Are You for or Against the Death Penalty?

Posted: October 8, 2012 in charity, controversy, featured, politics
Tags: , , , , , ,

If you are not in the United Kingdom, you may not have heard about this, but one week ago, a five year old girl, April Jones, disappeared from her village in Wales.  A man, Mark Bridger, has been arrested and charged with her abduction and murder.  No body has yet been found, and people remain hopeful that April will be found alive and well.  A message was placed on the 10 Downing Street Facebook page asking that the death penalty would be reinstated for Mark Bridger.  I am personally against the death penalty (unless it is in relation to beheading royals, obviously), but I understand this is an on-going debate that people will probably never agree on.  I will lay out why I am against the death penalty, just to start a debate.  But what I really want to talk about is how horrified I am by the barbaric nature of many people, who have commented on the post on 10 Downing Street.  I am, personally, shocked.

Why I Am Against the Death Penalty

First of all, I strongly believe in human rights.  And I think the most basic of all human rights is the right to live.  Taking someone’s life is hideous and horrible, but that does not mean you have lost your own human rights.  Bear in mind, as well, that Mark Bridger is innocent until proven guilty.  Personally, I think it’s a shocking state of affairs that this man has been named and shamed publicly.  What if he didn’t do it?  And it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened in the UK.  A few years back, a man was wrongly accused of murdering a number of prostitutes.  He didn’t do it, but he was named and shamed in the media and will never live this down.

But here are some statistics on the death penalty, which make it even more important for me that this horrific type of punishment is never brought back to this country, and why I think it should be removed from any other country:

  • Since 1992, 15 death row inmates have been fully exonerated in the United States.  This means they were waiting to die for a crime they didn’t commit but had a very lucky escape.
  • In the United Kingdom, three exonerations and one pardon have been granted to people who were executed between 1950 and 1953.  Posthumously, obviously.
  • Some specific examples of people wrongfully executed in the United States include Johnny Frank Garrett, Wayne Felker, Thomas and Meeks Griffin, Chipita Rodriguez and Carlos DeLuna.
  • Statistics show that 3% of executions in the United States are botched, meaning that three out of every 100 people executed should not have been.
  • In the United Kingdom, specific examples of people wrongfully executed include Timothy Evans and Derek Bentley.

There are many more examples from cases around the world and these are just examples of cases that were reinvestigated.  What does that tell you?  The chances of killing an innocent man or woman are just too big, in my eyes.

Not just that, every person sentenced to death is still someone’s relative, someone’s child, perhaps husband or wife, someone’s father or mother, someone’s friend.  Why destroy their lives even more in the process?  What do you gain by executing somebody?  After all, the perpetrator will simply be dead, nothing else.  Remember my favourite saying: an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

Despicable Words from the British Public

It seems that in the UK at least, there are plenty of people that don’t agree with me.  They are aggressive and violent and some of the things they say are completely inhumane.  In my eyes, that makes them no better than Mark Bridger, and I must reiterate once again that the man has not been convicted of anything yet.  Here are a few quotes from people that have commented on the letter to David Cameron, requesting a reinstatement of the death penalty:

Death would be to easy for cunts lyk this torture the fucker – three “likes”

This man needs more than hung or tied in a chair!! He need’s tying to a bed, tortured for days on end, when his body packs in and he is close to his end he then needs skinning and fed to aload of pigs! Evil, discusting, filthy worthless piece of shit!! I’d spit on his grave!! – two “likes”

Put an old tyre around his neck, fill it with petrol, light. Job done. – two “likes”

A bullet costs 30p. – six “likes”

jus put him or anyother inbreeded freak of nature in a hole jus leavin his ed above ground and cut his eye lids off n leave him, naa throw a rock a day till its stop breathin slowly but surly kil the cunt… – three “likes”

May he die a slow painful death u evil bastard if u molested her may ur penis be cut off in to tiny pieces n u be fed them u p***k – two “likes”

My Response

One thing I noticed is the incredibly high standard of literacy in these comments…  Anyway, here’s what I wrote and the conversation that followed.

I’m really saddened by some of the things that have been written on here. Read back and look at what some of you guys have said. It is barbaric and despicable. You are talking about gruesomly murdering another human being, someone who hasn’t been convicted of any crime yet. He is someone’s son, someone’s father and someone’s friend. And not just that, how are your opinions making anything better? Do you really think April’s parents are reading this and thinking their daughter will probably never come home but that’s ok because a bunch of random people want to have him hung drawn and quartered? I am honestly shocked at the brutality and evilness that is so clearly within some of you. Shame on you.


Jolande Mace… April was somone’s daughter, friend & loved 1… That arsehole took her from them.. He deserves all he gets you fucking muppet!!

Jolsnde mace fuck off its evil what he’s done

To which I said:

I never said April’s life isn’t valued. She is just as much someone’s daughter and friend. What I am saying is that even her killer – whoever it may be and if she is dead – is a human being too. The acts described in here as punishment for him are inhumane. No matter what someone has done, they are still human. Imagine for a minute that the bloke is your son or father, maybe then you’ll understand what I’m saying. His behavior, if he did it, is inexcusable. That means there is never any excuse for that kind of behavior. Ergo, doing it back to him is still inexcusable.

“fuck off” really? Is that how you always conduct yourself in a debate? Perhaps expanding your vocabulary slightly will give you a bit more credibility. The guy is innocent until proven guilty. Even if he is guilty, murdering him will not change anything. You will only destroy more families.

I’m very happy to say that my comment got 19 “likes”.  Hopefully this does say something about the general opinion of the British public.

What are your views?

  1. Tania Hales says:

    It’s difficult because when you think of anyone harming an innocent person, let alone a child, your first reaction is one of anger and usually involves wanting that person to suffer unimaginable agony for what they have done. I think most people think about their own children in cases like this and what they would do to anyone who harmed their child, it’s my first reaction too, but maybe they need to consider how they would feel if it was their child who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to the death penalty. Maybe then they would agree that just one person wrongly executed is one person too many. I have heard people say that executions should be allowed if there is dna evidence, but what if that person is convicted on falsified evidence and we have all heard of convictions being overturned because of better technology. What about people who plead guilty? There have been cases where people with mental illnesses admitted to crimes they haven’t committed, people who have admitted to crimes under duress and those who have admitted to crimes to protect a loved one. There is also very little chance that someone is going to plead guilty to a crime knowing that they will get the death penalty if they do and that can only prolong the pain for the victims family.

  2. Hz says:

    “Do I need to argue to Your Honor that cruelty only breeds cruelty? That hatred only causes hatred; that if there is any way to soften this human heart which is hard enough at its best, if there is any way to kill evil and hatred and all that goes with it, it is not through evil and hatred and cruelty; it is through charity, and love, and understanding?”

    “I am pleading for life, understanding, charity, kindness, and the infinite mercy that considers all. I am pleading that we overcome cruelty with kindness and hatred with love.

    “I know the future is on my side.”

    ― Clarence Darrow, from his closing argument in the 1924 Leopold and Loeb ‘thrill murder’ case.

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