Dennis Rader's defense attorney says Thursday's hearing in which Rader's victims' families spoke of the impact of the murder on their lives was "grandstanding by the prosecution."
Tough to be defense counsel, but sorry Mr. Lawyer. This was a good thing and here's why.
The reason is the death penalty. Dennis Rader (search) won't get the death penalty because it wasn't on the books in Kansas when he committed his crimes.
Kansas, like many states, had watched as the United States Supreme Court invalidated its death penalty, and then went back and forth in the legislature for a number of years before another death penalty statute was constructed that would pass muster with the Supreme Court.
It was during that window that Dennis Rader killed. And it is because of that window that he will die a natural death, unless a prisoner with a shank takes over his fate.
But this is the point: Dennis Rader shouldn't live, should he? He shouldn't be allowed to breathe the same air as the rest of us, should he?
This grisly and painful televised reliving of Dennis Rader's murders do nothing more than convince many people that the death penalty is reasonable — people who might otherwise give in to the hand wringers. The people who say, "Who are we to decide life or death?"
It's really quite easy. Can't you decide on Dennis Rader? Can't you decide on Joseph Duncan (search)?
I don't see the difficulty. Honestly.
These are people who should be evicted from the planet. If we could launch them into orbit, fine. They could sit in a tin can till the air ran out. Good enough.
But that won't work. What does work is extinguishing their lives.
It would be hard for all of us to do it in the same way Rader did. He did it to innocents. He did it with glee. He did it for sexual pleasure. He did it to be powerful.
We would do it to him with none of that. We would just do it to be rid of someone who doesn't deserve to breathe.
That's My Word.
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