ambiguity

October 23, 2010

Right To Vengeance?

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 1:29 am

The death penalty as a subject has been debated, torn up and put back together so many times, discourse has become extremely predictable. The keywords you would expect to see include “human rights”, “cruel”, “inhumane” and my personal favourite, “deterrent”. It is, of course, unrealistic to expect pro-death penalty campaigners to stop using the imaginary deterrence factor as an argument. But i was pleasantly surprised to note no such point in this piece.

In fact, the entire piece was surprisingly easy to read. I am, of course, resisting the urge to make a dig at Mr Padulo. It’s nothing personal; it’s just… YPAP members seem to have some sort of mockery lightning rod on them. The point of Mr Padulo’s article revolves around the human rights of the victims’ families. What of the families, he asks. What about their rights? They’ve just lost a loved one, what about their rights?

What about their rights, Michael? They have the right to prosecute, and they have the right to hurl profanities at the accused. They have the right to be upset. What they don’t have, is the right to seek revenge. And that seems to be exactly what Michael is suggesting. That families of victims be given the right to seek vengeance. Michael is suggesting that in order for these heartbroken people to “repair their broken lives”, the accused must die.

What a dreadful suggestion. What an absolutely terrible thought to have. Admittedly, human beings are pre-disposed to have violent tendencies. It’s part of our evolution. Most still believe that it is prolonged exposure to violence which turns us onto that path. The truth is, it is the guidance and the education we receive throughout our lives which prevents our core personality, which is most certainly violent, from seeping out. But does this mean that the only way for us to receive closure is to murder whoever’s done us harm? As cynical as i am, I’d like to believe that’s not the case. I believe that two wrongs don’t make a right. I believe that two deaths won’t make the world a better place.

I am, perhaps not shocked, perhaps not appalled, but immensely surprised that a senior lecturer, an educator, is advocating the concept of vengeance. An eye for an eye. And as a right. A human right. For a man who is “shocked into disbelief at the extent to which human beings can become so utterly depraved and bestial,” one more murder does not seem to cause any sort of distress to him. I don’t think you’re as dense as you made yourself out to be, so I’ll have to believe that you were on something.

The truth is, Mr Padulo, and I sincerely hope you don’t take this personally, the death penalty is simply a way for governments to exert their power, and for people to satisfy their bloodlust. It does absolutely nothing for society, except perhaps to shift humanity slightly backwards on the evolutionary scale. Nobody is saying that criminals should be spared from punishment. What I’m saying is that there is a better way, a more civilised way for us to behave. A mode of punishment that would both help these families find closure, and reform these criminals. Would that not be the most ideal, rational, logical and objective solution?

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1 Comment »

  1. Can’t help but laugh at the statement: “YPAP members seem to have some sort of mockery lightning rod on them.” I’m sure we all now know what the PAP logo really means…

    Comment by Jason — October 26, 2010 @ 12:27 am


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