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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Capital Punishment is About Revenge

I want to applaud the efforts of Governor Jon Corzine and the legislators of New Jersey. Ms. Manitoba is against the death penalty and Gov. Corzine, along with the New Jersey State Senate and the General Assembly, voted to repeal the death penalty.

There's a good editorial in the Hartford Courant online. Here's an excerpt that sums up my feelings perfectly:

Capital punishment isn't about justice. There's justice in locking someone away for the balance of his natural life. Society gets protected; the criminal has a lifetime to ponder the atrocity that got him there.

Capital punishment is about revenge. An eye for an eye may be a satisfying credo, but it doesn't heal. In civil conflicts around the world, it has only fostered hatred and moral blindness.

Plus, the right-wing Christians really should read their bible that they seem to love thumping so much. One of Christ's main messages was FORGIVENESS. That means true forgiveness. Not just forgiveness for right-wing child molestors under the influence of alcohol. Not just right-wing foot tappers in the next stall. Forgiveness for everybody.


Stumble It!


At 7:50 AM, Blogger Dr. Michael Blankenship said...

The theoretical question before us is twofold: what is justice and can justice exist between individuals and at the societal level? The retributive dimension of justice receives far greater attention than does the distributive aspect. The evidence on the administration of the death penalty supports the conclusion that it falls far short of the goal of fairness. Its not about retribution (eye for an eye), but for many people it is about revenge.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Ms. Manitoba said...

Thanks, Michael, for visiting our blog and taking the time to comment. We like to hear from other folks.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger dudleysharp said...

The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

Death penalty opponents say that the death penalty has a foundation in hatred and revenge. Such is a false claim.

A death sentence requires pre existing statutes, trial and appeals, considerations of guilt and due process, to name but a few. Revenge requires none of these and, in fact, does not even require guilt or a crime.

The criminal justice system goes out of its way to take hatred and revenge out of the process. That is why we have a system of pre existing laws and legal procedures that offer extreme protections to defendants and those convicted and which limit punishments and prosecutions to specific crimes.

It is also why those directly affected by the murder are not allowed to be fact finders in the case.

Calling executions a product of hatred and revenge is simply a way in which some death penalty opponents attempt to establish a sense of moral superiority. It can also be a transparent insult which results in additional hurt to those victim survivors who have already suffered so much and who believe that execution is the appropriate punishment for those who murdered their loved one(s).

Far from moral superiority, those who call capital punishment an expression of hatred and revenge are often exhibiting their contempt for those who believe differently than they do.

The pro death penalty position is based upon those who find that punishment just and appropriate under specific circumstances.

Those opposed to execution cannot prove a foundation of hatred and revenge for the death penalty any more than they can for any other punishment sought within a system such as that observed within the US - unless such opponents find all punishments a product of hatred and revenge - an unreasonable, unfounded position

Far from hatred and revenge, the death penalty represents our greatest condemnation for a crime of unequaled horror and consequence. Lesser punishments may suffice under some circumstances. A death sentence for certain heinous crimes is given in those special circumstances when a jury finds such is more just than a lesser sentence.

Less justice is not what we need.

A thorough review of the criminal justice system will often beg this question: Why have we chosen to be so generous to murderers and so contemptuous of the human rights and suffering of the victims and future victims?

The punishment of death is, in no way, a balancing between harm and punishment, because the victim did not deserve or earn their punishment, whereas the murderer has earned their own, deserved punishment by the free will action of violating societies laws and an individuals life and, thereby, voluntarily subjecting themselves to that jurisdictions judgment.

copyright 2001-2008   Dudley Sharp

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
Pro death penalty sites 


www(dot) (Sweden)

Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.


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