Michael MurphyThe Chilins are a Killin'!

The Death Penalty in California


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The History of the Death Penalty

The History of the Death Penalty in CA

Who Profits from Death Penalty?

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Libertarian Info

Placer County Libertarian Party

CA Libertarian Party

Libertarian Party (National)

CATO Institute

Michael Patrick Murphy, Placer County LP Vice Chair, Candidate for the CA Assembly District 4
13th of January, 2006

Thursday night, the infamous Republican apologist, Kirk Uhler, son of the illustrious tax fighter Lew Uhler, had the opportunity to substitute for Mark Williams on KFBK 1530. I was leaving our monthly Libertarian meeting, when our treasurer, Robert Page, mentioned that Kirk and Ted Gaines, my opponent for the 4th Assembly District, was on KFBK. I wanted to call in while they were both on so I could give them a hard time, but by the time my call was taken, that portion of the show ended, Ted was gone, and I had to settle with arguing the death penalty with Kirk. Always fun!

First, I got to announce my candidacy and that I thought "Ted Gaines was going to need the whole $300,000 he's raised to beat me next November (and I imagine a whole lot more developer money will have arrived at his war chest by then.) Kirk did the traditional Republican innocence routine about he didn't know I had even announced my candidacy. I just assumed he was uninformed as usual. However, the first rule of Republican politics is to assume Libertarians don't exist.

Onto the death penalty, I reminded Kirk of God's commandment that "You shall not kill." and that two wrongs don't make a right and that those that live by the sword die by the sword. In response, He sited some other part of the Bible and I asked him, as I do all baptized Christians defending the death penalty, "You mean something someone else said in the Bible supercedes the direct word of God?"


Kirk went on to say, "I thought Libertarians believed in a separation between church and state." Trying to picture his connection, I said, "We'll yeah! What does that have to do with it?"

Believe it or not, the separation of church and state had little to do with promoting the death penalty. It was the hypocrisy I was pointing out to Kirk. How can you be a Christian and defend killing? It is hypocrisy. Can you imagine Jesus pressing the switch or chopping off someone's head? Too many Christians love to rationalize hypocrisy. This is why most Christians in government do not fare much better than anyone else. "Like children in a stone skipping competition on Lake Placid," once in government, Christians love to cast stones, Why can't Christians try a little harder to follow Christ's example? Imagine Christ sponsoring the guillotine, electric chair or gas chamber.

The Libertarian Position

The Libertarian stand on the death penalty is no stand at all. We're on our own. The first historic examples of the Death Penalty come from Iraq under a guy named Hammaurabi that wrote the foundation of what we now use as our own legal code. Isn't it ironic that our troops are over there to teach them respect for the laws that they founded?

First, the death penalty is still assumed to be a "states rights" issue and many Libertarians strongly support the death penalty. Me, I'd rather not dance with the devil for fear of becoming more like him...or more like Kirk! How do we teach others not to kill by killing? I'm not seeing it. The only time a Libertarian killing someone is supported by our Party's stand on issues is regarding self defense. You may kill someone who is in the act of stealing your property or attacking your family or generally attacking our country. On that, the Party is quite clear. I even take it a step further in favor of our war mongering members, "If you want a war, you go! Just don't steal my money to send someone else's child to fight your war." How much fairer could I be? I suppose when it comes to the death penalty, I have a problem with government folks stealing my money to apply towards someone's murder, especially when it has nothing to do with defending my property or person.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of us act more like children than rational adults. Someone slaps you, you forget about Jesus and slap 'em back. We'll that may be alright for the ever tough wrestling crowd and sunshine patriots that proudly wear flags on their t-shirts, but it certainly doesn't work for me, even as a non-Christian. I'd rather find a dignified solution before lowering myself to the standards of my enemy. Granted, there are times when diplomacy won't get you out of a mess, but those times are much fewer than most Republicans would like to believe. As General Lee warned, wars should be short and few and far between, or we might grow too fond of them. I think opening the "death penalty" has similar precepts. Sadly, despite what I think, using my money, some chilins are destined to go right on killin'.


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Mike's views do not necessarily represent the views of the Placer County Libertarian Party Mike can be reached at mmurphy@americanliberty.org
Michael Patrick Murphy is the author of The Government, ISBN 0-595-30863-5