10A031 State Kills Woman by Jim Davies, 9/26/2010

That's what actually happened, last Thursday evening. All the rest of the story is drag, dressing up, disguise, perfume.

Her name was Teresa Lewis, and she had done dreadful things: she deliberately had her husband and stepson murdered for insurance money. Those facts are not disputed. But it's also a fact that some people calling themselves the "State of Virginia" deliberately murdered Teresa Lewis, in retribution or punishment.

Her "supporters" who campaigned for mercy, opponents of the "death penalty", asked for her sentence to be commuted to life in prison. That was the limit of their imagination, their petition. They did not question the fundamental premise that crime deserves punishment - only that this punishment, for this crime, was not appropriate. I do; I deny it altogether.

Lewis' execution did not bring her husband, Julian Clifton Lewis, Jr., or her stepson, Charles J. Lewis, back to life. They were dead already, and so far death is irreversible. Not did it resurrect Jessee Shallenberger, one of the triggermen she had hired, who killed himself in prison in 2006. In terms of righting the wrongs she committed, Lewis' execution was therefore totally ineffective and pointless.

However, in those terms - righting the wrong - it would have been equally ineffective and pointless to have kept her in prison for the rest of her natural life - a period of perhaps forty years, at a cost to taxpayers of around $1.2 million - which would have added a fresh, though lesser, "wrong." Her "supporters" therefore aimed at the wrong target. The proper target, for this as for every other unsocial act, is to replace the existing one with a true justice system, based on restitution instead of retribution; compensation instead of punishment.

What compensation can there be for murder? - not much. Just some payment, at the perp's expense, to the victim's family; in this case, probably $1,000,000. But for every other act of aggression, plenty! Return of money stolen, plus interest and expenses, plus compensation for suffering, etc, etc.

That is exactly what would develop in a zero government society.

Government cannot relate to that suggestion. To government people, justice is about punishment to fit the crime, and crime is the breaking of government law. No matter that murder is morally reprehensible even if nobody had written a law forbidding it; law and morality are two separate things.

Since justice is a prerequisite for peace, it follows that government must vanish. So that justice - and peace - can prevail.

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