By Dark Politricks
I’ve just finishing watching an episode of Law and Order in which the defendant, a murderer, was sentenced to death.
I am personally apposed to the death penalty and actually found the way in which one of the main characters, Abbie Carmichael, was literally salivating over the death sentence particularly sickening.
I have only just started watching the show but I cannot empathise with this character or in fact any of the District Attorney characters at all. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on the receiving end of such peoples power and can never sympathise with someone who chooses a job in which they can ruin other peoples lives so utterly and completely with just a word or two. People who think nothing of doing just that and see the accused not as human beings but commodities who can aid their own careers. Send defendant X to the gas chamber and get a promotion. Send defendant Y to prison for life with no parole and a career in politics may be just round the corner.
The show is not very subtle in its political messaging and there always seems to be a debate at some point over a major ethical issue during the episode. Usually a conversation is started between the main characters on a contentious point such as the death penalty or the limits of free speech but the argument is never really fleshed out or resolved satisfactorily in my opinion and I always find myself thinking that a good opportunity to discuss the current state of politics and moral quandaries around certain issues has gone awry.
I’m not a Christian but I believe in forgivness no matter how harsh the crime and I cannot get my head around those who believe in the death penalty so passionately. What if your child was raped and murdered you might ask wouldn’t you want the attacker punished for that crime. Yes I would. On a personal level I would probably want to rip the lungs out the perpetrator and deal justice on a very intimate one on one level. However because of that desire, that very well understood emotional turmoil that those close to the crime go through, because of that the justice has to be dealt out by the state in a detached, logical and calm manner.
It is also why I believe the death penalty is wrong and not only because of all the wrongful convictions that are proven years later to have been based on bad evidence or coercion.
Here in the UK we have had a number of people who if the death penalty still existed would have died long ago but were released after serving years sometimes decades in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.
Many of these people were political prisoners, presumed to be Irish terrorists who were fitted up and sent down for multiple murders all based on forged and flimsy police evidence. If the death penalty had not been abolished these innocent men who were all convicted of multiple homicides would have swung by their necks many years ago.
For the government to carry out a murder in cold blood of one of its citizens is in my opinion one of the worst crimes imaginable purely because of its calm methodical nature. I can understand very well how one can kill in the heat of the moment but to kill in the manner of a serial killer with no skipped heartbeat as if an accountant was ticking another box is in my opinion the worst kind of crime and one that I don’t believe a state government should engage in.
I personally see little difference between the state of Texas executing someone by electric chair orthose Islamic countries who decide to wrap someone up in a blanket and throw rocks at them. Would you rather fry to death, electricity pulsing through your skin, smoke seeping from every orrifice or would you rather meet your maker from a hard blow to the head caused by one of many hard rocks being chucked at you by your neighbours.
Call me a liberal, a bleeding heart, someone soft on crime I don’t care. What I do care about is the limits of state power and its ability to take its citizens life away on a whim. When state executions are an every day occurrence it becomes easier to increase the number of crimes that are capital offences and merit such punishment.
It also becomes much more likely that if you are a political dissident, a peace activist or an unpopular exerciser of free speech that if the government decides it neccessary that you should be caught, tried and convicted as a domestic terrorist for crimes of treason that you might be unlucky enough to suffer the ultimate punishment.