Thursday, 4 August 2011
SOCIETY: THE DEATH PENALTY
I read today about e-petitions which, if they get enough public support, will be debated in Parliament which, in turn, could lead to a change in the law. First up seems to be the death penalty.
I have no objection to debating it, though if we lived in a truly civilised society the topic would never even arise, because we needed to be reminded of what a cruel and inhumane thing it is.
1. It isn't justice, it's revenge pure and simple. I understand why people would want the murderer of a loved one to be put to death. I would probably feel the same. But that doesn't make it right. It's an emotional response to a horrendous act. The law is, or should be, about justice. The death penalty isn't.
2. Mistakes are made. Innocent people are found guilty. The police can be put under pressure in cases such as the Birmingham Bombings to get a result and that is just one relatively recent example. With the death penalty, how many innocent people would have been legally murdered by the State in the last 30 years? One would have been too many. New evidence to prove innocence often turns up.
3. How is murder defined? There are various degrees of culpability. Derek Bentley, a subnormal young adult, was hanged because, while in police custody, he uttered a phrase which only might have suggested his friend kill a policeman; or might have suggested he hand the gun over. Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK, was proven to have a mental instability. Oh but of course we've changed, that sort of thing would never happen now.Of course it wouldn't. Of course it would.
4. It is final. It gives the individual no chance to reform or to show repentance, to become a better person.
5. The only western country to still have the death penalty is the USA which only lags behind China in its use. Bill Clinton knowingly refused to pardon a retarded man because it would affect the chances of his election. What sort of system murders retarded people?
I detest and despise and loathe the death penalty with all my heart. It is cruel. It is vindictive. It is wrong. It is an eye for an eye and I thought we'd come further than that. Remember the outcry of an Iranian woman who was disfigured and blinded by a rejected suitor? She was given the right to have him blinded in turn. Thankfully at almost the last minute she relented. Do you think she was right? Should cruelty be met with cruelty? If that's what you believe then please have nothing to do with me because you are anathema to me and your lack of humanity disgusts me.