To kill or not to kill?

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”  Frederick Nietzsche 

As I have gotten older, It has been interesting to see how mind has evolved and how my views on issues ranging from corporal punishment to abortion to the death penalty have changed. 

The death penalty is a contentious issue, and has been hotly debated for a long time. It is once again in the news thanks to the Bali Nine– a group of people who were arrested in Bali for various drug smuggling offences and sentenced to death. It is common knowledge that drug smuggling carries an automatic death sentence in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Some people feel the Bali Nine and other drug smugglers knew the risks they were entering and so deserve the death sentence. Others feel that the death sentence is wrong, especially as these people have already served lengthy jail sentences and have allegedly been rehabilitated.

My views on the death penalty are ever changing.  When I was younger, about 9 years old, I was firmly against the death penalty. It made no sense to me to tell people not to kill and then go ahead and kill people. Does it make sense to punish murder with murder? Didn’t that make the hangman a murderer as well? Who gave us the right to take another person’s life?  The main reason I was against the death penalty was because of the possibility of killing an innocent person. We have all heard of people being acquitted after decades in prison, what if they had been killed? At least with a prison sentence, we can avoid the possibility of executing an innocent person.

A few years later, I learnt that the death penalty had actually been abolished in a number of places and I started to have second thoughts. Maybe the death penalty wasn’t so bad. Why should people live after they have taken a life? If a person has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have committed a very heinous crime and is considered a risk to society, then there is nothing wrong with sentencing the person to death. 

Then my mind changed again. I realised that there are far worse things than death and sometimes death is the easy way out. Instead of just killing people and relieving them of any stress, why not put them in jail and let them suffer?  The death penalty almost seems merciful, compared to those locked up with people like Mr. Fleece “booty warrior’ Johnson.  Who is Mr booty warrior? Here he is:

I’m sure some people would rather be dead than have to endure life of having your butthole stretched out regularly.

Here is another insane prisoner.

The man in the video above claims to have killed 22 men in prison. Why is he still alive? A prisoner with a life sentence kills an inmate and is then given a second life sentence. Where is the sense in that? Surely such a person deserves the death penalty. Is this a better way of dealing with violent criminals: put them together and let them finish each other off? A survival of the meanest? I’m not sure that all the men he killed were violent murderers. Some of them could have committed less severe crimes, that they did not deserve to die for.

What is it with these types of sentencing? Why give someone 3 life sentences? Instead of sentencing a person to multiple life sentences, why not just send the person to the electric chair? If a person has committed a crime horrible enough to warrant a thousand year jail term, shouldn’t that person be eligible for the death penalty?

Now my views have changed yet again, this time I’m approaching the argument from a financial perspective.  Why spend millions of taxpayers money to take care of serial killers, paedophiles and the like? That money can be used for something better no?

My main grouse with giving hardened criminals prison terms has to do with the prison systems.The reason I am accepting of capital punishment is because I feel that some of these criminals are not being punished enough. If these prisoners were in a Nigerian prison then I wouldn’t be pissed because honestly, there are few things worse than death and Kirikiri is one of them. If all prisons were as tough as these ones in Russia, then maybe I could support doing away with the death penalty.

 Watching it almost makes you feel sorry for them no? If this is how all prisons for violent criminals were, then I would support an abolishment of the death penalty. Death does seem preferable to such an existence, does it not?

However some prisons in other parts of the world are 5 star hotels and the criminals live like royalty. These prisoners are in cushy jail cells, probably watching the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy and tweeting spoilers from their iphone 6. I’m pretty sure there are prisons that have playstations and waitresses who feed the criminals grapes as they are being massaged by scantily clad masseuses.  

Rosemary West, along with her husband, tortured and murdered 10 women, one of who was their own daughter. You may be interested to know that she is having a swell time in prison. When she is not playing monopoly or listening to the radio, she is writing cookbooks. Sadly it’s not all roses for Mrs West. Why, only recently she filed a complaint because her prison placed a ban on showering after gym. She said it made her feel dirty and degraded. What has this world come to when a convicted murderer and child molester cannot shower after an hour on the treadmill? Preposterous.

Ian Brady, of the Moors murder fame, is also having a tough time in jail, the poor thing. He has been on a hunger strike (never mind his morning toast) for 14 years, which has cost the government 3 million pounds. His incarceration has cost the government a total of 14 million pounds of taxpayers money, as at 2013.

