Allow me to start off by stating that I used to be a champion for the death penalty.
In the wake of the tragic death of one of South Africa's sporting legends, Corrie Sanders, a lot of people will cry out for the reinstatement of the death penalty. Most of us following his career would feel this way, it is just normal. The reinstatement of the death penalty will not, however, change anything about this very sad moment in South Africa's history, nor will it prevent further mindless killings, whether the victims are celebrities or not.
The fact is: the death penalty is much more of a retributional measure than a preventative measure. There is no clear cut proof that the death penalty will prevent people from killing each other.
If I asked you whether you would engage in an activity that claims more than ten thousand lives in South Africa each year, you would probably say "no". Yet, most of us get into a car every single day and run the risk of being a fatal car crash victim. I know I do, and I consider myself a fairly level headed and reasonable person. How can we expect people, with the capacity and mindset to kill other people, to be afraid of becoming one of the death penalty victims? We cannot.
Another reason why the death penalty should not be reinstated, is because when the wrong person has been convicted of a crime, and has been executed, it is a mistake that cannot be made undone. If the wrong person was convicted, and sentenced to life in prison, compensation can always be paid to the victim of injustice. A dead person stays dead.
I had the opportunity to sat as an assessor in two different High Court cases. In both instances the accused persons were sentenced to twenty five years. Yet, I who sat as the assessor, could not be totally sure, without a shadow of doubt, that they were indeed guilty. But the law makes no provision for "a shadow of doubt", only "reasonable doubt". Whichever way you look at it, when you have the death penalty, some innocent people will be executed. Full stop.
In my humble opinion, the greatest evil is "human rights" and it's unrestricted application in the law. We, as law abiding citizens, pay for all the criminals spending time in prison. (And don't fool yourself, the death penalty will not really alleviate this burden.
Some people are on death row for years and years.) I say, if you are found guilty, then some of your human rights are sacrificed. If you are in jail, you will do hard labor and pay for your stay, however long it may be. This way, there will be a lot more reserve funds for the government to spend on job creation and education, factors that definitely reduce crime and murders. As an added bonus, the convicted may just learn how to earn an honest income, but while he is learning he will be properly punished for his crime.
If he was wrongly convicted, that mistake can be rectified.
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