Putting a condemned person to death
Unlawful premeditated killing of a human being by a human being
He committed an offence punishable by death
It’s the law
Even the bible says it, so I guess it’s ok! An eye for an eye. And I’m sure other religions may have something similar? In our drive to become “civilised,” the rulers of the separate nations of the world decided they needed some method of control over the population to make sure they conformed. And if you fell foul of the law, you could potentially pay the highest price – you could pay with your life.
The general public actually used to go – in several countries they still do – to hangings, and it was seen as a day out. “Watch the condemned man swing from the gallows!” said the advertisements. Quite a jolly affair really; leaving all citizens glad it wasn’t them.
The most obvious offence to be executed for, was, and still is, murder, but it wasn’t the only offence you could be executed for. Others included, treason, spying, or stealing (anything from a bird on someone’s private land to someone’s wallet). Suddenly people could be killed for any offence that the government decided should be punished by death. They had to keep control of the population, and made public examples of people, that would stop others from committing offences.
Various methods of execution have been used over the years, including the good old guillotine that just chops your head off and it rolls into a basket; to the more macabre, where you are hung by the neck until not quite dead, then taken down from the gallows, a knife cuts you, first down the middle, to open up your chest, and then, as I understand it, the knife is run the opposite way across your chest and your organs removed whilst you are still alive. Anyway, the purpose seems to make you suffer as long as possible before you die.
More boring methods of execution include hanging, where you just fall through a trapdoor and your neck snaps, or something like that; firing squad, where some expert marksmen shoot you through the heart; being wired up to an electric current with some kind of hat on that kind of cooks you from the inside (much like a turkey in the oven I guess), to the most mundane of all, “the lethal injection.”
Come on! All that happens is that you lie down, some nice doctor gets two injections ready, he smiles at you like any normal doctor would, tells you to relax; and injects you with a really nice muscle relaxant. Once you’re nice and asleep, he calmly puts another injection into your arm that just stops your heart, pretty similar to putting your dog to “sleep,” I guess. Listen to these statements and see if you agree.
Death by hanging is murder
Death by lethal injection is murder
Death by firing squad is murder
Death by the electric chair is murder
Lots of “civilised” people still believe that death is perfectly acceptable for someone who kills someone else; after all, they made people suffer, so it’s only right they should suffer. In principle, this seems straightforward until you understand that killing a murderer is still murder, made acceptable by the fact that you are tried by a court of your peers, and the whole process is done in a very civilised way! After all, this isn’t the dark ages, they don’t just hang a rope over a tree and hang you. You are innocent until proven guilty.
You had every chance before you committed the crime to think about the consequences of your actions, and you have every chance under the law to show you didn’t do it. It’s up to the prosecution to prove you did it. Then it’s up to a jury (in countries where this exists) to consider the defence and prosecution cases, listen to the summing up of the lawyers, then debate it for as long as it takes to reach a majority decision. If you are found guilty by these men and women, you still have right of appeal, and it is finally up to a judge to determine what sentence should be passed. So it is fair to say that if the sentence is ultimately death, then that must be the final decision.
It has to be remembered though that most countries are beginning to see the death penalty for what it is.
Murder (unlawful premeditated killing of a human being by a human being).
Killing another human being is the most sickening of all events that happen in the human world. The deliberate act of taking life away from someone else. We will deal with the act of murder itself in another topic, but for now let us think about the act of execution.
When someone brutally strangles, shoots, stabs, or drowns another human being, we have to think that the person who did it was not thinking, indeed, I would say, was suffering from mental illness. In law, they have to prove you knew exactly what you were doing; that you were not insane. Otherwise, you would be found not guilty, by reason of insanity.
We are the most intelligent species on the planet. We have the ability to show love, feel compassion and empathy for all other creatures, so when someone deliberately, or even in the heat of the moment, kills another human, it means something has gone wrong in the brain, don’t you think? Something in the wiring is faulty. Whether you meant to do it or not means that your thinking has got so twisted, that you see killing as an option – not for food, but because of jealousy, desire, greed, anger, or hate. It doesn’t matter if we classify it as a crime of passion or a crime committed by one with a sociopathic personality (a personality disorder characterized by amorality and lack of affect; capable of violent acts without guilt feelings).
I believe that the human brain is hard wired to feel compassion and love, so if you cold bloodedly gun down a shopkeeper because you want their money, kill a love rival, kill someone because they are from a different country, or have a different skin colour, your brain and your thinking must be faulty – given we are wired not to kill someone from our own species. If we were, humans would have been wiped out thousands of years ago.
