The death penalty exercises the most primal instinct to kill and extract revenge. While it claims to be an upright alternative for dealing with convicted criminals, it is in reality, hypocritical and cruel.
It’s a paradox-the very society that loathes the act of murdering will resort to righteously murdering the criminal who committed the murder.
There are various kinds of capital punishment prevalent. Some of the most common are: hanging-when the convicted is put to death by suspension by the neck; electric chair- when the convicted is put to death by strapping him to a chair and electrocuted through electrodes placed on the body; lethal injection-when a lethal drug is injected into the convicted’s blood stream; firing squad-when a person is tied up and blind folded and made to stand against the wall and a couple of gunmen aim fire directly at his heart, and the gas chamber-where the convicted is put in a room with a deadly gas and it spreads across the room.
With the passing of years newer methods of execution which claim to be humane on the grounds of either lessening the time of pain, or the quality of pain are being discovered. Several countries like France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have abolished the practice of capital punishment but several countries like the United States, Guatemala, most of the Caribbean and even democratic countries like India and Japan and Africa still retain the practice.
Retentionists claim that the brutality of capital punishment serves a greater purpose than merely putting an end to the convicted person’s life. It creates fear in the minds of those who might be contemplating capital crimes.
Some cite religious books like the Bible as the reason to continue with this atrocity because the Bible requires the death penalty for a wide range of crimes, murder and homosexual behaviour. Supporters also believe that the penalty is justified in keeping with the principle of retribution something akin to an eye for an eye ideology.
Supporters also claim that it is only the death of the convicted that can make the victim’s family feel secure. Opponents of the death penalty argue that capital punishment has led to irreversible miscarriage of justice, that life imprisonment is an effective substitute, and that it violates the criminal’s right to life. They believe that it lowers the value of a human life and brutalizes our society.
Abolition has often been adopted due to political change when countries shifted from dictatorship to democracy or when it became an entry condition for the European Union.
However, there is no excuse for murder, barring homicide committed in self defence. By killing someone albeit in the name of justice, we are committing a murder far heinous than the one already committed. Life imprisonment is not a holiday away from home; the truth is that in some cases, capital punishment may even provide respite from it.
We must, therefore, endeavour to be better humans and abolish capital punishment. It will be our gift to the future of humanity.