I have always had conflicting feelings with regard to the death penalty. The logic is astounding though isn’t it?
A few years ago, watching the tube one night, I stumbled across a TV show that was airing the executions of several death row inmates. The twist was that the victim’s (who were murdered by one of the inmates) family members have the right to not only confront the convicted and now confessed murderers, but also are present and watch the executions take place. Only two of the death row inmates stories have stayed with me. One man was genuinely sorry for his crime, the other denied it till the bitter end.
The one guy was now accepting responsibility and seemed to sincerely realize his sin was not just taking a life, but the broken hearts and destroyed dreams and damaged lives and of the mother and father were a cross he was now facing to bare. Not for long though, well at least on this side.
For what? Ten or so years while sitting on death row a man has a lot of time to reflect. To come to understand and accept there fate. Because as a rational person knows, he is going to die very soon – actually have his life taken – for his crime. He becomes more human. He must. If he is guilty. If he did in fact commit the crime he will die for.
But what if he was innocent? If he is rational he becomes less human. Consumed with hate, anger, disgust and disdain, especially for the grieving family members who have come to enjoy his death. That is the other guy. Remember I said I remembered two stories from the TV show. But is that possible? Can an innocent man be executed in our civilized society?
Of course the answer is a BIG yes. And thats where it all falls apart for me. Given the fact that the overwhelming majority of death row inmates are guilty, if one innocent man, in a million, dies at the hands of the justice system, thus our US constitution and thus the foundation of our society, is that an acceptable margin of error as system of society, or is it one too many?
What I came to see was that we still possess a primitive instinct that enjoys the death of our enemy. Revenge must had even though it wont bring back our loved one. Therefor pointless unless seeing a man who caused me to experience the most pain humanly imaginable die makes me feel good, even if I wasn’t sure the man who dies is the one who caused me pain.
As a society as a living human being, we will not allow another to take from us, that which hold above all things in this world, our children. I was moved to tears as I watched and saw hurt in the eyes of the parents of murdered children. I have one child. My daughter Chelsea, who from the moment she was born I knew I would gladly die to insure her life of happiness. But in an imperfect world, unless I was 100% completely sure that that man accused and convicted was the man who did the act, I see no benefit to executions based on any uncertainty.