Indeed, most other species do not kill their own. Why? Because in nature, we become hard wired to act in the best interests of our species. If lions all killed other lions, there would soon be no lions left.
Does this make sense to you? It is not in the interest of any species to exterminate their own members.
It is interesting to note that the death penalty only applies to killing members of the human race; you can kill as many other life forms as you like, whether they suffer or not. You can torture animals, then cut them to pieces whilst they are still alive screaming in pain, and you may at worst receive a prison sentence. You can shoot animals for sport, like pheasants and deer (as long as it is in the right season), and no one will say a word to you. In fact it is practised regularly in some countries by the upper classes and members of the most civilised society.
So if it’s acceptable to kill animals, why can’t we kill humans? They’re exactly the same; they have muscles, and a heart; they feel pain, and they are alive, just like the animals. Where is the difference?
We love animals, and show them compassion just as humans do to each other, but it’s perfectly acceptable to kill them (as long as you obey the law). And that is where the difference lies. Law. We have made up some rules that everyone should follow, except these aren’t global rules on conduct, they vary from country to country, from state to state. In the united states, if you kill someone on one side of the state border, you may find yourself lying down getting a lethal injection, and ten metres away on the other side, you will find yourself spending life in prison.
This is not about an eye for an eye, this is about where you live and who happens to be running the country at the time. This is not about morals, this is about power. This is not about justice, this is about control. Do you see? If killing another human being is the worst thing that another human can do, why is it acceptable to execute (kill) a human being because a man-made law says it is?
One day the death penalty is used, the next year it’s not, the next year it’s reinstated.
If the death penalty is meant to be a deterrent, it certainly doesn’t work. Every day, humans kill other humans in the name of love, war, god, peace, justice, or revenge; and in war, killing is a free for all, unless you happen to kill with a little too much cruelty, or use nasty weapons that make people suffer too much before they die. No. Killing in war is all right as long as you obey the rules.
“…and remember lads, I want a clean fair fight. If the enemy (another human) wants to kill you, make sure you get him first, but a straight head shot is preferable, instant death and all; we are not barbarians you know…”
Don’t you think it’s time to upgrade our brains? In specific circumstances, killing is all right, as long as it’s within the law, but if someone kills a child, or murders several people in a killing spree, we demand they be punished to fullest extent. We want blood. But if it’s a “just” war and the enemy gets killed, that is seen as a great triumph! We want to congratulate the soldiers, not punish them. The only difference is in the use of the word “law” and “justified” when we decide whether you should be punished with death for killing another human.
If we are to succeed as a planet, we must upgrade our thinking. We must learn to feel compassion for all forms of life on this planet. If we kill someone who kills, are we any better than them? Have we not advanced enough as a civilisation that we can help people who commit terrible acts against our own species to think more clearly? Instead of murdering them to satisfy the baying mob, shall we not help the person to feel compassion and love for all others; and return them to society to show others the way forward?
Law makers would argue that they are not in the business of salvation, and that they are there only to make laws to protect others; but is it not our duty as fellow humans to end the cycle of violence that has existed for thousands of years?
When a man kills because of anger, greed, hate, or revenge, at least he is showing some form of emotion, and we can help him understand, and correct his thinking. When a judge sentences someone to death, are he and the executioner not acting more in line with the sociopathic personality? When the judge sentences the man to death, he shows no emotion, nor does the executioner; after all, it’s only a job for them. They can go home with a clear conscience at night knowing they have seen justice done, and firmly believing they have done the right thing to help society.
I have only one question to ask the judges and executioners who may be reading this:
“If you sentence someone to death, or you pull the trapdoor lever, or administer the lethal injection, or pull the trigger, or switch on the electric chair, how do you feel as a human? Do you feel compassionate? Do you feel love when you see the man die, or does it not enter your head? Are you just doing your job, much like hitler’s executioners in the second world war?”
The time is now to end this violence, to start to understand ourselves and the way we think; to progress as a planet and to protect our species. That means people changing the way they think so they never again feel the desire to harm another human being. Possible?
“Of course not,” say some of you, “Man is violent and has always been violent, and there’s only one way to deal with them, execute them.”
But then you would be as violent as they are, even if you don’t pull the trigger. We are all involved in this, and stopping executing people would be a first step to showing compassion on a global scale. Don’t let your governments continue this violence. Just imagine if you were the one who made a terrible mistake in your thinking and were on death row right now, about to be violently murdered. How would you feel?
Wouldn’t you want someone to give you a chance to understand why you were violent, and transcend it to become a more compassionate human being? Would you seize the chance, or would you prefer to die?
I will leave you with that thought.