I have always wondered how it could possibly make sense to use killing as a punishment for killing. Some people do believe that capital punishment is the correct way to handle a murderous perpetrator; whether their incentive derive from their desire to protect the public or from their desire for vengeance, some people see the death penalty as a very just form of punishment.
Others, however, are affected in a very different way by the murderous wrongdoings of criminals. These people take a pacifist approach and seem to desire peace above all else. They stand with the belief that the original act of murdering is so jarring and terrible that we need not continue the violence by using the death penalty on even a murderer.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center Website, in an article posted on February 28, 2013, Aba Gayle, a resident of Oregon, is supporting the repeal of the death penalty in the state of Oregon. She has been personally affected by the issue, as her daughter was murdered back in 1980. The article states, “Gayle testified that those in her situation will never experience closure and executing the killer would not honor her daughter’s life. She said, ‘Do not tarnish the memory of my beautiful child with another senseless killing.'”
As I stated above, some people do desire to seek vengeance for a murder having personally affected them, but what good does this do for society in the long run? How could peace be promoted when the value being preached and acted upon is to kill one another, whether it be in a “civilized” manner or not? Also, the issue of protection for the public is irrelevant since the United States does, in fact, have sufficient prisons to hold all charged criminals; this is an issue I will more deeply discuss in a later post. The point I am making here is that there are several people who suffer emotionally each time a perpetrator is sentenced to death. These people are not always just family and friends of the criminal; oftentimes they are friends and family of the victim, as was the case with Aba Gayle. In situations like these, it seems almost unethical that the death penalty would ensue, even when those affected by the victim’s death are advocating for the life of the perpetrator.
The death penalty exists in order to punish someone for a wrong they have done; when those actually affected by the wrong are highly against killing, even as a form of punishment for the murderer who killed their loved one, it does not seem right that capital punishment exists. I feel that those affected by a murder should be able to stop the perpetrator from being killed if this is what they want, but this will never be possible as long as capital punishment is legal. As if losing a loved one is not enough, some people are forced to suffer through witnessing another intentional violent act. Peace is something that should never be intentionally denied of a person, if violence is at all possible to avoid.