Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Texas AG Abbott Decries Overturn of Death Sentence for Child Rapists

In a statement released to the press today in the wake of the Supreme Court’s sane move to strike down an anti-child rape law where punishment included the death penalty, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott found cause to object most strenuously, though his spokesman Jerry Strickland. From The Chron:

“Today's decision marks a setback for Texas' efforts to punish repeat child rapists. A criminal convicted of multiple brutal acts of child rape will be treated less severely than one who commits treason or espionage.”
Now the point I think the AG is making, is that the rape of a child and treason or espionage are all crimes where no victim suffers death. Abbott, through his spokesman makes the case that child rape is a morally more heinous offense than treason, yet a traitor receives a heavier sentence – the death sentence in this case.

AG Abbott forgets two things about the death penalty for child rape. First, quite often the offender is a family member; other members of the family who want repeated rapes of a family member to stop would be disinclined to turn in their relative if they knew it would mean a death sentence for them. Second, when the only witness to a rape is the child/victim and there is literally no difference in punishment between child rape and murder, wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect the rapist to push it to murder?

In short, the law is not only unconstitutional under the law; it was a real bad idea.

AG Abbott forgets about the calamity that besets a society whose secrets are traded to an enemy, or whose covert intelligence is exposed to the public. How many people, do you think, lost their lives when Julius and Ethel Rosenberg gave the Soviets the key to building a thermonuclear bomb? By how many years did it extend the Cold War? Would the Cold War have occurred at all?

By the same measure then, how many lives were imperiled when Valerie Plame’s covert identity was revealed by Karl Rove?

AG Abbott clearly has let his politics infect his entire thought process. Treason and espionage are lesser offenses than child rape? If you ask the people of Norway who were alive before Hitler invaded it, and were not after, I think they will have a relevant opinion on this. They already have a noun and a verb for it: Quisling.

AG Abbott needs to keep these things in perspective, in case he has lost that perspective when members of his own party committed treason when they knowingly exposed a covert CIA agent.

Just because no one was tried, convicted, and executed in that affair, doesn’t mean it is less heinous a crime than child rape.

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