Steve Benson, now you’ve done it. Now you’ll have every Arizona gun nut taking a long hard look at you. And they’ll all be totin' guns. Their argument goes like this: If everyone in that crowd listening to Gabby Giffords had been carrying, Jared Loughner would have been toast after his first shot. Of course, there may have been fifteen or twenty dead from collateral damage, but that’s the price we have to pay to put an end to the M-15 crazies.
Loughner’s guilty plea comes after twenty months of legal maneuvering and courtroom antics. He’ll serve life with no probation. Free room and board, clothing, medical treatment, television, movies, books—all the amenities of lazy living. Granted, he won’t have his freedom, but life for him will be mainly carefree. And the cost to the public for keeping him? Depending on the state, the annual cost varies from around $50,000 (California) to $13,000 (Louisiana) for an average around $30,000. Arizona averages $25,000. Assuming Loughner will live into his eighties, that’s around sixty years at $25,000 a year, a total of about a million and a half bucks for a man described at his early booking as "smirking and creepy, with hollow eyes ablaze." In most cases, I’m not a proponent of the death penalty. I know the threat of execution doesn’t deter people from committing murder. But some murders are more heinous than others. And Jared Loughner in Tucson and James Holmes in Aurora and Wade Michael Page in Wisconsin and Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech and all the others who commit such senseless acts all fit the heinous label. I say, just kill them. I don’t think that would be cruel and unusual punishment. Storing them in tiny, cold, windowless cells would be cruel. Daily waterboarding would be cruel and spiteful. Stretching them daily on a rack would be cruel and barbaric. Bamboo spikes under the nails would be cruel and silly. But a lethal injection would be just and satisfying. One eye for the numerous eyes each took. That would be Biblically just.