Recently a death row inmate requested the firing squad as a final parting gift from the State of Utah.
I find it odd how odd America can be. In terms of a massive, centrally organized national government, we are gaga to emulate the experience of the far older Europeans, but unlike them we continue to have some serious interest in executing criminals…perhaps we just cannot let go of our puritanical past…
…and Frankly Francis, as usual, against the grain, is right where he is accustomed to finding himself: in favor of very limited national government and opposed to the death penalty. (Note to Self: if all else fails establish the single resident country of FranLand, name myself Ambassador to the U.S. and get full diplomatic immunity – yeah, that should work just fine.)
But if I am murdered, God forbid, please do not execute my killer. Mind you, I am not saying that I’d be in favor of letting that person walk the streets again. In that circumstance, I’d like to figure a way for that person to work for the benefit of my heirs…but I digress.
Murder – To kill (a person) unlawfully and with malice
Capital Punishment – Penalty of death for a crime
Throughout recorded history, governments and religions have freely dispensed the death penalty. Things, in their often circuitous way, move forward. In recent times, most of the generally considered civilized world has abolished capital punishment.
Old Testament Religion: The Principle of “An Eye For An Eye”
Pretty simple. You kill someone; the state kills you in return. Fair is Fair. You get what you give. There is ample religious support for this practice and it is very literally still used in parts of the world.
It should be noted that this also requires “stoning” to death your neighbor for adultery or homosexuality, amongst other things.
New Testament Religion: The Principle of “Turn the Other Cheek”
In spite of its idealism, we haven’t gotten there yet. I’m not thinking that we will be incorporating this into our jurisprudence any time soon.
But considering that in America, we have gotten the church out of the execution business, it leaves the job to the government.
Some Other Factors Against Capital Punishment
The government does, unwittingly or intentionally on occasion wrongfully accuse a citizen of something that they did not do. No one should die because of that.
When someone is executed, if it turns out that the individual was innocent, there is no redress – the wrong cannot be made right.
The death penalty has been shown to be used disproportionately against the poor and minorities in its application. If we are to keep it, then it needs to be applied equally.
It can be argued that life in prison, without parole, is a worse fate.
Killing someone is still (perhaps fortunately) not a “neat” process. Many executions are messy and are seen as cruel and unusual punishment by a significant number of Americans.
There are conflicting studies on whether capital punishment reduces serious crime, but the conflicting results should cause us to further study the issue.
When Something Is So Wrong It Can’t Be Right
I think that taking someone’s life is about as wrong as wrong can be…so wrong that it can never be right. We really need to get past killing each other and well, violence of any sort. We are a long ways from there, and we may never get there, but taking capital punishment out the hands of the government would be a very big step forward.
There really does not appear to be a definitive answer regarding the use of or the abolishment of the death penalty. Both sides make compelling arguments.
While always open to better understanding the opposing point of view, I remain against capital punishment and hope that Americans will join the many other people on this planet that have come to the same conclusion.