Thursday, August 04, 2011

Why I'm not entirely against the death penalty

I don't know, you step out of the rat race forever and people start an argument over the death penalty, of all things. The death penalty? For pity's sake, we're in the midst of an economic crisis, and people want to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic all of a sudden. Deep sigh...

However, for what it's worth, I'm not against the death penalty full stop. Unlike Spidey, who countenances the death penalty for serial child killers, I have a rather quirky view - I believe that there should be a right to opt into the death penalty for those found guilty of murder, regardless of the circumstances of the offence.

After all, many liberals support the notion of voluntary euthanasia, the ultimate in self-determination, if you will. So, why not allow someone found guilty of murder to decide whether or not they would prefer to have the State enable them to die? Yes, there would have to be safeguards - a psychiatric evaluation to ensure that the individual is of a fit mind to make the decision rationally, no public execution, no witnesses apart from medical observers.

You see, I don't believe in justice through vengeance, and I do fear miscarriages of justices - the Birmingham Six, anybody? - so the idea that the State might choose to take a life is one that makes me deeply uncomfortable.

And, I have to admit, I am slightly puzzled by the identity of the person promoting the campaign to restore the death penalty. Guido claims to be a libertarian, yet wants to give the State - the State, for crying out loud - the right to take human life as a deliberate act. Now I tend to think of young Mr Staines as an opportunist first, a reactionary second and an unreliable source always. After all, anyone who employs Harry Cole isn't interested in fact-based research anyway.

But one does wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye. If Parliament was to be persuaded by the public that the restoration of the death penalty was a good thing, it would mean having to negotiate our position in the European Union, assuming that we then wanted to remain. Is it Guido's intention to force us out? I don't know, maybe I'm learning to think like him (I do hope not!).

And that's why I am critical of Guido. He believes that murderers should, effectively, accept responsibility for their actions. Yet, at the same time, he was declared bankrupt, thus avoiding responsibility for his debts, and maintains his website offshore, making it virtually impossible for anyone to hold him accountable for inaccuracies. Hardly taking responsibility for your actions, is it?

As for the evidence in favour of the efficacy of capital punishment, I'm yet to see any that convinces. The United States retains the death penalty in a number of States, yet has a far higher murder rate than the United Kingdom does. Murder is still, thankfully, rare in this country, with the sort of cases that are front-page news here barely noted in Chicago, Los Angeles or Washington DC.

So, I'll leave the grandstanding to the blogosphere's resident agent provocateur, and concentrate on a nice week ahead enjoying the best that Suffolk has to offer, as well as celebrating Ros's birthday...


Jennie said...

That's not really a death PENALTY, though, is it?

Mark Valladares said...


I would suggest that it is, as it would be an alternative to a prison sentence. You make a valid point though.

How are things in the North?

Left Lib said...

The problem with opting into the death penalty is that that gives other people an incentive to make that person's life a misery so that they may take that option. And it means the the executioner kills someone in cold blood. So I don't agree with this.