Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Capital Punishment

For the last few days, there has been a lot of talk about Tookie WIlliams -- the co-founder of a violent gang known as "the Crips." No doubt, this man was involved in many murders -- four in 1979 for which he was tried and convicted.. He was given the death sentence in 1981. Since then, he has made amends. He has written a number of children's books deploring gangs and gang violence. He was even nominated for a Nobel Prize.

Many Hollywood actors had taken up his cause -- calling for a reprieve. Last night, Tookie was executed.

I have to confess: I don't know where I stand on the issue of capital punishment. I do think it is biblical, and I used to know that I was in favor of it. Maybe it has been through watching the Islamic extremists' carrying out of "justice" (I don't know for sure) -- but I am no longer as firm in my position as I once was. I, too, want justice. But perhaps life in prison with no parole is justice enough. I don't any longer buy into the idea of capital punishment being a deterent. I just don't know that there is anything statistically to support that. Especially is that true of the death penalty in its current form (lethal injection).

So, I guess right now I'm on the fence. I think both sides have some good arguments. Hollywood actors and Jesse Jackson being opposed to capital punishment might be enough to sway me to being in favor of it (just kidding, I think). I would be interested in hearing what you think.

6 comments:

Cassey said...

i think it depends on if you have ever been in the situation . if someone you loved was killed and the murder was in prison and on death row , you would have a totally diffrent outlook I think if you had never been there . I have never been there . I am not sure if the the idea of capital punishment is just "justified" revenge .

John R said...

Rick,
At certain times I too find myself second guessing the system. Tookie's case is one of them. However, there are some that I have no question what their crimes deserved (i.e. Timothy McVeigh).
I personally believe that the death penalty could be a deterent if the judgement was swift, just as God intended it to be. Having someone sit for better than 20 years in a jail cell prior to the carrying out of justice has minimized the effect.
I have visited death row. It's not what one might think. It's not a 6x6 cell with nothing to do. PLENTY of activities are at the inmates disposal.
I apologize for rambling.

Jeff said...

I don't have a firm stand but lean to being opposed to the death penalty. I think the person should be punished and punished harshly and I believe there are ways to do that. Using a 6X6 cell and very hard labor are ways to begin that process.
While feeling that taking someone's life is not my place, I also think that giving someone the death penalty can be an easier punishment than what I would advocate.

Steve said...

I believe that the puinishment set forth by the law of the land. Whether it is capital or not should be what we accept. I do not believe that the punishment set forth is always just, sometimes it may be to harsh or to leaniant. I do believe we are called to be citizens and if we disagree we can voice our opinion and our vote, but we should always obey the law.

Josh Ross said...

It is hard for me to support the death penalty when looking at the way and life of Jesus, which was about pacifism, non-retaliation, and non-violence. His way of life forces me to see myself as a citizen of heaven, not of the United States.

As I write, I do not claim a particular party, but I will say that I sometimes struggle in conversations with those that find themselves FAR/EXTREME to the "right." They are usually pro-life and pro-death penalty. That doesn't make sense to me: not in favor of killing them in the womb, but in favor of killing them when they are adults. Ummm...

Rick Ross said...

Josh,

I agree with the insistencies of extremes. I must say, I find it more inconsistent that the far left is pro-abortion (killing the innocent) and opposed to capital punishment (involving the guilty). But extreme thinking on either side lends itself to illogic.

Steve,

As kingdom citizens we are certainly to live by the law of the land. However, this issue is one that has changed back and forth even in my lifetime. And I'm glad that some laws are amended / changed. For instance: Slavery and segregation.