The Death Penalty Has No Place in Our Modern Society
The criminal justice system around the world is fraught with all kinds of innuendos. The death penalty – a.k.a Capital punishment is just one of those outdated, unproductive, vengeful methods for dealing justice to criminals, which time is in the past and needs be abolished. Terminating a human life because they have broken laws made by imperfect men/women for other not too smart men/women, is nothing short of barbaric and in line with the thought processes of the criminal being punished.
A historical perspective on the death penalty shows that this form of punishment made its first appearance in Babylon in the eighteenth century B.C. in the code of King Hammurabi. This information is available from the Death Penalty Information Center. Other early death penalty laws can be found in the Hittite’s code of the fourteenth Century B.C, Draconian Code of the seventh Century B.C.. which originated in Athens and made all crimes punishable by death, and the Roman Law of the twelve tablets written in the Fifth Century B.C. The methods used for exterminating societal varmints at the time included crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement. The Islamic Shariah law sanctions the death penalty for a variety of criminal behaviors.
The death penalty which may have been adopted from Islamic laws in the middle ages in Europe was mostly practiced in Britain, from where the idea was passed on to the new colonies, most prominently America. By the 1700’s, there were 222 types of crimes punishable by death in Britain including such mundane acts as stealing, cutting down a tree or robbing a rabbit’s warren. Execution of the guilty was accomplished by such methods as boiling, burning at the stake, hanging, beheading, and drawing and quartering. This method of dealing with criminals did not in any way deter would be criminals as the crime rate increased rather than have the effect it was designed for.
In the Americas, Captain George Kendall was the first victim of capital punishment, executed for spying on behalf of the Spanish Government, in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608. After him, many more would die for breaking the law, stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians. Although laws varied from one colony to the other, they all seem to include the death penalty for one reason or the other. Presently close to 3000 convicts are on death row awaiting their demise in about 37 American states.
The United Kingdom has since removed the death penalty from its law books but the legacy it left behind lives on in the new worlds it helped to create. Times change, human beings evolve from a barbaric state to a higher level of consciousness. Technology enhances lifestyles making living more meaningful. The laws however remain stagnant or take a very long time to change. This is the case with some American states and a lot of third world countries where the death penalty is still a means to an end.
Capital punishment is wrong for a variety of reason:
It really does not deter criminal behavior
It is the easiest way our for the accused
It engenders a revenge oriented society
It has no role to play in a civilized society
There are other far more productive ways for punishing heinous criminals
Inherent flaws in the justice system.
Deterrence of criminal intent is the reason we have the criminal justice system. For all intents and purposes, penitent and reformed criminals returned to the society will have a positive impact on criminal minds just emerging from their embryonic stage and possibly help to nip the bug in the bud. Those who are executed are most probably forgotten the next day. About 88 percent of 79 experts from the American Criminologist Society have concluded from research that Capital Punishment does not act as a deterrent.
Ours is a chaotic and virtually meaningless world and most of us are suicidal to some extent. Most criminals are like hardened drug addicts and their criminal behavior is a thrill that takes them to the highest places. Most of them perform death defying acts just to try and prove their invisibility. When such personalities eventually end up in the hands of the law, their most ardent desire is to go out with a bang. Sending such people to the gallows is like handing them an overflowing cup of their most favorite drink. I will do anything to get an overflowing glass of Stella Artois for free.
According to Mohandas Candi “an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” Revenge is a very negative emotional characteristic inherent in many of us. A convicted felon sentenced to die for murdering someone else, upon having his/her sentence …