The Death Penalty - should Canada debate it?
Thoughts for discussion
The last person hanged in the UK was in 1964 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_United_Kingdom-. I was seven at the time and remember reading the account of the hanging in the newspaper. It was, to a young girl, a horrific thing to discover about the world and many nights of heated discussion at the dinner table ensued.
As a child I came to believe, on my own, that the death penalty was wrong.
However, as I listen to the news covering the stories about henious crimes committed against children women and families I am aware of an escalating inner anger about the injustices of the crimininal justice system which defends the crimes and offer opportunities for the defendant to be let off his or her crime on a technicality.
Now, I have inner discussions about the rights and wrongs of keeping a person in prison who has committed brutal acts of violence against others, especially when those acts are to children.
In 1996 I became a prison counsellor at Wandsworth prison in South London. http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/wands.html The prison was the execution site for many infamous cases including the hanging of the posthumously pardoned Derek Bentley. This one injustice validated my belief that no man or woman should be executed in case of injustice but what I am now wondering about those for whom there is no uncertaintly? Is the death penallty in extreme and certain cases really wrong?
Having worked in a prison and met men who have committed terrible crimes and seen genuine repentance and change, I am convinced on the one hand that the death penalty should remain a sentence of the past. Yet, when I listen to the tragic story of the little girl brutally murdered in Woodstock I cannot see why either the man and woman responsible for this should remain alive and treated with dignity and respect - they certainly had no respect of regard for the young innocent 8 year old girl they chose to torture and murder. www.torontosun.com/topic/toristaffordcase
The question I have is, does capital punishment, the death sentence, make us equal to the murderer? Is execution for a crime - even such an appalling murder as that of little Tori Stafford - justice or an excuse for the baser and primal human instinct to triumph. Does execution solve the problem or does it further debase our society?
I don't know the answer and I think it is worth the debate. Once thing I am certain of though is that we must wrestle with many tough questions in order to improve and become the best we can be as individuals, as small communities and as a culture within a global community.