Tyler Barriss, a twenty-five-year-old from Los Angeles, faces charges for involuntary manslaughter and two other counts due to a tragic swatting incident.
Swatting involves making a prank call to emergency services that forces a massive amount of armed officers (generally from the SWAT team) to head over to a street address. Barriss has a great reputation for swatting, and it was this reputation that led to Barriss receiving a call involving a feud between two Call of Duty players.
The feud involved a $1.50 wager.
Barriss proceeded to make a phone call to the Wichita police department, which led to a brutal shooting. Over the phone Barriss claimed he shot his father while additionally claiming he had hostages. Things escalated when Barriss claimed that he’d thrown gasoline all over the house. This prank call involved the death of Andrew Finch. Finch, being unarmed and uninvolved in the Call of Duty event, attempted to reach for his waistband which led to an officer shooting him.
Barriss could face two to eleven years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
That is not enough time. An innocent civilian died due to Barriss’s prank call. Barriss should serve a life sentence in prison and should not be allowed to roam freely in society. While capital punishment is extreme, Barriss should serve a sentence close to it. Unfortunately, Barriss is being held to $500,000 bond thus can avoid serving jail time.
Immanuel Kant wrote in The Retributive Theory of Punishment that he believes “whoever has committed murder, must die”. Kant also believes “if you slander another, you slander yourself; if you steal from another, you steal from yourself; if you strike another, you strike yourself; if you kill another, you kill yourself”. I disagree with Kant on capital punishment.
Capital punishment involves killing another based off an inhumane crime. It “is the most brutal form of state power, requires massive state administrations and it costs significantly more than life imprisonment which is both more humane and equally effective”, as written in the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology, Compassion and the Death Penalty by Mark Davidson.
It is also “barbaric and very cruel and unusual in the sense that if we don’t abuse the rapist, don’t burn down the house of the arsonist, don’t beat up the robber or the one who assaults, and don’t cut off the hand of the thief, why should we kill the killer?”, according to Alexander Williams in his book, Journal of Religious Thought, Christian Ethics and Capital Punishment: A Reflection.
Yet does this mean Tyler Barriss should be sentenced to death?
Tyler Barriss’s actions went against the sanctity of human life. His prank call placed several innocent civilian lives at risk. Unfortunately, in the end, Barriss’s prank call led to the death of Andrew Finch. Finch was uninvolved in the Call of Duty event and ultimately lost his life over a $1.50 wager.
The experiences, friendships, and memories in human life are sacred and irreplaceable. Money and power could never replace experiences and friendships; friendship “seems to be the greatest external good”. No matter how much Tyler Barriss was paid, that amount will never replace the life of Andrew Finch. Two to eleven years of imprisonment is not sufficient. Capital punishment “is arbitrarily and capriciously inflicted as a punishment”. However, Barriss should serve a life sentence in prison.
Life sentences provide “a legal opportunity to incarcerate a criminal forever”, Melissa Hamilton states in Some Facts about Life: The Law, Theory, and Practice of Life Sentences. Additionally, life sentences serve “as a purportedly more reasonable alternative to capital punishment”. While Barriss may not have foreseen the death of Andrew Finch, he should receive a punishment equivalent to human life. Life sentences “are practically akin to death-in-prison sentences”. Thus, if Barriss received a life sentence he would spend the rest of his life rotting in a prison.
Capital punishment goes against the sanctity of human life. It also lacks humane characteristics. Life sentences remain far more humane than capital punishment and likewise, they do not go against the sanctity of human life. Facts have also proven “that life sentences can be more punitive than capital punishment”.
Therefore, in certain circumstances, they can be far more brutal than capital punishment.
Professor Berry claims that “a death sentence has an end date, which for some may be less traumatic than imprisonment until one dies of natural causes. To the extent that living in prison constitutes suffering, life without parole allows for greater suffering, or at least a longer time for suffering.”
Offenders serving a life sentence will reflect upon their actions and characteristics. They will live a life regretting and hating their sins. Tyler Barriss should serve a life sentence in prison. Two to eleven years is simply not enough time for Barriss to reflect on his inhumane actions. A life sentence would allow Barriss more than enough time to reflect on his sins.
Barriss should receive a punishment equivalent to the life of Andrew Finch. Capital punishment remains very inhumane thus a life sentence would compensate for a punishment equivalent to the punishment of death.
Tyler Barriss’s prank call led to the death of, an unarmed civilian who did not partake in the Call of Duty feud. Barriss’s prank placed Finch’s children and wife in great danger. While Barriss may have not anticipated this death he placed several innocent lives in danger and should reflect on his actions. No matter how much Barriss got paid for his services, it will never be enough to outweigh the beauty of human life. He should be held accountable for Andrew Finch’s death.
Capital punishment goes against human sanctity. Barriss should serve a life sentence. I believe capital punishment excessively punishes man with minimal gain due to the existence of life sentences and rehabilitation. However, “if rehabilitation is not possible for certain individuals then life in prison will be the only choice”. I believe Barriss is beyond the point of rehabilitation and should serve life in prison only because of the inhumane qualities of capital punishment.
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Andrew Marcus is working on getting his bachelors in English/Philosophy at the University of New Mexico. When he is not doing homework or at work, he games on his PC. He also likes Nintendo’s systems and there first party games. He also likes to write poetry and non-fiction.