Sunday, June 23, 2013

Becoming what you fight

I have expressed my opposition to government-imposed "death penalties" before.  But maybe I haven't expressed the thing I find most horrifying.  Besides the abominable error rate in convictions, that is.

It's not that I oppose the death penalty out of misplaced sympathy for murderers- I don't- it's that I hate it because of what it does to those who carry it out and those who salivate to see it done.  It turns them into murderers and revenge whores.

Death at the hands of an intended victim or a rescuer is justice- or better. It prevents the violation from being carried to conclusion- it nips it in the bud.  And it prevents the attacker from victimizing anyone else, ever again.  There is also almost no room for error, as long as no innocent bystander gets harmed in the process.  You don't get attacked by a rapist, and then in self defense kill an innocent guy who just happens to look a little like him, but was miles away at the time.  Not when the attack is in progress.  Afterwards....?

Death years later at the hands of some hired killer- paid with stolen money, no less- is murder motivated by revenge.

So, no.  I don't hate the "death penalty" because of what it does to murderers.  Death is appropriate for many of them.

But for those who kill them for The State?  It turns them into worse than those they kill. That's right- "capital punishment" is worse than almost all free lance murders- done without warning, in the heat of the moment, and without any illusion of legitimacy.

It is premeditated; clinical; ritualistic; almost religious. Barbaric in the extreme.  In large part because of the reverential way it is viewed by its fans.  Just imagine a freelance murderer going through the motions of killing his victims in the same way- the same ritual- as the State murderers do it.  You can't approve of that behavior, no matter who is doing it, and not be damaged by your approval.

It is not justice, it is the worst form of revenge. It's symbolic- cleansing society of a diseased individual. When in reality it accomplishes nothing of the sort. The "diseased individual" is already removed from society when caged.  And the ritual only creates more diseased individuals.

No "government" anywhere has employees who are perfect enough or wise enough to be trusted with the power of life and death.

There is no perfect solution.  Some innocent people will always die, and some really bad guys will always escape justice.  But that's no excuse to stick with a "solution" that is better suited to a barbaric past.  The past where "The State" also belongs.



  1. Being somewhat of a student of medieval history, it's interesting to note that public executions were not just to remind people that bad acts would have bad repercussions. They were to remind the masses that the state is in charge and will kill whomever it wants.

  2. 'The term "death penalty" is simply a euphemism for the act of State sanctioned murder, ironically carried out under the pretense of justice'.

    ~Stephanie R. Murphy

  3. I used to be for the death penalty. I changed my mind. Everything you said is what my heart and mind know to be right.