What do we really want from the killer?
If we remove retribution as a factor in the equation, what consequence would then
represent purer-form justice in absence of capital punishment? Is it enough to
incarcerate the perpetrator for the remainder of his/her life?... This rings a bit
hollow. It may be the case that just consequence lies somewhere between the
imposition of death and simply passively warehousing the condemned until death do
Within the psychological profile of any deliberate killer there is a sick, twisted arrogance and, an incomprehensible
selfishness for which no explanation can make less vile. A wicked arrogance leads the killer to a justification unto
self in order to rationalize the taking of another life. There is a commitment unto self to serve exclusively unto self,
rendering the perpetrator unwilling and/or unable to even superficially consider the sovereignty of another
Most of the worlds developed nations have abolished the death penalty presumably due to an interpretation
it represents a primitive method of applied justice. Perhaps we would argue capital punishment is not
primitive and, in fact, represents a vital component in the prudent application of justice. Would we then
anticipate that the nations who have abolished capital punishment will eventually reinstate the Death Penalty
when they arrive to a point in social evolution comparable to our own? For a number of obvious reasons
this seems unlikely.
As the desire for retribution subsides there seems to emerge a desire to make the criminal understand the gravity of
their crime. They must know that a greater society views them with righteous contempt and that any redemption
must derive from harsh punishment associated with their own efforts to once again be considered human. It can
only be hoped that the murderer will someday be influenced by good at which point there is an experience of
Perhaps there exists sentiments and coping mechanisms in common among those who must
continue their own life in the face of a loved one having been murdered. Upon hearing of a
despicable murderer most would want them to suffer, we want them to die, and we want them
to burn in Hell for all time...
In order to even approximate as a just consequence for murder, capital punishment must be applied just as it is now
applied. And as it is currently applied capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment as it inflicts compounded
suffering upon the adjacent victims of a murder-The Victims! A compassionate society awaits a day when the
victim is able to forgive. For some that day will never come and this we fully understand. For those who are able to
eventually forgive they invite a collective society to do so as well. At this point there is a degree of liberation as all
realize any individual is never permanently at the mercy of evil forces.
Perhaps a humanity believing all things good exist somewhere in 'pure-form' is made vulnerable to the notion that for
every present evil there is an accessible and proportionate counter-measure to provide balance. As all things should
be they are not- sometimes there is no balance, sometimes there is no counter measure, and sometimes Evil wins the
day. A seemingly reasonable belief in a universal applied justice ultimately becomes a burden as there is no
application of justice that can even remotely reconcile death by violence.
To the extent a degree of redemption is attained by the killer his/her suffering increases proportionately.
It is in feeling the pain of others that permits the killer an understanding that in the absence of a stated
forgiveness expressed by the deceased- a heinous crime can never be fully atoned in this lifetime.
profound and consuming remorse- the killer then understands the taking of life is profoundly more
significant then mere disregard for 'the law'.
There is no legitimate explanation providing counterbalance to the weight of intentional and violent
death. There are no martyr's only victims, there are no causes advanced, only relationships
deprived, and nothing good has ever been, or will ever be, derived from the actions of willful
killing irregardless to the cause it is said to serve.
Few things are truly 'meant to be' and murderous violence, as an example, certainly exists 'front row'. The killer
represents a rare and unnatural evil. But, the pursuit of lasting justice through the same tools used in the
commission of evil is simply impossible to accomplish and represents tribute to those who are evil. Combating evil
through actions derived from the illuminated realms of virtue returns control to those who are good.
If Not This?
If to ponder 'just' consequence as it is applied to any given killer, dissonance and
confusion would likely aptly characterize the common experience. For most it seems
only just that a killer would experience a significant degree of sustained suffering . Yet, at
some level a greater society realizes the killer rarely responds to tragedy as most seem to
The desire for retribution by Adjacent Victims is virtually universal. Yet, foundational to
any 'civilized society' is the presence of justice applied by those not directly affected by
Absent the ability to kill the killer by one's own chosen means, the Adjacent Victim seeks
consolation in assurance the killer will suffer in the highest degree possible. This desire is
seldom met at a level satisfactory to the secondary victim.
is it justice
as it is currently applied capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment as it inflicts compounded suffering upon the adjacent victims of a murder-The Victims!