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Today’s section from Descending into War, Descending into Contempt, pp. 32-33:
Capital punishment is a payment that should never be extracted. No matter what another person did, capital punishment is not for people to use. Death that is deliberately meted out is improper for people to do. It creates imbalance in the people who cause it to happen—in the judges, in the juries, in the officials overseeing the event, and in the general populace.
Capital punishment has emotional side effects for the people who administer it, not for the people who receive it. Yes, those who die because of capital punishment have fears and other emotions. The side effects they don’t feel are indifference, hardening, and stonyheartedness. Yes, they may have been in-different, hardened or stonyhearted, which allowed them to commit offenses deemed worthy of death, but their mental state before execution contracts.
The feelings of the people who participate in government-sanctioned executions, from the people who administer the deaths to the people who voted for its use, are indifferent to the enormity of purposefully administered death, are hardened to changes that have happened to them because of their indifference, and have become stonyhearted—desensitized, remorseless, and indurate. The full extent of capital punishment effects are not understood, but they are wide and rippling.
Judging others is appropriate. Confining some who cannot control their misanthropic behavior is prudent. Insisting upon restitution is instructional. Bringing society towards helping the offenders before they hurt others is wise. Allowing capital punishment is misguided.
Next section: “Facing Death”
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