Every so often when another poor drug runner kid goes to the gallows, the Internet will be abuzz with calls to drop the death sentence. What are we looking at when we call for an abortion of the death sentence? State sanctioned killing, depriving the life of another human being (against his/her will), cruel and unusual punishment in such civil times, punishment is ineffective in deterring the crime and there are more effect ways of deterring the said crime.
Personally, I totally agree with the last 2 points as I believe there are enough evidences to support the ineffectiveness of the death penalty. The death penalty is just a lazy way of sweeping issues under the carpet with a need to think creatively a better solution, which is out there. Sometimes, there are effective solutions, to some extend like legalising drugs, but the policies makers are just too scared to make to them.
Another reason why I think the death penalty can be wrongly used is that the definition of crime is arbituary. Different countries will define crimes different. In one country, its okay to wear bikini, but in other you may be going to the gallows for it. So we should understant that a criminal here, is not a necessary the same criminal elsewhere. As such, the death penalty becomes an arbituary killing mechanism to keep people within a social order.
However, as for some of the other reasons, I am dubious as to whether the supporters really know what they are asking for. Don’t get me wrong, I totally support the ending of the death penalty, I am saying that there is some fundamentals that we need to examine when we say we support sometime like that.
In Singapore, at least, I noticed that many of the examples why the death penalty ought to be abolish is given in a showcase of drug runners who are either ignorant or forced by their own circumstance to do so and got caught. Bambi is the showcase here.
What about the others who were executed? Mass murderers, child rapist and killers, serial killers, gang members. How many of them are also showcased together as a reason not to have the death penalty? Surely this will make the appeal much weaker to the public, Bambi have to be the mascot and not the big bad wolf.
Why is that so?
Simply speaker, the public tend not to forgive people who have kill others knowingly and out of malice. I suspect that some of the supporters too may not be able to forgive them.
Another function of the death sentence is really to serve as an age-old revenge mechanism for agrieved members of the victim(s). In our currently time, direct revenge killing is not possible as such the state is sought after to take over the function. At the end of the day, its still revenge, regardless who revenges and many people still believe in an eye for an eye, a life for a life.
So my question to the supporters is this, you have just witness a mass murderer who have just raped your mother and sisters and also kill and dismembered your entire family (parents, siblings et al). He (I am not being sexists, just easier to use one gender) is now injured and cannot move and you have gun in your hands, what would you do? Do give out your answers too readily for political correctness, you really really need to think about “not killing” hard. If its hard, think back when you are watching a movie and the bad guy gets maimed and killed by the hero, were you happy or aghast? Did you support what the hero did?
Do you then really think you really support the ending of the death penalty?
As a supporter, do you support war efforts? If invaders, example the Japanese, came in and starter killing your friends and family and raping women and bombing your house, would you support any war effort to rid of the invaders?
So people may say that this is different and irrelevant to the death penalty. I beg to differ.
The death penalty is a structured means of killing someone for a crime that have committed against the state’s defined laws. War killing is also a structured means (planned bombing and shooting) of killing someone for what in your view is a crime committed against your country and family. In both cass, someone will be killed. In war, however you can kill as many people as possible without too much paperwork and sometimes with very little remorse. This is also taking away lives of others without their consent, althought they expect to be kills sometimes. Violence is violence, killing is killing, I don’t see this as different.
I don’t believe that one can support ending of death penalty, but yet support war effort. This is just picking and choosing the types of killing that suits you
Finally, we cannot talk about violence and killing without looking into the fundamental of our believe system, i.e. religious believes.
The death penalty is probably a better punishment than what is described in many religious books if you don’t believe in their gods or their believe system.
I don’t understand how can one support the idea that its wrong to take one’s life away but yet is supportive of all the violent acts meted upon the non-believers after they have died or sometimes when they are alive in their religious books.
Many religious books talks about sanctioned killings and acts of violence against non-believers and those who went against their god’s laws. So isn’t the death penalty also a form of sanctioned killing against the non-believers of the law of the country? Do you then as a support condemn those acts of killings and violence described in your scriptures, albeit them happening long ago and may or may not be facts. How can you reconcil your belief that the death penalty is wrong and should be stopped, if you accept the acts violence and killings in your religious text?
After all most religous text is about your god’s law and those who break its laws are condemned to torture, death and violences. If your god cannot spare non-believers of the “death sentence”, how can you expect a government to spare the non-believers of its laws the death sentence?