Friday, September 02, 2005

Is the death penalty wrong?

'I threw myself over my sisters because I did not want them to watch mommy and daddy die." These were the courageous words of an 11-year-old girl of H section Umlazi, south of Durban, who watched in horror as her parents were shot and killed by a gunman while they were in their car on Wednesday.

The brave girl then carried her three-year-old sister and together with her other sisters, ran down the road in search of help.

"We are all alone now because they took away our mom and dad," she said with tears in her eyes.

The children's grandmother, Mam Nene, said she had no words to describe the pain she was going through.

"My daughter was a teacher and my son-in-law was a traditional healer. They were both earning an honest living."

"I still can't believe that they are both gone. I am so hurt I don't know what to say," she said.

Nene said she had no choice but to gather courage as she was now left with the responsibility of raising her grandchildren.

"I am old now and live far from these children, they are at school in Durban. It's all up to God now to look after us - He is all we have," she said.

From The Independent Online, 2 September 2005

I think there is a quote from the Bible, saying vengeance is God's.

I don't think the death penalty is about vengeance. I think it is about removing people from society.

In nature, animals that cannot contribute to a herd are weeded out.

At its essence, society is a similar concept. Social sciences, such as economics are all about contribution to society and the corresponding right to compensation by society. Trade ensures that those who do not have the skills required to contribute remain poor - an incentive, if you like, to acquire relevant skills / means of contributing.

When it comes to morals, similar principles apply - if your morals are consistent with society's needs, you have a set of human rights.

However, if you choose to trample on the rights of others, you forfeit those fundamental rights yourself.

Think of the ripples of tragedy from this heinous crime. A little girl and her siblings whose family apparently had the means to help her become relvant to the New South African economy. Now she will be dependent on a poor old grandmother. What hope does she have?

This in addition to the horror they will have embedded in their minds for the rest of their lives.


andrea said...

Another thing about nature's laws is the practice of suicide or euthanasia. Animals with no purpose any longer quit eating and/or separate themselves to die and that is accepted. My 14 year old dog is on that threshold right now and the overwhelming need to intervene is there. As humans, intervention in the direction of living is considered the only option.

It is the question said...

Sorry about your dog - I know how hard that is.

Yeah, I wish these criminals would just euthanase themselves.

chitty said...

Tragic story, indeed. One's life is cheap these days.
I am neither for or against the death penalty as it has both pros and cons attached to it that I am not necessarily in agreement with.
I undestand your frustation and agree that something needs to be done to send a clear message to criminals that that the rule of the law will prevail.
All serious crime, I believe, starts with petty or smaller crimes. The fact that criminals are allowed get away with the smaller/petty crimes goes a long way in making them believe that they can also get away with moreserous offences and hence their disregard for the law and for others. The system as well as apprehending criminals also breeds criminals. That cycle needs to be broken... but how we do that, I don't know.

It is the question said...

CCBT: I fully agree. If you haven't read "The Tipping Point." One case they cite is Guilliani's "Broken Window Policy," so-named due to Guilliani's assertion that if windows in trains were broken, it engendered further disrpect for property. He implemented a policy that the minute a train had a broken window or spray-painted grafitti, it was pulled from service and repaired. e made the point that he'd rather there were no trains running than contribute to the cycle. The trains are only one example.

If you've been to New York, you'll know the police there are anal and regularly pull people over for searches, etc.