Death Penalty : The Value of Life

“In a few hours, a group of eight souls will be taken from their cell to a jungle clearing on Nusakambangan Island in Indonesia. Dressed in white and blindfolded, their hands would be tied to a pole. As they are lined up, twelve members of the firing squad will pull the trigger. Only one of them will carry live rounds so no one will know who fired the fatal shot.”
~Panmnesia @ docpanny.wordpress.com

Later tonight, there will be young boys who are orphaned; mothers who’ve lost their babies, sisters without their brothers, wives widowed.

This world will lose a few inhabitants.

As their dead bodies are dragged and carried into coffins with white satin linings, the firing squad would head back home for a good night sleep; the authorities back at the prison centre will get busy clearing the cell for someone new; the members of court who sentenced them to death will snore away; and the whole world would continue living our lives.

Yes. The chapters of the Bali Nine heroin-trafficking gang will end tonight.

While their case drew huge attention worldwide, it reminded me of our fellow Malaysian brothers and sisters who are in death row, waiting for their execution right here in our homeland.

It is my belief that every human beings are born into this world equally at par with one another. No man is born to be a criminal. It is the life they live and the society around them who shapes them to be who they become.

Yet, when one choses the wrong path and stumbles upon lack of guidance and knowledge, we as a society are too fast to judge. Who cares if he is a young man? Who cares if he is someone’s child? Who cares? After all, as long as a convict has no relation to us – we wash off our hands. How typical of us.

Ever since childhood, every one of us grew up with a set of rules. ‘Don’t touch this’. ‘Stop doing that’. ‘Never open this’. And with those rules, comes punishment. From a slap on the face to beatings on the bum, punishments shape us to be who we are. It helps us to tell the wrong apart from the right. Our sore cheek and bum reminds us never to repeat the same mistakes again. It makes us share our experiences with our close ones so they too can learn never to commit such acts.

In simple terms, punishments serve three purposes:
(1) to make people repent,
(2) to remind them never to repeat the act, and
(3) as a warning to others.

Clearly (1) and (2) cannot be achieved by capital punishment, which leaves us with (3). In short, capital punishment is our way of warning others never to commit similar acts.

In other words, we kill a human being to remind people not to kill others.

What a barbaric society we have become!

Tell me – does it make sense to kill defenceless people on death row in order to prove that it is morally wrong to hurt defenceless people of the public? How can it ever be morally justified to deprive a human being of life?

Instead of mourning a tragedy and finding ways to improve the flaws in our society, we choose to satisfy our bloodlust by killing the offender. Sadly, by punishing the offender, we become one of them.

While I agree that no punishment could ever be equal to the terrible effects of the crimes committed by these offenders against innocent people and their families, there is no point in trying to hurt them in return.

Killing a man is wrong in all accounts. Death is not for a man to decide.

As at 2012, 141 countries around the world have abolished capital punishment. Today, there are only about 25 countries out of 59 that retain death penalty are carrying out executions. We are one of them.

“When a man kills another man, we call it murder.
When society kills a man, we call it justice.”

Come on good people of Malaysia, I plead with you. Please take a moment to think about this. Join me in sending a message to our authorities to reconsider capital punishment in Malaysia.

Remember, you do not have to be among the firing squad to feel guilty.
You do not have to be a hangman who suspends the noose to feel guilty.
You do not have to be a member of the court to feel guilty.
If you support death penalty, you ARE guilty.

Do you want blood in your hands?

Fa’s Note:
Prayers and love goes out to Andrew, Myun, Mary, their friends, all death row inmates and their families all around the world. May God have mercy on all of us. Bless your soul wherever you are.

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