Life is full of uncertainty. To exist is to question, to ponder the mysteries of the universe even when any answer would be little more than conjecture. Perhaps if we approach these quandaries from multiple perspectives we might gain some deeper insight. Maybe we can acquire a purer truth by asking those who differ from us in ways both minor and significant to offer their own understandings.
The Question of the Week for January 18th, 2011 is:
Is the death penalty ethically justified?
Jim, Janitor of Zen Ramblings HQ
Some fool gets himself thrown in jail for doing something awful to somebody didn't deserve it probably gets what's coming to him in that electric chair. Though I think they do that lethal injection thing these days, what to be more humane. Seems kinda silly to me. Killing a man is killing a man. Sure, there's worse ways than others to do it, but it all ends up the same. Truth is, the whole thing is sad business I don't much like to think about. Ain't nothing can be done about what them killers did. Folks just wanna feel like they did some justice, I guess, even if making another dead fella won't fix a damn thing.
Deputy Eggart, Prison Guard
I'm not so much concerned about whether or not we should be putting prisoners down, I just know that the death row guys are a lot nicer than the rest. You wouldn't think it, but it's true. When a fella thinks he's about to shuffle loose, he gets to thinking about things. Way I see it, we ought to tell most of the prisoners that they're getting offed just to see the behavior improve. Sure, we'll have to make good on some of the threats, but all in all wouldn't it make life better for the rest of us?
Dr. Keller, Lethal Injection Specialist
Is it ethical? Hm, I dunno. I mean, it's not like I have any lingering guilt about what I do. It's not like the difference between what my vic... erm, patients are guilty of and what I'm ordered by the state to do to them is hazy and slim at best. It's not like I feel compelled to take four showers a day to wash off the stench of death that lingers without surcease. It's not like my walls are covered in drawings of the faces of every man I've ever executed because that's the only way I can expel them from my tortured mind. No, my job certainly doesn't get to me at all.
Joey "Bone Saw" Negal, Death Row Inmate
Of course it's not unethical to execute people... when they're guilty. I'm surrounded by these animals day in, day out. It's a harrowing experience. Let me tell you, it's rough to be a wrongly accused prisoner when you see true guilt around you all the time. It'd be wrong to end my innocent life, on account of how I never actually did those things the cops, the forensic experts and that obviously doctored confession tape of me say I did. A tragedy, this imperfect system of justice.