When having to choose between justice and revenge, it seems like many people are choosing revenge. More and more, we see the rise of mob justice, kangaroo courts, custodial deaths, police encounters and the latest in India – bulldozer justice!
Choosing Between Justice And Revenge
In my home state of Telangana (in South Central India), in recent years, there were two police ‘encounters’ that were really suspect. In the first one, some young men threw acid on two young women who rejected their proposals. The criminals were caught and then shot by the police when they were allegedly trying to escape. In a similar encounter, criminals who supposedly raped a young woman, tried to escape and were killed by the police. Incomplete investigation. Absolutely no legal process. Instant justice. In both cases, the same senior police officer was involved. And he became a hero! And now people want similar resolution of crimes.
I understand the anger and rage at the crime and the criminal, and also the long and arduous process of the justice system. But what do we gain from instant justice, especially in situations when there’s a doubt as to whether those caught are the true culprits.
When I look within and see how there are times when I feel rage and anger especially in the face of injustice. There’s no doubt, that I feel like taking revenge. But grace and introspection keep me from acting on my feelings.
Today I want to think of the victims of crimes and of their families and the larger community around them. May they be guided by grace and wisdom and find it in themselves to allow the due process of the law to be fulfilled.
It seemed appropriate to write this post today, as 10 October is World Day Against the Death Penalty – Wikipedia. I’m personally against the death penalty and agree with George Bernard Shaw who said:
“Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men. Assassination on the scaffold is the worst form of assassination because there it is invested with the approval of the society…..Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another but similars that breed their kind.” – George Bernard Shaw
In October, I started writing a series called 31 Days about Living A Principle Driven Life. Since I wasn’t able to complete it then, I’m doing so now. You can follow my posts here.
It’s troubling, isn’t it? We’ve had a number of Death Row inmates exonerated by the evidence years after their convictions. One key difference, in the US, between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans (generally) seem to prefer the risk of imprisoning and even killing an innocent suspect to the risk of letting a real criminal off the hook. Democrats would rather risk letting real criminals off the hook than keep an innocent person in prison or execute them.
I’m not sure I care, if the person is caught in the act, though I’m inclined to think the victim(s)/victim(s) families should be given the opportunity to flip the kill switch or extend mercy when it comes to life in prison vs. the death penalty.
If the person isn’t caught in the act, then I think we have to admit to human failings – the death penalty should be off the table. We can never undo it. And frankly, in the US, the death penalty costs the state (taxpayers) MORE than life in prison without possibility of parole. There’s little justification for the death penalty other than revenge – and frankly, life in prison sounds far more hellish between the two, to me, if “it’s a deterrent” is the argument. Exculpatory evidence – even if it comes to light 50 years later – should ALWAYS be considered and, if irrefutable, the prisoner should be set free and given compensation.
I read a comment from a person that had worked in the prison system for 20 years… didn’t say in what capacity. But after talking with long term inmates and asking if they had any regrets for what they did. The haunting reply from over 70% was that they left witnesses. So if guilty and either the death penalty or life, they should never be allowed out in society again. Yet the courts have let some out. When they lack empathy they can’t function in the real world with normal people. Deterrent means nothing to individuals who lack empathy. That has to be taught when they are little, before they ever go to school.
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The horror in your country has gone rampant against females. At least that is what I read in the online news. I would be fearful and angry if I lived there. Grateful that in America justice is more civilized and people in general are more respectful of females. Still there are bad people everywhere.
I’m sure poverty and the years of females been thought of as property has a lot to blame for the crimes. We had someone that grew up in Nepal and told us of what is going on there today and how he is raising funds to protect the young girls from being sold.
True. Revenge is never a solution, but throwing acid in someone’s face to disfigure them for life is not acceptable and rarely ever happens here.
Some need to be locked up for a long time and pay the victims for such conduct.
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My Life in Our Father's World
Ahh….it’s so much better to let God handle the difficulties than to try to navigate them on our own.
This sure is a tough one because at the end of the day, who are WE to judge ?
Repentance cannot exonerate a crime nor bring back the victim. The long process of law only increases the agony of those suffering and perhaps swift ‘justice’ brings closure to a heinous incident .
Revenge and/justice ? I really wouldn’t know.
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