Should South Dakota allow the death penalty?

Necessary punishment in extreme cases


Ryan Marks


On Monday, Oct. 16, 2012, Eric Robert became the first person executed in South Dakota since 2007. He was only the 17th person executed in the territory since 1877. He was also executed using the state’s new “single-drug” lethal injection — one powerful barbiturate rather than the three separate drugs used in the past.

This new method has brought public defenders to the side of another death row inmate, Donald Moeller, saying the process of this new method could lead to pain and suffering for the convict.

Wait, what?

Donald Moeller is on death row for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl. I’m not sure what particular code of morals these federal defenders are operating on, but in my opinion, he can suffer as much pain and suffering as the drug can dole out.

Moeller himself said that he didn’t want to fight the drug, saying he could kill again if left alive. Why on earth are we attempting to lighten the punishment of a unrepentant murderous sexual predator?

In essence, the death penalty is a terrible concept, a very eye-for-an-eye style of dealing with criminals.

However, some acts committed by people are so horrific and the perpetrators so irreparably remorseless that there is no punishment brutal enough to rehabilitate them.

Take, for example, convicted child murderer Richard Allen Davis, who, after hearing his verdict, turned and gave both middle fingers to cameramen. Is anyone really that up-in-arms about defending this man’s comfort?

Of course something as severe as the death penalty should be reserved for the most extreme circumstances.

Robert’s crime was tying a plastic bag around a prison guard’s head during an escape attempt and proceeding to bludgeon the man to death with a piece of piping. Like Moeller, he claimed the ability to kill again.

Who’s to say he’s as deserving of a lethal injection as a man with a double-digit body count? Who’s to say he’s not? It’s a discretionary difficulty.

Not every criminal should be put to death. For some (probably most) the mental pressure of incarceration is enough.

However, for those whom the plush nature of American prisons doesn’t faze, there should be harsher conditions.

A person who rapes and kills without regret is not worthy of amenities paid for by taxpayers. And if the executive decision has been made that a person has committed a crime so vile that it deserves systematically delivered death, then they certainly deserve whatever torment and misery accompanies it.