Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Life or Death?

Coming from the great (?) state of Texas, I've been brought up thinking that the death penalty is something that is a natural occurrence. You do the crime, you pay the price right?

About a month ago, my best friend's mother was murdered by her estranged husband after coming home one night. After I found this out, it was almost all that I could think of. I mean, he deserved to die, right? He parked his car a few blocks down and waited in a closet until she came into the room and then he jumped out and shot her in the face. Premeditation. Then, he moved into the living room where her friend was going to be spending the night and shot at her three times, hitting her once in the leg. After he hit her in the leg, she begged him for her life and he shot at her again. He's a dangerous man. He deserves it. Right?

I've struggled with this over the past month because I don't feel comfortable condemning a man to death. Who am I to judge? God has his judgment day and he will definitely pay for his crimes for eternity.

So last Friday I picked up Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult. In case you don't know what it's about I'll give you a synopsis.

A man is charged with the murder of a cop and his step daughter. He is charged with possible sexual abuse because he is found with the seven year old girl's panties in his pocket. He, of course, is sentenced to death row. Eleven years later, he is moved to a new prison and is told that he will be put to death in two months time. As soon as he arrives on the I-Tier, miracles start to happen. The water in their section of the prison turns to wine, a piece of bubble gum is able to be split between all of the inmates, a man with aids seems to be healed, etc. Because of this everyone starts freaking out. Some think that he is the Messiah others think that he is the devil. But the main thing that he wants to do is to donate his heart to the 11 year old sister of the girl that he was charged with murdering. It turns into a court battle because he has been sentenced to lethal injection and that will stop his heart which will make it impossible to harvest for the girl.

It's an amazing story. I honestly could not put it down. It was very controversial for me as well because I felt sorry for the man on death row, which really got me thinking.

I don't think that it's right of me to want to condemn a man to death. Isn't that quite hypocritical of me? Committing a murder because someone committed a murder? Of course it's also an issue with money. I don't see why tax payers want to let a man sit in prison for eleven plus years, paying for the food of a dead man. So is it really worth it? Don't you think that God is going to have his judgment day?

Life in prison, heck, two, three, or four life sentences. That should do it. The men in that prison will probably do a lot of damage to him over the course of his time in prison. Right?

What are your opinions on the matter? Life or Death? Death or Life? Is the death penalty hypocritical? Could you do it? Could you sentence someone to death and live the rest of your life knowing that you took it into your hands to end another person's life?

1 comment:

Christin said...

whew girl, that's a rough one. your thoughts on the subject are spoken well. i am perplexed. i feel the individual has a punishment to pay... but to have control over the ending of his life DOES seem...err... i don't even know the word to write here! but it makes me think that if HE had the power to end someone elses life... and DID then the justice system charging the death penalty to him seems fitting in a way.

i have to sit back and think that the time given to this man in prison will only (hopefully) aid in his restoration with God... forgiveness for what he's done... that time i think will be used for good, hopefully in his or any person's life that is sitting on death row. not all individuals will ask for forgiveness and find healing from what they've done but as you said, they would have to give an account for themselves... so i guess my prayer would be for those that are sitting there in prison and waiting... all those years until the death penalty comes... that someone or something will reach out to them and they can come to realize the absurdity of taking another human being's life. god will in the end have his own justice... as he always does.