There is this South African serial killer named Moses Sithole who raped and killed over 38 women and was sentenced to 2410 years in prison. He passed on HIV to his wife and daughter. His wife and daughter, like many other poor people, couldn’t afford the antiretroviral drugs and they died. Meanwhile, Moses is still alive and well because the prison hospital provides him with the necessary drugs. A criminal is being assisted to live while innocent people die. Why not let him die in prison?

Norwegian extremist Anders Breivik murdered 77 people in one day and was sentenced to 21 years in prison. Take a look at the prisons in Norway.  

It is painful to think that the man who murdered so many people was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment in a funhouse. He clearly got off easy but Breivik does not think so because he threatened to sue the Norwegian government over the horrible prison conditions. Breivik is distressed because the prison guards tap their feet when he shaves.

A quote from his lawyers:

The longer he sits in solitary confinement, the greater the chance that he will be harmed by it.”

His lawyers go on to claim that his right to free speech is being infringed. This madman Breivik also threatened to go on a hunger strike unless he was given a Playstation 3 and a sofa. He wrote this in a letter:

‘Other inmates have access to adult games while I only have the right to play less interesting kids’ games. One example is “Rayman Revolution”, a game aimed at three-year-olds.’

This pisses me off. It is so frustrating that a lot of murderers live better lives in prison than free non criminal citizens.Why are convicted murderers living such lavish lives? Lives that most of the world population can only dream about. The fact that a murderer thinks threatening to starve himself is a legitimate threat is ludicrous. Why are prisoners who go on hunger strike force fed? Why not just let them starve to death?

Should serial killers still be accorded their human rights? Why should a person who has denied others the right to live be entitled to free speech or any other rights? Even though it would be preferable to hang these monsters, at the very least they should be locked up forever. Why are they being entertained?

Some people may make the argument that criminals can and should be rehabilitated. This is a sound argument. It seems fair to try and rehabilitate people rather than just nonchalantly sending them to the hangman. However, can everyone be rehabilitated? We are not talking about burglars and “bad people”. I am talking about hardened criminals who have done unspeakable, abominable things. People who have caused such unimaginable agony to families. The Gary Ridgeways, Jeffrey Dahmers and Anders Breiviks of this world. A lot of prisoners are released after supposedly being reformed and they immediately go on to commit more crimes. Some criminals kill hours after being released.

Does everyone deserve a chance at rehabilitation? If Anders Breivik magically becomes a good guy, should he be paroled? Would his rehabilitation make up for the fact that he murdered a lot of people? I don’t think so. I believe that the punishment should fit the crime.  If Breivik makes a complete turnaround, shows remorse and becomes a priest, then good for him. But his reformation does not erase his crimes and need for punishment.  Let him and the rest of his peers carry their rehabilitated selves to hell.

[Whoa girl, that’s harsh. I know. I’m in my feelings.]

There is a current debate over whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber should get the death penalty. To be honest, I don’t care. A life sentence would do just fine, but if he is sentenced to death I will not protest it. There are people demonstrating against the death penalty for him, an act I actually find quite kind and noble. Perhaps that is the way we should all be.  I am here screaming “off with their heads!” and there are people who have actually been affected by the actions of these monsters who have gone on to forgive. If a person can be against the death penalty even when they have been hurt badly, then perhaps I should be too.

My views are still muddled. I am nowhere near being outraged by the death penalty, but I understand why some people are. Maybe it is okay to straddle the fence on some occasions. I will probably have a new opinion next month.

My final thoughts are:

  • If a person has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have committed a very heinous crime and is considered to still be a risk to society, then the person should be eligible for the death penalty.
  • Prisons need to toughen up.
  • Regardless of what I think of capital punishment tomorrow, I personally will never carry a placard to plead for the life of a murderer. Nope. Never.

To kill or not to kill, that is the question. What do you think? Am I too cruel? Share your thoughts!

 

Post script: Eight of the Bali nine were executed in the early hours of Wednesday the 29th of April. I did not want them to be killed, and I do feel a sad for the dead and their families. However I understand that if the Indonesian government had swayed this one time, the floodgates would open. If the Bali nine had been pardoned, then every other convicted drug smuggler would expect clemency. The drug problem is a serious one and Indonesia and other countries are trying to deal with it the best way they can.  

 

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