By Mary O’Neill McCoy
I love true crime stories, and I’ve also jumped onto the FBI profiling fandom bandwagon. Because of this, I’ve read about many cases that involve the gravest of human depravities where people kill not out of fear or in a moment of passion. They kill because they either just don’t care or, worse yet, they enjoy the act of killing and maybe even torture. Knowing what these killers have done and why, I feel absolutely no sympathy for them when they receive their final fate at the hands of state-sanctioned executioners.
So, why am I against the death penalty?
Not to sound cliché, but I believe capital punishment puts us at the level of the murderer. We render someone powerless and then kill them to satisfy our emotions—it turns us into bullies. In martial arts, we learned you only do what’s necessary to neutralize the threat. You kill if you have to, but you don’t if it’s not necessary. To go beyond what you need to do in hurting someone to render your environment safe is not honorable. I’m not convinced that we need to execute criminals to keep us safe from them.
I don’t think people who wish to kill those that have murdered someone that they love are dishonorable in their feelings and or even in their intentions. I just don’t believe that because I can see myself feeling the exact same way if I were in their shoes (which I am not) changes the fact that it’s still bullying—less offensive than the original crime, and infinitely so, but still bullying nonetheless.
I genuinely don’t feel I would be truly supportive of loved ones left behind in the wake of a fatal crime by allowing myself to get swept away along with them in their desire to kill the offender. I wouldn’t lecture them or try to make them feel bad for their desire for lethal justice; but I, in good conscience, could not help usher them further down a dark hall of unmitigated dominance and death.