Friday, October 02, 2009

Law and society: Why I don't believe in the death penalty

While corresponding with a friend, I noted that my opposition has nothing to do with any idea that people are not responsible for their actions. Instead,
I don’t say that the death penalty would always be wrong. Rather, I don’t see its necessity in an advanced Western society, and am unpersuaded by fundamentalist-type arguments that it is what “God wants,” even when it is not really necessary.

Here in Canada, we can afford to keep someone in jail for as long as he is a threat to society, and I don’t have a problem with that. Granted, the perp might not like it, but presumably, he is a demonstrated threat to society.

However, at the height of the Pol Pot or Rwandese massacres, shooting one man might be the key to saving 500 children, and I am NOT a pacifist. And yes, I would do it myself.

But so many Canadian murderers are just stupid people acting rotten. The death penalty transforms a dreary court case into a huge public drama – who needs it?

It’s not going to change anything. Mr. Stupid Rotten B isn’t going to learn anything from the fact that Mr. Stupid Rotten A is hanged. So I’d just rather not.

Why make someone a gallows hero when he can just be some anonymous loser in the Millhaven Pen until he is too old to be a problem any more?