09 November 2008

Bali bombers and the death penalty

Having moral convictions is easy. Holding them fast against the reality that people are capable of doing abominably evil deeds is a lot more difficult. Full essay.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

BBC reported that Barbara Hackett, whose daughter Kathy was killed in the bombings, still does not support the death penalty. Despite her grief and anger, she said, "It can't bring back Kathy or the other 201 victims." [2]

Executing killers sure doesn't bring one's loved ones back but it sure sends a message to these crazies that if you perpetuate your beliefs by deadly violence, you can expect to meet your God sooner rather than later, and when you stand before Him, He may even give you a stern lecture on what is acceptable human behaviour.

Indonesia which is a secular nation may have the world's largest muslim population but it sure knows how to do what is right.

Saint Splattergut said...

good way to end the article, with the quote from one of those who knew the victims. still, can't quite fanthom how any good could possibly come out of letting them live... ...

bOb™ said...

I noticed that you called them "evil". Hannah Arendt has a point in calling such acts representative of the "banality of evil". the concept of evil itself, like the concept of good, is a descendent of binaristic human thought that tends to classify people into us/them. this us/them classification is itself a by-product of generations of religious thought.

regardless of how many people they've killed, if we follow others into blindly calling them evil, we are falling into the same pathological misgivings as these men. just as they assumed that what they did would be accepted by their own society, we are assuming our own moral superiority by calling them "evil".

personally, i prefer the term misguided.

Chee Wai Lee said...

To Anon (9/11/08 18:39) -

Unfortunately, many of those people truly believe God will praise them for their deeds. Executing them sends no message of deterrence to the rest who wish to follow their path.

I'm in general against execution. However, in the face of someone determined to destroy other people, execution is the most convenient way of eliminating the threat. Permanent incarceration is another solution, but one has to be confident they can stay incarcerated or at least, if they escape, easily re-captured.

I no longer see the pro/anti-execution issue under any "moral" light. I prefer incarceration as a solution purely based on the possibility a person may be reformed and no longer pose a threat to society.

Charles said...

Applying the death penalty even for the most heinous of crimes cannot be justified nor even moral.

Not only does it contradict the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it also creates a vicious cycle of pain and suffering - for the families of the victims as well as the families and friends of those who have been executed.

As it is, the supporters of those executed have already hailed the three men as martyrs. This will only widen the gulf between the 'West and Muslims', thereby creating more extremist sentiments, especially on the young, impressionable and those sitting on the fence.

There are more reasons why it should be opposed in all instances. Suffice to say, the death penalty, even in the case of the Bali bombers cannot be considered justice done.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with your general point, I'm not quite sure if the delegation you quoted meant their greetings in such an exclusive way. Perhaps they simply addressed this "special" greeting to their Muslim friends as it was deemed unlikely that someone from outside the community would understand Arabic?

-- chainsawieldinun

The said...

/// Chee Wai Lee said...
Unfortunately, many of those people truly believe God will praise them for their deeds. Executing them sends no message of deterrence to the rest who wish to follow their path. ///

Wai Lee, I take it that you are referring to those misguided people. Hopefully, some of them will change their mind, especially those whose religious conviction are not that strong. Some borderline cases may be persuaded by the fact that the bullets through the heart is real and now, whereas the promise of martyrdom and paradise is just a promise and may not be fulfilled.

/// BBC reported that Barbara Hackett, whose daughter Kathy was killed in the bombings, still does not support the death penalty. Despite her grief and anger, she said, "It can't bring back Kathy or the other 201 victims." ///

At the very least, these murderers will not be not be around any more to do the serial killings.

Singapore Indian Voice said...

In my opinion, sentencing to death may have been the worse option because it allows their followers and themselves to assume that they have become "martyrs".

Perhaps that may fuel motivation for others to commit the same kind of actions? Not to mention increase sentiments to "avenge the fallen".