The crime Kimberly McCarthy, an inmate in Texas, was convicted of committing is horrific. She murdered an elderly woman, stabbing her to death after she asked to borrow some sugar. Today, Williams will pay for that crime in the ultimate way. With her life.
McCarthy will be put to death by lethal injection. She will be one of the few women ever put to death since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976. She will be number 13. Even though women commit about 10 percent of all crimes, death penalty crimes have to have some "extra" aggravating factor. Extra violence, extra cruelty. MCarthy's case certainly applies.
The case was infamous because of how awful it was. Her 71-year-old neighbor, Dorothy Booth, was trusting and allowed McCarthy into her home on July 21, 1997, only to be stabbed to death. She then cut off her ring finger and sold her diamond in a pawn shop. There is no doubt that the crime was evil. But the death penalty is still not right.
It makes me very uncomfortable, as a citizen of this country, to be able to say that only 13 women have been put to death. If women commit 10 percent of these egregious crimes, why are they not put to death in the same number? Amnesty International finds that race is often a huge factor in deciding which prisoners get life versus death.
Are you really comfortable with that?
As a general rule, the death penalty is kind of an idiotic punishment. Sure, it's the ultimate way to pay for a crime. But it's biblical in nature and our laws shouldn't be based on the Bible given not everyone believes in it. But it's more than that, too.
As someone who doesn't necessarily believe in an after-life, I think the death penalty lets people off too easily. Personally, I would PREFER the death penalty than life in a tiny cell with no good reading material and no freedom to see my family and friends. That sounds awful.
Of course, the worst part of the punishment is that we are one of a handful of countries who have it, most of whom we would likely not want to be associated with. It's barbaric and not befitting of the kind of country I want to live in.
Further, it isn't doled out in a just way. If women commit 10 percent of murders, they should be executed 10 percent of the time, right? The fact that they aren't speaks volumes about the punishment. Clearly, it's being given with bias. That makes us complicit in murder. It's not justice. It's murder.
McCarthy's crime and suspected crimes are despicable and she should pay for them for the rest of her life. But by paying WITH her life, she is winning. She proves she is just a product of the society from which she came. Is that something we should be proud of?
Do you believe in the death penalty?
Image via Patrick Feller/Flickr