Just a brief note about the death penalty in the military…
Note within a Note: If you want to know everything there is to know about the death penalty, please check out Gamso: For the Defense. It is written by Jeff Gamso, and I suspect he might be against the death penalty. Jeff is on my list of people I want to have a beer with.
Every now and then, I’ll see some writing or comment regarding an overwhelming desire to see MAJ Nidal Hasan (the Ft. Hood shooter) die via the death penalty.
Please, stop getting your hopes up.
I’ve already warned that this trial will be made as boring as humanly possible. It will take eons, and the trial is merely the beginning of years and years of time, expense, appeals, and waiting. Even if he passes through all those hurdles, you’re still not going to see him strapped to the Terre Haute gumby and pumped full of battery acid.
Quick, when was the last military execution per the Uniform Code of Military Justice?
If you answered 1961, you’d be correct. John A. Bennett was sentenced to death for premeditated murder and rape in 1955 and hanged in 1961.
Since then, several individuals sat on death row. Most recently in 2008, President George W. Bush approved the execution of Ronald Gray, and a date was set to visit Terre Haute later that year. A federal court stayed the execution to allow for more appeals, and no date has been set since. He was sentenced in 1988.
So, consider that Gray has been on death row for 23 years. Consider also that Hasan’s case will be complex, with mental issues dominating much of the proceeding (not to mention the damn-near impossible task for finding an impartial jury). Even if sentenced to death, Hasan will likely equal (and probably surpass) the 23 years of Gray’s never-ending appellate process.
Knowing this, go find something constructive to do with your time. Read a book, hang-out with the kids, volunteer in your community, or work a little extra at your job. Stop waiting for the blood-letting. Go make a difference.
For those of you who think the death penalty in this case will do some good, think again. Only two things can come from this. Disappointment and death.