By Frederick Su
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Governor Jay Inslee, and former Attorney General Rob McKenna wish to ban capital punishment in Washington. I say, “No!”
Will evil take a vacation if we ban the death penalty? Not likely. An evildoer may pop up and shoot and kill little grade schoolers and their teachers. Connecticut banned capital punishment early in 2012. On Dec. 14, 2012, a crazed teenager (even his father remarked, “He was evil”) shot and killed 20 elementary school children and 6 adults in Newtown. Because Connecticut just banned capital punishment, that mass murderer could have surrendered, been arrested, and gotten life in prison without parole. Instead, he committed suicide.
If capital punishment is banned in Washington and a school shooter commits a horrific act akin to the Connecticut massacre and then surrenders, are we, as moral people, willing to let this murderer live? I say not.
Joseph McEnroe and Michele Anderson murdered six of Anderson’s family members, including a 5-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy, on Christmas Eve in 2007, in Carnation. The two were spared death when a jury couldn’t reach a unanimous decision in the penalty phase of McEnroe’s case.
Other well-publicized cases include the Cascade Mall murders committed by Arcan Cetin, the murder and dismemberment of Swedish nurse Ingrid Lyne by John Charlton, the murders of Anna Bui, Jordan Ebner, and Jake Long in Mukilteo by Allen Ivanov, and the murders of Donnie Chin and purse-snatching victim My-Linh Nguyen, the last two still unsolved.
Where do your sympathies lie, with the victims and their families or the murderers?
I propose the following:
- Require an 8-4 juror majority, rather than unanimity in the death penalty phase.
- Bring back hanging, firing squad, or the electric chair. Lethal injection is too easy.
- For juveniles who commit heinous murders, execute them at age 21.
- Cap lawyers’ fees at a reasonable level.
- Speed up the trial process and end endless appeals.
- To convict, go “beyond a reasonable doubt”; that is, require a “very little doubt” standard of guilt, incorporating good science-based forensic techniques.
If capital punishment is banned, vigilantism may arise. Would you convict the victim’s family member for killing a murderer because the state failed to do so? Untenable laws become unfollowable laws.
Death is not cruel and unusual punishment. The manner of execution of William Wallace (think of the movie Braveheart) was.
Three-year-old Nathan Anderson climbed into his wounded mother’s arms for protection on Christmas Eve, 2007. That shining light of innocence looked into McEnroe’s eyes and McEnroe put a bullet in his little head.
Banning the death penalty abrogates family members’—and a righteous society’s—say on the murderer’s fate.
Forward this to your legislators and the governor. Tell them, “Keep capital punishment!”
Frederick Su is the author of “An American Sin, A Novel about an Asian American and Vietnam.” He is a former resident of Connecticut. For more information about the novel, visit bytewrite.com.