Monday, September 15, 2008

Capital Punishment

Here's a little morbid piece about the death penalty, for Illustration 4.

If killing is wrong, it should be always wrong, ever, for anyone, with the inclusion of execution and war, too. Does a difference in motive, in procedure, make someone's systematic death acceptable? The pro-capital-punishment websites have a strong focus on descriptions of the killer, and the crime, meant to work the viewer into a sympathetic frenzy with the victim, ready to demand retribution. At the point and time when you demand someone die for what they've done, and vote for it, pass the sentence, turn away, you yourself are complicit in a murder of some kind. Motives of revenge and desire put you mentally on a criminal level. If compassion and fair treatment of one human being to another is the goal, then it should start with people of some privilege. It affords us nothing to let people live. Contrary to common belief, it actually costs more, in the end, to execute a prisoner, than to feed and upkeep them for a full life sentence. And what is the cost of an execution, not in monetary loss, but for the psyches of the people involved? What about the murder victim's family? If the death appeases them, if a problem of anguish is solved by killing for revenge, then it has simply come full circle. Certainly some murderers deserve to die, but who can really make that call? Opposition of the death penalty supports the moral stance that people should be treated better than they deserve, by one another, and by society. As a statistically Christian nation, capitol punishment does not hold up to moral scrutiny, the way I see it.

"As one reads is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalized by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime."
~Oscar Wilde

Only 14 democracies in the world still have the death penalty, and only 3 of them have carried out executions in 2005: the United States, Taiwan and Japan. 44 dictatorships also practice it regularly.

88 per cent of all known executions in 2007 took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA.

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