Tuesday, July 10, 2007

China Executes Food and Drug Director

In principle I am against the death penalty. Occasionally, however, I find instances where it does seem appropriate. Normally I feel this way when the crime committed is particularly heinous. Of course one argument against capital punishment is that the wrong person is potentially being put to death, and that can still hold true in the instance of heinous crimes. So I remain against the death penalty in principle.

Never, though, have I felt as much in favor of allowing an exception or two than when I first heard about China's decision to execute Zheng Xiaoyu, head of the State Food and Drug Administration. Now before you go thinking I have some personal axe to grind with Zheng Xiaoyu, let me clarify: I just kind of like the general idea of being able to execute some individuals for particularly heinous "white collar crimes."

I think Ken Lay would have qualified for this. Peculiarly, fate went and intervened on the state's behalf there. Donald Rumsfeld would also be a good candidate. Others in this administration (who shall remain un-named for the purposes of protecting my own ass) might also warrant consideration. Right-wing, white rich men who tend to be so ready to send black men to their deaths might change their tunes really quickly if they saw this coming their way. It might change their minds about gleefully endorsing state execution of black men and it might change their minds about fleecing Americans, about lying to Americans, about deliberately putting Americans in harm's way for their own political and economic gains. It might change their minds about invading sovereign countries unprovoked and tacitly encouraging torture. It might change their minds about summarily dispensing with the protections our Constitution has stood for these past 230 years.

I'm really starting to like the idea of redefining our definition of a capital crime. Or we might just invoke the already standing capital punishment for treason. It wouldn't snare all of these guys, but it would get a few.

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