Exception to the Rule

I once picked up a book in a used bookstore because it had an intriguing title: "The History of Murder."

Turned out it was a political tract a few decades old arguing against the death penalty.

"History of murder," get it?

One of the points the book made is that the death penalty throughout history has been imposed for a wide variety of crimes. In Britain you could get it for pickpocketing; here for horse theft.

The death penalty was abolished in the late '60s in this country and returned in the late '70s under new rules. Among them, it is only used when the crime involves the accused killing someone.

I propose what Judge Napolitano informs me would amount to "an adjustment in our jurisprudence."

It strikes me that someone who sexually molests children — particularly an infant — on live television ought to be up for the death penalty.

This is a crime alleged Wednesday in the breakup of an international child porn ring, in which at least one person, Brian Annoreno of Chicago, is accused of molesting an infant and transmitting it live to a viewer in Edmonton, Canada.

I don't mean to cause Mr. Annoreno's family any more pain but, honestly, why isn't this a death penalty case?

I don't want to get all Talibany about this, but aren't there some things that may not be lethal to the victim but nonetheless ought to carry the death penalty? Like molesting a baby?

We'll do the execution humanely, of course. We're not really the Taliban, shoving a wall of bricks on someone to make sure they die. But come on, this is a death penalty case.

Why just for the live molestation? What's the difference between child porn pictures and live transmission of a molestation? Just the brazenness, I suppose. The audacity, the gall, the sheer descent in depravity.

I know there are people out there who think murderers shouldn't be executed, that the death penalty is too barbaric even for adjudicated killers.

But you know what? I bet some of them would go along with me for an exception to their rule if it's a guy who sexually molests an infant on live TV. I bet even death penalty opponents might waive their objections in this case.

It really is very difficult for a civilized person to make a case that even these lowlifes can be saved.

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