In a way, I'm perfectly fine with this. It places the death penalty much more
clearly in the "Premeditated Murder" category, where I have believed for a
long time that it belonged anyhow.
You know, I've found it a great irony that George Bush can be a christian man,
but yet support the death penalty. Yes, I am aware of the verse "An eye for
an eye". However, I am also aware of the New Testament clarification, which
so-called christian people are supposed to believe superceeds the Old
Testament, which says "An eye for an eye, but instead turn the other cheek".
Allowing the victims to view this execution turns it very clearly into a
killing of vengeance, if it wasn't one before (I believe that it was, but
I could at least see the argument of the people whom stated that it was just
a way to remove them from society/avoiding the cost of incarceration before).
I find it very interesting that I've seen many people, some of whom my friends,
who truly believe in every word in the bible (Sometimes referred to as the
christian right, I guess), preaching much more volumous use of the death
penalty. The most important parts of the bible, as many priests have told me,
is the Gospels, and the Ten Commandments.
One of those commandments is "Thou shall not kill". Not "Thou shall not kill
reputable citizens". Not "Thou shall not kill except if the person has
committed a crime that I consider horrible." No but. No except. No qualifier.
Thou shall not kill. Ever. No Exceptions.
I do not believe in God, however. As you can probably tell by this rant, I
had a christian upbringing, and rejected it, but ended up with many of the
Another common perspective on this is the rule of law, that is, some people
advocating more executions believe that it is a good way to ensure that
the offenders never repeat their offenses, and that it will discourage others
from doing the same. These people believe strongly that the law is king, and
claim they would defend it with their lives.
I'm not so sure that they all believe in this, but they at least claim to.
Something inside me says that some of these (say 50%) might be people who
are just too high strung to admit that they want vengeance.
The Law defines premeditated murder as (basically... this is simplified a
little, of course) the act of planning to kill someone, and then following
through on that plan and actually doing so.
If you look at the raw facts, and ignore the fact that the state is the one
doing the killing, executions fit this definition. Right now, we are planning
to kill this man. We are planning to do so very meticulously. And then, we
will do so. And we will be proud of it. Many of us will not show any
remorse, the least of which those who do the actual physical killing.
Any private citizen who engaged in that would end up destined for the chair.
I find that to be very ironic.
There are other types of killing. Manslaughter is unintentional. This is
clearly not so. He is being lead to the chair, not accidently running into
Self defense. Some would argue this, since if allowed outside, he may kill
again. The law, however, has a very narrow definition of self defense, and
very delibratly so. He would have to present an *immediate* danger to the
person doing the killing, and he clearly cannot from his current situation on
Killing out of passion. (Sorry, I forget the technical term for this). Nope...
now, if one of the victims families had shown up the next day, and killed him
in a rage, then this could apply. But this has been meticulously planned...
any legally allowable passion defense is now out of the question.
The next common for reasoning given for the death penalty is vengeance.
Cry out as much as you like, but this is the reason why we are here... the
families want to see the offender die, and the government is providing.
State sanctioned vigilantism.
I cannot see the arguments for a state execution as vengeance. If someone
could enlighten me to these, I would appreciate it. As far as I can tell, it
is based on raw emotions. The reason we have a judicial system, is specifically
to make sure that punishments are decided rationally, instead of based on
emotion. Otherwise we might as well just abolish the courts, and all carry
around guns, just randomly killing people we don't like.
Is anyone still reading this far? I think my position on this issue is pretty
clear at this point, so I'll stop ranting at you all :)
(And K5 rejoices :)
- From Jaymz with Love