by Sally Pettit
While browsing Facebook the other day, I came across a statement made by someone I had known for over twenty years that surprised me. In response to the untimely death of the MP Jo Cox, he asserted that whichever party brought hanging back he would vote for them to get into parliament.
I made the point, that it was well advertised that Jo Cox was a pacifist, she wanted world peace and humanity, even in the event of her death I don’t think she would want hanging brought back.
Feelings were running high, she was a mother, a daughter, how would I feel if it was me I was asked? What if I lost someone like that. In reply, yes I would be angry, yes I would probably feel like this person should die. But who would hang him? Me? No. In all honesty, I couldn’t ask anyone to do that for me,not even in those circumstances.
So, who would be the hangman, if it was brought back, them? No. You have to be a particular kind of person to kill a human, even if you believe they are evil. How would you sleep at night?
One of the reasons I’m writing this is because I feel so strongly that we are not put on this earth to take the life of another. Yes, they should be punished, incarcerated even, given hard labour, but not killed. You only have to look to America to see the effect death row has on its inmates. The threat of death does not stop people killing, mistakes are still made even though science has come a long way with DNA techniques.
Hanging was outlawed in the UK in 1965, not so long ago in fact. Initially, anyone could be hanged, if you stole a loaf of bread, or pickpocketed someone. Age was no barrier, children were hanged, mothers whose babies had died, who couldn’t prove they died of natural causes. The first bill brought to the commons to abolish the death penalty was in 1938, they had a pause in it for five years, but that was cancelled due to the outbreak of war.
In fact, it was still in our constitution until 2004 that we could invoke the right to Capital punishment in the face of a war breaking out. In 2004 we signed the 13th Protocol with the EU to say under no circumstances would we bring back Capital Punishment. There was a very good reason for this.
You have to ask the question, What would have happened to The Birmingham Six, The Guildford Four, had capital punishment been available then? Innocent men would have hung for crimes they did not commit. It’s not good enough to say, science is now better and DNA can place these people at the scene. Human error brings in a dimension you cannot take out via science.The pressure put on the Police to get results when a murder as horrific as Jo Cox’s was is why people can’t be trusted in these situations.
People lie and that is the reason why Capital Punishment cannot be brought back.
Humans are supposed to be intelligent, to be compassionate. Whilst what this man did was evil and wrong, who are we to play God and take his life? Maybe we should help him understand what he did was wrong and why, rather than just take the easy option and hang him.