I have facebook-friends. Quite a few really; over 200! 98% are people I have met in real life (I have pretty strict criteria for whom I will friend/allow on facebook); the remaining 2% are people I find particularly interesting or whom I have ‘known’ online for 10 years +.
One of those people posted this article just recently. The article details the execution of a rapist, and the description made me sick to my stomach. What made me feel even worse though, was the blood-lust of those who commented on the post… I do realize the guy was a monster, and to put it any other way would be incompassionate towards his victim. Furthermore, to chalk it up to his “disordered mind” would be psychological reductionism – he was (most likely) able to control his behaviour, and the behaviour he carried out was the absolute worst! That said, there is something to be said for how:
i. We as people act towards those who wrong us.
ii: What actually works as deterrents in terms of criminal behaviour.
Of all the things Gandhi said, one of his wisest sayings (to me anyways) was “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”- I firmly believe that the notion of of retribution is misguided unless it serves a purpose. Killing does not serve a purpose. You want to teach the perpetrator a lesson? Teach him empathy. Make him understand the fear, the horror and the damage his victim felt. Don’t kill him though. That’s just barbaric. If we consider ourselves to be civilized human beings, we do not stoop to that level.
Then there’s the deterrent-part. You know what? Killing people does not stop them from doing wrong, check out these stats
That’s about all I’ve got.