Who are We to Judge?

“Life is precious”, is a term we use a lot, but most of us don’t really understand the meaning. Some of us lack experience of grasping the concept of that term. The story of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky show what that term means. In 1849 Dostoevsky, a famous writer at the time was a strong supporter of the liberation of the feudal peasantry and encouraged peasant revolutions. He was arrested and sentenced to death. After eight months in jail awaiting his sentence he was to be executed, but at the last minute of his execution his sentence was reduced to four years of hard labor in the prisons of Siberia.

Dostoevsky a writer who will make literary history records these moments in a letter to his brother: ‘When I look at my past, the years I wasted in vain and wrong, my heart bleeds pain, life is a gift. It can be an eternal life of happiness, only if the living knows this, now my life will change; now I will start again”. I believe Dostoevsky’s letter to his brother shows him having regret of his time in prison and the time wasted not being able to write. Imagine what great accomplishments he could have done with his life if he were not sentences to his long prison time. From this story we know that life is precious, a gift. Every minute we are alive can be a life of happiness and as can create great accomplishments. But as Dostoevsky stated, most of us living do not know this and forget that life is indeed precious.

As a little girl I was always taught that life is a gift from god, and no one but god has the right to take another person’s life. The three major religion states this in their writings. Even in the country I was born outlawed the practice of the death penalty as a form of punishment. We were shown that everyone has the right to live. I believe this idea to this day. From Dostoevsky’s letter and my own experiences I am opposed to the death penalty and that all life is precious.

Who we are to judge to end the life of people who have committed crimes? If we execute these people, the crime will be reduced. A lot of studies show the high rate of crime in the countries that carry the death penalty is the biggest evidence that the execution did not contribute to avoidance as its supporters think. The murder rate in states that do not have the death penalty is constantly lower than in states with the death penalty. The death penalty is not a practical form of crime control.

All tools of execution are inhumane. The toxic injection is often described as being more human in some way because it appears, at least outwardly, to be less hideous and barbaric than other means of execution such as firing squad, electric shock, poison gas, and hanging.

But the search for a ‘humane’ way to kill people should be seen as an attempt to make execution more palatable to the public carried out in its name, and to make the executioners themselves look less like murderers.

Using the death penalty is more costly than putting people in jail for life. Between Judges, lawyers, court clerks, and writers capital punishment wastes limited resources. But if we put the murder in jail for life we could spend this money on rehabilitating the murderer for a more productive purpose.

How can a society that respects life deliberately kill people? An execution is a display of state sponsored murder. When the state does this type of punishment it shows that we are supporting killings to solve our social problems. This is a very bad example to set for our citizens and young children.