st degree murder types should be granted leniency, but I am definitely saying that the 2nd degree guys don't need a break whatsoever.

I understand that it's always going to be a case-by-case thing, but when speaking of generalities, I stand by my view that the passion murder types are a hell of a lot worse for our society than their more cold-blooded counterparts.

Anyway, that's just my semi-rant I guess. Just wanted to get it all out while it was still bugging me and on my mind. Also wanted to say that I really didn't have any specific purpose in mind when I wrote this up just now. It's just a post sharing my view.


Duke said...

The only way you differ from me as far as this is that I think the "crime of passion" guys should basically be executed, while the ones who actually think about it should be treated far more leniently.

I want to encourage people to think about things - whatever those things are. Stifling those bestial urges are part of what make us humans, and those who have gut reactions to things are little better than bald apes.

Duke said...

Oh, and I've been talking about this over IM and personally with people for several months now. It's odd that I never mentioned it to you.

Brute Force said...

Ya, I think you're one of the people I had some discussion with about this. But, if I recall, our conversation was in person and was cut short by the food that arrived at our table.