Today, if we would have lived in an enlightened world we would not have to make an effort to make the world aware of this cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment. But sadly, there is a lot of countries that is working in this deadly serious way and kills its citizens. I could waste some space and ramble the countries that is abusing the right to life, but I will not do that. It will only show further down, when talking about special cases.
Why do we still use the death penalty, although, being more intelligent than ever? The An eye for an eye-principle is still very strong. Then of course, we have the victim’s family’s ease of mind to know that the murderer is dead. There are a couple of more arguments but I will not bring them up here.
The An eye for an eye-principle is mainly known from the world of religion. But it can be a cultural thing as well, without the involvement of the authorities (Families, gangs etc.). It is amazing, that so many states can use this principle, especially, when they say that they are ruling a secularized state. Furthermore, if the religious aspect must play a big part in a state, why do not read more from the important texts and try to use the Turn the other cheek-principle.
Ease of mind for the victim’s family is more about feelings and it is tougher to argument against that. If someone I love is killed, I do not know how I would react (you never know, although, being rational human being), even if I oppose the death penalty. I believe that I would not want the state to kill the murderer, but maybe I would retaliate. Of course, I am deeply touched for the sake of the families, that lose someone they love by the hands of a killer. But that is probably the reason why I am also deeply touched for the sake of the families that lose someone they love by the hands of a state. Especially if the executed is innocent or the individual is killed by the state without having taken someone’s life.
There are many states that is using the capital punishment for not just killing someone. During the process you can be without lawyer, without a trial, without the chance to say something, be without visits from your family etc. for having been involved in kidnapping, selling drugs, smuggling, rape, adultery and more, and these accusations can behead you, strangle you, shoot you, poison you, roast you etc. Of course, many of these crimes affects the victims in a very bad way and will leave mental marks for the rest of their life. But death penalty is not the answer to these problems and there is other principles you can put on this: the being at the wrong place at the wrong time-principle, the false accusations-principle, the police have to keep its solving crimes statistics in shape-principle and the bad/bribed witness-principle.
The being at the wrong place at the wrong time-principle is a principle that can happen to anyone, but mostly the lower classes in society or disliked ethnic groups. It is hard to struggle against this problem, because these individuals often do not have the resources to get the best help or will get some headline in a newspaper. This principle is something you can attach on political activists or human rights defenders. It is easy to silence them by accusing them of something that they have not done and call them a threat to the society.
The above principle is connected to the false accusations-principle. Someone paid by the authorities gets help to provide for a better future for the family if helping them to point out “criminals”. It is also something that is happening to political activists and human rights defenders.
The police have to keep its solving crimes statistics in shape-principle is something that is not only taking place in less democratic countries. When Troy Davis was killed in the US by the State of Georgia, you could suspect that they really wanted to kill someone for a crime committed. He was executed, although, seven out of ten witnesses changed their minds. This principle hurts the legal security.
When talking about witnesses, we finally arrive to the bad/bribed-witnesses. It is connected to the principle above and take place when there is an urge to solve the case. It happens a lot to segregated groups together with the political activists and human rights defenders. Money can help anyone to forget about moral and ethics. The life of an individual cannot fight against another individual’s newborn wealth.
Finally, I would like to discuss the problem with a state killing an innocent individual. These days, you can never put your trust in that a legal process is 100% perfect. Unfortunately, many individuals that have been executed have been innocent. Human beings have been killed by a state for killing someone and after a couple of years that someone has appeared somewhere (not resurrected). We have not come that far scientifically, so we do not have the power to bring people back to life.
If we kill someone that is innocent, there is still someone out there that is responsible for another individual’s death. Even if the statistics improve, I am not sure that the rest of the society or victim’s families will be happy about that.