MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 4
Article views: 7
Latest Badges:

View all Leigh's badges.

Against violence

11 February 2013, 15:56

After reading yet another tragic story about a life ended much too soon, a life which ended because of a focus of rage, frustration, hatred, resentment, fear and ultimately brutality onto someone else, I already knew what the first reader comment would be.

And I’m sure that you, reader, are sensing what my first argument will be, and are already preparing your arguments against what you know must be coming… I am absolutely against the death penalty. Before reading on, I urge you to lay your ideas down. Keep your emotion, your passion, which is what defines us as a nation, but put the disbelief and need for retribution to one side for now, and simply listen.

I don’t know what I wish to achieve by sharing my thoughts – I suppose what I ultimately want is for each of us to cultivate a critical mind and a different way of thinking about ourselves, and each other, so that our knee-jerk and stifling reactions are examined and evaluated. I want our country to be healed – as do we all.

Why do we always turn to the death penalty as the encompassing solution? I guess one of the reasons is because it is a part of our past – it’s not entirely unfamiliar to us. There was a time when rape and murder was not rampant, as it is now – and perhaps it is natural to link harsh punishments with less crime.

Whenever I read the pro-death comments, the major theme running through the argument is revenge. The perpetrator doesn’t deserve life. The perpetrator has forgone his/her (let’s be honest though – 99% of the time it’s a ‘he’) human rights, and therefore the heinous injuries they inflicted, which turned our stomachs and made us question how anybody could do this to anyone else, are suddenly the ironic answer. Would you, personally, be willing to put the attacker to a long and draw-out death? Hear their cries, moans; taste their blood? See their life, and your humanity, leave this earth? Because ‘hanging is too good’.

I’m sure many of you would answer, yes, bring it. This is about justice, not revenge. I’d do what I had to.

And this saddens me. It makes me feel ill. However, I refuse to accept that we are all as hard, devoid of joy and hope, mistaken, murderous, callous and accepting of death as our only hope of living and surviving as those monsters who can rape a 17 year old girl with a broken bottle, until her intestines spill out of her body, exposed and humiliated.

Please understand that by not condoning the death penalty, I am not condoning violence of any kind. I will never lower myself, and rob myself of the essence of what makes me special – my ability to feel, to smile, to cry and to love – and nor should you.

We are not animals. We are all people – even those who murder and rape. And for me this means that we have the power to choose. Each moment contains a choice. We choose to murder and rape.

Unfortunately, there are too, too many people in our society who make terrible, violent, cruel and unfathomable choices every day – and the people who suffer are usually women.

Putting the death penalty back on the table will not take choice away. It will not dissuade those who already feel that life can offer them nothing. What fear does death hold if we don’t value life?

I abhor the levels of violent crime we experience, and I am sickened by those who disrespect life.

And I am uncomprehending of those who think that a threat of death for crimes will improve anything. A solution is desperately needed – but the short-term option of a hangman’s noose is not it.

I honestly do not believe that any possible solution which takes 15-20 minutes to implement (the amount of time until cardiac arrest by hanging – correct me if I’m wrong) is going to be effective in dealing with issues that have come about because of years and years of misinformation, ignorance, hate, a need for power, intolerance of difference and excuses made for men by both men and women because ‘that’s what men are like’.

And if we are to continue in a practical vein, I would add that in a country where both police and judicial staff are under-staffed and over-worked, I would not want to add to their lot the responsibility of prescribing life or death.

And this is not because I want to protect the rights of criminals – but because I want to see a fundamental change in our communities that changes mindsets, and ensures that when a young life hangs in the balance, and an opportunity to claim power over another presents itself, power that people do not experience in their daily lives – the right choice is made.

A pattern of male dominance, female subjugation because of tradition, economic and social inequalities and a fear of female power, the idea that hope is a myth and a general feeling of powerlessness over our lives all contribute to a spread of women-focused violence, among other things.

Another theme that runs through reader comments is that our government is totally incapable of tackling these issues and setting an example for positive growth and healing, and respect and appreciation for women – and I whole-heartedly agree. All of us – black, white, coloured, Indian, Chinese, straight, gay, male, female or other deserve better.

We need each other. We need to vote out corruption and disdain, and elect a body who realise that they are public servants, who’s job it is to work with us (not for us or against us) in ensuring that young girls can rely on men to respect and value their feminine power and not be threatened by it, men and women are empowered in their communities and are able to fill valuable roles and provide for their families, and children do not have to be raised by grandparents, aunts, uncles or brothers and sisters who do not have the means or support to do so effectively.

However, government is only one part (albeit an important one) of that solution which we desperately need. We need to teach our sons (and daughters) that girls/women are valued, strong and deserving of nothing less than respect – we are different but equal and each have something unique to offer the world.

I know that this article will be dismissed by many as nothing but sentiment – but I honestly don’t believe that the death penalty will deter offenders, or that more bloodshed will heal us.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Michael Mondli Hlophe
I worry about coalition governmen...

We can only speculate about the future results of coalition governments in South Africa. We can however agree that with coalitions, come challenges. Read more...

0 comments 233 views
Submitted by
Deon van Wyk
Questions about level 5 water res...

The monthly water reading varies monthly for a period between 27 to 35 days and after the holidays even 40 days. In these cases the monthly water usage will be more than 20kl per month. Will you be fined?  Read more...

0 comments 370 views
Submitted by
Amir Abdulazeez
Messi vs Ronaldo: a philosophical...

Cristiano Ronaldo will most likely settle as the 3rd all-time greatest player. In Messi’s case, he may rank worse than 3rd in many critical categories. Read more...

0 comments 233 views
Submitted by
Adorn Keketso
Africans must unite to find water...

African (and South African) leaders must realise that we are trapped in a vicious circle of foreign aids and that our deepening food and water crisis is the opportunity for the western power to take advantage of our sovereignty.  Read more...

0 comments 413 views
Submitted by
Sibonginkosi Mabika
A political storm is being contri...

Political uncertainty puts the citizens of South Africa in darkness preparing themselves for country’s biggest political storm.  Read more...

0 comments 713 views
Submitted by
Nkosenhle Sibisi
Dlamini-Zuma to be sworn in as AN...

I honestly think that it is time to stop scepticism as South Africans and give our female candidates a chance to lead and save our beautiful country, South Africa. Read more...

0 comments 801 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2017 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.