The death penalty law is a legalised discriminative ‘Government Program’.
Sadly, the many arguments against the death penalty will not lead to abolition.
Political leaders use the death penalty as a ‘populist tool’ to prove they are ‘tough on crime’. Politicians play with people’s lives for political advantage. Very often political rivalries between Governments play a major role in executions.
Too many governments still believe that they can solve social problems by executing prisoners. Many people all over the world are unaware that the death penalty offers society not further protection but further brutalization.
The death penalty is imposed arbitrarily, capriciously and at random, worldwide. It is applied to some people who commit non-violent crime and not to others who commit violent crime. Some death row prisoners are ‘chosen/selected’ to be legally killed while others are not. Nor is it true, that the executed people are only those guilty of the worst-of-the-worst crimes. Executions include everything from murder, adultery, blasphemy and a variety of non-violent and moral crimes. It is no surprise that there are no powerful or wealthy people on death row, anywhere, around the world.
The major players in drug-trafficking are never caught, never punished, never executed, because the major players are corrupt governments, legislators, judges and lawyers who ‘play’ the system.
The state-sanctioned killing of a human person depends on the moral order that society lives by. Killing a criminal is easy, but preventing crime is a complex process that Governments often are unwilling to undertake. It is easier to dismiss a criminal as being ‘evil’ than to face the tangle of social failures within our society.
The state-sanctioned killing a criminal is not an occasion to celebrate. Indeed, rejoicing as a society at the killing of a criminal shows the moral degradation of society. When the law metes out vengeance disguised as justice, it becomes complicit with criminals.
Whether you are for or against the death penalty, nobody can dispute that it is a barbaric, brutal, cruel, degrading, inhuman, uncivilised and vile form of punishment. The death penalty is the most pre-meditated, meticulously prepared, carefully planned, cold-blooded ‘legal ritual’ of killing a human being by Government-chosen stealth executioners who go home to their families and still able to sleep peacefully at night.
The death penalty law is a legal demon - determining 'who' among the condemned deserves to die ... like flipping a coin to see 'who' will live and 'who' will die.
Education and moral leadership shape an informed public opinion. It is the responsibility of political leaders, law legislators, influential intellectual individuals, and the media to lead public opinion in factual matters of human rights - the death penalty cannot be separated from International human rights.
A reminder, that not so long ago public opinion overwhelmingly supported slavery, racial segregation, flogging, lynching and even torture. The decision to abolish the death penalty has to be taken by politicians, even though public majority supports it.
For example ... decent civilised governments would never introduce laws such as human torture even if public majority supported it. Yet, the death penalty is both mental (prolonged) and physical torture. The issue of legally killing criminals in every abolitionist country was framed as a ‘moral’ concern for society as a whole. The death penalty was considered incompatible with the basic principles of human rights, and thereby abolished.
Political leaders need to express a principled opposition to the death penalty around the world, in terms of the sanctity of human life and dignity.
For abolition to happen, opponents of the death penalty and political leaders will have to ‘speak’ about the death penalty in the clear language of ‘moral’ principle.
Abolition cannot be achieved without demanding political leaders do what is ‘ethically and morally’ right.
Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP)