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Did you notice the media overload on the death penalty? From all the brouhaha, you’d think we were wasting convicted criminals on a daily basis.

Then again, perhaps that’s not such a bad idea, considering that on many death rows, there’s a backlog of people waiting for “service” and every additional day costs big money.

With state after state facing fiscal disasters of major proportions, suggestions are constantly made on how to spend less and save more.

Take California – please – with the most felons (714) on death row and, as weeks tick by, costs add up.

Californians reinstated capital punishment in 1975, but judging how the system has carried out the wishes of the citizens, you’d never know. Years and years of appeal after appeal after appeal.

Challenges to the methods – “cruel and inhuman” is the usual complaint.

Challenges to the equipment and facilities – called dim, cramped and inhumane by the court.

Challenges to the execution chemicals and shortages because the Italian manufacturer refused to sell them if they were to be used in executions.

With only 13 executions since 1975, each costs the state $330 million.

But California is almost broke. What to do?

Well, it is California after all, so as I write this, there’s a bill (S.B. 490) in the Legislature, sponsored by State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, which would end capital punishment – to save money!

Of course, incarceration would continue – security and guards, room and board, health care, gyms and exercise, education, religious opportunities and whatever else is deemed necessary to care for people guilty of the most heinous crimes against innocents.

And the hard-working taxpayer gets the bill.

But not everyone thinks like liberal Californians. Texas made the headlines last week with the case of Humberto Leal, facing execution for the brutal, sadistic and prolonged rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in 1994.

He was found guilty and faced execution only to have the usual bleeding hearts get on the bandwagon to prevent it.

It’s bad enough to get these arguments from Americans, but this time Mexico got in on the act and threatened disruption of international relations if Texas didn’t stop the execution

It’s worse, though, when our own government gets in on the act to prevent a state from following its own laws. In this case, it was Barack Obama, the man who is president, and the appointed secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who put pressure on Texas.

Fortunately, Gov. Rick Perry did the right thing and Leal was executed. As he went to his deserved end, he twice shouted, “¡Viva México!”

Did I mention he was an illegal alien when he committed the rape and murder? He was still an illegal when he breathed his last, cheering the country he fled.

And the bleeding hearts have pity for him – but scarcely a word for the victim or her family.

Casey Anthony was in the news, charged with killing her little daughter. The media jumped on the story, covering it endlessly – inflating the salaciousness and building her into the epitome of evil.

It was like a Salem witch trial. The media clearly wanted her found guilty, to face the death penalty.

Without question, it is a tragedy that a tiny child is dead but – and it’s a big but – the jury acquitted Anthony. It decided there was no proof she killed the child and there was no specific cause of death determined.

But the media-fed “hate frenzy” has resulted in concern for Anthony’s safety when she’s released as well as the safety of the jury – because of death threats.

Vigilante justice, anyone?

At another extreme: Osama bin Laden. He’s dead, the result of an intentional U.S. military action.

People cheered – calling it justice.

The man who is president pats himself on the back for mission success.

Was bin Laden’s death an execution, a military assassination, a war casualty, murder?

Most Americans are just glad he’s gone.

What about Maj. Nidal Hasan? He’s the Army psychiatrist, a Muslim, who shot up Fort Hood, killing 13, including an unborn child, and wounding 32.

It was announced last week that if found guilty at a military trial, he would face the death penalty.

Does this mean we’ll get “advice” and threats from foreign countries? Would Obama and Clinton cave to those demands? You know there are people who would object, possibly even calling it religious discrimination.

Is the death penalty a punishment or revenge or insurance for civilian safety or deterrence? What are the differences?

Why do so many vehemently defend criminals yet almost dismiss the pain, fear and suffering of the innocent victims?

Doesn’t proper and proportional punishment of the guilty honor the crime victims?

What kind of person finds it reprehensible for the state to execute a person convicted of a crime that renders them unfit to live in civilized society?

Why do they dismiss that execution might put fear into someone else and prevent them from killing an innocent? Isn’t even one life saved worth it?

We’re nothing if not schizophrenic about crime and punishment. We’re like parents who discipline with a “time-out,” expecting the kid to shape up and behave.

We’ve turned prison into an expensive “time-out.” California’s more than 70 percent recidivism rate proves it.

You’d think we’d learn to send the right message to criminals: Shape up or suffer the consequences.

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