Killer Punks:  Death Becomes Them

By:  Rachel Marsden

I have never been a pro-death penalty, "hang 'em high" type, but a recent incident has prompted me to reconsider.

Today, the Windsor Police Service will hold a funeral service for Senior Constable John Atkinson, who was killed in the line of duty by a bullet to the head, in a convenience store parking lot.

While no determination of guilt or innocence has yet been made by the courts, if it's ultimately decided that the teenaged suspects committed this murder, then I can't think of a better case with which to reinstate capital punishment.

I wouldn't, however, want to see someone tried, convicted, put to death, and then ultimately found innocent after the fact. Any death penalty case would have to be especially brutal, and backed by solid forensic or fingerprint evidence, such that the only verdict that could possibly be rendered is one of "duh!" Circumstantial evidence alone wouldn't cut it.

What we know thus far in the Atkinson case is that it was a cold-blooded killing by gunshot that occurred in front of several witnesses, in the middle of the day -- similar to last year's Boxing Day murder of 15-year old Jane Creba, near one of Toronto's busiest malls.

Look, anyone stupid enough to do something this violently cocky, and get caught with their baggy, gang-banger jeans down around their ankles (where they normally are), should be taken out of the gene pool, as early as possible -- if only so their idiocy isn't perpetuated.

The thought of using the death penalty on young people, even those responsible for horrific, violent crimes, leads to so much unnecessary societal hand-wringing. Look at it as early career diversion. (Just be sure to break out the booster seat before strapping them into Old Sparky.)

Whatever their age, once someone pumps a load of lead into another human being, I say we need to help the little hoodlums fulfill their dreams of emulating their deceased, gun-wielding rapper heroes, like Tupac Shakur or Proof. The least we can do is "flip the switch" and make that happen.

Young people nowadays tend to be weak on the follow through. They often show up in court armed with every excuse for having killed someone: Because of my skin colour, guns jump into my hands and just start unloading bullets. Grand Theft Auto made me do it. Brad Pitt used a gun in the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and it made me think that if I had one too, I could get a hot chick like Angelina Jolie.

Whatever, homey. Talk to the hand.

Criminologists argue that capital punishment isn't a deterrent. I think they just haven't seen it effectively applied. It certainly "deterred" serial killer Ted Bundy. And remember Timothy McVeigh, who blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City? He was given a lethal injection five years ago -- and hasn't blown up anything since.

Some folks in the "hug-a-thug" crowd argue that murderous punks are corrigible. No, a dog that drops a deuce on your carpet is corrigible. Blasting a bullet into another human being is indicative of a bit more than a behavioral flaw.

In open-and-shut cases of cold, brutal violence, I like to think of the death penalty as pest control rather than state sanctioned murder. When a cockroach gets into your home, you break out the Raid -- you don't place it nicely outside your front door and pray that it won't find its way back in.