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No to death of the killer

beadottin, beadottin@nationnews.com

Added 28 December 2012

I am disappointed with the United States Army for seeking the death penalty against the American soldier responsible for killing 16 villagers in Afghanistan. The primary scope of any penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offence. When punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of people, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender. If bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of people, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. The Fifth Commandment states: “Thou shall not murder.” Today, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crimes, the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not non-existent. Criminals are human people who, despite their crime, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. God’s mission is to bring salvation to all men and women, excluding no one. His salvation is not imposed but reaches us through acts of love, mercy and forgiveness that we ourselves can carry out. There is no moral justification for imposing a sentence of death. Violence begets violence both in our hearts and in our actions. By continuing the tradition of responding to killing with state-sanctioned killing, we rob ourselves of moral consistency and perpetuate that which we seek to sanction.

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