Everytime someone is about to be hanged, the whole nation goes in a heated debate over the discontinuation of Capital Punishment or the Death Penalty. The question haunts us forever and our capacity to forgive and our desire for vengeful retribution hangs in balance. This time, however when the fate of ’93 Bombay Bomb Blast mastermind Tiger Memmon’s brother Yakub Memmon was up for trial, the nation was reminded of the past horrors and were in the mood for retribution without mercy. The opinion of masses shifted once after much discussion over Salman Khan’s Tweet, but finally it is done and the matter has been laid to rest. Probabaly with the faint fear that the debate will surface once again when some one else is sent to the gallows.
We never look at the root cause of problems, just applying a quick ointment of death penalty is not going to heal our scars. We will heal only when we prevent future scars. It’s the shortest way to kill a perpetrator of heinous crimes, but we always kill the criminal and never the crime. We think that hanging people will scare the criminals and deter them from their ways, but we can not be more wrong. It is not the fear of capital punishment but the fear of swift, accurate and certain punishment that provides the largest deterrant to crime.
Those who favour death penalty can easily come up with arguments like, ” a person who commits a murder has forfeited his own right to live by taking a life”, and that “the punishment must always be in proportion with the seriousnesss of the crime.” There is no simple way to go from the need for proportionality to the appropriateness of death. There are two types of arguments for death penalty or two kinds of ways to approach it. Retributivist and consequentianalist. The retributivist is backward looking , with focus on the deeds of crime and believes that harming those who engage in culpable wrongdoing is intrinsic good.
A consequentionalist approach is forward looking and focusses on future punishment. It claims harming those who engage in culpable wrongdoing serves any number of worldly justifiable ends,such as deterring future wrongdoing, rehabillitating the offender or protecting social order. Imposing death penalty projects the same mentality as the murderer. Retribution is undeterminative. According to Kant, ‘a punishment is retribution in legal form.”
Statistically, the countries who have done away with the gallows have lesser crime rates compared to those who still impart death sentences.
It beats the basic idea of humanity, the whole legal process works on the idea of defeating and ending the crime and not the criminal. Who wants to take the responsibility for the order of those hangings , poison syringes and electrocutions? What new way would the lawmakers devise to punish those who commit war crimes, serial murders and genocides ? Should they be executed, resuscitated and executed again.
There is already death and destruction everywhere, killing a thousand criminals can never make the impact that a single rehabilitated criminal will.