We love to kill.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bomber got the death penalty for his crime. So many decent people I know are in favor of his death, as they profess to ordain killing a person only for good and valid reasons, always justifying the killing by deeming the person killed to have lost the right to live.
I say however, let’s abolish the death penalty, not just because it has no redeeming value, is too often applied to the innocent, does not make us safer, does not deter future crime, does not give us closure, but because it is the ultimate premeditated, collective act of murder ever conceived by society.
And just to be sure, the American alternative, super-max prisons with 23 hour solitary confinement is no human alternative. Isolation is torture, and torture, too, is wrong. Life in prison is harsh enough, it does not have to amount to psychological torture.
To remind everyone of the difficult task at hand; the US Constitution bans cruel and unusual punishment.
Freedom is but one form of dignity. Freedom is also not complete if people lack fairness and respect. If by mere association to an ethnic group you fear police more (black, Hispanic) or less (white, Asian), the premise that all are equal under the law is not realized.
Various incidences regarding police brutality, the freeing of innocently convicted and abuse of prisoners call us to rethink our approach to deliver justice, protect the innocent and retain our humanity. Too many cases of abuse show our entrenched way of behavior, that we are human, all to human. Delivering justice is hard, requires discipline, transparency and humility.
Living in an open and free society based on tolerance does not mean to abdicate a strong sense of right and wrong.
The Bill of Rights says (in Amendment I) among other things that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Which means the government cannot give special status to any creed or religion.
The Bill of Rights (in Amendment IX) also says that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”. Which means that government cannot sanction business practices that amount to the right to refuse service to the public based on religion and creed, and by extension race, sexual orientation, age or gender.