Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Case for Capital Punishment

A premeditated crime that results in somebody’s death is first degree murder. If you rob a bank (and how many bank robberies are spontaneous?) and a bank employee gets killed, you’ve committed first degree murder. For that matter, if your partner gets killed by the police during the robbery, you can be charged with murder one. That’s the theory anyway. I doubt if anyone’s ever been executed under those circumstances.

Or, let’s say you’re the owner of a large food processing plant. Three years ago you found out that some of your product was contaminated with salmonella, but you kept it a secret and kept on shipping it out. You don’t need some F$#%&!#$&%! nanny state meddling in the marketplace.

“Six hundred people poisoned, nine people killed? So what’s your point?”

As you’ve probably guessed, the above-mentioned serial killer is Stewart Parnell, owner of Peanut Corp. of America. Since 2006 he’s known that his products were contaminated with salmonella, but he kept ordering his employees to ship them out anyway. He sent e-mails to his employees, complaining that the tests discovering salmonella were “costing us huge $$$$$$.”

The serial killer refused to testify before Congress today. He kept telling the subcommittee: “Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on advice of my counsel, I respectively decline to answer your questions based on the protections afforded me under the U.S. Constitution.”

And away he went.

The son of one of Parnell’s murder victims said: “Their behavior is criminal, in my opinion. I want to see jail time.”

Fuck jail. I want him to get jumped in a parking lot by several large thugs with baseball bats. Or maybe he could be “rendered” to one of those foreign prisons where we send swarthy people with Arabic names who haven’t yet “confessed” to their terrorist activities.

Whether Stewart Parnell ever gets prosecuted or not, somebody out there knows where he lives. Whoever you are — Do The Right Thing.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

I don't support capital punishment--I understand the desire, but I never want the government to have that power, even though they do in many states (an execution will take place in Florida today if my sources are correct.) But 10 minutes alone with the perpetrator--I don't think that is too much to ask for those who have been harmed. Even with that, it will never balance the scales--once a wrong has been committed, only a righteous act, possibly completely unrelated to the crime, can bring equanimity to the universe. It's hard to have justice in an unjust world.

February 11, 2009 at 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Tom, I don't like to promote or support vigilantism, except in cases where the law is failing us. In this case, the fact that criminal charges have not yet been filed tells me that the law is failing us, therefore, I do advocate vigilantism in this case. This company's decisions directly caused the death of several people and severe illness in several hundred. That company is a corporation, and is an entity in and of itself in the eyes of the law, however, humans made the decision to ship tainted product, and that buck stops with the guy at the top of the corporate chain. I still say Bush, and congresspeople who voted out more funding and oversight of the food industry, ought to be locked up for it, too, just for gutting the FDA for 8 years.

February 11, 2009 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Enemy, Bee: I'm actually in favor of capital punishment, in extreme cases. But in this post, I was mostly just venting and letting off steam. The FDA has been gutted and hollowed out by 8 years of Dumbya, and the law doesn't even require companies to report contamination in their products (no doubt we can thank Dumbya for that too).

In cases like this, where the legal process hasn't done its job, there's a much stronger chance that public fury will boil over into vigilantism. I'm not saying it's right, but...

February 11, 2009 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Miss Kitty said...

Blakely, Georgia, is about a four-hour drive from my home here in Small Town. Anyone want to get a road trip together?

February 11, 2009 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

While I do support capital punishment in most cases, I think the best punishment for these crimes would be to take everything Parnell has until he's forced to scrounge through dumpsters to feed himself. Maybe then he'd be a little more concerned with tainted food

February 11, 2009 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger DB said...

This goes to show you the power of money oftens trumps the welfare of people. Corporations have once again shown us that they couldn't give a shit about their social responsibility if it hurts their bottom-line and they think they can get away with it.

btw, I think death is the easy way out for criminals. I would rather see them rot in a cell watching their families grow older without them. Much worse than death imo. Capital punishment is fine and dandy, but I think a far worse punishment for them is life.

February 11, 2009 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Great piece, Tom. I do support capital punishment, at least in cases like this.

February 11, 2009 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Miss Kitty: All right, let's send a posse to Blakely, Georgia.

Lew: Sounds like a great idea; very poetic.

DB: Yup, this case shows how corrupt our government is, and how insular and unaccountable Big Business has become. So much for all that conservative rhetoric about trusting large industries to "police themselves." I agree that life in prison is worse than the death penalty. If I ever committed a capital crime, I'd rather just be executed and get it over with.

J: Thanks. I think any punishment that could ever happen to somebody like that is too mild.

February 11, 2009 at 6:18 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Parnell ought to be tried for capital murder, but the law would call for manslaughter at most. The theory being that while he was criminally negligent, his intention was to not lose money, rather than to kill people. As if that's any comfort to those who've lost loved ones and friends because he's a greedy bastard with no conscience.

That said, the trouble with vigilantism is that once it gets started it can and usually does get completely out of hand, with innocent people coming to a bad end because someone who doesn't like them dishonestly claims they've done something horrible.

No, Parnell should get his day in court. Then, upon conviction, they should take him out past the edge of town and string him up. Maybe put a full-page photo of him swinging at the end of a rope in the Wall Street Journal, giving his fellow greedy bastards something to think about besides their next fat bonus or cushy retreat at a luxury resort.

February 11, 2009 at 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not support Capital Punishment but I do support one of it's ideals in which was lost long ago in regulating the rich and the powerful-


It's quite simple (and what they lecture to us ignorant have-nots all the time) If a CEO or Politician, Millionaire was actually afraid of a punishment that would truly deprive him of power, freedom and ill gotten gains they will be more hesitant to do it!


February 11, 2009 at 11:57 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Know what the funniest part is? That he won't see a second behind bars.

February 12, 2009 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Mostly I was just ranting in this post. I do believe in capital punishment for extreme cases, but the chances of a "white collar" criminal ever getting executed are too remote. Hoping for it would be like waiting for Jesus to come down to Earth and save us, or hoping to see Elvis at the shopping mall.

But I do like your idea of stringing him up and printing the photo in the Wall Street Journal.

Erik: Deterrence for the rich and powerful? Now there's a concept. Maybe a full page photo of Parnell (or Madoff) foraging through dumpsters after being sued for every cent they ever had.

February 12, 2009 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: Yup, that is funny indeed. Sad but true.

February 12, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you noticed in the news today, Parnell's company filed bankruptcy. Now all those extremely sick people and the families of the deceased cannot get any compensation on their medical bills and funeral expenses. That's like the guy who runs Merrill Lynch just sold his 15 million dollar house to his wife for $100.00 (decimal place is correct). AHHHHH CAPITALISM!
We need a better system folks, capitalism plus this justice system of ours sure ain't working for the American people!!!

February 13, 2009 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: Yup, I saw that in the news today. I think some sort of vigilante action is even more likely now. There are a lot of pissed off people out there, and they'll get even more furious if the legal process is thwarted.

February 13, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

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