Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Of Cruel and Unusual Punishments

The heights of human hypocrisy.

Tickle me this. The remote likelihood of pain at the site of injection at the time of execution represents cruel and unusual punishment. But actual death as punishment isn't. The accusations, the prosecution, the uncertainty, the conviction, the knowledge, to the very minute, of when it will come, those aren't cruel and unusual punishments. The helpless waiting for, walking to, and acceptance of death as a retribution for crime by a group of people who gave themselves the power to decide of life and death, that isn't cruel and unusual punishment.

Potential pain at the site of injection is.

This will probably portray me as a staunch left-winged liberal with a greater love for life itself than for the living, but it shouldn't. I do consider the death sentence as an organized and premeditated tit for tat situation though, and a murderous retribution for murderous acts of sorts. But from a practical standpoint, and trying to accept the countless limitations of being human and living in a human society, I am, at this point neither against capital punishment, nor am I a proponent of it. I won't go more into the reasons of why that is.

However, I cannot stop my tongue and eyebrows from twitching when I see such preposterous displays of "humaneness" in a flawed and entirely hypocritical system of laws and ethical values. To many, myself included, some people inflict pain and suffering and death, and should not deserve to live. But killing them is not justice. It's vengeance. And regardless of whether it should or should not be administered, death, no matter how you look at it, with or without pain, a bullet in the chest or a rope around the neck, is cruel punishment. Making it painless does not make it kind. Or usual.

Now on the other hand, if you want to punish the beast who raped and killed a nine year old girl, and shot a family to rob them of three pieces of jewelry and two hundred bucks, then by God, do it. Give him pain for the pain he's caused. He probably deserves it. But don't go around wearing your self-righteous cloaks and profess the ethical balderdash of painless deaths and cruel and unusual punishments. Because when you do, you're only treating yourselves and your infinite flaws, much more than you're caring for a killer you despise and are about to rightfully and permanently reprimand.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Punishment, even when righteous, sends us on a guilt trip that we need to justify....Nice description of the controversy, Fouad.


9:29 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Thanks Fadi. Good to see you here. Hope you're doing great. Come back often.

10:10 PM  
Blogger [ j i m m y ] said...


7:04 AM  
Blogger Free Cedar said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Free Cedar said...

The whole death penalty system is a hypocrisy. The State punishing a murderer by becoming, itself, a (cold blooded) murderer.
Nice post and interesting insight.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Ghassan said...

totally. and I'd like to quote Margaret Cho (a comedienne) that describes this hypocrisy (although from a different angle): it's how come these right wing asses are so much against abortion but with capital punishment? they like to procrastinate.. haha.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Z3ouré said...

Ghassan, thanks for the idiotic Cho quote. That really bolsters your opposition to capital punishment.
But on a serious note, tell me, where do you see the moral equivalency between an innocent living human fetus being brutally sucked out of its mother's womb, and a fucking pedophile who not only sodomises an innocent pre-pubescent human being, but ices the cake by killing her/him after being done with them. Tell me, what the fuck are you smoking, Ghassan?
Personally, I am not so hot about capital punishment. I would rather have a filthy pedophile rot in jail and become somebody's wife there. Incarcerated criminals typically have no use for pedophiles and those who commit crimes against children. Usually the "criminal-poetic-justice" in the the US penitentiary system disposes of such human scum on its own; with or without death-row. But try telling that to a mother or a father who have just lost their baby to such human trash (who don't deserve to stay alive anyway, let alone supported by MY tax-dollar.)
I'd like to hear your thoughts on that garbage when you have children of your own.
Wake the fuck up, and smell the real world. Life is no picnic, girls.

Fouad, I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for what you're trying to do, and for this beautiful blog in general. But, on this particular post, you're missing the point by leaps and bounds. It is CLEAR you have no children of your own, and you live a sheltered life in some nice suburban bubble. No offense, but you need to get in touch with the real world. It's easy to to sit perched way up on our tower and pontificate to the rest of us mortals. Life is a bitch, Fouad.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Z3oure, first of, I think you're a tad overreacting here, but I will answer my part of the comment and let ghassan respond to his, if he cares to spend the time.

At any rate, you're right, I don't have kids. And it is quite obvious that you do. Regardless though, the point of this post is not to defend or attack capital punishment. Read carefully what I said my friend. My point is about the hypocrisy and/or idiocy of those who protect convicts from the possibility of cruel and unusual punishment in the face of a death sentence. It is non-sensical and inconsistent at best.
That's the idea. Re-read the last paragraph if you will, and forget the first. Maybe that'll help you better understand my point of view.

Respectful exchanges are encouraged and appreciated, z3oure, in concert with what, like you said, this blog stands, or tries to stand for.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Ghassan said...

*ahem* z3oure, is it?
well.. clearly I didn't see this one coming and was not going to respond. but. well, you see, I don't live a sheltered life, and being transplanted from beirut's civil war, to NY civil turmoil, I think I know the 'bitch'-life you're talking about.
I might feel contented to tell you "el-beleh-testrak shoo bala akhla2", but I'll respect Fouad's wishes and won't.
I am not going to defend myself but only wants to state clearly what I think, in case there was any confusion (and because it also pleases me to provoke people like you - hehehe) . 'I am with abortion, and against capital punishment.' Hence you're right I do think that flushing down a blastocyst is in no way equivalent to killing a pedophile murder, it is much less iniquitous.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Mia said...

Interesting. Here’s my spin I don’t support the death penalty because I find it a flawed system and yes I will say it an easy punishment. I’ve said this before if someone were to do harm to a loved one of mine I wouldn’t want them dead . Death is too easy. I’d want them to live a long long life and spend it in jail with NO parole. I’d want them to know that freedom existed but not for them. I’d want their prison cell to be the first thing they see in the morning and the last thing they see at night and to remember in whose name they are there. When they finally died a natural death I’d want their body cremated and their ashes sprinkled over the prison yard so that they will always be underfoot to the other prisoners and even in death be denied peace. Yeah I know very un-zen of me I’m still a work in progress what can I say?

12:39 AM  
Blogger Zee said...

I sort of side with Mia here.
Very clever of you Fouad how you formulated your post. It is indeed not a black and white issue.
But as the US is the only "first world country" to still pursue capital punishment, this question also becomes a political issue, or an issue of societal behavior and adjunct moral values.
I could go on an on about why I don't believe capital punishment is the way to go, just from my own personal convictions and reasons. But there is no space for that here.
Anyhow, there are some practical issues at hand as well. Believe it or not, it costs roughly three times more to have a sanctioned state execution than to have an inmate for life in prison. It's just a fact. People seem to forget this in their renegade stretch of thinking in terms of retribution.

10:30 PM  

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