IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was released Tuesday in a deal brokered by Egypt. He had been held by Hamas for a horrifying 1,941 days after being captured on June 25, 2006 in an attack that triggered the Second Lebanon War. The deal is not without controversy, however. Israel has released 477 Palestinian prisoners in the first swap, and will ultimately release more than 1,000. Some have been involved in deadly attacks on Israeli citizens. Not a few Israelis are deeply concerned these terrorists will be back to capture, torture and kill more Israelis soon.Many of these murderers have been in prison for decades, and now that they are able to do get back to doing what they do best, we can expect at least a thousand more Israelis to be murdered. All this, because Israelis, through their elected representatives in the Knesset, have chosen to eliminate the chance that any murderer will ever face execution for his crimes. And now that this system has proved to work so well, I can hardly imagine it will be another 25 years before the next Gilad Shalit is traded back on such lucrative terms.
This case also represents the fallacy of "life in prison without possibility of parole," the imparted sentence of these now-free murderers. There is at least on American still in prison who was sentenced to death for murder prior to 1967 (when the Supreme Court denied the right of states to execute their murderers), but I can't find evidence of any person still in prison who was sentenced in the decades prior to 1967 to "life in prison without possibility of parole." As far as I have been able to determine, all such cases did in fact lead to eventual release of the prisoner, if he didn't die young before they quite got around to releasing him.