Crime and Timely Punishment

"Moderation in the pursuit of Justice is not a virtue."  Barry Goldwater

  • Nidal Hasan killed 13 and wounded 29 at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.
  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed arrested in 2003.  His crimes? Pick one.
  • Jared Loughner killed four and shot many others on January 2011.

In these cases, the question of who is the responsible party is settled.   

What we have today, in this country, is the moderation to which Goldwater referred.  Delay. Delay.  

Is it not true that the greater the time elapsed from the criminal event to the punishment, the greater the disconnect between that nefarious act and the penalty?  Swift resolution has its deterrent effects.

And a fair question.  Does the delay in meting out the punishment encourage more of these types of crimes?  Is the '15 minutes' of fame the attraction for these types of perpetrators?  Not in all cases, but in some, it seems notoriety is the goal of the perpetrator.  What would happen if justice were swift.  If the 'perp' knew there would be no insanity defense for mass murders?  That media attention would be limited?

Just as the election season in this country never  seems to end, there seems to be no time limit on adjudicating these cases.  Is it really all about money and lawyers on the clock?

Are there also, in some cases, political considerations?  The scrubbing of Islamic references in the Hassan shooting suggests there may even be religious considerations as well. 

What we seem to have is exactly the unnecessary moderation of which Goldwater spoke. And now we have the Aurora Colorado shooter, James Holmes,  who killed 12 and wounded many others in July of this year.

No one is in his "right mind" while conducting mass murders.  Isn't that a given? So, does the number of victims actually serve to mitigate the penalty?  The more you kill, the more insane you are, thus the more likely you are to not get the death penalty? Seems absurd.  Certainly the more slain,  the longer the "15 minutes" of "fame".  If that is their reward, let us halt this madness and motivation.

The viability of the insanity defense in these mass shootings should be revisited.  Perhaps this would deter further instances. The Aurora shooter now seems to be practicing his 'crazy look' in court and, consequently, on TV.  I think we know why.