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Newark Executions

10.08.2007 (5:35 am) – Filed under: Crime,Death Penalty ::

Earlier this week in Newark, 3 college students were executed in a neighborhood schoolyard. Another student was shot was through the back of the head, escaping death by fractions of an inch.

Killed in the attack were Terrance Aeriel, 18, Dashon Harvey, 20 and Iofemi Hightower, 20. Aeriel’s 19-year-old sister was wounded and is expected to recover. All four were shot in the head and found behind Mount Vernon School in Newark’s Ivy Hill section.

McCarthy said the victims – all current or entering students at Delaware State University – did not know their attackers, a group of at least five men.

James Harvey, Dashon’s father, joined Booker at the press conference and said he did not blame the mayor. Nearly sobbing, the father said the blame rests with parents who don’t teach their children right from wrong.

“Innocent kids are dying needlessly,” James Harvey said. “America, this has got to stop.”

Truer words were never spoken. But what will make animals stop killing? That is what animals do, after all.

There is a certain ideological group in America that I won’t name – one wouldn’t want to be overly direct by telling them how utterly wrong they are, after all – that believes that killers such as these deserve our mercy and possess the inalienable right to live at our expense for the remainder of their natural lives, regardless of the depravity of their crimes.

This view is utter nonsense. Many of America’s inner cities are insanely violent and no place that I, a white middle class male in the prime of his life, would go sober. Yet these urban neighborhoods are home to many good people, of which James Harvey and his late son are only two examples, people who need to be defended, not left to fight a low-level war with the packs of cold-blooded murderers that roam their streets.

What the unnamed ideology fails to understand is that framing their anti-death penalty rhetoric as a human rights issue is an oxymoron. Murderers in the first degree are not human by the most important measure of all. They fail to recognize and respect the sanctity of human life and thus descend to the level of a common beast. The death penalty issue really is a question of the victims’ human rights, not the rights the animal(s) who killed them forfeited as a result of their crime.

Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey, and Iofemi Hightower were winners, good young people who had worked hard in difficult circumstances to better themselves, had gotten themselves in a position to do something more with their lives than those around them.

More:

The schoolyard victims, [Newark mayor] Booker said, were “our success stories” — four young friends who had all blazed paths leading out of Newark, their families said.

Harvey and Natasha Aeriel, both entering their junior years at Delaware State University, were majoring in psychology and excelling in school. Terrance Aeriel and Hightower were about to enter their first year at the Dover, Del., school. She worked at an assisted-living facility, with an eye toward business, and he was an ordained minister and mentor in his community.

“He was really something special,” said James Harvey, Dashon’s father. “He was what a young man is supposed to be.”

Exactly. And yet he and his friends were killed for no good reason. Why? James Harvey doesn’t know.

“For him to be killed on the streets of Newark needlessly is very unacceptable,” he said at a news conference.

“They’re out here hurting innocent kids,” he added. “Innocent people are dying needlessly, unnecessarily and for what?”

These youngsters deserved to be protected against the skulking brood of hyenas who executed them.

The attackers, described as at least five young men, first shot a young woman, police said. They then marched the other three victims down an alley, lined them up against a wall and forced them to kneel, police said. Then they shot each one in the head.

“We are absolutely devastated and frustrated,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said, stressing that police regularly patrol in the area of the attack. “It’s not a lack of resources. It’s young people out there armed to the gills with no respect for human life.”

Fontoura is exactly right. Animals, of which murders are a particularly vicious sub-species, have neither respect for human lives or humanity. They understand only their malevolent will, fear, and punishment.

But where do they come from? This James Harvey does know.

“I blame you guys — the parents of America. If you raised your kids better this world would be a better place to live.”

Parents are, after all, where the buck finally must stop when looking for causes. Yes, there are other causes of bad behavior. But it all comes back to the parents. Kid hanging around bad people? Get her butt home after school. Neighborhood unsafe? Move. Kid disrespects elders? Wash his mouth out with soap. Whatever it takes, that’s parenting.

The weight of punishment, however, belongs entirely on the shoulders of the criminals. Victims don’t invite crime. Parents don’t force children to become murders, regardless of their (in)competence. Criminals choose to act and the punishment should fit the crime.

The murders of 3 young people whose little fingers have more value to society than the killers’ entire beings is particularly heinous. It is a crime that demands a response that both punishes the offenders and frightens those of like mind.

Only one thing frightens animals – the threat of death. Only one thing keeps them frightened – its implementation per the law.

Does that form of justice seem cruel? If so, imagine yourself as the fourth and final victim of the scum. Imagine the press of a hot, smoking gun barrel against the back of your head. Imagine the sound of the hammer cocking. Imagine the end of your every hope and dream at the hands of a brutal beast with a pistol.

Now, answer the question again.

2 Responses to “Newark Executions”

  1. dan-o Says:

    I certainly agree that parenting, or the lack thereof, play a large part in this equation. It is definitely the foundation upon which we build a social environment in which we can all peacefully coexist.

    I don’t know, however, that capital punishment is the answer to this. How does the government sanctioned killing of the killer make up for the death? I’m also not sure on it’s effectiveness as a deterrent. Following the reinstitution of the death penalty in Texas in 1982, murder rates in Texas remained relatively level for 13 years, whereupon they started to decline. Nonetheless, Texas still has almost 1500 murders per year up until 2005 (the end date of the statistics I’m looking at).

    Even if it were proven to be a deterrent, I’m not sure I would still support the concept. I’d rather lock up the animal and never let them see the light of day, than to say it’s okay to kill them as well.

    Granted, sitting behind a desk, not being in the position of James Harvey allows me to look at it differently. Were I in this father’s position, I’d have to be honest with myself and wonder if I would still feel the same. I like to think that I would. I pray that I don’t ever have to find out, however.

  2. marc Says:

    Referring to this post, Naci Mocan, a death penalty researcher, says this:

    “There is no question about it. The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect.”

    A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides.

    “The results are robust, they don’t really go away,” he said. “I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?”

    To your question, disposing of killers doesn’t bring victims back but it often soothes victims’ loved ones. Doing so also removes a threat to society, an important concern, and reduces our tax burden by $100K per year, if I’m remembering properly.

    It’s not that I’m eager to kill killers. But the truth is that the good deserve consideration and the evil do not.

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