I have honestly been getting my act together, because I truly want to be that loving husband to my wife and that good father/role model to my children. I swear to you that I WILL NOT let you down. Let my wife or children down. Let my family down. Let society down.
These heartwarming words were written by Davon Crawford, who had been jailed for five years for shooting at his wife and their 4-year-old daughter. He wrote them in a letter to the judge as part of a motion for early release. He had previously been jailed for nine months for car-jacking and attempting to run down two police officers, and for five years for voluntary manslaughter (shooting an unarmed man five times). By all accounts, however, when he wrote these words he was a model prisoner; he had completed classes on stress and anger management, family skills, domestic violence, child abuse, and rage-control. He also tutored fellow inmates and won the sportsmanship award in the prison basketball competition. Then two years after he was released, he shot and killed his wife, her sister, and her sister’s three children.
Public safety requires that unsafe persons like Davon Crawford be permanently removed from society. This is a separate issue from the question of punishment. A lion is kept in a cage at the zoo, whereas peacocks are allowed to wander about, not because the lion is being punished or because the peacock is being rewarded, but because the lion is unsafe. Anyone objectively looking at Davon Crawford’s record would quickly conclude that, regardless of any touching sentiments he penned to a judge, he was many more times likely to kill than the average person, and accordingly should never have been released into society.
Much of the angst concerning so-called three strikes laws, whereby three felonies earns an offender a mandatory sentence of life in jail, arises from a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of such laws. These measures do not aim to punish repeat offenders; rather, their purpose is to physically separate them from innocent people so they cannot attack and kill them.
A better solution for repeat felons would be for them to serve the same sentence as a first-time offender, but then, instead of being released into society, to thereafter reside in an unsafe person colony. Such a colony need not be uncomfortable. In fact, there is no reason why such colonies cannot be just as comfortable as the outside world. San Clemente is an island fifty-five nautical miles off the coast of California, uninhabited, it covers fifty-seven square miles. If it was made into a colony unsafe persons could build cities, towns, parks, factories, shopping malls, research parks, houses, condos, cargo ports, and prisons, enjoy the beach, use the Internet, form a police force, and trek in the wilderness. In short, they could do everything free people can do except be in a position to murder the innocent or have children.
There is no reason for such colonies to be a tax burden. The inhabitants would work, pay taxes to their local government, and be self-sustaining, self-governing, and self-policing, like any other community.
Criminals who are unsafe
Murderers are unsafe people
Consider the following examples of murderers showing their stripes after being released from prison:
- Henry Lee Lucas murdered his mother and was sentenced to between twenty and forty years’ imprisonment in Michigan. He served just fifteen years before being released. He then went on to murder at least eleven more people. Had he been executed or incarcerated for life after he murdered his mother, those eleven people would have been spared.
- Peter Bryan used a hammer to bludgeon to death a 20-year-old shop assistant as she worked in her family’s clothes shop in Chelsea, south-west London. He was sent to a mental hospital but was later released by a health review tribunal. Once released he killed a man, then fried and ate his brains, then, while on remand for that murder, killed a third person.
- Eric Thomas Turner strangled his 15-year-old girlfriend when he was twenty. Later the same day, he took an axe and murdered her father. He was condemned to death, but the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and a few years later he was released on license. Two years after being released, he killed his mother-in-law, stabbing her eleven times. He also stabbed his stepson to death, when the 11-year-old bravely went to the aid of his grandmother.
These are just three of countless examples where the interests of murderers have been prioritized over those of the innocent. If the moral compass of a society is so awry that it wants to show mercy to monsters, then the least it can do is protect the innocent by isolating the monsters. Sending murderers to a five-star resort on a tropical island in the Caribbean at tax-payers’ expense would be preferable to turning them loose to murder the innocent.
Those reckless of human life
Those who commit armed robbery, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, or repeat drunk driving, or who try to run down police officers with their cars, are indifferent to the sanctity of human life. They pose a clear and continuing danger to society, and it is proper that society should be protected from them.
Violent rape is a horrific violation of the victim’s rights that shows that the perpetrator is a monster who, if capable of such violation, would also likely be capable of murder. Such psychopaths can never be trusted with the lives of the innocent again. For example, in 2009 Jerry Andrew Active broke into a house to rape an 11-year-old girl. In 2013, twelve hours after being released on parole, he broke into a house, beat a couple to death and raped their 2-year-old granddaughter and the child’s great-great grandmother, who later died.
Prior to the crime described below, the offender was arrested twenty-four times for charges including burglary, carrying a concealed weapon, indecent exposure, and sexually assaulting two young children. He was sentenced to ten years but paroled two years later. What followed would have been prevented if he had been sent to an unsafe criminal colony:
John Evander Couey was sentenced Friday to death for abducting, raping and killing a 9-year-old Florida girl by burying her alive in 2005 … “He caused a slow, suffering, conscious death,” the judge said as he described Jessica’s murder in chilling detail.
Couey told Jessica he was planning to take her home, but did not want her to be seen … and so persuaded her to get into a trash bag. Couey then knotted another trash bag over her head, placed her in a hole and shovelled dirt on top of her.
The judge described how the girl poked two fingers through the bags to try to escape before she died … by asphyxiation as her oxygen slowly ran out. A medical examiner testified she could have been alive as much as five minutes, or even longer, before she lost consciousness.
The judge also noted that Couey made “crude, vulgar and repulsive” comments to police after his arrest regarding his sexual assault of the girl, and said the media was blowing the case out of proportion—“this kind of thing happens every day.”
After the hearing, Mark Lunsford, wearing a tie with his daughter’s face emblazoned on it, spoke of the need for state and federal lawmakers to do more to protect children by pursuing more aggressive prosecution and stricter sentencing for sex offenders.
“The problem is still growing. Children are still being molested. Sex offenders and predators are still being released,” Lunsford said. “Justice was served for this little girl, but what about the rest of them? What about the ones that survive?”
Jessica’s body was found buried at the home of Couey’s half-sister, within sight of Jessica’s home—three weeks after she went missing. She was wrapped in plastic garbage bags and her hands were bound with speaker wire. She was clutching a stuffed dolphin—a toy won for her at a state fair by her father, which Couey allowed her to bring with her when she was abducted.
The girl apparently was kept for several days before being killed. Authorities found her blood on a mattress in the home where Couey was living. (“Child killer sentenced to death,” CNN, August 24, 2007.)
Anyone who is prepared to sexually assault a child is a psychopath. Such people simply cannot be trusted ever to roam free in society.
Murder is often presaged by a threat to murder. There is no just basis for seriously threatening to kill someone. Ex-spouses, stalkers, and mentally ill people who threaten to kill should be taken seriously. As people who have harmed no one, they should live out their lives in perfect freedom – but on an island inhabited only by other life threateners.