Mmegi Blogs :: I still support capital punishment
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Friday 23 February 2018, 16:45 pm.
I still support capital punishment

I support the death penalty, goes without saying that I am a firm retributionist. My simple belief, and I know most people also share it, if you deliberately take a life and you are then proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, then you should also simply forfeit your right to live.
By Tumie Modise Mon 06 Nov 2017, 13:07 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: I still support capital punishment

The sentence should always be proportional to the severity of their crime.

Defenders of capital punishment are always quick to argue that capital punishment is not a deterrent. Ernest van den Haag, a law Professor at Fordham University who has studied the question of deterrence closely, wrote: “Even though statistical demonstrations are not conclusive, and perhaps cannot be, capital punishment is likely to deter more than other punishments because people fear death more than anything else. They fear most death deliberately inflicted by law and scheduled by the courts.’’ I agree.

Whether we agree or not, in life, whatever people fear most is likely to deter most of them. Growing up, parents used to warn us of bogeymen popularly known in villages as ‘boramotsholakakgetsi”. While I have always doubted the sack theory, I know for a fact that children used to disappear and most times they would later be tragically found dead somewhere. So there was some truth in those bogeymen stories. To this day those people still exist, both sexes, even in towns!

Bogeymen are back in fashion. Hardly a week passes by where we don’t hear of heartbreaking stories of people who see nothing wrong with slaughtering other people, even defenseless children. This week in court, a murder accused stunned everyone. Found in possession of the murder weapon, a knife, he shocked us all when he challenged the court to prove that the traces of blood found on the knife were indeed of the deceased and not other people he said he had stabbed with the same knife. As he said that his defence lawyer almost crawled under court pews. Some people laughed, others cried.

For three years now, homicides and so-called passion killings are on the increase. At this rate, people are soon going to choose to take their own lives than wait for some psycho to do the honours. If it’s not someone been shot Hollywood-style in their living room, then it’s someone being hacked or burnt to death while sleeping. It’s the new Wild Wild West, only its happening for real and not some make-believe thriller we watch at local cinemas or pirated videos.

One very disturbing thing about some murder accused persons is that they are repeat offenders.

It is not uncommon


to learn that they are suspected to have committed crimes when they were out on bail for other murder crimes. Maybe we are dealing with vampires. We just don’t know it yet.

When someone commits murder, they are caught, tried, and convicted, and it is understood that the punishment will be severe. But the person they would have killed no longer has a part to play in this. That notwithstanding, fact is the murderer has the victim’s family and friends of a loved one. Their grief begins with the murder.  The grief may not end with the murderer’s execution, but the execution does engender a feeling of relief at no longer having to think about the ordeal—a feeling which often fails to arise while the murderer still lives on.

Again, and I hold this strong view, if would-be criminals know undoubtedly that they will be put to death should they murder with premeditation, very many of them are much less inclined to commit murder.  Whether or not would-be criminals are wary of committing the worst crime is an important, and probably impossible question to answer. But the fact does remain that many criminals who ride the fence on committing murder ultimately decide to spare the victim’s life.

In a larger sense, capital punishment is the ultimate warning against all crimes. If the criminal knows that the justice system will not stop at putting him to death, then the system appears more draconian to him. Hence, he is less inclined to break and enter. 

He may have no intention of killing anyone in the process of robbing them, but is much more apprehensive about the possibility if he knows he will be executed.  Thus, there is a better chance that he will not break and enter in the first place.

I do not wish murder on anyone; equally I do not wish to see anyone beg the State to spare their lives after they are sentenced to hang. I only firmly believe that if murder is the willful deprivation of a victim’s right to life, then the justice system’s willful deprivation of the criminal’s right to the same is, even if overly severe, a punishment which fits the most severe crime that can be committed.


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