I have always hated the death penalty. Capital punishment belongs to the middle ages. The death penalty has no right to exist in any society that calls itself civilised. You can read about this abhorrent punishment in this wikipedia article.
There is a global campaign to get rid of the death penalty. I support it wholeheartedly. Many nations have abolished this kind of collective murder. Yes, I call it collective premeditated murder by society as a whole. If anyone is put to death by any country, then that crime (yes,it is a crime) should trouble the conscience of everyone who is a part of that country’s justice system. The hangman or the shooter alone should not take the blame. Infact, I really pity the poor souls who have to perform the job of a hangman. I can empathise with them, but I would personally prefer to steal to earn a living rather than knowingly kill a person (who may be completely innocent) because it is a part of my job. It is not a surprise that very, very few people want to perform the job of an executioner. And those people who have no other option would become psychologically affected after a few years in such a job.
Here are the reasons why I hate the death penalty :
- No justice system manned by humans is perfect. A person sentenced to death may be completely innocent or only partly guilty.
- Infact, it has been proved later that some persons who were put to death were innocent. What is the use?
- The justice system of any country has its flaws. So why not err on the side of caution?
- It is usually the poor and the marginalised who suffer. The rich and the powerful can get away. Is this not a real shame?
- The aim of any system should be to reform a person, not kill him/her. How on earth can a person be reformed if he/she is put to death?
- Think of the near and dear ones of a person condemned to the gallows. Think of the mental torture that they would be going through every second, being aware of the fact that their loved one is going to be killed and that they are helpless to prevent that.
- Think of the executioner. He is a human being as well.
- Even hardened criminals and terrorists are sometimes victims of circumstances. If given a chance and the right conditions, they would reform and contribute meaningfully to society. What do we achieve by putting such a person to death?
I believe that the maximum punishment to be given to a person should be life imprisonment until death and not capital punishment. This should be applicable for even the most heinous crimes. By making a criminal live the rest of his life in prison, we would make him realise the gravity of his offence. This cannot be achieved by killing him!
The positive thing about all this is that countries are abolishing the death penalty. Many countries have done away with the death penalty for good. Others use the death penalty only in the rarest of the rare cases. Even this is not enough. Countries that still execute people should learn from the European Union. The E.U. has made it a prerequiste for every nation (that wants to join the federation) to abolish the death penalty. It is about time that the United Nations takes a leaf out of the European Union’s book.
Any justice system must err on the side of caution when it comes to execution. Once killed, a person simply cannot be brought back to life. A criminal may escape with a lesser sentence but an innocent person should never be punished for something that was not committed by him. This alone should be enough to abolish this abhorrent practice.
DEATH to the the death penalty, I say!