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Seriously, America. It’s Time.

May 1, 2014

As word started spreading last night about the botched execution of a convicted murderer in Oklahoma, the first of two executions scheduled for that evening, I was Death_Penalty_World_Mapovercome with a familiar sick feeling. How can this still be happening here? For a country like America, which perceives itself as an example and leader in the world, to still practice capital punishment is incomprehensible to me.

Being “Pro-Life” is very narrowly defined in this country. A person can fight tooth and nail for the life of every unborn fetus and yet treat the lives of criminals as inconsequential. A person can harass and shame women for their reproductive choices and then deny climate change, which is and will continue to threaten all of Life as we know it, not just the unborn. A person can wax poetic about the lives of our precious children and then actively oppose gun control of any kind, even as thousands of innocents are killed each year by guns. How is this pro-life?

When it comes to the death penalty, it is easy to get caught up in an argument about whether or not the convicted deserves to die for what they did. This is the wrong question. We find murder so reprehensible because it is inhuman. When a person takes the life of another, they lose a piece of their own humanity and this loss of something within them, the thing that we can most easily relate to, terrifies us.

What happens when we turn around and do the same thing? Whether the person is guilty or not (as is alarmingly more frequently the case than we’d like to believe), by taking their life we are aiding and abetting in our own dehumanization. With every life taken, a part of our humanity is stripped away. Do we want, as a society and a nation, to keep doing this?

I know I don’t.

We need to abolish this horrific practice and we need to do it now.


One Comment leave one →
  1. May 1, 2014 11:30 am

    I just posted a piece on capital punishment which supports it (if it ever returned to Australia, which it won’t, but it was hypothetical), but I do value everyone’s opinion and I’m more interested in the discussion rather than who’s taking which side 🙂

    I’m intrigued by your line “When a person takes the life of another, they lose a piece of their own humanity”. That’s a very subjective comment to make… a doctor turning off a life-support machine would be doing the exact things that humanity is synonymous with: compassion, mercifulness, care… I know it’s an extreme example.

    I don’t want you to think I’m just spamming but have a look at the article I just posted on my blog, and let me know what you think, especially in relation to the issues of cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment.

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