August 31, 2008 Seth Perkins

The Death Penalty

No one and no entity should have the right to determine if a person has the right to live.  Life is a human right, it is not a gift given by man and therefore, should not be a gift revoked by man.

I’ve debated for a while whether I should open up my website to more personal discussion: including opinions and politics.  In a business context, I would never discuss these things, however, I want to create content for this site on a daily basis, and what better way to do it than make this a site about things I care about and want to discuss.

The Death Penalty.

This is one of the ultimate travesties and hypocrisies of the U.S.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to start this discussion by saying I love my country, I am deeply appreciative of what she stands for and the opportunities she provides.  I am very privileged to be a citizen of the U.S.  Part of that privilege is the ability to critique my country.  The death penalty is an unfortunate blemish from a violent adolescent past that should have been abolished with the country’s ascension to adulthood.  I have never lost a loved one to violence.  I do not know what that experience is like, nor could I or would I ever want to imagine that feeling.  I am deeply sorry if someone affected by violence reads this article and is offended or upset by my writing.  That is not my intention and it is certainly a concern of mine as I decided to write this article.

As a champion of human rights, it is counterproductive and frankly offensive to our international relationships to insist on the “private business” of executing our prisoners.  The recent case of José Ernesto Medellín in fact brought forth several areas of contention including the American justice system vs the World Court (aka International Court of Justice founded under the U.N.) as well as state vs federal powers.  In this case, the eventual result was Medellin was executed despite international protest and a ICJ determination that an unfair trial had taken place.  Soon after, our President attended the Olympics and, among other items, called for human rights reforms in China.  It greatly hurts our ability to argue for human rights when many of our friends in the U.N. call on us to end our own “barbaric” practices.

If there were one thing I wish our country would learn it would be the humility and respect to listen, understand, and learn from our fellow citizens of the world.  I feel that too many of our populous, and therefore our representatives, are ethnocentric: not willing to acknowledge the diversity or advancement of thought in other cultures.  We would do well to stop talking and listen for once.  There are civilizations in this world much older than we who have experience and wisdom on which we can draw.  There are also countries, younger than ours who have come to a conclusion we are not willing to acknowledge.  I wish we would open our minds to the possibility human rights and the balance of life vs justice is not a political issue, it’s not a statistical issue, and it’s certainly not an economic issue.  Before anything, human right / the death penalty is a moral issue. 

The taking of life, in any form, negates free will: free thought cannot exist without life to sustain it.  The taking of life eliminates any possibility for reformation of the heart, mind, body, or soul.  The taking of life does not deter crime.  The taking of life is just that : a destruction of the most heinous kind.  No person or group of persons should have the authority to condemn to death.

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