Tod Robberson, a Dallas Morning News Editorial Writer, posts, "George Rivas makes the best case not to have a death penalty," on the paper's opinion blog.
I'm not one of those people who believes the death penalty is wrong in all cases. Some people deserve to die, and George Rivas was probably one of them. The mastermind of the Texas Seven prison breakout was put to death in Huntsville on Wednesday.
Lots of people deserve to die. And all of us will die, whether we deserve it or not. It's a question of timing and choosing. For most people, we neither get to choose the time nor place. In death penalty cases, the time and place is known to all. The idea is that the convicted killer will have to sit and think about his fast-approaching death so he will be forced to confront the magnitude of his crime and perhaps be terrorized by the fact that, soon, his life will be terminated for what he did. So far, that doesn't trouble me -- in some cases.
But I have always felt that for cold-blooded killers like George Rivas, the death penalty is too good. I feel the same for 9/11 mastermind Khaled Shaikh Mohammed. I want these guys to spend their entire long lives knowing that they will never, ever, set foot outside a prison wall again. They will never see the ocean. They will never watch the sun set. They will never enjoy life on this planet as a free person. I want them to suffer in the blank, bleak, unyielding solitude of incarceration for the duration of their natural lives. Then die.
For me, the best case to be made against the death penalty is that prison sentences with no possibility of parole ensure that the killer will indeed stay alive and be forced, every single day of his miserable, natural life, to confront the fact of his crime. The freedom of death is too good, especially if you're someone like George Rivas, who obviously had no fear of death and viewed it not as his punishment but as his reward.
Earlier coverage of the Rivas execution is at the link.