Two wrongs don’t sum up to a right, and you don’t heal a wound by placing a hot nail on it. This is the controversy surrounding death penalty in our society. The mention of the death penalty has triggered endless and heated debates across the world. Life is sacred and belongs to God. For whichever crime, murder, treason or espionage, handing the accused with a death penalty does not correct the situation (Bohm, 2016). It instead yields untold pain in the affected families, and to a greater extent, it triggers revenge and animosity. The death penalty has no good intent at all and should be abolished and scrapped from our legal systems.
The abolitionists come out clears the air in this debate by bringing about strong and credible arguments. Death penalties, empowers the governments to wrongly take human life. Some argue that some execution methods, including the death penalty, have been found to violate the prohibition of torture, exposing the convicted to suffering and pain (Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?, 2017). According to a report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, states continue to violate international human rights law by imposing the death penalty. It’s an ultimate denial of human right.
Claims that death penalty has got some deterrent effects are invalid as social science research has discredited the belief. At the information age that we are in, we reject the principle of an eye for an eye. We can’t be doing to criminals what exactly they do to their victims. Just like the penalty for rape can’t be rape! It’s a remnant of uncivilized society that has no purpose and effect. The penalty, arguments continue, is an offense to the inviolability of life and the human person dignity. It’s a deliberate contradiction to God’s plan for our society and His merciful justice. It does not render justice but instead fosters vengeance. The criminal’s right to life is God-given and His commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’ applies all.
Life is God-given, and no man is entitled to terminating another man’s life, whether acting in the capacity of law or not. The law itself is not error-free. At times, it can convict innocent (falsely accused) to death. At other times, the verdict may be influenced by discriminants factors, prejudices, and biases. There no any moral authority tied to the penalty. We can’t afford to look at killing/murder in two ways, legal and illegal. Whether it’s a criminal act or a justice delivery mechanism, there is one thing in common, and we terminate life in both cases. And the question is who convicts the one who kills ‘legally.’ Additionally, the stakeholders in the legal systems can come up with other ways of punishing offenders. There is no any justice given to complainants when an accused is killed. It does not resurrect their friends either.
As much as the abolitionists continue to champion their campaigns against this capital punishment, there is an increasing need to deliver justice in equal and deterrent measures. Executing criminals is the surest way of denying them opportunities to cause more harm and pain through their heinous acts. Most perpetrators are always in group rings. When one or some of the members are executed, the groups are weakened. From another perspective, it instills fear to the ring members thus acting as a deterrent (Recinella, 2015). It’s to be understood that the killers don’t just kill. They not only violates the natural and godly rights to life of their victims but also in most instances deny close relatives and families of their victims the care, attention, and love they get from them. Turning them hopeless and in most cases eliminating from our societies the most resourceful and influential people. We would be exposing our judicial systems to public mockery if such criminals would just be leniently convicted thus encouraging more acts of the same kind.
Both the proponents and abolitionists have some biases emanating from their arguments. From the proponents’ side of view, the law itself is strongly and directly biased. When does killing become legal and right? And who is it that gives right to kill and on what grounds? Why doesn’t the law punish the one who kills on its behalf? All these questions remain rhetoric. From the abolitionists’ side, things are not good either. When arguments about infringing human rights to life and prevention from torture and pain, we are left wondering whether these killers didn’t do the same for fellow human beings.
I subscribe to the belief that life is both sacred, precious and God given. The responsibility of terminating life solely belongs to the giver. Additionally, I identify myself with activists championing for equality of all people irrespective of their races. This is enough to explain that I belong to the so-called ‘minority,’ who in most cases have found themselves on the ‘wrong side’ of the law in their protests. In most cases, the ‘reward’ being harsh, discriminating and punitive verdicts.
It’s of no doubt that death penalty lacks moral grounds to be based on. It has no any constructive role in the society and judicial systems. We cannot build our society this way. Killing our children and training, indirectly, more ‘killers.’ We don’t eradicate any pain. In fact, we do more harm than good to ourselves. We continue to create a lifetime bomb out of a vengeance and rebellious society. Death penalties in most cases are imposed in criminal justice systems that treat you better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent. Given this explanation, I still reiterate my position; the death penalty has no good intent at all and should be abolished and scrapped from our legal systems.
- Bohm, R. M. (2016). Deathquest: An introduction to the theory and practice of capital punishment in the United States. Taylor & Francis.
- Recinella, D. S. (2015). The biblical truth about America’s death penalty. Northeastern University Press.
- Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed? (2017, June 8). Retrieved from ProCon Website: http://deathpenalty.procon.org/