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.