Damien on… Capital Punishment
Capital punishment simply does not WORK – for four reasons.
One. It is NOT a deterrent. In olden times you could be hung for picking pockets. And hangings were public. And while the public watched – pickpockets worked the crowd.
Most murders are by definition, crimes of passion. People lose their tempers and go too far. The LAST thing on their minds is what will happen to them if they get caught.
The classic, PLANNED murder (a la Columbo and Poirot) is extremely RARE in The Real World. And professionals seldom get caught, since there is nothing to directly connect them with their victim.
Two. Justice is not an exact science. And during the days, weeks, even MONTHS of a murder trial, any lawyer worth anything will be able to plant SOME doubt into the minds of the jury.
So when the judge uses those famous words, “…beyond reasonable doubt”, how many jurors will be prepared to say they are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT sure?
Because anything less and they COULD be killing an innocent person.
Thus, faced with a choice of guilty or not guilty, many jurors will go for the latter, just in case. Which means that far from REDUCING the number of murderers in our midst, capital punishment actually INCREASES them.
On the other hand, if a juror knows a judgement of guilty will result in a life sentence, they will convict if ALMOST sure, in the knowledge that if they are later proved wrong, the convict can be set free and given compensation – and the chance to rebuild their life.
As opposed to just being RE-BURIED in consecrated ground.
And how would YOU feel, sitting on Death Row, knowing YOU were innocent? Would the notion that you were “taking one for the team” by DYING to help preserve a system of justice – make you feel any better about it? This scribe doubts it.
Or put another way, how many INNOCENT people would YOU be prepared to see KILLED in the name of justice – one a year? Two?
Make no mistake, history shows that there would ALWAYS be SOME.
Three. Killing is a brutal, primitive act – no matter HOW or WHY it’s done. Therefore Society lowers itself to the level of the SAVAGE by countenancing the act – even in the name of justice.
And four. Society does not have the RIGHT to take life. Sure, it has the right to protect itself from its evil elements. That is why we have prisons. Not an ideal solution, but they are the best we have.
And by employing those, Society has the ability AND right to deprive its unsociable citizens of their FREEDOM – just not their lives.
Of course there will be those reading this who will DISMISS all of the above arguments with “But what if someone killed your wife?” Well, certainly I would like to kill THEM – if I was sure of my facts – VERY SLOWLY. But that would be REVENGE, not justice.
Or “But what about the COST of locking someone up for life?” Well, that is the cost of a civilised system of justice.
So no matter how you look at it, Europe’s decision many years ago to REMOVE once and for ALL the obscenity of capital punishment, is why Europe today …is the most civilised society in the World.
America take note.