Sunday, August 23, 2009

More on Clemency

The comments on my post about the humanitarian release of the Lockrbei bomber were gently against my view, with one maybe.

In the event that one of the posts here over the years hasn’t said it, I don’t like the death penalty. Put simply, we get things wrong and if we do in that arena, there aren’t any do-overs.

I’ve got some mixed views about prison sentences. I’ve read about punishment, retribution, rehabilitation, vengeance and other purposes for sending people away. I think, especially here in the South, we put people away on the “the hell with you" model. They did it, they deserve to rot.

And there are those that do deserve to rot. Then too, there’s a time that there’s a time show that we are better than they are. Be it the Libyan guy who’s going to die quite soon or some other guy, why not send them home to die with their family? Is it wrong to send them home? If you say yes, why? Would you deny them a visit from their family at the end of their life while sitting in prison? You are only honest if you say yes to both questions.

4 comments:

Jeni said...

Boy, you do know how to stir the pot at times, don't you?
You know my sentiments, for the most part are anti-death penalty. I can understand the point of view of those who lost family members -whether it be in the bombing of the plane, in this instance, or from someone whose life was ended unexpectedly by another's hands, I think initially, most everyone would have the thought of wanting to see the person responsible punished and do it to the 'nth degree too! Torture in any and all forms should be put forth on the perpetrator of said deed. But then, once the initial shock of the loss is gone, frequently then calmer heads prevail -or so we would hope anyway. Like you, I don't like the death penalty because if there is a shred of a possibility the person may be innocent, if they are executed there is no return at all from that.
But, then too, as Fermi said, a life sentence is also supposed to be just that. Do your time till the end of your time -however and whenever that comes about.
And yet, in the case of someone dying in a prison far from his/her homeland, family perhaps unable to visit, I suppose I could accept the humanitarian route of release and let the person die at home. I do however, in this instance, resent the fact of others from Libya cheering him as if he were a hero. Apparently, they see things a tad differently when it involves the killing of "infidels" or others from outside their country. Now, I wonder, if they would cheer if an American, tried, convicted, sentenced to life was dying in a prison there was released and his return to America was met with cheers and wild celebration, would they still be this happy or would they resent that move greatly and possibly try to retaliate too?
I may not like his being released under the conditions that exist in this instance, but at least he is not being set free to live and do a deed like that again, supposedly anyway, since he is facing a death sentence through the illness now anyway.
Very provocative topic, for sure, Dave. Makes one's mind bend and twist more than a little bit, doesn't it?

Dr Jenn said...

I believe in the death penalty. I believe in tit for tat and an eye for an eye. Hammurabi has it right.

Posol'stvo the Medved said...

The death penalty has it's place... Those who are unrepentant and proud of their heinous crimes, likely to do it again, and absolutely positively beyond a shadow of a doubt guilty.

Oh, and they have to be guilty of something pretty awful. Deliberate and repeated taking of life, crimes involving the taking of the innocence of children, these are the only two things I can think of that fall into the "pretty awful" category for me.

These people are not likely to be rehabilitated, to be reintegrated with society. Ergo, life imprisonment isn't a punishment that fits the crime.

You have to admit though, I'd say that there are precious few who fit the description given here by me. I have heard that everyone on death row was framed or set up. Everyone will fight for their lives, unless they are truly and wholly screwed up.

The Curmudgeon said...

It was wrong to send the Libyan fellow home to die for a number of reasons.

The first of these is that he didn't give his victims the opportunity to go home first to take their leave of their families before he blew them out of the sky. Many of the victims of that flight were college kids doing their semester in Europe and coming home for the holidays.

But -- you say -- we can be bigger than him, and show compassion.

OK -- but it was naive at best to fail to anticipate the hero's welcome he'd receive at home. Tony Blair has been among those identified as having helped grease the skids for this release to improve trade relations. I hope these rumors prove false.... but there is the corrupting power of oil, you know.

If compassion was the true goal, allowing a farewell visit in prison from his family... without TV cameras or fanfare... would have been sufficient.