Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thoughts on an article I read with another anniversary looming near...

I follow a number of pages on Facebook, one being for the American Humanist Association. An article came up today, titled Should Humanists Oppose Life Sentences Without Parole? You can read it here: http://thehumanist.com/commentary/should-humanists-oppose-life-sentences-without-parole
June 28th will be the 12 year anniversary of the murder of my younger sister's first husband, a murder committed by my father, instigated by my mother. I was a witness to that murder, front row seats, if you will. It was in my apartment and he died in my room after my father kicked my bedroom door open and shot him two more times following the first shot. During 2004, I testified at both of their separate trials. I waited for the jury to come back (with an almost hung jury for my dad's trial) I was there for both of their sentencings and read an impact statement at my dad's sentencing. Both were found guilty and both were sentenced to life without parole. The other option would have been to possibly eligible for parole in 20 years. My parents were 58 at the time of their sentencing so 20 years would have been nearly the rest of their lives anyway but as neither one showed remorse for killing my brother-in-law, they received the maximum sentence.

They've been incarcerated nearly 12 years; 10-11 years in prison itself. While I oppose the death penalty, I can't go so far as to oppose life sentences without parole. I definitely think that there are some people who should never be able to get out and victims/families of victims should not have to worry about these kinds of people getting out and wreaking havoc all over again. As for my parents, that's a hard one. Too many things happened where they did not have to be held accountable for their actions. Granted, both of my parents struggled with mental illnesses but at the same time, they got minimum amount of help for it. They often placed the blame on the rest of us and made us kids look like we were the crazy ones while making themselves look completely and totally normal. People fell for it too and because of that, they rarely suffered any consequences for their actions. Due to that, I feel, their behavior escalated. They became more and more disregulated and age, I'm sure, didn't help. It took them killing someone before something was finally done. And so they are where they are and will be for the rest of their lives and I feel that for them, that's for the best. I don't hate them and I have more or less forgiven them (at least in the sense that I am able to move on with my life and have at least kind of a relationship with them--on my terms) but I have no doubt that they are where they need to be. I would maybe consider a situation where their only other option was to be sent to a hospice, having reached a point of age or mental/physical deterioration where all they could do would be the live comfortably until they died. And so I see some points for the article but ultimately, I simply don't agree with opposing life in prison without parole as I think it is needed, if for no other reason than to provide peace of mind for the victims/families of the victims and not force them to be re-victimized through a parole hearing.

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