Death and the Death Penalty

I’m reading a book about an innocent guy who was executed by the state after spending nine years on death row. The story was supposed to show the horrors of death row as well as the immorality of the death penalty, but it made me think beyond moral issues to the whole death thing.

When Jeff died, people told me that he was in a better place, that God needed him more than I did, that he at been taken home.

So, according to all these comments, death is a good thing, right? Then how can death be a punishment? Of course, people justify the dichotomy by talk of heaven vs. hell, but when someone dies, no one brings up the possibility that the deceased might not be in a better place.

Although, to my way of thinking, if God created an evil person (ie: if the person was born evil rather than being created through torment and abuse) then it’s not exactly fair for that person to be consigned to hell. (I’m only being a trifle facetious here because it is a real conundrum.)

Sometimes death is a good thing, especially when the person has suffered longer than is humane, for no other reason than death puts them out of their misery. My take on that has always been that the poor benighted folks shouldn’t have suffered in the first place. And there are other ways of relieving suffering besides death if we but knew them, such as . . .  oh, I don’t know . . . finding a cure, perhaps.

Also, if there is life after death, then killing a killer doesn’t actually remove that person. It just puts them in a different place. (That better place so many people assured me exists?) It seems to me if people are really bent on vengeance, it would be better to keep the evildoer alive as long as possible.

I truly don’t know what the answer is, and it’s not one I have to decide. Other people decide such things as retribution and punishment.

Luckily, I am in the last phase of the book where all those who conspired to put the innocent guy on death row get their comeuppance. And then I’ll be done and will be able to stop thinking about all this.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

4 Responses to “Death and the Death Penalty”

  1. Uthayanan Says:

    Pat I have read your post Good girls.
    My mother used to say when I was very young “ letters reflect one’s mind” Now I am regular reader of your posts and all subjects specially interested in grief posts. Now I understand lot of topics is interesting writing by you. I am living in a country where Guillotine was invented !
    But capital punishment was abolished in 1981.
    By principle I am against capital punishment in any country.
    Because of you I am interested in America and American people.
    You have changed my thoughts about America “preconceptions and prejudices” I always had a negative idea.
    I often read BBC, CNN, Mailonline (it is type tabloid but give me some interesting informations about your country).
    Naturally I never believe in any journalist information of any country including French. But I try to get some information what’s going on.
    I love your country because of you but I am afraid what’s going on !
    Politically speaking ! Oh my !
    Oh my ! Lot of killings by arms every day even with some disagreement with any reason. And lot of people condemned to dead by errors.
    I don’t understand ?
    I didn’t understand !
    Is it good to keep people believe in killing because it is a good judgement ?
    Please kindly excuse me if am wrong and contradict.
    I believe in you and your convictions and I admire lot of people participe your blogs.
    You and your admirateurs have changed my bad idea of American people.
    God bless Americans peoples.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      What you see in the newspapers reflects only the most extreme behavior. Most people living in the USA are law-abiding, non-violent, generous to those in need, devoted to family, friends and their country, and abhor killing of any kind. Only a few states have the death penalty. Most do not.

      Traditionally, Americans do not want war. We have to be forced into it by our politicians. Also, so often what the politicians in Washington do is secretive they don’t tell us until after it is done) and then, if the world turns against those actions, those same politicians blame us citizens and apologize to the world for things we would never have agreed to.

  2. Uthayanan Says:

    Pat your reply made my day. I agree with you.
    I have forgotten that America is a big country and every state like Europe countries.
    Living with every day basis with grief in a big city. With coved-19 related obligations with curfew from 8 pm to 6 am.
    When I saw at least 50 images from
    At late night made me to much confused.
    As you said “newspapers reflects only the most extreme behavior”
    It is my fault that I was influenced by media. (Naturally I hate it)
    I simply lost the attitude take a step back.
    Thank you very much

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I appreciate your being open-minded. Even those of us who live here forget that what we see in the media reflects only a small part of our country.

      Even in the individual states, there are sections that are vastly different from the ruling party. Where I live (it’s an area about the size of Holland with only 100,000 residents) we’re mostly forgotten. The prosperity that rest of the state enjoyed before this pandemic passed us by, and now the big city politicians want to close down the only business in the county.

      It’s amazing to me that we get along as well as we do.

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