I am among the least punitive persons I know. I just did an editorial chiding California Republicans, who didn't provide a single vote for some modest prison reform in the face of a budget meltdown and federal judges on the verge of taking over the prison system. I have opposed California's Three Strikes law -- not necessarily a terrible idea in conception but ours is the most Draconian in the country -- from the beginning and tried to help each time there was an initiative on the ballot to modify it. And I have certainly been an active opponent of torture in the cloak of "enhanced interrogation."
Having heard on the news, however, that the Station fire, now apparently the largest wildfire in L.A. history, was deliberately set, I want that arsonist, if he (almost always a he) is ever caught, to be drawn and quartered after having his fingernails removed with a pair of rusty pliers. Can you think of anything else brutal? I'll go for it. To me, an arsonist in a Southern California tinderbox is one of the worst of creatures on the planet. The scum who do this can never repay the millions it costs to fight the fire -- let alone the agony of people who have lost their homes. In this fire, of course, two firemen lost their lives, so if caught the perp could be subject to the death penalty -- although California hardly ever actually executes people. That's too kind.