Ted Rall Thinks Taliban’s Islamic Executions are Better than the US Death Penalty


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Your first thought was probably, “Who is Ted Rall”. The answer is a mediocre alternative cartoonist who, unlike most of the left, manages to be an eccentric enough thinker to be interesting.

Rall can step outside dogma for a bit, which his comrades generally can’t and don’t. It’s just that once he does step out of the red box, he ends up in strange and terrible places.

At some point he began writing a syndicated column, which if nothing else, is certainly original. Evaluating the death penalty, Rall decides that maybe some murderers do deserve to die… but only at the hands of the family.

Or maybe they can be enslaved. Like in Afghanistan. (See, strange and terrible.)

Assuming that the guilt of death row prisoners like Dennis McGuire could be ascertained with absolute certainty — which is impossible in 100% of capital cases — I would be fine if Stewart’s grieving relatives shot him or garroted or beat him to death. Whatever makes them feel better.

Revenge is fine. Routine murder is not.

I can’t get past the gruesome bureaucratic spectacle of government workers executing people like McGuire (or trying to execute people like Broom) bloodlessly, motivated solely by a paycheck. As a society, we shouldn’t demand that state workers expose themselves to psychic trauma. As a system of justice, the death penalty is dishonest because it masks its true purpose: vengeance.

I can sympathize with Rall’s point of view to some degree, but the death penalty isn’t vengeance. No more than an extended prison term is. It’s the punishment for the crime.

Rall misreads the statement from Stewart’s family, which isn’t gloating over her killer’s pain, but reframing where the compass of sympathy should point against the usual liberal tendency of weeping over killers.

We could go back to tribal killings, but that’s not justice and vengeance is subjective. Law is objective.

That’s what makes us civilized. Vigilantism is what happens when the system breaks down.

In some executions carried out under Sharia law in areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan under Taliban control, the crimes are read out to a crowd of witnesses. Judges ask the victim’s family whether they want the execution carried out or, instead, prefer to offer mercy. (Mercy can vary between outright release to a harsh punishment short of death, for example, an amputation. In a surprising number of cases, families choose forced labor on their farms.)

Here in the United States, on the other hand, executions are often carried out against the wishes of the victims’ families. What’s the point of that?

The point is to have an objective penalty for a crime. It’s not really about what the family wants. The justice system isn’t there to serve their whims. It’s there to ensure that we have a common legal standard.

The death penalty doesn’t devalue human life, it values it. It says that the crime of killing a human being is so severe that it merits the death of the murderer. When the death penalty is eliminated, human life is devalued.

In tribal societies like Afghanistan or for that matter Saudi Arabia, justice isn’t absolute, it’s a factor of the wealth and influence of the individuals involved. Under our legal system, those are a factor, but we don’t accept blood money. Once we’ve reached the point where a finding of fact has been made, the penalty is meant to apply irrespective of the status of the murderer or his family or the victim’s family.

Without that, there is no civilization.

  • A Z

    I am not saying Ted Rall is stupid, but he is not the sharpest tool in the drawer

    Ted Rall Controversies

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Rall#Controversies

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I won’t argue with that, but I find unorthodox leftists interesting. It’s a breath of fresh air after the same thoughtless talking points.

      • A Z

        Ted studied nuclear engineering & applied physics. He lasted 3 years. Given that he dropped out I doubt that he completed 3 years worth of work. I bet he repeated some courses and basically completed his freshman sophomore courses and had taken maybe a few upper level course and was struggling.

        It is nothing to sneer at nor brag about.

        He cobbled together his course work and had all his electives and other distractions out of the way and completed 2 or 3 years of solid history. IMO he is not a great student because he is not disciplined.

        He still is not disciplined and it shows.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          He’s all over the place. He never learned to draw either.

        • alericKong

          In undergrad engineering the real work starts your senior year.

  • wileyvet

    America has already gone through its phase of “tribal” like retributions. In an earlier time, justice was swift, when passions ran high. Outlaws, cattle rustlers and their ilk were dispatched very quickly on the frontier of America, before established Law and Order arrived. Often times with grave injustice. The modern system that grants fair trials, years of appeals and possibility of clemency certainly must be preferable to the mob. The number of people executed for their crimes in America, is much smaller than the number that could be put to death. Most certainly smaller than the number who are condemned in a more primitive culture ie: Islam. Perhaps Mr. Rall would prefer we return to the days of vigilante justice.

  • A Z

    People skip bail now. Someone who have to serve more than a year of forced labor would not skip town?

    I just like to point out that it took Ted 10 years to get through college.

  • g..man

    Babies to the tune of 55 million have been “executed” since Roe vs Wade. Appalling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • laura r

      why the f does everything w/the far right go back to abortion? its like a one track mind. keep up w/the plot. geessh. there will be plenty of other threads for your agenda. control yourself.

      • g..man

        Silence vermin and let me educate you. First their is no such thing as “far right” Its either truth or a lie, light or dark. Your liberalism is a dangerous ideology that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. Oh yea including the 55 millions babies in the womb. By the way, how many abortions “achem” under your belt? 2,3,6???????

  • Veracious_one

    people on Muslim death row don’t have long waits….

    • defcon 4

      I don’t think any islamic states have any appeals process either — especially for the najjis kaffir unfortunate enough to get on the wrong side of islamic “justice”.

  • M2000

    Ted Rall is a Dhimwhit….

  • alericKong

    For serial killers, child killers, torture murderers, and murder profiteers, I think of the death penalty as medicine for society.

    Every court in the US provides allocution. They admit to their crimes and provide closure to their victims they avoid the death penalty. Due to overcrowding and compassionate release, murderers often get out of prison despite being guilty of some of the worst crimes in human history.

    There have been many instances where murderers applaud their death sentence, killed guards and other prisoners while on death row, ordered other murders while inside prison, and mocked their victims while fantasizing about their deaths.

  • Veracious_one

    Vigilantism is what happens when the system breaks down.
    Muslim countries are rife with vigilantism…that’s just one of the reasons they’re miserable violent places…..

  • ennis

    “The answer is a mediocre alternative cartoonist”

    Well no, he’s a below mediocre artist

    • Daniel Greenfield

      By normal cartoonist standards, yes. By alternative cartoonist standards, he’s just mediocre.