to stand for mercy or to not

The past does not have to dictate your future.

I am torn by the subject of the death penalty. It is archaic, calling to mind images of a guillotine, firing squads and the hanging man. And I can understand the argument that human life is important and that we should not take it. But the individuals who face the death penalty are people who have taken and destroyed lives without remorse. The crime isn’t a loaf of bread or some mistake. Is it wrong for a government to decide who gets to live? Is it wrong for an individual to get to decide? Does their death mean future generations of rapists, human traffickers, torturers and drug dealers will decide the risk of death is too great to commit their crime? The answer will probably be no.

While I have absolute sympathy for the families that have had to go through this ordeal, I do not have absolute sympathy for the individuals. Today Indonesia executed 8 individuals, 2 of them were the ringleaders of the Bali Nine. Because of these individuals 7 more are facing life imprisonment. They had been successful in the past with their drug smuggling so there are many more imprisoned by the addiction. The argument is that these men are rehabilitated. These men are rehabilitated because they got caught and because they had to face death. Would they have shown remorse otherwise? It kind of sounds like going to prison is like going to confession. You go in say you’re sorry and will never do it again, you do your Hail Mary’s, you’re forgiven and go to heaven. Then next week you may or may not be right back where you started. But that is faith. You get as many chances as possible to get it right. If their death is not a solution then is the good that they have done enough penance? The media is making these men out to be martyrs because they have found art and God.

I also find it hypocritical that Australians are angry about the execution of two of their citizens. What about the other citizens of the world that face the same fate? Does their country of origin make it okay? Should we value life based on where an individual was born? The USA has the death penalty, and when Americans are put on death row you don’t hear about Australians begging the American government to “stand for mercy” or threatening to boycott USA or to withhold financial aid. If you are against the death penalty then you are against all of it, you do not get to pick and choose who deserves it.

The fact that actors out there thought that following video was acceptable really boggled my mind. I don’t care for Tony Abbott but short of going to war he had no power to intervene. Are these two lives worth the suffering of those who are depending on our financial aid and tourism?

Does valuing the lives of those prisoners on death row devalue the lives of those they destroyed? Is all human life equal? What is a better solution? They are all questions I do not have answers for, so while I do not condone the death penalty I am also incapable of condemning it. At the end of the day all individuals involved made a choice. There aren’t always second chances so we shouldn’t live life expecting them.

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