Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Capital Punishment e-petition

The way in which some people have been reacting to today's news regarding an e-petition for the restoration of capital punishment for murderers of children and on-duty police officers would make anyone think that its restoration is certain and imminent. It is not. The FAQ on the e-petitions website states that if an e-petition receives 100,000 signatures it will be "eligible" for a debate in the House of Commons. As I type this, the e-petition has a mere 725 signatures. If it receives 100,000 signatures (which seems an inappropriately low number at just 0.16% of the population - public demonstrations involving larger numbers have been ignored) there might be a debate. That is essentially the extent of this situation.

I'm not particularly fond of the idea of capital punishment. It seems inherently wrong for the state to terminate someone's existence. However, there are some crimes that are so heinous that the only other appropriate punishment would be imprisonment for life. For example, those who have raped/killed children can surely never be released into the public because of the possibility of their re-offending and the terrible consequences that would entail.

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