Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I Think About: What the Aurora Guy Deserves

This is actually a re-post from a couple of years ago when Utah put someone to death.  I'd posted something on my facebook page and it started a firestorm like no other.  I had to delete comments because people were name-calling and cussing.  It was a disaster.

But I still maintain my position.

I'm against capital punishment.

I live 10 miles away from the Colorado border.  My dad has been doing cancer treatments in Aurora, Co.  Just two weeks ago I went to the movies in Aurora with my Aunt Blitz.

And then the news of the Aurora slaughterings came out and I've heard and seen enough to know what a senseless, tragic event that was.  In truth, I'm actually NOT reading or watching much because--in my opinion--the only thing worse for the families than dealing with the murder of a family member is hearing over and over about said murders.

Any how, I'm not a fan of the killer, obviously.  But I'm not hoping he gets capital punishment either.

Here's why.

Whenever capital punishment is mentioned, I hear the same arguments.

If we killed more people there would be less crime. 

Sadly research is conflicting.  The data in this research indicate that after an execution, there are 18 fewer murders.  The problem is, correlation does not equal causation.  The moon phases could play into those 18 fewer deaths just as easily.  Other data found there is no correlation because those who commit violent crimes rarely think of consequences prior to committing the crime.  It’s a draw. 

What isn’t a draw is the fact that since DNA testing has been used in courts, many people serving life sentences have been freed and 8 others have been “executed but possibly innocent.”  39 more executed people have been killed in the face of evidence that they were innocent.

Why do I mention this?  Because what I generally hear is my dad people saying, "even if it only deters one crime, even if it saves just one life, I'm for the death penalty."  In my estimation, being against the death penalty might save innocent lives as much, or more, than hoping for capital punishment to be a deterrent.  I guess I'd rather keep one proven and convicted killer in prison for life than "accidentally" killing a person who actually WAS innocent.

We save money killing criminals. 

Hate to say it, but WRONG-O!

One study counted death penalty case costs through to execution and found that the median death penalty case costs $1.26 million. Non-death penalty cases were counted through to the end of incarceration and were found to have a median cost of $740,000.   You do the math.  

Want more info on how much more money taxpayers pay to execute someone?  Click here.

Lethal Injection is humane.

Really?  For some reason I think the majority of humans fear death whether it is "humane" or not.  New data suggest that lethal injection is not as painless as first believed.  And it can be botched.  Actually, the man in Utah who was executed chose the firing squad because it is 100% effective.  The same thing can't be said of lethal injection.  Or the chair.  **Insert shudder here**

He Deserved It.

Don't even get me started on the systemic issues that skew capital punishment.  Borrowing from Thomas More, "We create criminals and then punish them." 

And as a Christian, ask me if I deserve the life of grace I'm living.  Nope.  

Does the killer deserve punishment and to reap the consequences of his actions?  Damn right he does.  Does that have to mean death?  Nope. 

Eye for an Eye

Ah yes, and now the religious excuse for capital punishment.  

It is true that you'll find this statement in the Old Testament (Lev. 24:19-21).  However, you have to look at it contextually.  In ancient days, punishments generally FAR exceeded the crime (think of stoning a woman to death for adultery--not exactly just.  Just would be her husband cheating on her.  Not killing her). 

The command, "an eye for an eye" was actually a call for mercy--that the worst you could do to someone was what they did to you.  This original command was set up so people wouldn't capriciously seek revenge and retribution.  The intent was to solve problems with justice--not revenge.

What I want people to know is that they can't throw Leviticus at me while forgetting Matthew 5:38-39.
You have heard it said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, Do not resist and evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.

Again, it is all about context. Jesus ISN'T saying we have to be pacifists and never defend ourselves.  He is saying "don't compete with an evil person through retaliation." Don't do to them what they do to you.  

Some other good New Testament stuff: 
  • James 4:12 says God is the only lawgiver and judge who can take a life in the name of justice. 
  • Romans 12:17-21 warns us against answering evil with evil and assures us that God will see to justice in the afterlife. 
  • In John 8:7 Jesus points out that all humans are imperfect, and are therefore unqualified to decide whether someone lives or dies. 
  • And a personal little favorite James 1:20: “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
The Bible doesn't steadfastly say YES or NO to capital punishment (so it's probably best not to use the "eye of an eye" defense).

What I Think:
As a Christ following woman, I am against capital punishment.  I believe and trust that Christ came for the "least of these" and that He can redeem people (heck, look what He's done for me!). 

I believe this is a heart issue, not a salvation issue.  If you disagree, you certainly have that right but I personally can't reconcile "loving your neighbor as yourself"with capital punishment.   

What Do You Think?
Even if we disagree, I'd love to hear your side of this issue.  Respectful comments are welcome
~I trust we can all disagree without being disagreeable~ (Comments will be moderated as needed).

By the way, due to some "brave" name-calling at the hands of anonymous visitors, I've removed the possibility to respond to my blog posts anonymously.  If you really believe what you are saying, I trust you'd stand behind it enough to use your name (unlike Little Miss "Your a despicable American but I'm only saying that because you can't see me" from Utah!).


4 comments:

  1. Loved this post last time. Love it just as much this time. Our views on the subject are very similar! Good time to repost!

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  2. Love this post and agree with you views. I wrote about Aurora too! Here: http://lifeandtimesofmellynel.blogspot.com/2012/07/pour-your-heart-out-aurora-colorado.html
    I'm glad someone else chose to talk about it too :)

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  3. I think you have done a great job of laying out your thoughts. I'm rather on the fence about capital punishment. I did not lose any sleep over McVey's, Saddam's or bin Laden's deaths and I probably will not lose any sleep over this nutjob's should it come to that. And I can't say how I would react if it were one of my daughters that had been in that theater. But, in principle, I am against the death penalty for the reasons you have outlined.

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  4. I go back and forth on this. For the most part, I'm against it... though then I think if someone were to walk into my house and kill one of my babies, I'd want that person killed. Not exactly forgiving, am I? Just sharing my opinion.

    I just read The Confession from Grisham and it raised some interesting arguments. Though of course it's fiction, he is part of The Innocence Project and so I think he wove some truths in there as well.

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{Reverse Psychology}
I DO NOT like comments. Whatever you do, don't leave me a comment about this post or your thoughts or any connections you have to what I wrote. Seriously, I don't care.
(Did that reverse psychology work???)