Do you believe in capital punishment? Would you be willing to execute a man sentenced to death by the courts if you were selected by lot to do so and he would go free if you refused? Assume you know no details of the trial.
Like a lot of things, I’m of two minds on this. My first impulse is to say, yes, I believe in capital punishment. In fact, a part of me believes it’s foolish to sentence men and women to death and then have them sit in prison awaiting execution for a decade or more. If the punishment for one’s crimes is death, why wait? If they’re found guilty by a jury of their peers and the consequences is the death penalty, why not execute them right away?
I know. What if the jury got it wrong? What if the evidence was incorrect? What about the appeals process? The real question there, to me, is: do we believe in our judicial system or not?
But then I also believe that a human life is nothing to take lightly. I’m aware of the quote, “An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.” Gandhi, right? Is it considered repaying evil with evil if you take the life of a murderer?
Look, my nature would be a desire for vengeance, not necessarily justice. When I watch the news and see some of the despicable things that people do, I can’t help but think that the world would be a better place without people like that. But then, where do you draw the line? Where would I draw the line. What would give me the right to do so?
I would not be willing to execute anyone. And I’m sure that makes me a hypocrite. I kind of have the same mentality about the food I eat. I love me some bacon, but I don’t want to slaughter a pig to get it. That’s a horrible analogy. Probably doesn’t make any sense. Except to say that, even if I’m okay with the death penalty, I’m ready to trust the courts to get it right and to get the job done when it needs to get done.
What kind of can of worms did I just open? How do you feel about capital punishment? Let me know in the comments below…
*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.