The Death Penalty
The Death Penalty is, undeniably, one of the most controversial issues of our day. Emotional tensions are high between those who hold human life above justice and those who hold justice above all human life. The Death Penalty, along with all other forms of criminal punishment, is barbaric. This form of punishment, indeed all forms of criminal justice, truly shows the level to which society has sunk.
The state speaks of Justice, but this word is only a reflection of the confusion, anger, and hatred that has fermented within this country, indeed within the very foundations of human society itself.
Truly there is no purpose to the Death Penalty other than vengeance, yet it seems that our society has sunk to such a level that even vengeance is acceptable to most. The state, though, mimics every abhorrent quality of a punishable act of murder; a murder committed in anger is punished with an execution committed in anger; a cold, calculated, murder committed with pleasure is met with the same form of execution. The end result is the same and the feeling with which it is carried out is the same.
There are, even, many qualities of the death penalty that surpass the moral obscenity of a criminal act of murder. Where then is the difference between a murder and an execution? If we feel bad about explaining the Death Penalty to our children then we should not have to explain it at all.
There is a large majority of Christians in this country, yet such a small number of them actually come up in opposition to the Death Penalty; oftentimes, in fact, they are its most avid supporters. How can this be? All the teachings of Christ, save for those which have been horribly twisted by his followers, are opposed to any form of criminal justice. It seems that the modern Christian has begun to accept only those teachings which feel convenient. It is, indeed, sickening to see mock-Christians and self-styled “christian conservatives” speak in support of something that their religion expressly opposes.
How can they appoint themselves judges of another human being when they, themselves, are the ones who should be, supposedly, judged; how are they qualified to determine the fate of another man’s life when their fate is still in question and their status undetermined? There is one stunning question that must be asked of these people: If you were standing before Jesus Christ himself, could you possibly tell him how and why you support the death penalty; do you think you could make Christ believe and support such ideals?
Unfortunately religion is too often devoid of reason; that, though, is more often the fault of those who follow the religion than with the religion itself. The answer to the death penalty does not lie in finding out what “God” wants but, rather, in determining what is right. Where is the reason behind the Death Penalty then? It cannot “rehabilitate” (I, of course, use the word only to display the endemic hypocrisy in the justice system, indeed in much of present ideology both religious and political.
The word itself is nothing more than a cosmetic euphemism.). It cannot, and, as we have clearly seen, does not prevent crime outside of insultingly simple models of human behavioral response. Where is the purpose? The purpose of the Death Penalty lies in anger and hatred. Often has it been said that anyone who would not want a murderer of a relative to die is “sick.” Is not such a statement, and its advocate, sick though; sick with anger, hatred, and confusion; sick from the pain of loss? This practice finds its roots in rage, the consuming rage experienced when a loved one is murdered and the fabricated rage every citizen is conditioned to hold against enemies of the state.
Where, though, is the rage when another dies? What happens to the professed sentiment for human life we all claim to hold so dearly when anger clouds the mind? How can one find reason and logic in a purely emotional deed; one whose very nature defies the moral status of reason? How can one justify something through anger and hatred? One might argue a disbelief in this ideology, but it’s advocate must reply that he lacks a belief in the ideology of this form of justice; an ideology of hatred.
When one or more of our numbers, from the depths of pain and loss, drowning in a sea of hatred, falling into the abyss of their own despair, raises up their voice from the midst of their delusions and screams, cries out, begs for vengeance in a way only the tortured soul can, will we listen? A tear slides down the human face and falls into the dirt. We cannot follow it. A human tear, when mixed with the dirt, becomes something vile; a human mind, when mixed with the dirt, becomes something evil.
Save for religion there are few other ideals people adhere to so fanatically as criminal justice. It seems that the supporters of this barbarity are willing to hold it above all else. America has been rampantly executing immigrants from other nations without ever contacting their embassies, in complete defiance of international law.
We have watched people burned alive in the electric chair in Florida. There can be no concept of barbarity at all for one who believes that burning people alive is not so.
We continue to lower the age at which a child can be, criminally, treated as an adult and executed. Our present course ensures a time when the state will have to provide prison issue diapers.
Capital Punishment is a practice that exists in the most fragile circumstance of social policy; between anarchy and tyranny; lacking the support or reason but backed by the force of the gun; invulnerable against forceful rebellion but always fearing a single whisper that speaks the truth.
The Death Penalty is a simple-minded solution to a complex problem. They opt for the quick-fix; something that seems easy and simple to carry out but, in actuality, does nothing to address the problem.
People don’t care anymore. They don’t care about their religion, their government, their laws, or each other. It’s just too much trouble. Sadly, thought, the one true religion, is the only one which lacks a multitude of fanatical zealots.
Why do we carry it out? Perhaps society finds it as an outlet for its collective anger, hatred, and confusion; a focal point for all our dark qualities which have originated from the torturous condition of our lives. Orwell needed only one Goldstein to maintain his tyrannicism; the American government needs millions.