An eye for an eye and the world goes blind

When i was younger i used to believe that anyone who committed a murder should be executed. That was until recently when i learned a little bit more about the death penalty and now i can see why so many people are against it.

In the USA, the first woman for five years has just been executed for arranging the murder of her husband and stepson so she could get her stepson’s $250,000 life insurance pay-out. It has been shown in tests that this woman, Theresa Lewis, was borderline “mentally retarded”, as the American’s put it. Of course, she should never have murdered her husband and stepson but money can be a tempting thing, especially seeing as she was living in a caravan and considering she was possibly never understood what she was actually doing by arranging a murder, she shouldn’t have been executed (in my opinion anyway.)

I understand the whole concept of “an eye for an eye” but state execution violates the right to life which is one of our many human rights. And yes, a murderer has violated someone else’s human rights by removing their right to life but two wrongs don’t make a right. The death of anyone is sad, and execution can upset just as many, including the perpatrators family who are also losing a relative, no matter how evil they may be.

I believe imprisonment is the best form of punishment as it protects the public and punishes the offender just the same as the death penalty (although i don’t believe in this TV in the cells nonsense. Bring back old school prisons!) Life imprisonment should mean life though. None of this let out after 20 odd years nonsense that we have at the moment. The death penalty just shows the state to be murderers too, especially when they murder the mentally ill, who really only need support to get them back on their feet at the same time as making them understand the seriousness of their crime. Maybe i’m just being a bit of a softie and getting all defensive because the USA has executed a woman, but i definatly believe the death penalty should be abolished in all the countries which it is currently used. Would be interested to hear anyone else’s views on this.

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8 Responses

  1. I completely agree that in this country the 24 year maximum life sentence should be extended to a life-long life sentence. And when it is I think the death penalty needs to be established in this country too!! Not as a punishment as such, but as an option. You are sentenced to a life-long term in jail. Serve it or take the death penalty now. Then it does not violate human rights as the prisoner has the choice of if they want to live or die, if they choose to die it is a fitting punishment and will make more room in our prisons – if they choose to live they have a full prison sentence…maybe I am coming from a very one sided view here but I don’t see much flaw in my plan.

  2. I understand your point of view and I agree. Death penalty, however efficient it may be, is not the ultimate punishment. Besides, it would only be and eye for and eye if the murderer and his victim would die in the same way, which can hardly be the case. Mostly they are put to sleep, and I don’t think the chair of death is still used (is it? I think that is truly inhumane though). Life imprisonment seems a much worse yet fair punishment, especially if the convicted is mentally unstable. By the way, I thought the US had a law against the execution of mental patients?

  3. I do still find it strange that the Americans are so passive in their acceptance of the death penalty in. I wonder if we’d be the same if it was still commonplace in our system and culture?

    However I disagree with the extension of the life sentence in Britain, you’ve got to grasp how long 24 years actually is and how much a person can change in just under two and a half decades. Instead I believe in taking all cases as unique; supervise prisoners throughout their sentence and decide on whether they are reformed by the end of the duration. Then again that does bring up the question of whether prison is about punishment or reform?

  4. I think it depends on the possibility of reformation too. There are many different types of mental health and the severity of these can vary greatly. There are people who are unboubtedly let down by mental health services and are not given the attention or on-going support that they need, but in turn there are forms of mental health that simply cannot be cured and treatment is life-long and only effective if the patient/prisoner complies.
    I don’t know if it is even possible to sentence people to life in prison, do we have the space or finances?
    I think Alex’s suggestion of a prison or death penalty choice is interesting and would definitely solve the problem of the violation of human rights.
    But I also have to say, probably controversially, that in murder cases where mental health issues are not apparent, I agree with the death penalty.
    Yes it will ultimately be the offender’s family who will suffer for this but there has to be a level of acceptance about what their loved one has done. Human beings are faced with losing family and friends every day through tragic circumstances. If they are forced to deal with inexplicable loss then why should

  5. families of murderers not be able to make sense of losing someone for a valid reason.
    Personally, I think that if someone sanely and purposely takes a life and it is proven beyond all reasonable doubt then this grim world that we live in would benefit from them being served the death penalty.

    Please don’t hold this against me too much, I have been known to change my opinion on an hourly basis!

    Lisa. x

  6. Hey Lisa. Can see what you mean and i’m just like you changing my opinion on an hourly basis. Like i said i used to always think that the death penalty should be used when required and then i got taught about the issues surrounding it and then i began to wonder if it is actually a good idea. I’m still wondering about it to this date! x

  7. when raoul moat killed himself his family were happy because it got him off the streets – I know this because me and his family have mutual friends…they were just glad he was gone because it stopped others being killed – so, yes, in some cases the family would suffer – but in a lot of cases the family don’t recognise their loved one anymore and just want whats best – the killer to go away.

  8. I think I can relate to that Alex, not a personal level, just in general. Until reading your comment above I never actually thought about the stigma families of murderers must also have to carry. Sad all round really.

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