By Michael S. Blake
One Ewin James , writing an opinion piece in this The Observer newspaper of 13th instant argues pro capital punishment as a fit, fair and just penalty for those who visit murder on others of their fellowmen.
I support the proposition.
The unpalatable fact of the matter is that St. Kitts and Nevis , a classic small-island state with a population hovering around 50,000 souls , and occupying a physical landmass of some 104 sq. miles, averages 25 or so murders per year , and as such, ‘boasts’ a per capita murder rate of approximately 50 per 100,000 persons.
When this statistic is juxtaposed with the figure for Singapore being 0.5 , 20 for Nigeria , for the USA 6, for Jamaica 38, 26 for St Vincent and the Grenadines , and 30 for Antigua , it becomes frighteningly clear that we have a serious problem with murder in our beloved Federation.
If one couples the foregoing with the reality that very few murderers are caught and convicted, and that even fewer are sentenced to death, it is fair to conclude that the celestially high level of unwarranted killings will persist , giving rise to a sickening societal acceptance of such internecine behaviour as ‘normal’ , even to be expected, as one’s sensitivity to and sense of umbrage at these murders become numb and inured over time.
Yet I am convinced that a suffocating anger and a tide of discontent at these killings run the gamut of social strata , some of it bred by despair arising from a sense of individual helplessness underpinned by a real or perceived inability to ‘do something about it’.
But , more importantly, and more germane to this debate, is the defiant refusal of the powers that be to activate the capital punishment apparatus that our laws provide as a definitive means of addressing the vexing issue.
The voice of the people is (still) the voice of God, and despite its being evident that the significant majority of the population not only supports but desires the imposition of the death penalty on those found guilty of murder , those in position to facilitate its application stubbornly and steadfastly refuse to bend or bow to this voice.
I submit that our society cannot afford to continue to go easy on those bent on killing their fellowmen , residents and visitors alike.
I propose that we hang the culprits as a matter of course.
Let those who claim to be champions of ‘human rights’ damn o their hearts’ content. For there is ample evidence that an emphasis on ‘ human rights’ has contributed directly to an abundance of human wrongs.
A ‘life sentence’ for those found guilty, – where such is (rarely!) imposed, – , almost always translates into the culprit being housed, fed, entertained and protected by the State, using, of course, funds, monies, personnel ,and other resources extracted from and provided by peaceful, law-abiding citizens and residents , including , so very unfairly ! , those members and relatives of the family of the victim(s) him/herself (themselves).
The never-ending discussion as to whether capital punishment deters murders is, to me, pellucidly immaterial to this debate. I do not for one moment promote the imposition of the death penalty on murderers premised on a notion that it serves as deterrent.
Indeed, capital punishment may or may not deter , but clearly, irrefutably, one thing is certain : hanging the murderer ABSOLUTELY DETERS HIM/HER FORM KILLING AGAIN !
Otto Von Bismarck contends that murderers must stew in their own grease.
The Bible commends that whosoever sheddeth man’s blood, by man must his blood be shed.
Capital punishment , then, as James contends, is retributive justice, pure and total.
I am convinced that because the penalty that murderers exact and suffer for their irreversible crimes is neither swift , severe, nor sure, the rate of homicides continues apace.
I suggest we return to the gallows as means of declaring boldly that we are deadly serious about stemming the tide of murders that already threatens to wreak irreparable damage to our economic and cultural infrastructure , and to violently upset our social equilibrium.
Hang them high !!