Death Penalty: The Capital Punishment

Updated: May 25

A Contentious subject highlighted within Human Rights


Originally published by Illumination Curated on Medium


Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

Within our little world, every individual has many options and choices to make. Such decisions never come to them devoid of accountability. In the social setting, in particular, individuals have a responsibility to each other and themselves; thus, they will be chastised in one way or another to pay back what they have taken away from their community and their fellow citizens.

The death penalty, legally taking one life, or euthanasia, is the ultimate punishment a person can receive for committing an act that is not approved of by the norms of that institution.

Then the question is, what authorizes an individual to take another person’s life irrespective of the justification?What is the rationale behind eliminating a person utilizing taking their life?

Death and Dying as an instrument of Punishment

Because life is precious and has particular meaning to everyone, thus it serves as a perfect tool to keep citizens accountable for their actions. Naturally, if death happens under the circumstance where a person is trying to defend himself, such a response is within the proportion of the imminent danger. Therefore, killing would be justified. Nonetheless, delayed taking the life of the offender of unlawful action by a 3rd party (society representatives) is another ballgame.

Under the scenario above, death becomes a penalty or an instrument, just like corporal punishment, yet this time, it permanently removes the offender from this world. It may also serve as a retaliatory means by the victim, friends, family, or society.

Death is the ultimate loss, hence once perpetrated, it serves as the maximum punishment.

Revoking a person's right to live is a simple task under an oppressive system but never a simple task in societies where they respect the notion of the right to life for everyone. That is where nobody, together with the government, can try to end one's life. It also implies the government should take appropriate measures to guarantee life by giving rise to statutes that nurture everyone and, in some circumstances, by taking steps to protect them if their life is at risk. So, the right to life does not include a right to die, even though some countries uphold the death penalty by equalizing the latter two.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

"Eye for an Eye" and a "Life for an Eye," but whose life?

Those who trust capital punishment "often" do so under the concept of an "eye for an eye." Of course, that would be a simple scenario if upheld under self-defense, or the person has no dependents.

When a committer of a crime faces capital punishment, naturally, killing the person will have a deleterious effect on the children or dependents of that individual. Many lives will change, and often, such changes are not for good, even though offenders' existence would neither be that favorable. Eye for an eye may mean "many eyes for an eye" or "life for an eye." "It is indeed life for many lives."

So, if not "Eye for an Eye" of "Life for a Life," then what is adequate Punishment?

My personal opinion is that the death penalty is, indeed, legal murder. No matter how we justify punishment, killing is still killing. And unless killing happens as a result of self-defense still is unethical and murderous.

Removal of Persons from the public via capital punishment does not underwrite any levies to the public and the victims' families other than fulfilling the retaliatory objectives.

If one breaks the law in a healthy society, they must pay back their dues while alive, including financially, physically, and emotionally. While doing so, they must become unswerving given the opportunity is availed.

There is always a proportional response to a wrongful act, but the death penalty is never the answer.

Aside from the death penalty, some believe life in prison would suffice. However, imposing the criminal to pay back their deed to the society and the victim proportional to what they have committed is enough reprimand. Nonetheless, exploiting taxpayers' money to institutionalize them will burden society and further highlight the need for the death penalty.

Every individual is born liberated, yet unless they choose to live in isolation from the social realm, they must follow the "Golden Rule" if they intend to live in harmony within their communities. Once they break their pledge to social unity, they either must live in isolation from that society without society's intervention or, if they choose to thrive within the community, should compensate for the damages they have caused in one way or another.

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