Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Death sentence - Justice or Revenge

Reference the Pittsburgh massacre of people praying at a synagogue, mostly elders, extracts from The Washington Post follow:

massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa 

The three-minute phone call with the President jarred Peduto, 54, the popular second-term Democratic mayor of the Steel City, just as he was trying to get his head around what was happening. After offering thoughts and prayers - and pledging anything Peduto needed, including a direct line to the White House - Trump veered directly into policy, Peduto recalled. The President, Peduto said, insisted on discussing harsher death penalty legislation as a way to prevent such atrocities. Peduto was stunned into silence.

"I'm literally standing two blocks from 11 bodies right now. Really?" Peduto said, noting that he was numb and believed that talking about the death penalty wasn't "going to bring them back or deter what had just happened. I ended the conversation pretty quickly after that"

Though talking about a horrible sad event, Pittsburgh Major Bill Peduto captured succinctly the impracticality of President Trump's ultra-harsh right-ish reaction to the shooting, to wit, insisting on harsher death penalty legislation as if it will be a solution or an effective way of preventing such atrocities.

Criminologist institutes around the world have shown that the death penalty for serious crimes such as murder or drug trafficking has no effect on those serious crime rates. Singapore, despite its ruthless capital punishment for drug traffickers, will find it will have to keep hanging those drug traffickers, whether of the naive or sinister type, because the punishment won't deter the crime.

Naturally people whose love ones had suffered at the hands of evil killers, murderers, drug traffickers or terrorists want to see the caught criminals receive the ultimate punishment. I can understand their wish but they are NOT the best people to ask for advice on capital punishment, given their emotional state of mind.

National (political, social, religious, legal, etc) leaders are the ones to make a sound national decision on whether Malaysia should continue to have such a draconian punishment. I am glad that the Malaysian government has made a merciful decision to join the 'civilised world' by abolishing capital punishment, though the new law is yet to be implemented.

The '30 years' imprisonment in lieu is a separate topic to be discussed in a separate post.

Those advocating death sentences claim it's 'justice' for the dead victims, but let us hear from the dictionary what is meant by 'justice'?

It's defined as:

(a) the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness:to uphold the justice of a cause.

(b) rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.

(c) the moral principle determining just conduct.

Is having a law to kill people a moral righteousness or just conduct?

Or is it more of 'revenge'?

Let us see what the dictionary says of 'revenge'.

It's defined as:

(a) to exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of, especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit: He revenged his murdered brother.

(b) to take vengeance for; inflict punishment for; avenge:He revenged his brother's murder.

It's all about the biblical "An eye for an eye" or "A tooth for a tooth", or the law of retaliation.

That, alas, is the sad principle of capital punishment.

The principle is sometimes referred using the Latin term lex talionis or the law of talion. The English word talion means a retaliation authorized by law.

In other words, as an example, if any of our loved ones has been murdered, our state law allows us to 'murder' that murderer in retaliation, and fCk righteous 'justice'.

Let me append a posting by Brother Haris Ibrahim, an exemplary citizen of righteous calibre, as follows:

Why I am for the abolition of the death penalty

I have written on this previously, and my views remain the same, so I am just going to reproduce excerpts here of what I wrote before.

I want to share my thoughts on why I think the death penalty is wrong, but allow me to first digress for a moment.

Irene is in her 70’s.

One night, as we talked, the subject moved to illness, suffering and death.

We both agreed that we were ready for death, but we did not want to suffer.

Irene then popped this question: if she was terminally ill and in great pain, would I, at her request, end it for her?

I said I would. I then asked if she would do the same for me.

She said she would.

We promised each other that night that if either was in a situation where death was imminent and was suffering great pain and requested to end it all, the other would do the necessary.

The truth, though, is, if confronted with this situation, I do not really know if I’d be able to go through with my promise to Irene.

Taking another’s life in these circumstances is called euthanasia.

Wikipedia explains euthanasia as “a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering“.

