I was about to drop this article when I came across the news of the gruesome murder of Fahim Saleh, the founder of Gokada. I can’t explain what I felt after I read the way he was killed, dismembered and packed into different polythene bags; it was just like what we watch in horror movies. I told myself that Saleh’s death has confirmed that we have a lot of cannibals living amongst us. Of course, the only person that can do this sort of thing is someone that wouldn’t bat an eyelid as he or she butchers a fellow human being. This news actually made me sit back and re-ask myself why I thought that capital punishment should be abolished.
It is certain that anybody that hears about the murder of another human being will desire that the culprit(s) should be made to pass through what the victim experienced. In most cases, people feel satisfied when they hear that a murderer is sentenced to death. This comes to say that the major drive behind capital punishment is revenge, and not justice.
Of course, different logical reasons behind the use of capital punishment exist. One of the reasons I have heard of is that death penalty is a way of reducing the number of hardened criminals in the world. A writer of an article I read some weeks ago insisted that death penalty ensures that the people that enjoy harming their fellow humans are sent out of this planet. This, he says, is the only confirmed way of making sure that they don’t hurt people again. This reason is logical, I must tell you. But then, is death the only way to stop these people from harming others? Let us also remember that a serial killer with a good lawyer is most likely to walk out freely from a courtroom and continue with his pastime. This is just to say that capital punishment has not reduced the number of murders and murderers in the world.
Another argument for capital punishment is that it serves as a deterrent to others. This is supposed to be the best reason for using this measure but unfortunately, it didn’t stop the rate of crimes in the world. In those countries, where people are sentenced to death for drug trafficking and extramarital affairs, death penalty has not been able to stop those acts. Drug dealers still carry out their business and married and unmarried couples still engage in illicit affairs. So, how did killing those found guilty of certain crimes reduce the number of the affected crimes?
Like I stated earlier, retribution is one of the reasons for instituting death penalty. It is obvious that the person seeking vengeance is not the victim, but his relatives. Yes, I know that some cultures believe that a person that was murdered does not find rest until his death is avenged. Well, that is cultural differences. But I believe that if the dead so much want vengeance, he or she can do it without the help of people in this world.
Kindly note that I am not entirely condemning death sentences, especially in very severe cases, but the way it is being meted out in some parts of the world is a call for concern. If care is not taken, every crime in this world will soon be punishable by death. Apart from that, killing people because they killed others questions the morality behind it. People are discouraged from killing their fellow humans because life is supposed to be preserved. But when those that preach against murder, turn out to do the killing, their own moral standard becomes questionable.
There are several ways of eliminating crime. We should start from our judiciary. If someone is indicted for murder, and there are enough evidences to prove it, why then should the person be set free because he has a lawyer that knows how best to dance in the courtroom? Meanwhile, another person that can’t afford a good lawyer will face the “hanging squad”. What then is the moral behind this? How can such reduce crime?
We should also consider incarcerating criminals properly. I know that prisons are called correctional facilities, but I also know that not all criminals can be corrected. Some of them seem to have this inner trait to commit deadly crimes that harm their fellow human beings. People that belong to this later group should be permanently confined to places for people like them. This way, they will never have access to innocent people they can harm.