Michael Knowles discusses capital punishment and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion on how the Eighth Amendment impacts punishment on Tuesday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show.” Transcript and video below.
Remember that these victims deserve justice. Remember that civilized society deserves justice for the victims, on behalf of the victims, on behalf of justice, and for the perpetrators. This guy, Bucklew, 23 years ago, went on a rampage in 1996 after his girlfriend tried to break up with him. Where were the feminists on this? Where is the #MeToo movement? This guy goes on a violent rampage as his girlfriend tries to break up with him. She flees to a neighbor’s house. He goes over there and shoots and kills the neighbor. He then beats this woman with his gun and rapes her. Then, the police come, and he gets into a shootout with the police. Finally, thankfully, he is arrested, and he’s sent to jail. He escapes from jail and then he goes and attacks the girlfriend’s mother with a hammer.
This guy needs to be put down. He needs to be taken out back and put down like Old Yeller. For all reasons, for all three reasons that we have capital punishment and criminal justice as a deterrent. And we would have a much better deterrent effect if we had taken this guy out back and put him down like Old Yeller in 1997, right after it happened, not twenty-three years later.
We have to do this for the retributive effect because this demands justice. Justice demands to be satisfied. And even as a matter of rehabilitation, I don’t think any amount of therapy is going to turn this guy around. I don’t think going into a therapy session and hugging each other and saying, “Oh hey let’s talk about our feelings. Oh daddy didn’t go to your baseball game when you were a kid, oh ok there, there, and now you’re reformed.” I don’t think so. The only chance this guy has at rehabilitation is to stare down the gallows and say well I’m about to meet my maker in an hour. I guess I had better start taking these things seriously and I better throw myself on the ground and ask for forgiveness. That’s the closest to rehabilitation this guy’s ever going to get.
What’s the bottom line from this case? We’re talking about cruel and unusual punishment. We’re talking about the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights. And this is what Gorsuch writes, “The Eighth Amendment has never been understood to guarantee a condemned inmate a painless death. That’s a luxury not guaranteed to many people including most victims of capital crimes.” This is a great point. For the vast majority of people on earth, for all of human history, no one can expect a painless death. We all hope when the day finally comes, I hope that I can go out in my sleep or you know smoking a cigar on a beach somewhere. You say this, “Oh gosh I’d just like a painless death,” because for the vast majority of human history we’ve had very painful deaths. Now, he makes that point about everybody. Then he makes the point of the victims of capital crimes because Bucklew’s girlfriend didn’t have a pain-free experience with him.
His girlfriend’s mother didn’t have a pain free experience. That neighbor just in the very moment of that incident didn’t have a pain free death of Bucklew can’t expect to meet a pain free death either.