Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THE BALI NINE AND THE FUTILITY OF THE DEATH SENTENCE

As Indonesia executes members of the so-called Bali Nine drug smuggling ring by firing squad, I sit here and ask myself about capital punishment.

What I'm going to say isn't going to be popular in some quarters, but I'm going to say it, and damn you all for thinking otherwise.

Capital punishment is wrong.

You might say "Well, they knew the penalties for drug smuggling" or the plain old canard "They deserved it", but I held that view right up to the moment I saw a car thief die with a broken neck in my front garden, heard the despairing screams of his sister, and heard people over the following days say how much he deserved to die. For stealing an Austin Maestro, for the love of humanity.

I'll say this in the bluntest possible way: All lives matter. Yes, even killers and drug smugglers. That doesn't mean I'm standing up for killers and drug smugglers as some sort of hug-a-hoodie woolly liberal. As far as I'm concerned, you can lock them up for a very long time, because killers and drug smugglers need to be kept away from society until society deems them fit for release.

Now, this isn't some privileged middle-class whine because a foreign government has killed some people from a friendly first world nation. Countries all over the world enact fatal state revenge for their criminals, from the barbarity of winching up homosexuals on a crane until they are strangled to death in Iran, to the botched drug executions in the (ahem) civilised United States. Some countries kill you for denouncing their leaders. Other countries will kill you for blasphemy. We still live in a world where thought crime is a death sentence.

You know what happens when countries have the death penalty for crimes less than murder? Dead rape victims. Dead witnesses. The gallows or the firing squad is no deterrent to a desperate person.

The mark of a nation is how it treats its criminals. Killing them is not the answer. But this isn't a perfect world. It's full of terrible people - cut-throats, terrorists, murderous drug cartels who do terrible things. But if we sink to their level, we are joining them there.

I'm proud to live in a country where the number one human right exists for all humans: The right to life.

Join Amnesty.

7 comments:

Steve said...

Actually, only two of those executed where from the Bali Nine. The other seven have life sentences.

Faerie Son said...

Two is still two too many! Ultimately, it has to be about living comfortably with one's own values, rather than uncomfortably with those imposed through the acts of others.

Richard said...

What I found particularly sickening (not that there is some kind of table of abhorrence) is that some of them had been rehabilitated for a very long time but the state still felt fit to kill them. Don't get that at all.

Richard said...

What I found particularly sickening (not that there is some kind of table of abhorrence) is that some of them had been rehabilitated for a very long time but the state still felt fit to kill them. Don't get that at all.

Melinda Cunningham said...

Agree with you 100%, Scary.

Craig said...

Regarding your comment in bold:

"All lives matter"

I agree to a point, they didn't deserve to die for the crime they committed, but not one everyone has a right to life. Take a childs life for example - then you deserve to lose yours.

Jen said...

Sorry to barge in with this (thank you for all the brilliant stuff you post).

I'm sure we've all had these conversations in real life, in forums and in the bottom half of the internet and one thing keeps recurring. "Yeah but..." "Yeah but, if they've hurt a child..." "Yeah but, if it was YOUR nan they robbed..." "Yeah but, what about..?"

"Yeah but, if they've done something REALLY horrible, THEN can we kill them?"

No. No you can't. We cannot, "Yeah but," ourselves to state sanctioned murder, no matter what. The worse the crime, the more abhorrent the act, the better a society is for not lowering itself to the same level.