To Hang or not to Hang

From mainstream politicians to inciting separatists, everyone and their cousins have an opinion bout this man and his cross.
Should he be spared the noose?
If yes, then why?
If no, then why not?

The Times today carries an article questioning the motives of those who support “Spare Afzal” movement while juxtaposing their audacity and purpose with the death sentences granted to a prime minister’s assassin and a minor’s rapist and murderer. The latter incidents elicited very little by way of hoarse war cries for sparing the nooses for the accused(s). So why is it that when the seat of democracy in the country is attacked in the most insidious manner possible by self proclaimed terrorists, that social activists/equalizers jump from the bushes aiming and claiming clemency for one definitely guilty man.
I am not supporter of the death sentence either. Not entirely. Its brutal and primal and not in accordance with the wholesome myth of a “civilized democracy”. I respect people’s right to voice their opinions (racketeer?!) Even in that, this media and political circus seems more farcical than an average Tom Sharpe novel except for the lack of timing. People rant. It’s natural, however it’s a tad scary to find people rant about something they have no understanding of. You can bet your last cup of kava that half of the population supporting this despicable man is not even aware of what is it that they are doing and how long-term its effects will be.
Opposition to death sentence is all fine and dandy but the underlying impetus for this opposition makes all the difference. This, clearly, is the wrong stimulus.
If his sentence is to be commuted to life imprisonment, then are they looking for something rigorous enough to make a high caliber sociopath question his existentialist cause for living?
My inference is that most people perpetuating violence often tie that to their very existence in life and unless something remedial and immediate is administered, they will never entirely understand their own questionable actions as incorrect or negative.
If you want to oppose death sentence on grounds of mercy and developing a human perspective, then what alternative do you offer to keep in check a social criminal’s actions. Placing him in solitary or in a maximum-security prison won’t be sufficient.
Throughout history, killing criminals (especially sociopaths) has been the easy way out. Can’t change the way he thinks, well, blow his brains out? No prisoners taken.
Will that work for the current lot of fanatics-cum-killers.
No satisfying answers can be produced by a two-pence offering blog that plays speculative once in a while but someone has to ask Mz Mufti and her ilk to concentrate on the root-cause of this dilemma rather than screaming from rooftops for a death sentence rollback cause that, my dear girl, will never happen.

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~ by iconoplastic on October 2, 2006.

3 Responses to “To Hang or not to Hang”

  1. Ah, the Death Sentence. A favourite topic of mine :D. I personally support a death sentence and/or castration for rapists and serial sexual offenders, but find it difficult to support it for criminals of any sort, especially the mass-murdering, soiopathic types.
    Studies have shown that murderers have different brain patterns as compared to ‘normal’ people. They are born with a deformed(so to speak) brain, so is it fair to penalise them for something they have little/no control over? The debate between genes/nurture has been long and slightly conclusive, and (as far as I remember) nurture is almost as important as the genes one is born with. So what if the criminal in question had lousy genes to begin with and a lousier childhood to complement it? Wouldn’t a death sentence for him/her be tantamount to sending every person who is ‘deformed’ to death?
    I know I contradict myself in my line of thinking, for rapists, too, would have a similarly deformed brain (although i am not too sure of that…In countries where prostitution has been legalised, surveys have shown that crime against women has gone down, although no direct relation between the two can be found. The results of such surveys cannot be ignored and would seem to suggest that sexual predators do what they do out of sexual frustration and other stimulants like porn etc, rather than because of thewiring of their brain) but I’m rather blind about rapists. Perhaps its got something to do with the fact that rape is synonymous (almost) with man assaulting woman/children. Haven’t heard of too many female rapists of adult men. Illogical. I know.
    However, I know there are problems of doing away with the death sentence. Our jails are already bursting at the seams- if we leave off killing our murderers there will be a pile up which will cost, perhaps, many more lives (death by suffocation. Hm.)
    End of comment. Hm. Theres [i/]got[/i] to be a better way of dealing with hardened criminals. Tackling theroot of the problem would indeed be a start.

  2. This reminds me of a debate at Uni during my journo years. I dropped the course but the argument around capital punishment hasn’t left my mind. I am still struggling with answers on this one.

  3. Funny , I thought that the people clamoring for clemency are in a minority and the popular opinion , yours included , is for a quick hanging. I was also of the same opinion until recently when I happened to chance upon a book 13 Dec – A collection of essays by Arundhati Roy and others. What emerges is really a horrifying tale of torture , deception and downright falsehoods. I am utlimately left feeling with a sense of despair – if our media can be hoodwinked and bought so easily , if they can be so easily bought off , if this is the face of our ‘brave fourth estate’ , we are heading towards a bottomless pit as a country. God save us !

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