Thursday, March 19, 2009

the Death Penalty

I realize, we here in America, do not consider ourselves on the level of other nations in which the "heathens" execute in all sorts of unconscionable methods. I've heard a number of people get all up the air about the beheadings in the Middle Eastern countries, apparently forgetting about Henry VIII and let us not forget what the first Queen Elizabeth ordered done to her cousin Mary. The death penalty is hideous. Granted murder is hideous, which is what makes the death penalty such a paradox. As far as I know, only a nation that is a Bible based Theocracy has the G~D instructed right and responsibility to carry out the death penalty. America doesn't qualify any more than Saudi Arabia does. Now, the reason for this rant, is the headline I read today about the guy that started a couple of wildfires in California, in which five fire fighters lost their lives. I've served as chaplain to both fire and police departments and the loss of life by someone trying to protect others is particularly heart wrenching, so I understand the high level of emotion associated with this particular case. I would like to point out just a couple of facts regarding the death penalty, however. First degree murder must be proven to be premeditated, and if these fires were set where no human life was directly in the path, that would negate the premeditation factor. The fact that only the firefighters lost their lives, although tragic, pretty much proves these fires were not aimed in an area of human habitation. I read that three of them died trying to keep an unoccupied house from being destroyed, with two more dying later from that same situation, again indicates, although the fire may have been intentional, the deaths, were not. Considering the number of intentional murders committed in this country, every week, I find this just a point to ponder and question. Granted, I realize, I'm a bleeding heart on the subject of the death penalty, but even the staunch supports would be hard pressed to actually prove the deaths that took place as a result of this particular arson, to have been pre-meditated. If the capital punishment supporters are going to claim execution, to be their Biblical right, perhaps we should also consider cities of refuge for those that are slayers, without premeditation.
Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.
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