Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Eye For An Eye

Should there be a universal law that claims ‘an eye for an eye’?

For those etymologically handicapped, the phrase is derived from ‘ayin tachat ayin’, literally 'an eye in place of an eye'. It stems from the Code of Hammurabi, a King of Babylon, 1792-1750BC. It is listed in the King James version of the Bible, Matthew 5:38 (King James Version): Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

This is a tough one, especially for me since I prefer to dance between two opposing sides of the debate as I agree with the strong points of both so I am in a limbo here.

Opinion 1 - For
Opinion 2 - Against
Crime rate
It lowers crime rate. E.g. There is a low rate of crime in Saudi Arabia where the Quran is regarded the constitution of the country, governed based on Islamic law. The legal system stipulates capital punishment or corporal punishment.
Crime rates exist though criminal complaints are resolved outside formal judicial institutions. Therefore, there is no documentation on this.
It provides a sense of closure to families suffering from injustice.
It backfires in the event the accused person is not the guilty one.
If Japan had not attacked the U.S., the U.S. would not have entered the war. It also ended World War 2.
Retaliation on the part of U.S. to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Atrocities against women
The lack of a strong deterring sentence allows atrocities against women to continue.
Crimes against women such as rapes, dowry harassment, acid throwing and physical violence take years of appeals in courthouses across the world before anything happens, if it ever does.
Retributive justice opinion
Public opinion is in favour.
Legal establishments sneer at them.
Death penalty
Murderers will wonder what they could have done to prevent this day. Fearing the death penalty could prevent a murder.
How can people be expected to learn that killing is wrong if the legal system kills people?

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