Death, the Death Penalty, and Penn State

“The thing that I’ll remember most about that flight is that it was fun, and in fact I’m sure it will be the most fun I’ll ever have in my life.”  Sally Ride on her first flight into space.

Sally Ride in space.

I don’t know why that quote delights me as much as it does.  Probably because Ride’s joy and pleasure in her work was contagious.  When did you see this woman without a smile?  I was twelve when Ride took her first flight into space, going to an all-girl school full of brilliant young ladies, whose futures were wide open with endless possibilities.  She was just added proof that yes, we could do and be whatever we wanted.  The wonderful thing about inspiration is that it is greater than death.  Sally Ride is gone, but Sally Ride’s legacy will live on.

Every segue I can think of to my next train of thought is awkward, so let’s just do this:  The Death Penalty.  I have never been a fan of it.  I think we have executed far too many innocent people for the death penalty to be considered a viable sentence to a crime.  However, in clear cut cases, such as the Colorado shooting, I think it is the only viable option.  I think you have to be criminally insane to commit a crime like that one, and for criminal insanity, there is no rehabilitation.  I don’t think it is a fair burden to the taxpayer to keep up the quality of life of someone who has attempted the massacre of a theater full of people who just wanted to see Batman save the day.  Hang him high.

Now, a few years back I’d have told you that I had moral problems with the death penalty because I would be afraid that sending someone to his/her death would be sending him/her to an eternal damnation.  I wasn’t a mother then.  A little girl, six years old, the same age as Thor, died in that theater.  Hanging is too good for him.

Hanging is also too good for Jerry Sandusky.  Hell might be too good for him.  The punishments levied against Penn State seem appropriate, though.  I’ve read some commentary wondering if officials think it worse to pay players (SMU, and their football death penalty), than to molest children (Penn State officials covering up for one of their own, and keeping the football program).  I don’t think you can compare the situations.  I do think, if you’re a college football fan, these penalties hit dead in the middle of the target.  I especially like this latest update from Reuters: Penn State [will] forfeit its share of revenues for bowl games organized by the league, and the estimated $13 million [will] instead be donated to charities devoted to the protection of children.


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