The Life Penalty

As sick as I am right now with the head cold from hell, death sounds very appealing to me. Please put me out of my misery. Please. Sure, I know that in a few days (God willing) I’ll be feeling better and my attitude will change. But right now, I’d dearly love to shuffle off this mortal coil, wrapped in flannel and wearing bunny slippers.

That’s also how people who are suicidal feel. At a time when every single aspect of their lives feels totally out of their control, their mortality, or lack thereof, may seem like the only choice they have left. That’s a short-sighted view and one I disagree with, but there you have it.

Call me crazy if you like (and a lot of people do) but I am completely opposed to the death penalty. Not for moral reasons, although there are many of those. Not for financial reasons, although there are tons of stats out there that show that it costs more to put a human being down than it does to lock them up and throw away the key.

No. The reason I oppose the death penalty is that dying is easy. Life is what’s hard. Especially a life behind bars without the possibility of parole. That’s why people refer to death as being taken out of their misery in the first place.

Most murderers and serial rapists and the like are all about dominance and control. Putting them in a situation for the rest of their lives in which they don’t have control over anything would be hell on earth for them. They are also usually under the impression that they are the smartest people in the room, and now they’ll be surrounded by fellow idiots. Torture. Imagine being condemned to a life with no future, full of boredom, frustration, hostility, violence, ignorance and helplessness. I can think of no more apt punishment for a psychopath.

I know that the families of victims often think that the death of the perpetrator will bring closure to them. I can’t even pretend to understand what they are going through. But I will say that I used to long for the death of my abusive stepfather, and when he finally obliged me, I felt… nothing. Nothing at all. The damage still had been done. Death will not negate the atrocity that was visited upon you. Death cannot bring your loved one back. Nothing can do that.

I could talk about the racial disparities that are related to the death penalty. I could discuss how it has been proven not to be any type of deterrent. I could blather on about how people have been put to death and then have been found to be wrongly accused, which makes murderers of us all. You can get plenty of information about these things on other web pages. But what I will tell you is that if revenge is your thing, then death isn’t the worst punishment. Life with no freedom and no potential for joy is.

Life Penalty

[Image credit: seattletimes.com]

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5 thoughts on “The Life Penalty

  1. KerikM

    I was relieved when death fell upon the one who molested and otherwise abused me. Yet even for the worst enemies, Ii think I’d prefer to deal them a swift end than keep them captive–if only for security reasons, to make darn sure they don’t reoffend, but also, I prefer a quick clean kill even for invertebrates, and don’t like torture.
    Still, much that is associated with the death penalty in this world repulses me, and I have never been able to fully make up my mind about it. I recall a science-fictional solution–deep-freeze them for future and hopefully wiser generations to deal with, but I fear those generations will have enough to deal with.

    1. Yes, we’ve already dumped enough problems on future generations without adding THAT to the mix.

      I’m glad you were relieved. Relief is good. I wish I had been. I guess it’s because I thought it would all go away along with his life force, and was disappointed to discover otherwise.

  2. KerikM

    Well, it hasn’t entirely gone away for me either, but it’s better. –I hope that you were not involved when the South Park Bridge conked out this morn. I saw it from the 101 bus, and when I came back too, and got concerned and found out from the news site.
    I wonder if there is some sort of counseling that could help, if you are still feeling the repercussions from those early wrongs. I say this knowing from my own experience that finding the right one is a crapshoot at the best of times. –The offender was finally called to account and repented, but still messed up in some other ways. Anyway I hope you and the bridge are both up and running real soon.

    1. I mean, I’m functional, don’t get me wrong. But I’m changed.

      As far as South Park Bridge is concerned, I “work” there tomorrow, which will be fun as it will still be up in the air. Hope to get to finally see the counterweights down.

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