Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Death Penalty - 2015 style

I don't like criminals who kill people or who undertake actions which might result in people being killed.

It's nothing personal, but I think when it comes to letting innocent people live their lives, there's a fundamental clarity in the expectation.

So what happens then when someone violates this law?

It depends on the circumstances to a certain degree.

What if it's an accident? Accidents happen after all. We consider the actions, who is culpable, could it have been preventable, all that sort of business. There's remorse shown in accidents.

Nobody would feel terribly bad about someone killing another person in self-defence. I mean, they were trying to defend themselves, they felt in enough danger from the other person that they lashed out. Again, circumstances are important, we're not just giving them a get out of jail free card here.

So then we start to get into the more full on stuff.
Deliberate killing, or in the case of drug trafficking, a flagrant disregard of the consequences of their actions, regularly resulting in the deaths of users of the product and associated miseries.

When it comes down to deliberate killing, the judiciary looks for a few things before sentencing, namely, did they confess, have they shown remorse or contrition, did they squeal on anyone else involved in the killing. These are all things that are likely to help a killer receive something less than the 'full extent of the law'.

If you don't do these things, you are then going to be prosecuted accordingly.

So, what of the recently deceased Bali 9 members, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran?

They showed no remorse, had threatened other members of the group, they didn't squeal on the people further up the chain and they didn't confess. This eliminates their punishment being anything less than the full extent of the law.

The issue now comes down to the different jurisdiction in which they were caught and tried.

Indonesia has the death penalty.
Lobby against that if you will. Be consistent, lobby against it all the time, every case, every prisoner on death row.

Avoid the jingoistic, over the top patriotism and nation vs nation politics. Argue your case across the board.

As it stands, Indonesia's penalty for drug traffickers is to execute them, if they show no remorse, don't give details as to who their suppliers were and if they refuse to cooperate. This was the case for the two Bali 9 gentlemen.

Serving in prison gives people time to reflect.
Time to consider their actions, feel remorse.
How many times have we heard "he was a model prisoner".

Ted Bundy confessed on death row to killings, John Wayne Gacy became an artist, Jeffrey Dahmer confessed and became a born-again Christian.

When you're caught and facing death, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
In life, people find God on death's door, they confess their sins, they repent and bargain for life.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran found god, or became an artist, they became 'model prisoners'. None of this is unusual and nor should it alter the seriousness of their crimes. Crimes for which the penalty was known, the consequence of successfully carrying them out was known, the disregard for others was apparent, and the clear ability to absolve themselves from the responsibility of all of this ongoing.

The death penalty works.
It is a penalty.
Those who are tried, convicted and meet the criteria for it are penalised accordingly.

So what questions remain?

At what stage do we move on from people accepting personal responsibility for their actions?
What gives us the right to dictate to other nations how they should penalise people under their own laws?
Why are we right and they wrong?

At the end of 2012 there were 130 odd people on death row in Indonesia. 70 of these were for drug offences, 60 for murder. Of course, in recent weeks, nearly 20 of these people have been executed.

Indonesia has a population of 250 million people.

0.00005% of the population is on death row, and half of those for drug trafficking. Except, they are mainly foreigners.

It would seem Indonesians know that Dada means Death because it's not them doing the trafficking.

So what does all this mean?

We teach children to realise actions have consequences.
The death penalty can and should be avoided...by not breaking the law.


  1. You know that I do not agree with your point of view and I know I cannot change yours.

  2. I am struggling with how I feel about this as i am feeling for the death of two remarkable people who I would class as real heros. The first was someone i never met but he was a close friend of a work collegue, his name was Gionanni Lo Porto. Giovanni was an aid worker who was working with victims of floods in Pakistan 3 years ago when he was part of a group taken hostage. His family were only recently informed that Giovanni had been killed in January by a bomb dropped by a US drone. The other was a community hero who i knew and loved very much. Ros lost her battle with cancer on Tuesday afternoon. Although these circumstances are very tragic and different , these are people who deserve our attention, our mourning and candle light vigils.
    Sorry, just feeling emotional.