July 4, 2010

Execution is vengeance.  It always has been and always will be.  There is no justice in execution.  People allow their emotions to over take them, they are blinded by retribution and revert to a primal state of mind.

Having said that I should also say I understand it.  I get why people feel that way.  If someone was to come along and hurt or kill someone I loved, someone completely innocent and undeserving, I would most assuredly want vengeance.  And like anyone else in anger, I would call it justice.  Fully, I believe that what I would be doing, would be fair and just.  An eye for an eye.  Make them suffer as my loved one had suffered, as I have suffered.

In that there is a problem.  Hammurabi’s eye for an eye mentality is as outdated as the hygiene of the century he existed in.

Not only should life evolve on physical levels, but also mentally.

Human beings commit crimes for a myriad of reasons.  I think that a better understanding of the human psyche is far more beneficial to the human race than learning new ways to execute each other.

To date, it is widely accepted among the psychology community that people who commit crimes, do so because there is a dysfunction in the part of their brain that discerns between behaviour that benefits the social community they exist in and that which benefits them as a single entity.

Which is to say, that their ability to focus on others rather than themselves falls short of the average human being.  It has been established that human beings are capable of compassion at a very young age, regardless of race, gender, religion or cultural influences.  It is as they grow, when these instinctual abilities are distorted by the environment in which they live and learn.

As social mammals, humans have evolved to be adept at establishing and nurturing social networks.  Whether these be of a familial nature or otherwise.  The cognitive ability to make these social environments work and be sustained begins early in our development.  A stage most psychologists refer to as the crucial years of development.

It is without question that many individuals who commit crimes or who get involved in behaviour that is detrimental to the wellbeing of their greater social environments, are usually individuals whose early years of life were, for a lack of a better definition, fucked up.

I think that a better understanding of what goes wrong in the human brain’s development at that point in their growth, is essential to future crime prevention.

obviously, we cannot give every child therapy that grows up in a broken home, but at least with an understanding of how important it is to counter act the negative effects of lackluster parenting, we could veer future troubled teens from becoming criminals in adulthood.  As is always the case, education is key.

Currently, the prison system is a broken system.  One that absorbs and expels criminals on a regular basis.  Neither helping the community or the individual who finds himself a resident there.  For now, it’s the only system we have to deal with people who lack the social skills to exist in an environment that relies heavily on everyone’s ability to function properly.

I’m not always one to advocate drugging people, I think that medication in the circumstances of psychological conditions, should be a last resort.  Medications in the psychological world have come a long way in what they can treat.  Serious psycho and social disorders and diseases can be successfully treated, perhaps it is not out of the question to find some plausible treatment with medication for individuals who suffer from the inability to function socially, those who have not properly developed and act out in unacceptable ways.

The question remains, what do we do with particularly violent people who have committed immensely grave crimes like murder, etc, who receive life sentences, without the possibility of parole?  That’s a good question.  At that point there’s really not much we can do with them.  I think that people who have gone to that extreme and reached that level of social detachment are not capable of being socially recovered.

Some people may beg to differ, but I hardly think that once someone has become a cold-blooded killer, that they can just walk freely among the rest of us, a genuine and fully functioning human being.  I just think that’s not a reasonable choice.  There is a vast difference between people who kill innocent people because they want to and people who kill for the protection and wellbeing of the rest of us, such as police officers and military personnel.

Therefore, it is my thought that such dire offenders need to remain in prison to live out a slow, agonizing, mind-rotting, monotonous life until their death.  I wish that they could be put to use.  I know a lot of prisons utilize their inmates in community work, such as clean-up or repair work, but I think criminals who are receiving life sentences for vicious murders would likely not be interested in such projects unless they were to get lighter sentences.  And to me, no community work is replacement for the punishment they deserve for the heinous crimes they’ve committed.  And they most definitely shouldn’t be set free early because they picked up some trash in a park.

What about the criminals who actually want to be put to death instead of serving out their life sentence?  Honestly, I think they should remain in prison to live out their lives contemplating what they have done and how easy it would have been for them to not make the choice they did, how simple it would have been to keep themselves from being in the situation they are in.  I think that death is an escape from punishment for some offenders and to grant them that escape is appalling to me.  That’s one of the reasons I object to execution, it’s like giving a criminal who would be otherwise suffering a life sentence, the easy way out.

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