FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH…
Concerning the Death Penalty
The recent executions in the United States were beyond the extremes of “cruel and unusual” punishment. Our hearts break for the victims and survivors of those executed. While the desire for revenge is understandable, it cannot be acceptable in a civilization motivated by law and humane standards. The time has come to stop the insanity that violence is the solution to violence.
The violence of these executions challenges us to consider the institution of State sponsored killing in the pursuit of justice. Justice motivated by revenge is no less than violence for the sake of violence. There are several aspects of this to consider:
First, the present crisis is precipitated by the rightful refusal of health care providers to use their gifts, abilities, and talents in the pursuit of killing people. They have and are refusing to participate in anything other than providing care and healing to the sick and the afflicted. It offends the common sense of health care providers to be part-time executioners for States that have used the death penalty for politically expedient reasons. We should applaud and support these courageous men and women who truly are life-givers.
Second, we are horrified by the secrecy surrounding the quality of the drugs used and their place of origin. Can one seriously justify economic and budgetary short cuts in the pursuit of killing people? We call upon State and prison officials to be forth-coming with the truth concerning these drugs. The Justice Department and Courts must confront this situation now.
Third, the employment of untrained and unskilled personnel to do what health care providers refuse to do is beyond the limits implied by “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Finally, the “eye for an eye” mentality in the name of justice and closure is unacceptable in a civilized society. We can see the catastrophic results in world conflicts when revenge and rage are the moral standards. The fact is nothing can restore the violence done by criminals but the last thing we need to do is imitate criminal behavior by doing to them what we do not want them to do to us.
We, as a Nation, have gone down the pathways of punishment, retaliation, and revenge only to arm ourselves in a culture of death and violence. It is time for us, as a people, to be motivated by a justice that responds with education, meaningful employment, and total health care. It is time to invest in people and the quality of their lives, not develop more ways to hurt and kill them.
Thomas P. Bonacci
For What It’s Worth …