Thursday, June 26, 2008

What About the Children? Obama? McCain?

Check out Louisiana.

OK, let's forget for a moment that allowing capital punishment for child rape is unconstitutional and "a disproportionately severe punishment for a crime where the victim is not killed", as the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision yesterday. Let's forget that the testimony of children has been found to be unreliable as children are easily persuaded by others and have not yet developed a strong enough sense of who they are to stand up for themselves or others who may be wrongly accused. Let's forget that state sanctioned execution is premeditated murder, pure and simple. Let's focus on the child.

Child rape is an egregious crime against innocence and no doubt, scars the child for life. The road to recovery for that child will be extremely challenging and a burden no one should have to carry into adulthood. Statistics show that the person most likely to commit this crime may be the child's parent, sibling, or another significant individual in the child's life. Now, not only is this child traumatized by someone violating the very essence of who he or she is, they will carry the oppressive "guilt" of feeling "responsible" for the death of another human being, if what those in favor of capital punishment for child rape develops a national consensus.
Not every child will feel guilty, however, it is well known that children oftentimes blame themselves for the behavior of adults or situations or events, they, in reality, have no control.

Nothing is more important than getting this type of crime reported and the crime of child rape is already underreported. If it is ruled that capital punishment is an option for people convicted of child rape, the reporting of child rape could all but disappear except in rare circumstances, putting children at a much higher risk of the perpetrator striking over and over again, possibly to the point of killing that child. Can you imagine how a child, just raped by someone he or she knows, and possibly loves, would feel knowing that that person could be put to death if he or she told someone? In addition, the adult responsible for the child may choose not to go to the authorities especially if the other adult responsible is a spouse, brother, sister, grandparent etc.

If everything aforementioned is true and it is, why do both presidential candidates disagree with the Supreme Court decision striking down the death penalty for child rapists? Do they really give a damn about the welfare of children or the Constitution? If anything both candidates, especially Obama, should be trying to curb the use of capital punishment as it has been proven over and over again not to deter crime, is more expensive and unfair, as it seems only to apply to people who can't afford justice, people of color being the main recipient. As Justice Kennedy pointed out the final analysis must be determined by the Supreme Court, "applying evolving standards of decency".

Republican John McCain called the ruling "an assault on law enforcement's efforts to punish these heinous felons for the most despicable crime.” Democrat Barack Obama said there should be no blanket prohibition of the death penalty for the rape of children if states want to apply it in those cases.
Just when I was starting to feel good about supporting Obama...


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