Tuesday, June 26, 2007

That's why the death penalty is a problem

There are some people whose crimes call out for the ultimate penalty. Some acts are so heinous that we'd be hard pressed to keep from killing the person on the spot if we were to witness the crime. But such visceral reactions are not justice, and they're not how our system is supposed to work.

Once again, we're perched on the precipice. We may soon learn that an innocent man was executed. Whether it happens this time or not, the uncertainty that leads us to be able to wonder if a mistake was made should be enough to say we shouldn't be killing people!

We, in some states, take deliberate, structured steps to take the lives of certain human beings. With all of our flaws as humans, we feel certain enough to take this ultimate, final step and kill, not in self-defense but as an act of punishment.

How can we not be horrified by the thought of even once killing the wrong person? In this case, the man is dead already, and now the case is being re-examined. Witnesses have recanted. Allegations that detectives steered and/or coerced witnesses have surfaced. I could go on, but I feel like I'm beating an executed horse.

Yes, some people are horrible and their deaths wouldn't bring tears, but do we want to risk the errors? Isn't locking someone in a tiny cell for the rest of their lives without any chance for parole good enough?

1 comment:

Dantallion said...

I've never understood the death penalty. Aside from the fact that killing is just wrong, how is justice served by putting those who commit truely heinous crimes out of their misery? If the ultimate goal is not rehabilitation, but rather to force the criminal to experience horrible punishment as payment for their crime (which seems to be what people want), then life in prison with no parole, either hard labour or in solitary confinement seems like much more of a punishment to me.