We in the US have been plagued by a series of mass murders, many of them in schools. It is a problem not generally shared by other nations. To many, whenever there is another assault, the cry is to do “something” and that “something” is most often a cry for more stringent “Gun Controls”. However, this is usually taken by others as an assault on our constitutional “Right to Bare Arms” derived from our Pilgrim beginnings. The nation is strongly divided on this issue and appears to be mired in the mud of this apparently unsolvable dilemma.
I would divert our thoughts from this dilemma to consider another subject, a concept that is also foreign to most other nations and that is our apparent obsession with the Death Penalty. We, as a nation, cling to the concept that people can be so evil that they are beyond redemption and so, in most states, the ultimate punishment is death by execution. It is written into law. I believe that these two issues are closely related. But I do not believe that the death penalty is a solution to mass murder. Conversely, mass murder may be encouraged by the death penalty. How could that be? Common thinking would have the death penalty as a deterrent to murder of any kind. But, it doesn’t seem to work that way!
Moving on to a related subject we have the concept that all life is sacred. Again, this can be a controversial concept. But, my beliefs leave no doubt that it is sacred and a life should never be unnaturally taken for any reason. My beliefs extend far beyond that, but for the sake of this discussion, that should suffice. We are brought to the concept that if the law promotes execution as a solution to crimes against the citizens of the state then I have the right to inflict death on those who offend me or threaten me. Remember we are working with disturbed minds at this point. In this mind, if it is that of a potential mass murder, a life that offends me just by being better than me (In my warped opinion) doesn’t deserve to coexist with me. The solution is execution of the supposedly offending life or lives.
It often follows that the criminal who is inclined to be a mass murder is vehemently adverse to being put on trial and judged to be wrong that he includes suicide in his plan. After all, in his mind, he is being very logical. In a disturbed mind, death is seen as preferential to life. And this leads me to a possible solution to several problems. It could not happen overnight but we must start with the sacredness of life … all life … at any stage and under any circumstances. We can, and should, start with a national abolition of the death penalty. The taking of a life must be considered unthinkable for any and all reasons. Only then can we expect the average individual to respect life in its entirety.
This of course would mean altering the mindset of the average American. It will take, in addition to abolishing the death penalty, the re-education of our citizens and this could take many generations. (Slavery is still not dead … close, but not 100%) The underprivileged minority in our midst need to be re-educated to the respect for life and its inherent respect for others, so they would not turn to guns to solve their problems.
What I suggest is that we Promote the Respect for Life at every stage, unconditionally. Abolish the Death Penalty. Establish a respect for life that is so strong and pervasive that it becomes unthinkable to take a life. No exceptions! The ramifications are amazing and profound. But we can not even come close to building a respect for life that is that strong if we turn to the Death Penalty as a punishment. The existence of the Death Penalty inherently legitimizes murder in the minds of would be murderers.
If we abolish the Death Penalty as a nation (first) it can be abolished internationally. Who knows what can grow from there … Abolishing War? Murder? Infanticide? The possibilities are Heavenly and certainly worth a try. There are other ways to solve our problems other than killing people, much better ways. When this becomes our way of life we can then call ourselves civilized … but not until then.