Enlightened Conflict

assessing the penalty of the death penalty

June 3rd, 2010

So. Next up on topics suggested by others from my 200th post. Maybe the third suggestion I received. I think the first two were spam.

Next thing I know someone says “What ya think about the death penalty?”

Yowza. Couldn’t someone have asked “what your favorite ice cream?”

Anyway. Here you go.

My opinion on the Death penalty. I wish I could make this a two sentence post. An unequivocal yes or no. But I can’t. It’s a dilemma (to me) where the only true ‘right versus wrong’ in the discussion is that whomever we are discussing as the ‘death’ in the death penalty equation has done something quite worthy to be in the discussion equation (with very rare exceptions when mistakes are made … which is rarer than the media makes it out to be).

Let me begin with getting two things out of the way:death-penalty balance

  1. I understand that a death penalty does not correlate to less criminal activity in death penalty like crimes. In other words the death penalty does not deter these types of crimes and criminals.
  2. I understand that the cost to maintain and try to rehabilitate someone for a lifetime of prison versus death is exorbitant (and, yes, it chaps my ass to have the country absorb that expense).

Ok. That said. Here we go.

I wonder if ‘the death’ in a death penalty really makes a mother feel better. Does it fill the empty space left behind? I would find it hard to believe the action would make it so. The initial sense of revenge has to be overcome by a sense of “well, that was not a 1 for 1 deal.”

But I also know (or believe) if it was my friend killed, or my sister, or someone else I loved I would probably want to do it myself. Without reservation I may add.

But does that make the death penalty right?

Just because emotionally I would pull the level/pull the trigger/whatever.

Nope.

Because I don’t believe anyone has the right to take someone else’s life. Certainly not out of revenge. Certainly not for “an eye for an eye” mentality. Violence simply begets more violence (a proven fact).

If that were ‘it’ for the discussion I could unequivocally say I am opposed to the death penalty.

But. That’s not it.

I do believe the right to take someone’s life has two possibilities.

In war. In self defense.

On those two situations I am very clear on my point of view.

Kill or be killed. Pretty black and white to me.

War? I am fairly sure no one will debate with me on this. Am I sure about self defense? Well. Using myself as an example. I never want to be in the position (never having killed anyone) but if it came down to someone who is going to kill me and me killing them … well … give me a gun and a lucky shot (because I am unclear I could hit the broad side of a barn) and I would do it.

(I hope that doesn’t sound too selfish but to me my point of view of the death penalty is going to come down to the individual).

So. What I mean by ‘coming down to the individual’ is:

  1. A person doesn’t lose their rights when they are killed (I am no legal beagle but I have watched enough Law & Order to know that).
  2. A person still has the right to defend themselves even from their grave.

So. I believe a murdered person has been denied their right to self defense.

To me the death penalty gives the freedom to defend themselves back to them.

So, yeah, I would put the defense weapon back in the hand of the one who paid the price.

I would invest the money to create a life size cutout of the person (or persons) the convicted murderer killed and put it beside them as the penalty is implemented so that everyone knew it wasn’t the state or government or anyone else other than the person killed being given their right to self defense (and maybe that would stop some of the people who attack ‘the system’ for capital punishment).

There you go.

I believe in self defense therefore I believe in the death penalty.

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Enlightened Conflict