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The View went fully off the rails this morning during a discussion about the Parkland gunman pleading guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder for the 2018 shooting massacre. In an odd moment, Sara Haines was the only co-host to speak out against the death penalty, while Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and Ana Navarro said the shooter "should be taken out," as the families of some of his victims have requested.
The co-hosts' meandering conversation — which touched on everything from DNA testing to assaulting the elderly to prison work programs — began with a series of question from Goldberg: "What does justice look like in this day and age? Is it something he should pay for in prison? Is it something that should be a death penalty? Should the families have a say in what happens?"
The liberal Behar opened by saying that despite "what people would think" about her, she's "for the death penalty, in some cases," particularly when it comes to Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter. "I don't believe in an afterlife, particularly. So, I think they should be taken out if they've done the worst thing, and the DNA can show it," she said. Behar then went on a tangent about how "innocent people were on death row" before DNA evidence became the norm (studies have shown that forensic DNA evidence can actually lead to wrongful convictions) before returning to the topic at hand.
"A lot of times, children are harmed, children are killed, children are molested — I can't even stand it. And I don't understand why they need to have a life anywhere. I don't," continued Behar. "And by the way, not to get light about this, but eyewitness accounts do not really do it. Because people constantly think I'm Bette Midler, okay? That means that they can mistake me for somebody else."
Navarro agreed with Behar's point about the death penalty, saying, "I can't stand the idea, the thought, of one of the siblings of people killed, of one of the students killed at Parkland ever having to run into this guy in 50 years."
PARKLAND GUNMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO 17 MURDERS: The former student behind the Parkland school massacre pleaded guilty to all 34 charges in the deadly school shooting that killed 17 students and staff – the co-hosts discuss what justice looks like after the fatal event. pic.twitter.com/uGvG9yMqIV— The View (@TheView) October 21, 2021
Finally, Haines was able to get a word in, and it was a surprising word, at that. "I tend to think that, not for any necessarily moral reasons, but living a life in prison with no chance of getting out might be more of a hell than to have a quick out," said the self-proclaimed independent. "I can't fathom this loss, but if I knew the person would never see the light of day — to live in a prison is not to be free."
All three co-hosts immediately pushed back on Haines' argument, but Goldberg got the final word in. "For me it's not a tough call. If you harm a child, you're done," said The View's longtime moderator. "They can't really fight you. It's like these people who run across the street and punch old people in the face and knock them to the street and leave them there like trash. They can't fight you — do it to somebody who can punch your behind back!"
"To me, somebody should put you in jail and punch you every day. Every day!" said Goldberg, as she continued to belabor the point. "They're 80! They're little old people."
After some more back and forth, during which Haines once again said that "the pain would be in never getting out" of prison, Goldberg bizarrely advocated for the use of solitary confinement, which a UN human rights expert has said amounts of psychological torture. "Solitary confinement is thought to be torture. It's thought to be torture," she said. "But it might be a better solution for some people. But I don't know."
That might be the biggest "but" since the Succession Season 2 finale, Whoopi.
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.