People must be held accountable

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."

-- Ronald Reagan

The death penalty has always been a disputed issue, and people have many reasons why they are either for or against it. There are arguments that mistakes are made and someone may be executed that was not supposed to be, and there are arguments that we should be more humane and not execute someone for committing any crime. The death penalty can be found as far back in history as one wishes to look, but in today's world the trend seems to be moving more and more away from this punishment.

The Bible says an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I believe there are some crimes that should carry a penalty that would allow a person to have a second chance, but there are other crimes that should carry a penalty that gives no second chances to commit such a crime again. In some cases, there should even be a death penalty.

When someone makes the decision to rape, molest, and murder, there should be stiff penalties that would at least protect the innocent in our communities from the chances of such a crime happening again by the same person. No penalty will ever undo the harm and pain caused to a victim, but society should do its best to hold people responsible for the crimes they choose to commit. Statistics show that as many as 64 percent of offenders committing felony crimes are repeat offenders.

According to Malia Zimmerman, John Evander Couey was a career criminal, arrested 24 times in a 30-year period for everything from burglary, carrying a concealed weapon, disorderly intoxication and driving under the influence, to indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, fraud, insufficient funds, and larceny. The 46-year-old spent time in prison and had his driver's license suspended for 99 years, but as his drug addiction to crack cocaine became more severe, Couey's crime spree escalated into sexually assaulting two young children.

As a twice convicted sex offender, Couey was required to register his home address, but he went into hiding, moving into a trailer camp in Homosassa, Fla., just down the block from where 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford lived with her father, Mark Lunsford, and her grandparents. At 3 a.m. on Feb. 24, 2005, Couey broke into the Lunsfords' home, kidnapped Jessica and took her to the trailer he shared with his half sister. Over the next three days as police, Jessica's family, and volunteers searched for her, Couey raped her repeatedly, fed her nothing, and forced her to remain in a closet -- the same closet he made her use as a bathroom. Police stepped up their search, and even looked in Couey's trailer, but they missed the closet where Jessica was locked up. Afraid he would be caught and returned to prison, Couey bound Jessica's wrists, placed her in garbage bags, and buried her alive.

I believe people should be held accountable for the decisions they make, and when they make that decision, we need to make sure that person is held responsible for that crime and protect others from being harmed again.