Jonah Goldberg has written a column advocating a swift execution for Aurora theatre killer James Holmes, which outraged “Tytalus” at the Daily Kos. His article is titled “Doughy Pantload vents his violent impulses.”
In classic Kosmonaut fashion, the advocacy of killing the mass murderer somehow morally merges Holmes and Goldberg into identical warts on society’s gluteus maximus:
So why is the just penalty death? Is it eye for an eye? Do we not trust the prisons to keep us safe from James Holmes, and if not, why not? Is there some impulse toward revenge? I wonder, if Holmes' own murderous impulses sprang from the same place. And if the desire to execute him posthaste is just another symptom of the disease. Goldberg and Holmes, like two warts on the ass of society.
"Tytalus" succeeds in utterly avoiding Goldberg's point that liberals do not want to talk about the death penalty in cases of obvious and heinous guilt like this. He wrote of Holmes:
We don't know whether or not he's mentally ill, but odds are he isn't. Indeed, criminologists and psychiatrists will tell you that most mass murderers aren't insane. But the public debate is already caught up in a familiar tautology. What Holmes did was an act of madness, therefore he must be a madman. And if he's a madman, we can't execute him because he's not responsible for his actions. And if he's not responsible, then "society" must be. And we can't execute a man for society's sins...
If the death penalty is always wrong, let us have an argument about James Holmes, a man many Americans are aware of, informed about and interested in. Let us hear why the inequities of the criminal justice system require his life be spared. Fight the death-penalty battle on this battlefield.
That won't happen. It won't happen in part because nobody on the Sunday talk shows wants to debate the death penalty when the case for it is strong. They like cases that "raise troubling questions about the legitimacy of the death penalty," not cases that affirm the legitimacy of the death penalty.
But it also won't happen because death-penalty opponents understand that when the murderer is unsympathetic, the wise course is to hold your tongue.
Bloggers at the Daily Kos often don't take the wise course and hold their tongue.