An eye for an eye?

by expatbrit 4 Replies latest jw friends

  • expatbrit

    I was reading about how an internet company wants to transmit Timothy McVeigh's execution over the internet on a pay-per-view basis.

    It disturbed me that society appears to be drifting backwards in this regard, that not only are there people who want to make money from this situation, there are also many people apparently willing to view it for entertainment purposes.

    Of course, nothing would pack in the historical crowds like a public execution. But the gradual enlightenment of society made public executions a footnote of history, and the death penalty appeared to be following.

    And that made me consider what my attitude is to the death penalty itself.

    In WT land the death penalty is considered to be "divine justice". The bible brims to the covers with accounts of executions using the most excrutiating methods, such as stoning. The Wt's so-called good news is based on the mass execution of six billion people. "An eye for an eye must be balanced justice, right? After all, it's God's standard!"

    But how grey the world becomes when we tear off the black and white blinkers of the Watchtower. Now I cannot let others dictate what my attitudes and positions on ethical situations must be. I must and I will decide for myself.

    Yet, in the case of the death penalty, I have to say "I don't know."

    It certainly satisfies the visceral and emotional desire for vengeance. It may or may not be a deterrent, depending on which study you quote. It certainly does prevent reoffending.

    But a quote by Margaret Atwood springs to mind: "an eye for an eye leads only to more blindness."

    Does capital punishment actually contribute to the level of violence by weaving it into the very fabric of society, thus hardening people to the knowledge that here is a person dying at the hands of the state, making it easier to accept next time? Or cheapening life so that those who might not have killed have less compunction about pulling the trigger?

    Does society even have the moral right to take someone's life, no matter what that person has done? Do two wrongs make a right?

    I don't know. It's too soon after WT mind-control for me to decide on this.

    But what do you think? Did your views of capital punishment change when you left the WT?


  • battman

    My mind changed from "hang 'em high"
    to "lock 'em up forever without the
    slightest hope for parole" after reading
    John Gresham's "the chamber".

    not too "theo" minded, but that is my "trooth".

    the "hang 'em" era was when i was a believer
    in wt dogma.

  • openminded

    No. Stats prove that the death penalty does not curb violent crime(God must not have those stats yet). Although it may get you elected depending on where you live(can you say Bible belt). I say part of the cost of society is to house dangerous members but to kill them only sends a double standard. That is that the killing was okay but your reason for doing it was wrong. How bout this- There is no good reason to kill. Murder is murder. Is this confusing? If you murder you go to prison.

    This is something I grapple with in regards to the Bible. It seems the idea of murder or death as a solution to anything is flawed. Resorting to kill another human for any reason seems to go against basic sense. The more I read the Bible the more I see it as a crutch to those who choose not look for better solutions to lifes dilemas(laziness? fear?). If its bad to God its bad to me so Ill just kill it(cause Gods gonna anyway).

  • Esmeralda

    Hi Expatbrit...

    I've been thinking about this subject all day. Most of the week in fact. I watch the tears roll
    down the faces of the families of the 168 people who died in the bombing. Then I look
    at McVeigh and hear quotes of his lack of remorse, in fact his heinous wish that the building
    had been leveled and everyone in it perished.

    I know that many people will be shocked that I feel this way, but I can't help it. I'm not saying
    its right or that I am a death sentence supporter across the board. I know that there are people convicted
    who are innocent, etc etc. I know that two wrongs don't make a right. I know that killing Tim
    McVeigh will not bring back little Baylee, or any of the children who died in his monumental act
    of cowardice.

    But still, I cannot say that I am sorry to see this man die. He killed one hundred and sixty eight
    people. Children mostly: one family lost two grandparents and two children. I'll never forget hearing
    their story: they were at the Social Security office in the building when it exploded. They were
    babysitting their grandkids and took them along.

    Is killing McVeigh justice? There can be no justice. Death may actually be too easy a way out for
    that thing: I refuse to call him a man. His evil is of the same calibre as Hitler and Stalin and
    others who caused mass destruction of the innocent.

    Does Timothy McVeigh deserve to die? I don't know.

    Thinking of the children that he murdered...I can't believe in my own heart that
    he deserves to live.

    Why should our tax dollars pay to feed and house and clothe him for the rest of his natural life?

    I don't believe that its a matter of vengeance, though for some it may be. I don't believe that it
    should be televised on pay per view like a WWF match.

    I do think that the message it sends is clear: If you're a terrorist, and you kill people in this country,
    you will pay for it with your own life. Let all the little Timothy McVeigh wanna bes who are looking on
    the net to learn how to build bombs watch and know that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

    I cry every time I see the mothers on tv talking about their babies who died. Not that any of the lives that
    were lost are worth less than others. But there is just something so unnatural about the death: no,
    not death...murder of a child. In my heart I believe that if there IS an unforgivable sin in the universe...
    that would have to be it.

    God (if there is one) will be Timothy McVeighs final judge. If he showed any remorse I might feel
    differently. I just hope to heaven that once he's gone, the families he has tortured will be able
    to finally begin to heal.

    Even though I know that most likely, they never will.

    Just my own feelings. I know that people will react. I have no desire to debate...just
    needed to say my piece.

    I can't help but think that he brought this on himself. He didn't have to set that bomb: he didn't
    have to do something that would lead to his death.

    His victims didn't get that choice.

  • Tina

    Hi expat,
    Something I've thought of from time to time.
    I saw a poll recently on the internet. 48% of the poeple wanted to view this upcoming execution-I found that disturbing.
    I believe that if the American judicial system worked more in favor of victims, executions wouldn't have to occur.
    The sorry truth is 'life' in prison doesn't mean life most of the time. Many people live in fear because of this.
    This man shows no remorse and has no conscience for what he did.
    His victims,their families, friends have to live with this everyday of their life now. Many see this as justice and closure.
    What about the protection of society> And possible future innocent victims? I ask myself many questions,,,,,,Im not sure,,,I havent answered these fully for myself yet.........I see this struggle as a big leap from the black/white extremist JW mindset tho.......My empathy lies with the victims........pondering,Tina

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