The Death Penalty – Is it Barbaric or Justice

How long must we suffer the agony of losing a loved one and losing the right for justice? Recently shadow Home Secretary David Davis said how he felt the death penalty was something which should be brought back. I cannot agree more as the notion of life meaning life is very rarely used and any judge would tell you it is now only in extreme cases that it is used. I can think of the time it was last used and yes it was in an extreme case and it certainly deserved the death penalty. It was the case of Ian Huntley who was found guilty of a double murder.

But it was a horrific and brutal cold blooded killing that earned him the highest possible sentence in the criminal justice system. It is believed that Huntley killed two innocent twelve year old girls (we all remember the heart rendering photograph showing the two girls in Man. Utd. jerseys which would take a tear from even the coldest stone. ) in a brutal way burning their clothes and bodies without ever showing remorse. He then had the nerve to come onto T. V. and say how much of a tragedy the case was and how he wanted to see the return of the young girls.

Many people claim that in this case justice was done. But how so? The families of the two young girls must forever live with the thought that their children suffered a brutal and horrific death. The fathers will now never see that ultimate dream of walking them up the aisle. Yet Mr. Huntley has the possibility to do all these things. Although the judge recommended life imprisonment that does not mean he will serve it. He may only be there for 10 years, quite insignificant when those families must live with never seeing their children again, while anyone can see Huntley.

Although in that case many sounds were made about the re-introduction of the death penalty, in the case of Harold Shipman none were made. Possible the only man (outside of those who have led a country) to put any other murderer to shame. It will never be known exactly how many he killed but it is known that he has killed two hundred and fifteen. Recently he committed suicide and while one would try to feel sympathy to those are saddened by his death I cannot help but think good riddance to bad waste.

The thing that makes it worse is possibly the thought of new EU legislation that means no longer can the Home Secretary decide whether or not to keep people in jail. Surely he should know best given that he is obviously going to go on public opinion and given that any murderer should not have the right to be free if the public don’t want them to, because it is the public that the legal system is meant to protect after all. However having said all that, as a Christian I find it hard to condone the killing of any person.

Especially giving the fact we all know that severe miscarriages of justice can happen and we only have to look at what actually happened to Christ himself to see that. The crucifixion of Jesus, the great man who taught us everything and tried to reverse the evil within us all was showed quite brutally that we will never change and some of us will always have our hands covered in blood. But yet he always said when he rose again how he forgave us for our sins and that we should do the same. We have seen here in Northern Ireland that people who are guilty of quite brutal and sinister murders have been released on license.

This was a way of restoring peace to our area and showing that the only way people can move on is if we forgive those who have done wrong against us. We must also remember that no matter what way it is done or how nicely we dress it up, what we are doing is simply murdering the person who has murdered. And I believe that as a society we should all be big enough to rise above what others may say or do and never go to the levels that many people reduce themselves to. And the one thing that I am totally opposed to is making martyrs of people. Those who kill hundreds for their “cause” are unwisely given death.

We saw how a person convicted of the Bali bombings in Indonesia was sentenced to death and cheered at the penalty as did his supporters in the gallery. In cases like that no one should be given death, I think they would see it as humiliation if they had life imprisonment. There are many questions over the death penalty: how can we be sure of a person’s guilt? Should we make martyrs of people? Are we not just resorting to their levels? The answer to all these is yes, quite simply. However, the question over whether or not we should have the death penalty is after all a personal view.

I wonder, if you had a close friend or relative murdered would you not seek their death? This is a very complex and very controversial subject. Often what applies to one case does not apply for another. I often think if it was someone I knew in the dock for murder would I want them killed? However whenever the subject is raised I always refer to John Grisham’s novel A View to Kill. This novel is a story of how a father killed the two people who killed his daughter and how the defence team argue that it was an instance of blind anger and rage. I firmly believe in the death penalty it is now up to you to decide if you do?

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