I’ve been thinking about Peace again. How vital it is for each of us individually, in our relationships, in our communities, in our nations and in our world. How elusive it is. How I long to see mankind ascend into a more peaceful place. How unlikely that seems. How important it is that we strive for it, nonetheless.
As my mind drifted through thoughts of peace, I came upon an obstacle. The death penalty. Some would say it serves peace, removing scum and making all of us a bit safer. I disagree. I’m against the death penalty in principle. To kill to show we are against killing…what kind of logic is that? I think of what Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind.” One of your children hits another. How do you teach them not to hit? Punch them out? Hand out violence to train them not to be violent?
We are humans. We make mistakes. I’m talking about the process, not the crime. DNA testing has shown us this in horrifying ways. How many have we sentenced to death that were innocent? How many innocent have died? In the past five years, 346 people have been executed in the US. Almost thirty five hundred remain on death row. Twelve have been killed already this year.
And the death penalty is biased against the poor who cannot afford decent representation. Few white-collar killers sit on death row. Besides, where is the evidence that execution deters murder? It may satisfy revenge, but that is also questionable.
Listen to Bud Welch , whose daughter was killed in the Oklahoma bombing, “More violence is not what Julie would have wanted. More violence will not bring Julie back. More violence only makes our society more violent.”
I would like to see the end of this violent and inhumane “punishment”. I think it hurts all of us, eventually. As Mr. Welch said so eloquently, it makes us, as a nation, more violent.