October 3, 2010

Before I comment briefly, consider the following:

— The recent controvery over Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s comments following the brutal murder of a pizza delivery driver in the city’s Hyde Park section a month ago;

— Closing arguments are now taking place in the case of one of two men accused in that horrific home invasion and murder case in Connecticut;

— The government’s recommendation that Faisal Shahzad, the so-called “Times Square bomber” receive life imprisonment instead of the death penalty.

I mention these particular cases because, in my view, each of these warrant the death penalty if indeed those involved are found to be guilty. I touched briefly on my thoughts about the death penalty in cases of premeditated murder or intent to murder a couple of weeks ago, and I think to be not only correct and practical, but a pretty reasoned approach to a complex issue. It’s taken me a while to come around to this view – like many, I’ve struggled with the ethics behind it for a long while – but I think I have this nailed, and it’s an approach worth considering for those who care deeply about this matter (both pro and con).

The basic assumption behind my approach is that human life, all human life, is precious (even Nancy Pelosi’s – just kidding!) once you start from the premise that we human beings, even the most fallen, are a precious form of God’s creation:

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

— Genesis 1:26-27

(Of course, if you’re either an atheist or anyone who doesn’t follow this premise, you might just as well quite reading from here on, since nothing I say will change your mind otherwise!)

If we take this idea of something being precious, you have to assign some measure of value to it – after all, if something isn’t precious, there’s no inherent value to it, right? In the case of life itself, that value is the privilege of being able to live one’s life to the fullest to its natural end (whatever form that takes). And when that which is precious is taken away with intent and premeditation, the one(s) behind that act by logical extension forfeit their own “precious nature” and the privilege of being able to live their own lives to the fullest and their own natural ends.

It’s critical to note here that I’m only talking about acts of premeditation and intent. If, as the result of a fair trial where the evidence was presented fairly on both sides, those Boston punks are found to have deliberately set out to kill that pizza delivery person, or the Connecticut home invaders are found to have deliberately set out to kill anyone they found inside that house, or Times Square guy is found to have deliberately intended to set off a bomb that would kill innocent people, there is no logical reason why they shouldn’t be put to death quickly and without appeal.

I’m not talking about deaths resulting from accident, negligence, manslaughter, or even actions in war. I’m talking about evil – the kind of evil that can only explain the desire of one person to want to take the life of another for no apparent reason other than malice. And I don’t find the arguments for criminal insanity or religious practice (like honor killings) to be valid exceptions here – sane or not, Koran or not, in this society your life loses its precious value when you kill, or attempt to kill, someone with the intent to do so. You don’t need to know the person, you just need to the desire to kill someone. Then it’s “see ya”, enjoy eternity.

Unfortunately, my death penalty argument doesn’t fit those creeps who taped that poor Rutgers University student who ended up committing suicide. And that’s probably a good thing. I’m sure they didn’t intend for him to kill himself as a direct result of their actions, but it’s better they have a nice long life to contemplate what they did and live with it.

Anyways, that’s my own two cents’ worth, and I don’t think I’m way off base here. Do you?

Pool temp: 80 degrees

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 00:09 | Comments (2)
  1. You’re batting .667 in my book.

    Times Square bomber? Nope. Unfortunately, in my book you actually have had to have taken a life before the state can take yours. “Intent” to take a life goes down a very slippery slope for me.

    And a minimum of 10 years in jail for those two butt-heads who filmed the Rutgers student and put it on YouTube. This violation of privacy thing has got to stop.

    Comment by Dave Richard — October 3, 2010 @ 2:17 am

  2. With the exception of “genetic” anti-social personality (those born with the genentic structure of having no concept of right or wrong,ie. Hannible Lector-types, serial killerss, etc…humans are not born to kill…it is matter of what circumstances/conditions brings a human to kill…matter of survival, sure as in war, invasion of lands, protecting one’s self or family, etc. Killing “because I can” is another issue because that is an intentional decision to do wrong. Much of that is taught and modeled by family, society, peers, etc.

    I am still curious as to what kind of people sat around and came up with the old tortures (having been addicted to The Tudors series brought this thought to the forefront)…or the Spanish Inquestion…who comes up with drawing and quartering a person?

    Would I kill to protect someone I love from intentional harm…YES!!! Would I kill because I wanted what someone had..NO!!!! Would I kill if I were crazed? Cannot answer that one until I go crazy.

    As for who “deserves” to die???? Well, no one on this planet is capable of making that decsion but we do anyway. That “decision” is from another source not of human structure.

    I live with the philosophy of “do no harm” and that is all I have control over.

    Comment by Jana — October 3, 2010 @ 7:16 am

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