Friday, December 02, 2005

A disreputable landmark

Sometimes numbers acquire the most grim of meanings. The U.S. today achieved the dubious distinction of delivering its 1000th execution since capital punishment was resumed in 1977. Kenneth Lee Boyd (in the pic), a North Carolina man who was convicted of killing his estranged wife and father-in-law in 1988, received a lethal injection and was pronounced dead at 2:15 a.m. local time. On both sides of the death penalty debate, this is a milestone that must invite deep introspection. I have consistently blogged against the death penalty (see links below), and this occasion is another chance to reflect on the efficacy of this barbaric means in curbing crime. This is not the plea of a bleeding heart; it is the earnest appeal of someone who thinks that killing the murderer does nothing to solve the incidence of violent crime. All it does is leave a numbing silence in its wake which threatens to drown genuine questions of reform and redemption. We owe it to our notion of a civilized society to engage these difficult questions and devise a mechanism by which justice is done without perpetuating an endless cycle of death in which the State, society and the convict get interminably entangled.

Also read:

Tookie and the Death penalty debate
At life's noose

1 comment:

kalra said...

vik i disagree on this one. sometimes only killing the perpetrator can set things right. nothing less will do. for instance the recent sarojini nagar blasts. ask the little boy who lost his parents. ask the girl who waitied a month to be confirmed that the unidentified body lying in AIIMS mortuary was her fathers. people who talk about banning capital punishment never lost a dear one.