I took the above screenshot about three weeks ago, from a Facebook thread about suspects of the Boston bombing. The irony strikes because the comment was not directed toward the actual bomber, and thus this person’s violent sentiment was wasted (as well as the support he/she got from five other people). However, it does serve its purpose in allowing me to smoothly transition into my oh so subtle argument against a practice we all know and love: the death penalty.
We all get emotional sometimes. I cry over characters who don’t even exist – heck, sometimes tears prick the back of my eyes when I see old people walking together. If I were to lose a close friend or family member, I’d most likely want to damage the person responsible right away. But should we allow our emotions to reign supreme and inflict irrevocable harm upon those who have hurt us? Is that the best way for us to progress as people, as humans, as a nation?
Killing criminals won’t bring our loved ones back. Killing criminals won’t lower the overall crime rate. Killing criminals will, however, cost our country more money. Learning that fact last summer shocked me; why wouldn’t quickly disposing of killers save us time and resources? It’s unfortunate I wasn’t aware of all of the appeals these cases have to go through, as well as the cost of the actual procedure itself. The idea of poetic justice, even an incorrect one, can steal the sight of many.
In my psychology course last year we learned about the availability heuristic and how people get attached to certain images. Perhaps this is why many of us don’t recall the victims of the Columbine shooting but we can instantly retrieve the names of the perpetrators. Maybe this explains our inclination to hurl hate messages at Dzhokar Tsarneav when we could be raising funds for those injured in the bombing. Either way, harboring spiteful thoughts does not bring us closer to justice – it doesn’t provide a plausible method for preventing future suffering.
And that’s the word this is all about: justice. I empathize with those who wish to receive recompense, but the death penalty does not act as a deterrent, it does not follow objective and strict guidelines, and it does not enhance the morality of any party involved. We should strive to ameliorate the conditions of those who walk the earth today – we shouldn’t waste time gouging eyes with so many of us already blind. What kind of cycle do we establish by basing justice on death, on cruelty, on hatred?
We only have so many minutes to make a difference. We should spend our time on the ones who count, the ones who can reap the rewards of our efforts, the ones who cry for help after the flood or shooting or fire. The ones who, in the end, still need us.
Anyone agree or disagree with my stance on the death penalty? I’d love to discuss! Also, my AP Calculus exam is in less than 48 hours and my AP Biology exam is in one week… wish me luck studying! Hope you’re all doing well as always.
17 responses to “Stone Him to Death, They Shout”
I totally agree! I was just ranting about this in English class actually… I feel like people in today’s society are too quick to blame and too slow to help. I guess they feel more accomplished pointing out the bad guy than saving the person on the ground, maybe because “they’re saving future lives” or something. All I know is, if someone pushed me at school, I’d rather have you help me stand up than for you to tell the teacher who did it.
And on a somewhat related note, I saw a news report about people protesting outside of the funeral home that accepted the body of the older Boston Bomber brother (alliterations!!!), Tamerlan Tsarneav. I find it really annoying that people can’t leave these things alone. There are a lot of people still recovering in the hospital that you could visit or raise money for or something. Don’t spend hours standing outside of a funeral home because the owner was doing a favor for all the other cemeteries that rejected the body.
There I go, ranting again. Ah well, it feels good to let it out
I appreciate all your thoughts, maybe because I can relate to a lot of them. To an extent punishment is necessary – we can’t just let every bad guy get away with anything – but sometimes it’s too much, like with the example you provided about Tamerlan Tsarneav. We shouldn’t spend so much time protesting something that’s done and over when there are so many more fruitful tasks waiting to be accomplished.
If you consider that comment a “rant” I hope you rant on more of my posts! Thanks for stopping by. (:
A great read.
Best of luck! ^_^
Thank you, I’ll do my best!
I wish you luck studying.
Who would you like to be like? Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the whole EU, which do not have the death penalty, or China and Iran, enthusiastically executing people? Yes, I agree with you.
Thank you! And I agree, the countries that have eliminated the death penalty seem much more productive and less authoritarian.
You speak so well of your beliefs Thomas.
I agree, we should focus our energies on doing right by victims. I don’t really know how I feel about the death penalty….
Thank you! I hope that I’ve allowed you to consider another perspective, at least.
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So well written.
I think your post is especially relevant in light of the Jodi Arias trial that those of us in Arizona have been forced to watch for the last 4 months, and I agree with your opinion.
On totally unrelated news, I nominated you for the WordPress Family Award: http://librarymom12.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/wordpress-family-award/
I’ve heard about the Jodi Arias trial but haven’t done much research on it – I just spent about twenty minutes reading up on it and it appears quite grisly and gruesome.
On a lighter note, thank you for the award! I don’t do award posts on this blog but it’s still 100% appreciated.
I actually argued a lot with people about the whole Death Penalty thing and I’ve come to understand that there is no right or wrong answer. On one hand its wrong to kill people, what does it say about us if we are all for killing people and we are killing people because they killed people. Doesn’t that make us hypocrites? On the other hand you have big bad ass criminals for which governments spend millions on security where they could be using the same money to help the poorer people in society and what not.
Great post though 🙂
I see what you mean – however, I think you would need specific statistics to show that government spending on security is greater than government spending on the numerous trials/materials needed for every death sentence. Thank you for reading and commenting as always!
I’m really not sure about what I think of the death penalty. I do think that people should help the victims of the crime and not waste time pointing fingers and rage at the suspects/culprits. But I do think that if a person commits a crime they do deserve punishment. And awhile the death penalty costs money, so does keeping the culprits in a prison that feeds them, clothes them, and pays for making sure they stay in the prison (which I think will eventually cost more than just giving the death penalty).
Then again, there is also a option that the culprit can be put to work under extreme supervision in order to atone for their crimes and pay back the money it took to keep them alive.
Sorry, I’m not really well-informed about this kind of thing but that’s my opinion ^_^”
I agree that it may take a myriad of monetary resources to keep prisoners alive – but you’re right that they can be rehabilitated to a point and even if not, be put to good use in terms of working for their keep. Also, being forced to live in prison for the rest of one’s life may even be worse than death, to some, considering the monotony of the environment and the lack of opportunity available.
It’s okay, I’m not that informed either – your thoughts are wise irrespective! Thank you for reading and commenting.