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Real Answers™
wec71
Copyright: ©2010 William Cripe Sr.
685 words

THE MERCY OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

By: William Cripe Sr.

As I write, Stephen Hayes' life is in the hands of a Connecticut jury.  Hayes' is the beast that broke into a home and for the thrill, attempted to murder the entire family.  The Mom and her two daughters were brutally killed; only the father survived.

 

This is not a case of doubt regarding guilt or innocence.  It is as open and shut as it gets.  Hayes' should forfeit his life, not ten years from now or two decades down the road while society is punished having to support him. 

 

In typical attorney fashion, Hayes' own lawyer told the jury, “Life in prison without release is the harshest punishment for Steven Hayes. It’s a fate worse than death for him. If you want him to suffer, to carry that burden forever, to carry that guilt, that shame, that humiliation, then sentence him to life, without possibility of release.”  If the attorney is serious--which of course he is not--then the merciful response would be to execute Hayes immediately.

 

But I categorically disagree with Hayes' attorney for at the core of capital punishment is a God who is infinitely wise and loving as well as consummately just. 

 

Solomon wrote, “When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.” (Ecclesiastes. 8:11)  One little sound bite explains so much about why our American brand of capital punishment is NOT much of a deterrent to crime.  Never-the-less, it is quite effective when carried out properly, but even if it wasn't deterrence was never the bottom line. The higher goal of the ultimate sentence was to remove the evil one from the community such that the quality of life of the innocent citizenry was enhanced. This was and is to be the focal point of an effective penal system. Under such a rubric even the extreme penalty of execution is not barbaric but is in fact, merciful promoting the general welfare for the common good.

 

The third, and arguably the most significant, reason God implemented capital punishment was to demonstrate the uniqueness of human beings among the rest of creation.   "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” (Genesis 9:6) Therefore, to murder another human being—a being who bears the unique image and likeness of the Creator--is to offend the Creator, himself. In removing the murderer by requiring his life, the inherent uniqueness and value of the human race at large is validated and heightened.  This is the very heart of capital punishment and explains why shooting the neighbor's cat, for example, is not a capital offense. 

 

That our system of justice is imperfect is granted. One observer of juris law noted, "People aren't sentenced for committing the worst crimes necessarily; they are sentenced for having the worst lawyers." Another remarks, "Who lives and who dies, is solely a function of race, locale, luck, the personal predilections and political ambitions of law enforcement on any given day."  Admittedly this is a far cry from the system originally designed.  But as in any situation in life, when people become their own authority, unadulterated justice becomes elusive. 

 

Since I began this piece, Stephen Hayes was given the death sentence.  Hayes' attorney remarked, "He is thrilled with the death sentence; it is what he wanted all along."  Hayes will think otherwise once He has met His Maker on the other side.

 

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; amyfoundtn@aol.com

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