There once was a time when I thought, more because it was what I heard in my community than by my own reasoning, an eye for an eye was the rule of law that should be followed when deciding if a murderer should be put to death. Strangely enough, I applied this almost nowhere else in my life. In most other areas, I would apply the philosophy of turning the other cheek. However, when it came to the death sentence, I espoused things like, wouldn't it be cheaper to just take them out behind the courthouse and shoot them? After climbing out of the bubble of my childhood and evaluating this situation based on my own moral compass, I have fortunately come to realize that this is simply absurd.
story that caught my eye most recently was that of Miguel Paredes who was executed October 28, 2014 here in Texas. The lethal injection was administered at 6:32 p.m. and 22 minutes later, he was pronounced dead. He spent twenty-two minutes strapped to a table with poison coursing through his veins killing him slowly as his family members and those of his victims watched.
Paredes was convicted of murder over a drug deal gone wrong back in 2001. He was sentenced to death and spent the next thirteen years in prison waiting on his turn for the needle. In the chronicle of his last days, he seems at peace. He sleeps more than anything, but in between he reads, writes, listens to music, visits with family members and ministers, and prays. In his last statement, he takes responsibility for his actions, asks forgiveness from nearly everyone and declares his love for all of them as well. He even smiled for a picture during one of his last visits from family. That is the last picture they will ever have of him.
On the other hand, his executioner has likely taken numerous lives. How could a person live with that? Can you really convince yourself you're doling out justice by not just taking them out of society, but taking them out of this world? I have to think that person either suffers immensely from what they're doing, or is no less twisted than the person whose life they're taking.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that no matter what he was convicted of, Paredes was a person, just like the executioner, just like his guards, and just like you and me. That being said, taking his life was as much murder as it was when he took the lives of his victims. We have a mechanism by which violent people can be removed from society thereby protecting the innocent. The added step of murdering them is no less than barbaric.