Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Capital Punishment Defies Teachings of the Buddha

Response to Interview with Somsri Hananuntasuk
Re: “‘Execution is not the answer’,” Nation News, January 30.
Kudos to Somsri Hananuntasuk for her compassion and moral courage in publicly opposing capital punishment. Such courage is rare in Thailand. The death penalty is an atavistic barbarity grounded in the vengeful law of lex talionis (an eye for an eye). It has no place in a civilised society and never in a nation based on Buddha’s principle of respect for all human life. Gautama Siddharta rejected it. So did Yeshua.
The deterrent argument is an obnoxious rationalisation, since overwhelming research and statistics have revealed that capital punishment does not deter the deliberate killing of another person. Even if it did, it should be abolished as inhumane. For the state to kill its citizens for crimes like rape and drug trafficking is beyond the pale. What’s next? Economic crimes like graft and corruption? Thailand would have an execution a week.
Even more astounding is that Buddhist monks support it, and those who do not are too craven to speak out against it. Shame! Why are they Buddhist monks? Somsri is more a true Buddhist than they will ever be. Bless her. She has my unreserved admiration.
OG Pamp
Prachuap Khiri Khan

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