Most jurisdictions treat euthanasia as a criminal offence.

A culpable homicide.

Even if carried out to relieve intractable suffering.


Because life is precious, and no-one, absolutely no-one has the right to take life?


What of the death penalty then?

The death penalty is the deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to …..

To what?

To give expression to our wrath?

To give expression to our sense of horror?

An eye for an eye?

One life for the many lost to drugs?

To remove a menace from the midst of our loving society?

This loving society will not condone mercy killing because no-one has the right to take life, yet we sanction the deliberate intervention by the hangman undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to give expression to our wrath, our sense of horror? To exact society’s pound of flesh? To keep the rest of us safe?

We condemn the violent deaths inflicted by wars, yet we collectively sanction the violence inflicted on another life by placing the noose round his neck and dropping the trapdoor below his feet, so that the force of the drop will severe the lifeline of his spinal cord?

Is this the society that we are?

I do not support the death penalty because I do not believe we have the right, individually or collectively to end another’s life.

The death penalty, for me, is state-sanctioned violence.

Some proponents of the death penalty, without addressing the prior question whether we have the right to take life, advocate that a more humane intervention, rather than by hanging, be undertaken with the express intention of ending a life.

They advocate death by lethal injection.

Watch the videos below and decide for yourselves.


  1. If the death penalty is wrong even for a guilty murderer then the abortion of an innocent unborn is a million times worse. A lot of research has been done on prisoners on death row and the impact of execution on their families but there are many times more abortions being carried out; will anyone speak up for the unborn?

  2. Pedutoh's position , as a Democrat, has to be taken with a pinch of political salt.

    The Democrat party in the US has taken to a 100% opposition to anything and everything Trump does.
    Even more so during their mid-term election season.

    Trump does and says bad things, but it is ridiculous to be 100% opposed to everything he does or proposes.

    100% of the Democrat Senators, for example , opposed his nominated candidate for Supreme Court judge.

    Very similar to events in Malaysia, where people like this blog author is opposed to 100% of of anything Mahathir says and does.

  3. "justness of ground or reason"

    Yes, it is just that the penalty for taking a human life in cold blood, or with deliberate intention and plan, after it is proven beyond reasonable doubt under due process, is DEATH.

  4. Cheebye kaytee.....fly to usa to tell trump personally la

  5. An example of a botched execution of a condemned person by an incompetent executioner is your best reason to abolish the death penalty?

    Sentencing someone, say like Adolf Hitler (just for argument sake), to life imprisonment; do you think would change him to be like a Nelson Mandela one day?

  6. Can a really bad guy ever reform ?
    That is the crux of the argument surrounding Capital Punishment.

    Seems the answer depends on who you talk to , or even what circumstance it involves or when you talk to the person.

  7. It ALL depends on which level of the PD humanity has reached. NOTE: humanity - not individual person, country & race.

    U called cannibalism by the ancient tribes a barbarous act bcoz u have that f*cking 20th century morality imposed on u. For the ancient tribes it was a way of life - ate or be eaten.

    That's their stage of humanity evolution along the progressing PD timeline!

    Similarly, capital punishment has its place at the current stage of the humanity evolution - where irrational, premeditated & greeds overwhelm the compassionate feeling towards other human being, thus a horrendous crime is been committed.

    The ONLY punishment that fits that act IS an eye for an eye, period!

    Until humanity reaches the true level of compassionate understanding of the PD towards each other, where feeling & greed can be completely ruled out of the opposing equation - any confrontation can be settle rationally & emotionless within the argument w/o resolve to ideological farts & Violence's - only then the abolishing of the capital punishment should be considered true & fair.

    Misjudgement of the crime/punish the wrong person ISN'T a fair argument against CP bcoz it shows the level of investigation/jusgement is not up to par WHICH is, again, consistent with the current level of the PD, these procedural operatives r working under.

    All the current arguments against the capital punishment r just bleeding-heartish bulls - feeding out of a spurious altruistic blur!