09 novembro 2006

On the human stupidity

Out of the uncountable stupidities made by Man since its existence on Earth, the invention of Death Penalty was the most stupid of them all. I usually find it very hard to explain how obnoxious I think having Death as a penalty is.
Probably the first human instinct to be developed is the sense of survival, the ability to fight for life sometimes even if that strugle is at an unconscious level. This characteristic is the foundation of the Humanity itself, it is the base of societies and cultures and the world as we know it.
Any deviation from this natural behaviour has its origin on one of the following: the belief that life will go on after death, a better life maybe as it is defended by some religions, or in clinical conditions, that are behind the conscious control.
The right to life should be an implicit right for every human being that no court of law, judge, jury or sentence should even be able to question let alone change it. Unfortunately, the need for power is as intrinsic as the sense of survival.

This would be the moral slash romantic part of this issue, but let's get technical.

· No correlation was ever proven to exist between the institution of Death Penalty and the deterrence of crime. Point 1: there is no reason to keep it.
· With the existence of such a penalty, and because humans are not perfect - some would disagree I believe - there will always be a chance to condemn and murder the innocent. Point 2: the murder of an inocent is precisely why the penalty exists in the first place.
· To force a life to terminate is to deny redemption and the right of the very basic trial-and-error function that runs in every human. Point 3: why are some humans awarded with the possibility of change and others are not?
· It will never be possible to quantify how painful it is to have a loved one killed, wheather the loved one is the victim or the perpetrator of the crime. Point 4: justice has to be blind and emotionless.
· Punishment is mutually exclusive with a death penalty - no punishment outcome can be possible from the dead, nor the dead can be punished since that would constitute an absurdity. Point 5: having death as a penalty is purposeless.

These are just some arguments that I believe to refute the very fundamental principles that would eventually validate such a penalty. Others would be possible - who is to decide on who lives and dies? Financially, it is more expensive to apply a death sentence then a life without parole sentence. Isn't it a paradox to find humane ways of executing a life? And I won't even get started on the Botched Executions and on the almost sarcastic fact that no sick person can be executed.

To have an overview on the current situation throughout the world when it comes to the Death Penalty, I made the following map showing only the retentionist countries. The big chunk on the left side of the map is, as you may have guessed, the United States. Now, isn't it ironic that almost all of the other coutries are on the right side, hence, out of the ocident, so-called civilized, part of the world?
Currently, 129 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Only 68 are still using it. In 2005, at least 2 148 people were executed in 22 countries. Around 20 000 are currently condemned and awaiting execution.
This year, 2006, John Ballard was found innocent after spending more than 3 years on Florida's Death Row.
Today John Schmitt is going to be executed in VA, where inmates can choose between Lethal Injection and Electrocution. Apparently Gas Chamber, Hanging, Firing Squad, Beheading and Stoning were not an option.

Portugal was the first country in the world (yes, in the whole entire world) to abolish in practice the Death Penalty.
After all we are actually the first at something.

11 comentários:

Anónimo disse...

First and foremost, I am against the Death Penalty.
That being said, I don't think that the Death Penalty has been "instituted" in our "modern" law systems as a correctional measure. This is more of an "Old Testament" kind of law, which fits perfectly in this day and age of "modern thinking" and "understanding". Let me try and explain why.

Our modern hierarchical society dictates that classes must exist. Inherent to these classes are different educational levels which are used to separate those with power (money), from those without. Those without money, are left without educations, or even the simple knowledge that it exists. This in turn leads to ignorance, which leads to fear.

Scared people behave irrationally, and ultimately, this is the "why" of why some countries still use the Death Penalty. The majority of their populations are ignorant (and I don't mean ignorant just by "European standards"), and so they care for little more than revenge or retribution for which ever action is being condemned.

Take for example that a husband is killed. The wife will most likely want the presumed killer to die a "horrible" death. I agree with you where it comes to the simple fact that the "system" may be condemning an innocent man, and that that alone, should be reason enough not to have the Death Penalty as a sentence. The problem with this is that people, most of these people, are merely looking for retribution.

