I am no longer a fan of the death penalty. I used to be. I took the pro position in an argumentative essay in my criminal justice class and defeated my competition on the strength of my research and the passion of my argument.
My error lay in the depth of my faith in the criminal justice system. I argued on the assumption that it was impossible to convict and sentence to death an innocent man. Since then, I have seen how very many people have been wrongfully convicted of heinous crimes, and I no longer believe that the system has enough checks and balances to ensure an innocent man not be put to death.
I still believe in the moral justification for the taking of someone's life; I believe that sometimes violence is necessary. Not for revenge; we shouldn’t kill in anger. It is hard to love your enemy and still pull the trigger, but it is the only way to keep from becoming the monster. Some people deserve to die for their actions. But it should be a measured response.
Sometimes, the only just thing to do is to kill. However, I do not believe that, in our present system, legal equates to just. But in a perfect system, if it could be proved incontrovertibly that a crime worthy of the death penalty had been committed, I say pull the switch.
I am willing to assume the karmic consequences of taking the life of a person who has so little regard for the lives of others.
But, again, I do not trust our ability to know for sure whether they deserve to die. It is a philosophical exercise, for me. If it could be known that a Man had committed such a crime then I believe that their life should in return be forfeit.
It is hard to know whether there were mitigating circumstances. A man who steals to feed his family, I think, deserves a lesser punishment than a man who steals to serve his own needs. They both deserve punishment, but the crimes are different.
But there is one crime in which there are no mitigating circumstances. Ironically, in variations of this crime, nearly always does the perpetrator try to justify the act by bringing in supposedly mitigating circumstances. Often the jury is led to believe that the victim deserved the crime. It is a ruse of the most sinister nature. Because no absolutely and irrefutably means no.
It would be hard for me not to kill a rapist out of anger. Truly. I might just have to live with having taken a life with fury in my heart. I think I could learn to live with myself, though. Because I think rape should be a capital crime. Especially the rape of a child. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court of the US does not agree with me. They think that to put a child rapist to death would be cruel and unusual punishment. Are they serious? I am a peaceful man, but I’m not sure that castration with a rusty knife would be cruel.