Thursday, 23 May 2013
N.B. this is not supposed to be a well rounded argument on the pros and cons of capital punishment, but rather my brief personal thoughts
When I saw the photo of Lee Rigby this afternoon, something struck me with a power and emotional charge I was not expecting. In that moment, what I wanted very clearly was for the men who had perpetrated this cowardly act to be put to death.
I have always been against capital punishment, and I believe I still am, but in that instance all rational thought was put to one side. On brief reflection I still think this is right, even if this case does stretch the boundaries of the arguments against capital punishment.
The strongest argument (to my mind) against capital punishment is that there is always some uncertainty of guilt which capital punishment does not allow for. However, in this case (and with the Dale Cregan case as well) there seems to be little, if any uncertainty, that they are guilty, given that their actions were caught on camera, as where their boasts about committing the act.
There are clearly many more arguments than the one above for and against capital punishment, but I think in many ways, it comes down to the morals held by us as individuals and as a society overall. I personally dislike the idea of us condemning these men to death and don't feel that it is society's place to rule over life and death in this way.
My thoughts, feelings and beliefs with regard to organised religion (and spirituality more generally) could occupy a whole library and I find myself very uncertain with regard to it. However, thinking about this topic draws to mind one particular verse, namely Hebrews 10:30:
"Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord."
In which case, we should not execute these men, but leave them to the Lord's judgement.
Lee Rigby, may you rest in peace and rise in glory.