September 4, 8:43 AM
Gun Rights ExaminerDavid
Nathan Walker, Jr. stands while the jury
enters Palm Beach County court Tuesday,
Aug. 25, 2009, during his trial for the assault
and rape of a Dunbar Village resident and
her son. Nathan Walker Jr. and co-defendant
Tommy Poindexter are being tried together,
but each with his own jury. Both face possible
life in prison. (AP Photo/Pool, Lannis Waters)
Should felons’ gun rights be restored…ever?
'Some people simply shouldn't have guns'In a recent column, Seattle Gun Rights Examiner Dave Workman asked "Should felons’ gun rights be restored…ever?"
That all depends on the meaning of the word "felon." How about someone who publicly defies a gun registration edict?
My long-stated position: Anyone who can't be trusted with a gun can't be trusted without a custodian. That means if someone is adjudicated safe enough to release among the rest of us, all of their rights should be respected.
If we're talking about people who have committed heinous crimes, well, it didn't used to be an issue. A guilty verdict was followed shortly by an even shorter drop at the end of a rope. But the reality is, execution is no longer an option in many jurisdictions. Not meaning to turn this column into an argument over the death penalty, and it certainly is a subject ripe for debate, what we're talking about for the most part is the predominant alternative of long-term and/or life incarceration.
Correspondent Ellen Ratner has something to say about that:
[G]iving a life sentence to a juvenile is not justice; it is barbaric...putting someone in jail for life at the age of 16 or younger makes no sense except to the "tough on crime" crowd.
The offenders who remain capable of violence years after committing the crime should be placed in a humane and structured prison/mental hospital facility.
It's tempting to think about. It seems the compassionate thing to do. And she makes her appeal in the name of science.
But is the science that exact to know when a person is "cured"? Because if they are, you have to let them out. And if you let them out, they'll have access to all kinds of "dangerous" everyday items besides guns (not that they wouldn't be able to get their hands on those in spite of any prohibition, as evidenced with sickening regularity by the Chicago murder rate). Remember, the three greatest mass murders in our nation's history were reportedly committed with box cutters, fuel oil and fertilizer, and a dollar's worth of gasoline and a match.
So let's examine, say, these young people:
A woman told a jury Wednesday she prayed for her life and cried in pain as she was repeatedly raped in her bedroom and beaten with guns all as she listened to her son scream as he was assaulted down the hall...Soon, she was taken into her bedroom and beaten and sodomized by one masked person with a rifle. Then the other two came in and raped her...Three more masked people then came into her room and raped her, she said. Then four more. In all, she said, 10 people raped, sodomized and beat her...
She said she was then forced to perform oral sex on her son before the suspects doused them with cleaning solutions that burned the boy's eyes.
Here's the relevance:
All the defendants were teens at the time, but are charged as adults. They could spend life in prison if convicted.
So, can anyone who does anything this cruel, this twisted, this evil, ever be reliably certified as "safe"? Or how about this teen? Or this one? Or...
Is it not a sad reality that some things are broken and cannot be repaired? Are the fields of psychology/psychiatry truly that advanced that we can guarantee outcomes, including that discharged "patients" won't go off their meds (assuming the drugs themselves don't contribute to an unhinged mind)?
While pondering that, bear one other thing in mind. Again, from Ms. Ratner:
I hope that one day handguns will be illegal.
I suppose we could let "former" violent juvenile offenders go live with her...