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 I don't believe in 'an eye for an eye'. Frank Herbert once quoted his wife as saying something along the lines of, "Revenge is for children, and the emotionally retarded." I grew out of revenge around the age of 11. My sister had destroyed something of mine, and I said, "Let's see how you like it!" and destroyed something of hers. She was outraged, and promptly destroyed something else of mine in retaliation. At this point, I went, "Hmmm. That doesn't really work, does it?" I never tried to exact revenge again. It seemed like a pointless cycle to me. I read a news article online recently about women (in Romania, I think?) who, in the past (they're dying out, now) took over the position of patriarch of the family after the death of the father. They were treated as men, and were called 'uncle'. They dressed like men, had the elevated position of men in their society, and did not marry. One of the women spoke about how she became 'uncle' after her father was killed by a family they had a long feud with. Her 15 year old nephew 'restored' her family's honour by killing the man who had killed the patriarch. He was then murdered by someone else in the opposing family. I wondered when the killings had stopped. It was not mentioned whether revenge was sought by the 15 year old's family. 

I don't believe in retributivism. I remember that it is argued, in retributive circles, that the death penalty cannot be called revenge as it is imposed by the state, and not by the family of the bereaved. I think that to argue this is to pretend that the law is separate from society, and it's not. It is supported by the members of the society, and it (mostly) reflects our values. Hence changes like the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Of course, the law is slow to change, and therefore there are outdated laws and corresponding punishments on our books that we argue to have changed, but on the whole the law reflects our beliefs. Murder is not to be tolerated. Rape is not to be tolerated. Theft, assault, etc., likewise.

There has been a report today of a truly hideous murder occuring in Canada. The horrifying facts of the case aside, what has also disturbed me is the comments in response to the article calling for the perpetrator to be put to death. What makes it okay for these people to agitate for the murderer's death? If it wasn't okay for him to kill, why do they think it's okay for them to do so? Not that they'd do it personally (mostly) - they'd get someone else's hands dirty, but still - if they had their way, his life would be taken. 

Further things to think on: a couple of the comments made argue that the perpetrator should not escape the death penalty through an insanity defence. I honestly cannot believe that someone in their right mind could commit such acts. Maybe we need to redefine our concept of sanity, I don't know. And hey, maybe we will hear that the killer *did* suffer from a diagnosed mental illness - that remains to be seen. I have read about other murders, though, where people have committed the most hideous acts and yet been found to be sane enough to stand trial. I just can't agree that anyone who commits one of these totally depraved murders is actually right in the head. There has to be something wrong with a person that would allow them to commit such deeds.

Sorry for the long ramble, it's been doing my head in all day. I'd completely understand if y'all are, 'tl,dr'.


i (types with 1 hand holding baby in other so no caps sorry) think ppl want the death penalty out of fear too- dead crazy murderer guy can't ever get out and hurt them...
Look at you, all multi-tasky! Give bub a smooch on her baby-smelling head for me, okay? (I like the way babies smell ... but not the way their nappies do.)

I think you're probably right about the fear, I think it's also probably a bit about control. I think revenge is the same - get 'em back so they don't come after you again. The fact that it doesn't quite work that way ... well, there's not necessarily a lot of reasoning going on when fear takes hold.

Revenge should be the province of fictional characters and that's it.
You are wise, young grasshopper.