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Could #039;spoon#039; punishment fit some of worst crimes?

Is it possible that for some criminals court-mandated execution is just too easy?

I couldn't help but think that last week after hearing a report that a 9-year-old Florida girl may have been buried alive by her killer.

How can someone kill a child, let alone torture them, in such a way.

What kind of punishment would fit that kind of horrendous crime?

As I pondered the idea, I thought about Brad Grice and his ideas on punishment.

Grice was sort of an itinerant sports writer at that point in his life. That's how we met. He came to work at the small newspaper where I called home. One night as we worked, the subject of Timothy McVeigh came up. The date was somewhere in the first part of 2001, just before the convicted Oklahoma City bomber was executed by lethal injection.

Grice didn't like the idea of killing McVeigh; at least not in way he viewed as relatively painless compared to the fate of McVeigh's victims.

"I think they should put him in a straight jacket and put him in downtown Oklahoma City," Grice explained. "And they should give every citizen one spoon."

"A spoon?" I asked. "Why a spoon?"

At this point I though there was to be some kind of punch line. Instead I got a chilling reply.

"Because it would take a long time for them to kill him with spoons," he said.

The stern look told me that Grice was deadly serious.

And, although what Grice proposed is really a case in which two wrongs don't make a right, I couldn't help but wonder: Did McVeigh get what he deserved? Did the punishment fit the crime?

How do you weigh such a matter? While McVeigh spent some time in prison during the appeals process, in the end, his death was, according to experts, relatively painless. Causing pain during an execution would be inhumane, some folks would say.

Of course, blowing up 168 men, women and children is a bit inhuman, too, isn't it?

The same could be said for burying a child alive after you've molested her, assuming the reports are true.

While I firmly believe that society should be able to rid the world of horrible criminals such as these through capital punishment, I'm not sure I'm ready for spoon justice. But as the crimes keep seem to be getting worse, spoon justice is looking more like a viable option.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445 ext. 12 or by e-mail to kevin.cooper@irontontribune.com.