Lately, there is a lot of discussion about the terrorists trials in the US. The least we can say is that the trials are anything but “fair”. The US will put to trial people whose faces are on the social dart board, suggesting the highest of punishments. Good job. The only thing worse would be to measure their size prior to entering the court so that the coffin would be ready as the verdict is reached.
I will say it over and over and over again. Returning harm for harm, evil for evil is not only equal to the initial harm but greater. The reason is that in order to return the harm, you acknowledge the initial wrong-doing and yet you chose to repeat it.
The potential objections to the argument are: (1) the terrorists killed hundreds of people and therefore (2) they should not be allowed to live.
Let’s start with the first one. The moral harm of death resides in death itself, irrespective of actual numbers. In other words, a murderer is not any less or more of a murderer if he kills four of if he kills forty people.
In response to the second objection – that terrorists should not be allowed to live – the error is to be found in the whole principle of the death penalty which is contradictory to the nature of a just legal system. I think we can all agree that a legal system should be just and should not harm anyone under it. By convicting someone to death, you remove not only his or her right to life but also his/her chance to repent. That is why the death penalty is three times as bad. You acknowledge the evil, return it, and sustain it by not allowing the wrong-doer to repent. In addition to that, one cannot take something that he/she does not own. Irrespective of whether god exists or not – i am not the one to judge that – the sure thing is that neither me nor you nor any American did create life. Therefore, no one has the right to remove it. (the standard argument against the death penalty).
The European Union reached a very welcome decision on this matter. No one is going to be extradited if he/she will face the death penalty. Diplomatic guarantees that death penalty will be off the table are needed in order to give the suspect back. Way to go EU (that’s odd, me cheering the EU).