Larry Flynt: Man Who Paralyzed Him Shouldn’t Be Executed
Porn publisher Larry Flynt was shot by Joseph Paul Franklin in 1978. Franklin has committed racially-motivated murders, and is set for execution in Missouri in November. Flynt doesn’t want that to happen.
In all the years since the shooting, I have never come face-to-face with Franklin. I would love an hour in a room with him and a pair of wire-cutters and pliers, so I could inflict the same damage on him that he inflicted on me. But, I do not want to kill him, nor do I want to see him die.
Supporters of capital punishment argue that it is a deterrent which prevents potential murderers from committing future crimes, but research has failed to provide a shred of valid scientific proof to that effect whatsoever. In 18th century England, pickpocketing was a capital offense. Once a week, crowds would gather in a public square to observe public hangings of convicted pickpockets, unaware that their own pockets were being emptied by thieves moving among them. That’s a true story, and, if you’re ever trying to convince somebody of why the death penalty is not a deterrent, that’s a good example.
As far as the severity of punishment is concerned, to me, a life spent in a 3-by-6-foot cell is far harsher than the quick release of a lethal injection. And costs to the taxpayer? Execution has been proven to be far more expensive for the state than a conviction of life without parole, due to the long and complex judicial process required for capital cases.
Franklin has been sentenced by the Missouri Supreme Court to death by legal injection on Nov. 20. I have every reason to be overjoyed with this decision, but I am not. I have had many years in this wheelchair to think about this very topic. As I see it, the sole motivating factor behind the death penalty is vengeance, not justice, and I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.