Sunday, 30 December 2012

Hang 'em an' flog 'em...

    I have a friend who is vehemently opposed to capital punishment. In every way, no compromise, wherever in the world and whatever the crime.
    Sadly I can't find myself fully agreeing with her, not because I don't find it unsettling and abhorrent, but because I really can't say there'd be no criminal whose end at the noose wouldn't concern me. Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely glad that we abandoned hanging many years ago because it means there can be no more shocking cases like that of Derek Bentley, it's just that I can't honestly say I'd be too upset if I heard that they were going to hang someone like Ian Brady. It would be hypocritical of me to say otherwise.
    So what's brought on this train of thought? The recent tragic and distressing case from India of the young woman who was gang-raped and who subsequently died from her injuries. There have not surprisingly been huge protests at the Indian police's lack of serious handling of the issue, as well as demands that the perpetrators be hung. Can't honestly say I'd get too upset at that prospect, as I've said above.
    It has been interesting however over the last few days to listen to the right-on chorus of Usual Suspects as they rightly go to town on the issue of rape, but fail to make their usual noise over the prospect of someone receiving the death penalty. Maybe they need to examine their stance, or admit their hypocrisy.


  1. The death penalty was probably feared, but not necessarily a deterrent. However as a signal punishment, to show society's abhorrence of dreadful crimes, it had its point.

    Setting aside the risk of hanging the wrong person, there still the bad effects of capital punishment to think about. Such as the medieval barbarity of hanging (why not a general anaesthetic instead, followed by a lethal injection?), or the effects on those charged with carrying out the execution, or the ghoulishness that surrounds the entire business?

    Personally, I can never understand why convicted rapists are not surgically castrated, especially when the victim was a child. (Maybe such a punishment would make juries reluctant to convict?)


  2. It is difficult to remember that the point of the judicial system is justice, not vengeance, now society has the right to protect itself by removing people from it, but does it have the right to break one of it's own most fundamental rules ~ to not take life? I understand that there is a lot of difference between non- sanctioned killing and declared inter-state war, but where in the spectrum of morals does judicial killing fit in? for me it has no place on both moral and legalistic basis, and on a purely practical level it is to risky, all judicial systems are just too fallible.

  3. Given the outrage that the Delhi rape has rightly provoked, the execution of a death sentence on the accused rapists seems like a foregone conclusion, if only in hopes to appease the protestors; "see how seriously we have taken this case". Hopefully the authorities' response will prove more wide-ranging than just a quick bout of 'pour encourager les autres'.

  4. You know I am not sure that I could agree with capitol punishment. Something about it just doesn't sit right with me, even when you are 100% sure about the persons guilt, or the horrendousness of the crimes.

    I think Paula makes a good point. Why would you want the death penalty? Is it to to ensure someone does not commit the same crime a second time, or is it vengeance over the fact they did it the first time.

    I'm reminded of a quote I read somewhere (I have no idea where...).

    Whilst there are deaths that I will not mourn, there are absolutely none that I will celebrate


  5. John Donne
    Meditation 17
    Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

    "No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee...."

  6. Deserving of death they may well be but who am I that I should judge? I am as guilty as they are. Since we are quoting, 'For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'(Romans 3:23) But even better
    Romans 2
    New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
    God’s righteous judgment

    1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
    5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favouritism.

    12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

    Lock them up for a long term

    Shirley Anne x

  7. Can't honestly disagree with any commenters. It ain't nice, whichever way you look at it. My reluctance to fully join my friend simply stems from a knowledge deep down that there are some whose actions are such that I wouldn't mourn them.

    I've always been rather puzzled by the idea that there is somehow a "humane" execution method. From the Guillotine through the long drop to the lethal injection and even an original intention behind the electric chair I suspect they served to pacify the audience and screen the public from the consequences of what is done in their name more than they did to ease the fate of the condemned. It's as though there's "nice" killing and "nasty" killing or something.

  8. I don't understand how in America they (used to?) can sit watching somebody die. That's got to be the lowest of the low, even if they may deserve it.

    Shirley Anne x

  9. I guess it's a democratic thing, their justice has to be witnessed. It's not as though we didn't have public executions, once.

    In a way I think it's a good thing, if they are going to be done such things *should* be public. Like seeing a war as it happens through a TV camera rather than simply hearing the propaganda, people need to be brought face to face with what is done in their name rather than presented with a sanitised version.