Sitting in court today, and while I cannot give the details at all of what went on inside, I thought the following (which I recorded in my Moleskine notepad):
I feel terrible for the victim just knowing the type of emotional and psychological trauma they will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Even though justice may be served in the eyes of some people and in the eyes of the law, no one is a winner at all in a case like this.
The next thought that came to my mind (that I didn't write down):
Even though justice may be served as well, what about the offender? Yes, that individual may serve time in jail, but would that solve the problem at all? Hard time in jail without any treatment to try to figure out why that person has that impulse to molest children? Doesn't that just seem to only plug the gap in the dyke with a temporary measure?
But, I am one of "those people" who also thinks that the United States should eliminate the death penalty. It seems a bit ridiculous that we, as in the US government, are quick to criticize other nations for their violations of human rights, but there is little to no unease about putting American citizens to death. Yes, I'm well aware that juries find these people guilty of murder, but overall it just seems that we haven't left the dark ages of Europe by clinging to capital punishment. And even worse, innocent people have been put to death.
In the end, what does capital punishment solve? Another person dies. It doesn't bring back those who were murdered. There is no magical equation that brings the murdered person(s) back to life once the killer is put to death. It only just proves that we, the United States have not joined a good part of the modern world.
I am leaving out the whole argument as to the deeper social problem that seems to be ignored in the misguided and primitive blood curdling cries for vengeance. Because that's good Christian morals there for you.
What would that Jesus character a lot of these conservatives who support capital punishment love so much say about visiting justice on a murderer?
What does this have to do with my somber thoughts from court today? Well, in that I think the cries for retribution for a heinous crime drown out the need to rehabilitate the offender. Yes, the crime is horrible, I'll be the first to admit that; and its probably worse than murder. But, just tossing someone in prison for a couple of years or the rest of their lives solves nothing. Just another number to our growing prison population (fact, the United States while making up around 5% of the world's population makes up nearly 25% of the incarcerated population of the world...yeah, so how do we have moral standing to criticize China about their human rights violations?). Shouldn't we be interested enough in trying to rehabilitate a person?
Or are we still just a bunch of "savages" that just want our pound of flesh in retribution?
Simply stated: On what moral ground does the United States have in enforcing human rights on other nations when we still kill our own citizens?