Capital Punishment

Capital punishment is a form of human sacrifice. There seems to be a belief that the state, ritual killing of someone found guilty of a crime will salve the stress of those offended against and satisfy the desires of the community that someone dangerous has been disposed of. Some might say it gives closure. Nothing gives that sort of peace except time and learning to live with the loss. With time, the pain might become bearable for the victims and their families and friends. 

We all understand the term capital punishment to mean execution of an individual. Why do we use a euphemism for what is done. Society is exacting revenge by killing the person. Why are we afraid to express the words that describe the action. With capital punishment we are killing a human being, putting to death, someone we feel deserves this treatment. The person is being sacrificed.

Sacrifice is usually an offering. It may be to a god, a deity, or in the superstitious hope that by doing a sacrifice we will ward off other tragedies. By ritually executing a person, we are sacrificing them to the community’s wish for revenge.  Ancient stories are full of human sacrifice in the hope that the community will survive. It rarely helped.

It is understandable that anger and frustration demand retribution. By executing an individual, we are not able to revive the murdered person or heal the seriously injured one. All we have done is add another death to the list. When the person is dead we have no more control over their life because we have given up that control for revenge. 

Perhaps the barbaric process of state-sanctioned killing gives some members of the public a sense of satisfaction. The methods used are painful, ugly and do nothing positive for those who have to carry them out, except give free rein to their sadistic side. While there are some crimes which deserve severe punishment and incarceration for the safely of the public, capital punishment is not the answer. 

It is curious that in countries of the world where capital punishment is no longer practiced there seems to have been a drop in capital crimes. Perhaps there is a connection between a societal respect for human life and the behavior of it’s inhabitants. By insisting on a sacrifice we are demonstrating complete lack of respect for the human condition and a lack of respect toward humanity. 

Capital punishment equates to human sacrifice.