Summing up:
People that want the Death Penalty, are ignorant, fear-full, vengeful, and aren't really looking for the offender to "learn" not to do that again, or to actually "regret" his/her actions.


ps: I have to disagree with you on your last point. If you loose your life, you *are* punished. If you know what the punishment to something is before doing it, you will think twice before doing it. The problem is that not everybody has the same "moral values" of right and wrong, and don't much care for rules...
I actually doubt that this "discussion" will ever have an end...

Paula disse...

If you loose your life you *are* dead, not punished. To be punished for something, by definition, you should be aware that you're paying for your errors, otherwise - if we assume people won't ever learn from their errors - it's pointless to have different penalties for different crimes.

Another point where I should vehemently disagree with you is that capital punishment maybe used to alert others. Not only a relation was never found between applying Death Penalty and crime diminishing, but because no one should ever be killed to teach others a lesson.

"The problem with this is that people, most of these people, are merely looking for retribution." Everybody will look for retribution once they feel hurt.
Our pain is always greater than anyone else's, if somebody tells you otherwise, is just being sympathetic.

rup disse...

"If you loose your life you *are* dead, not punished."
Yes, but I didn't say that people were out to punish you. People are merely out to get retribution. Nothing more. That's why to some of them the Death Penalty is perfectly alright.

"Another point where I should vehemently disagree with you is that capital punishment maybe used to alert others."
Huh, yes it can. But the problem is, that it's only going to "alert others" that already "know" in the first place that whatever action is punishable by death, is already something that they would never do. It's kind of a contradiction I know, but knowing that that kind of punishment is there, is just another mechanism of instilling more fear into the general population.

"Everybody will look for retribution once they feel hurt."
Looking fo retribution, doesn't necesserily mean that you would want to kill a person.

Paula disse...

If it was a matter of retribution it would be "an eye for an eye" and the person who committed the crime would have to have the crime committed on him/her. That's why making people pay for their mistakes is not a matter of retribution but of punishment and that is also why there are courts of law.

Punishments exist, everyone is aware of them (not counting mentally disabled, obviously) and crimes that are punished with death penalty still happen.

Retribution doesn't necessarily mean that you would want to kill a person, true, and again that's why you have courts of law. Otherwise all hell would break loose.

rup disse...

"an eye for an eye"
Hence my "Old Testament" reference in my first comment ;)
I agree with you that people should be punished, I'm not arguing that. What I am focusing on is that "most people", or at least the majority of the people that live in those countries where the Death Penalty exists, do not want punishment alone, in some other form. It's their sense of justice.

Anyway, hell *is* breaking loose! People kill each other left and right just because they looked at each other "the wrong way". Even if it's not in a "legal" way, such as in a Death Penalty sentence, "self defense" or some war over-seas where "they" are fighting "us".

Paula disse...

Death Penalty is a political tool, not a popular demand.
There are people in US against Death Penalty as there are in China or India. On the other hand there are people in favor of Death Penalty in Europe, Canada or Australia.
This is behind geographic borders, and that was precisely why I use the term "humans" when arguing against death penalty.

HC disse...

eh eh Burn Saddam...

That being said!

I have to say that in some cases there sould be aplied the death sentence! Like Saddam... Personaly i think death is an easy way out...Maybe an exile in a desert with no food and water its better because, the guy(or girl) will must probably die, but there is still a chance he or she might live...And maybe,in the process of it he/she will be sorry for what ever led im/her to that spot!

rup disse...

Olha outro... "não sou conta a pena de morte, mas em certos casos" :p
Há ai qq coisa que falha não é ;)

Paula disse...

Waffles, honey, if you agree that Death should be used as a penalty (whatever the crime commited),then you are in favour of Death Penalty.
No one is questioning the type of penalty that should be applied to a particular case, that's what courts of law are there for.

rup disse...
Este comentário foi removido por um gestor do blogue.
Waffles disse...

Then i guess that i am in favour...