Alone Among the “Civilized”

In 2011, 20 countries carried out state-mandated murders against helpless people, something more euphemistically called “capital punishment”. And if you don’t categorize convicted criminals as “helpless”, ask yourself how helpless you’d be locked in a small cell with several large, armed men coming to put you in chains and haul you off to die.

Those countries are:

South Sudan
Saudi Arabia
North Korea

And in case you didn’t see this one coming…

The United States of America

Notice the company we keep on this list. States like North Korea, Iran and Syria, who are known sponsors of state sanctioned terrorism. Dictatorships like Belarus. Countries who were so rotten that we invaded them, like Afghanistan and Iraq. Notice also the countries that aren’t on that list. Mexico, Russia, Libya. And then there’s us. The land of the free, the home of the brave, etc. A nation not built on the concept of revenge, but one that’s fully embraced it.

Don’t pretend the death penalty is anything other than revenge and murder. It’s clearly not self-defense, since we’re quite capable of putting people in prison and keeping them from escaping. Don’t pretend it’s a deterrent, because we know it isn’t. Don’t pretend it’s anything other than revenge and murder. Revenge against someone for doing something we don’t like, and murder because they’re helpless and a threat to no one at the time they are killed (and if you do think they’re a threat, again, ask yourself how much of a threat you could be locked in a 6′ by 8′ cell with large armed guards available 24/7).

We continue with this bizarre, appalling, barbaric practice despite the fact that we like to claim we’re the best, most civilized country in the world. Many people also like to claim we’re uniquely virtuous and Christian. I guess if you think that your god was killed by capital punishment, than perhaps it isn’t too bad, but remember that as far as I know, Jesus never called for people to be murdered by the state.

We can and should be doing better. I don’t want us on the same list with these other countries.


5 Responses to “Alone Among the “Civilized””

  1. tokyo5 Says:

    Japan also has the death penalty as the punishment for the worst crimes. Japan’s means of capital punishment is the gallows.

    I hate to hear about cases of people sentenced to die…and then cleared of the crime—after they’ve been executed.
    But, I think, I support the death penalty. Some people, it seems, are beyond rehabilitation.
    Also, I have heard about many people who were strongly against the death penalty…until they (or someone they cared about) became a victim.

    Like abortion, this is something that isn’t easy to simply label “right” or “wrong”.

    In my opinion.

    • Chris Says:

      It is true that I forgot to mention Japan. I know it’s one of the few other “civilized” nations that uses the death penalty.

      And while it might seem that some people are beyond rehabilitation, you can’t know that for sure. People do change, after all. I know I’m not the person I was twenty years ago. Anyhow, even if they don’t change, you can always keep them in prison until they die naturally. It sucks, but I’d rather have that than have their blood on my hands.

    • Matthew Says:

      The fact that some people change their mind about the death penalty after they or a loved one becomes a victim is, to me, exactly why we should NOT have a death penalty. It demonstrates that the main motivation behind it is blood lust, as opposed to the prevention of crime.

  2. tokyo5 Says:

    Also, it’s a coincidence that you posted this today…because three murders that were on death row here in Japan were executed just today.
    So, it’s true as you wrote in this post that Japan didn’t carry out the death penalty in 2011…but,as of today, there have been three cases in 2012.

  3. tokyo5 Says:

    In the comment above, I mistyped:
    “…three murders that were on death row…”

    I meant:
    “…three murderers that were on death row…”

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