Friday, September 4, 2009

The Death Penalty

I thought the article, Does Phillip Garrido Deserve To Die?, about the death penalty on Jezebel was really thought provoking.

I don’t know if I’ve talked about my views on capital punishment before, but it’s probably no surprise I’m against it. I think it’s barbaric and completely unethical.

Here is one particular comment that I thought was a bit harsh:
Call me heartless, but I couldn't give a damn if a murderer is coughing with a cold in prison because his blanket's not thick enough. Regardless of crime, prisoners are not there to enjoy their life, but to get punishment for harming society, and hopefully get motivated to not commit the same crime again. I have no pity for murderers or rapists or the psychopaths who are convicted and jailed. There are consequences for willfully harming a person.

There are cases of wrongful conviction, of course, and sometimes, as in the case of say, possession of marijuana, sending the person to prison is a waste of resources, but let's pretend for a second that our justice system is actually competent enough to sort out the guilty from the innocent.

I'm sure everyone will agree that some people deserve a second chance, and some deserve the death penalty or life imprisonment or no chance of redemption.

I totally get what this person is saying and I would be lying if a part of me didn’t agree with some of the sentiment, but none of that truly matters. What matters is the kind of society we want to live in and how we want to be remembered as people.

This post was destined to the draft graveyard, but we actually touched on this subject in my Race, Class and Gender class yesterday and the reactions were quite interesting.

A lot of the ideas talked about matched what you'll see if you follow the link and read the comments. Some people stating it's just following the way we're taught "every action has a reaction." Some people claiming it's somehow ethical because it's merciful (though why they have the power to decide what another human being might consider merciful is beyond me).

But the most interesting thing to me was the fact a lot of those same people were anti-choice (we talked about abortion next). Even though it's not too shocking in and of itself, I must admit I was a little surprised these people still exist.

For me it some down to this: Killing people is easy. Wanting revenge is easy. Rising above our anger and hurt to do the more humane thing? Not so easy.

And when is the right thing ever the easy thing?

What's ultimately right or wrong? I'm not sure. But I don't know if I can live with myself if I condone, even through my vote or words, the killing of other people.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Killing someone for killing someone just leaves two people dead and nobody feeling any better.


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