Should capital punishment be abolished?
_I don’t think so!
I’m writing this after watching Lantouri, an Iranian film by Reza Dormishian. It is a film about a female social activist who fights against capital punishment (mind you capital punishment is performed in Iran), and goes around talking with the victims’ families, asking for their forgiveness; but later she is attacked with acid by a guy over an unrelated issue. Now she is faced with the decision to choose revenge or forgiveness. She finally forgives the attacker.
Today I’m not going to talk about the film itself, but I wish to talk what it directly or indirectly proposes about capital punishment; that it is useless and generally harmful. I am well aware that in most European countries as well as many US states, capital punishment is obsolete. I am aware that I may be labeled as biased or conservative or close-minded or whatever but believe me, I am a lot more modern and open-minded than most people. I support feminism, gay marriage, and equal rights for transsexuals. I think what’s right should be supported, and what’s wrong should be blamed even if it is supported by many advanced western countries. Please read my argument and then decide to label me.
One of the arguments that Lantouri proposes is that why should the government leave the judgment to the family of the victim who are under emotional pressure, and supposedly cannot make a fair logical judgment, and that revenge has not helped the families to feel any better, and also that statistics show that capital punishment has not helped reducing homicide. But alright execution has not helped reduce homicide, but what about not punishing the criminals? Does that help reduce the crime? Now let’s replace capital punishment with say 15 years in prison. This is what some “politically correct” people try to propose as a replacement for capital punishment, but who is going to pay for keeping these people alive? The answer is people like the very family of the victim. Isn’t is a punishment for the family of the victim _making them pay to keep alive a person who has killed their loved one! I know that 15 years in prison is not a picnic but anyway 15 years later the killer can walk out of prison with a smile on his face. Imagining this is very sickening. I think that correcting the society, and forgiving or not forgiving the criminals are two separate issues. It is obvious that capital punishment cannot reduce the rate of crime _people do not simply put off committing a certain crime because there are scared of losing their heads. People put their lives in danger for a lot of trivial issues. But I am repeating, rewarding criminals by forgiving them won’t do any good either. You kill my brother, the law forgives, I come kill you, and then law forgives me again! That’s great, isn’t it?!
So, although forgiveness might be basically good (and maybe not good, but I won’t talk about this today either), and films such as Lantouri which try to teach people to forgive may be good, but I strongly believe that it is very unfair to take the option away from the family of the victim. Forgiveness and punishment should be offered as options. People should not be forced to forgive. Capital punishment may not bring back my loved on to life, but it can at least relieve my pain. Maybe you can forgive, good for you; but maybe I only feel that crime is compensated only through punishment. I think this decision should be in the hands of those very people who are under emotional strain and not the government. If emotionally strained people fail to make a fair judgment then letting a machine (law) decide for you is equally senseless. I think these anti-capital punishment activist fail to understand is that capital punishment is there to relieve those who are strained. That criminal had his fair logical judgment before the commitment of murder. If you don’t make the family of the victim satisfied, they will try to take the law into their own hands (can’t this make the crime rate rise _if you do care about the crime rate and statistics?) People never feel like before, even if they execute the murder. That’s true, the harm is done. But how would they feel if they see the murderer walk out in the street and grin at them? Put yourself in their shoes? As a matter of fact, a friend told me a similar story. A guy had raped and killed a girl; they put the guy into prison. He was waiting for the date to be executed, but while he had the time he memorized Quran. Now, you wonder why he did that. He did that because there is such a law in Iran that no matter what you have done, if you memorize Quran completely from cover to cover and you can recite it by heart, then this is a sign that you are lamenting your past deeds and God has forgiven you, and your crimes are wiped out. I am not going to discuss how moronically stupid this law is, but that rapist did this and he walked out of prison, and he grins every time he passes in front of the parents of the girl whom he has raped and killed. If your forgiveness cult results in such a thing, go on and do it, but keep it away from me because I prefer to at least wipe that grin off that asshole’s face. This is the least that capital punishment can do.
Now let me give another example. There was such a guy nicknamed as Bijeh in Iran who raped and killed numerous children. He was finally executed, but before they tie the rope around his neck, the brother of one of the victims had time to come close enough to him to stab him with a knife. Do you know what this means? This means that the family of those victims are not satisfied even with the execution of Bijeh, for people like Bijeh even execution is a kind of favor. It can also tell us what could have happened if they didn’t execute him; the families would have eaten him alive.
I also hope that one day people won’t kill each other and we can close down all the prisons and burn the gallows, but we are far away from that. Meanwhile, we should continue giving the families of victims the option to forgive or to punish the killers of their loved ones. And meanwhile, we should try and solve the main causes and reasons for committing crimes like homicide. But as I mentioned earlier it has nothing to do with taking the options of capital punishment away from those innocent people who have lost their loved ones.
This is to anti-execution activist: Guys, I’m not a boar! I’m an educated person, and I can say I’m more logical than emotional, you can talk to me through words, but logical words. If you can prove to me how on earth can taking away the choice of capital punishment from the family of victim AND not executing the criminals who have done grave crimes such as homicide and acid attack can help reduce the commitment of future crimes, I will delete this post and write another one supporting you. And believe me, I am one of those guys who you wish to have on your side! But please don’t preach me with “forgiveness is good for your soul” kind of crap!