Revenge Punishments – Good Idea?

Today I read the story of a young woman in Pakistan, who refused the marriage proposal of her cousin. A month and a half later, he and four of his brothers cut off her nose and ear so that no one else would want to marry her. 3 of the five have been caught and so far, two have been convicted. Their punishment is life imprisonment – and the same mutilation as they inflicted on this young woman. CNN reported the story, and also invited readers to discuss whether or not revenge punishments “worked”.

What does that even mean?  I’m guessing that if your violent crime is premeditated murder that the revenge punishment might be execution.  Based on historical accounts, I’d say that it works.  There are plenty of executed people in world history.

Not surprisingly, responses were varied and inevitably got way off target with people eventually debating whether people in Pakistan are barbaric – and then, of course, how barbaric we are right here in the USA.  “How can we try to attain world peace with such eye-for-an-eye tactics?” asked one respondent.  Ok – focus people. This is not about Pakistan vs. the USA. This is about revenge punishments – which they allow in some places, but not in Westernized nations. I don’t really care about the debate on whether revenge punishment works as a deterrent or not. To me, it’s not just about deterring future crimes (although I don’t believe dead people have as good odds of killing again as living people do). We spend far too much time as a society, worrying about how we treat the most vile people on the planet. I would argue that we have a much better chance of the society and world condition that we all dream of, with the elimination of of those who commit the worst violent crimes. Take Mike Huckabee’s pardon of the young man who had ALREADY BEEN CONVICTED AND SENTENCED for rape in murder. Because he was let out, he had the opportunity to murder four police officers on their coffee break. Don’t you wish he hadn’t done that? Here is a great example of a situation where an “eye-for-an-eye” punishment would have worked much, much better.

Stop being soft on the worlds sickest people. Sometimes baseball bat justice would not only feel better, but it  would also work better.

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