Capital punishment is no deterrent to crimes
People are rejoicing that the four convicts of Nirbhaya Case, that took place on December 16, 2012 in Delhi, will now be hanged after the SC's verdict on May 5. While it cannot be condoned what these guys did to a helpless young woman, sending them to the gallows will not be a permanent solution to stopping heinous crimes. Any civilised society is against death rap because somewhere someone's death (even if that person happens to be an 'incorrigible' criminal) leaves a void and demeans the entire humanity. Those advocating against death rap may appear to be very Utopian and impractical but it's undeniable that capital punishment is not in sync with the norms of a civilised society. It's vicariously voyeuristic and sickly sadistic. It satisfies the collective blood-thirst of a very big group of people, who get a pervert and macabre kick out of the execution of their fellow humans, however bad or execrable they may be. Human beings are basically sanguinary with their troglodyte past. We may have evolved, but we've remained stuck in that mould and will continue to be languishing there even after centuries. This explains why onlookers throng in a large number to witness the public executions in the countries where it's still practiced. The gory spectacle satiates our feral instincts. It's not sympathy or empathy for the victims but more for the atavistic hatred for the criminals, we're directly not connected with. This is strange, nay barbaric.
When Afzal Guru was summarily hanged at Tihar Jail in February 2013, his execution was dubbed as satisfaction of 'collective conscience' of the nation as if he was hanged not because of the magnitude of his 'crime' but because of the public desire to see him on the scaffold.
When someone is executed, all the doors of reformation are slammed. Agreed, criminology has come to the conclusion that there're certain individuals who just can't be reformed and will never change. So they must be executed for the collective wellness of a larger group of 'peace-loving' humans. But the moral question is: Yet, why should they be hanged by the State which is supposed to protect its subjects?
To hang or not is therefore a Hamletian dilemma and it somewhere involves all directly or indirectly. Every human being is a part of a bigger design. The loss of one life impacts all lives. Because we're all interconnected and human existence is not isolated or discrete. It's easy to execute a person but difficult to avoid its far-reaching ramifications. Albert Camus used to say, 'When we put someone before the firing squad and execute him furtively, we unwittingly script our own end.'
To quote John Donne, 'Any man's death diminishes me, for, I'm involved in mankind. So never send anyone to see for whom the bell tolls/It tolls for thee....'
Remember, today, the noose around a convict's neck; tomorrow, it could be tightened around yours.
Finally, savagery is the crux of human existence. We all need to introspect and ask ourselves as to why we're so savagely and perversely interested in gore and all that's ghastly in the world. We're all answerable to our inner souls.
MG comment: We respect the writer’s opinion and his right to have such an opinion but we do not share it. For certain gory crimes there is no remedy but to execute their perpetrators in order to save others and also to make their end a deterrent for others. One can believe capital punishment is no deterrent to crimes, but then what else is?