Crim­i­nal minds and the death penalty

Manila Times - - OPINION -

crim­i­nal­ity in­di­cate that the pre­dis­po­si­tion to com­mit crime is in­clud­ing not only phys­i­cal but also so­cial, par­tic­u­larly the peo­ple one as­so­ci­ates with. Oth­ers would ar­gue that bi­ol­ogy and ge­net­ics de­ter­mine crim­i­nal pre­dis­po­si­tion. Other com­pet­ing the­o­ries in­di­cate that peo­ple will com­mit crime out of frus­tra­tion, for be­ing un­able to achieve their goals through le­gal means, or out of ra­tio­nal cal­cula get out of it far outweigh the risks.

Thus, if one con­sid­ers the above the­o­ries, it is clear that the na­ture of the penalty would not be a sig mind is en­abled by en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, or more so by bi­ol­ogy and ge­net­ics. Frus­tra­tion with so­ci­ety will not also be de­terred by the penalty. Even when the crime is the re­sult of a ra­tio­nal cal­cu­la­tion not nec­es­sar­ily be de­pen­dent on the penalty, but on the prob­a­bil­ity that one will be caught, pros­e­cuted and meted out a sen­tence.

The ac­tual com­mis­sion of heinous crimes is of­ten an out­come of ex­treme rage, where one mo­men­tar­ily sus­pends fear. In some cases, the crime is com­mit­ted by peo­ple who have lost their ca­pac­ity for rea­son, ei­ther due to ab­nor­mal psy­cho­log­i­cal states, or in­duced by chem­i­cals or by in­tox­i­ca­tion.

Hence, at the mo­ment of the com­mis­sion of the crime, any con­scious­ness about the na­ture of the penalty no longer be­comes a con­sid­er­a­tion to the mind of the crim­i­nal.

The 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion al­lows for cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment but only for heinous crimes. A heinous il­le­gal, but one that is rep­re­hen­si­ble and can­not be con­sid­ered as a ra­tio­nal act of a hu­man be­ing.

The­o­ret­i­cally, a heinous act is done by some­one who has lost his or her hu­man­ity. Un­der nor- mal cir­cum­stances, those acts are com­mit­ted by peo­ple who have be­come in­sane ei­ther per­ma­nently, or tem­po­rar­ily, such as crimes in­duced by drugs and crimes driven by blind rage, jeal­ousy and pas­sion

Per­ma­nent or tem­po­rary in­san­ity, how­ever, is one that trig­gers an act de­void of ra­tio­nal cal­cu­la­tion, and there­fore can­not be negated by knowl­edge of the sever­ity of the pun­ish­ment. In such cases, no amount of pun­ish­ment, even one as ex­treme as death, can be an ef­fec­tive de­ter­rent.

There are peo­ple who claim plun­der should all be con­sid­ered heinous crimes. While th­ese are se­ri­ous of­fenses com­mit­ted against the state, and against pub­lic in­ter­est, one would need to ar­gue hard that th­ese would qual­ify as acts that sus­pend the hu­man­ity of its per­pe­tra­tors, enough to deny them a fun­da­men­tal right to life.

Un­der eth­i­cal and moral the­o­ries, an­other moral agent a fun­da­men­tal right such as life is when such is in self-de­fense, and as a last re­course. Ob­vi­ously, a per­son guilty a plun­derer as­saulted the state and the po­lit­i­cal com­mu­nity. But their acts do not con­sti­tute a de­prav­ity that ren­ders them in­hu­man. Any de­ter­rent to their act is not to take their lives, but to make them serve and re­pay the state and the po­lit­i­cal com­mu­nity with their hard la­bor.

De­nied of its de­ter­rent ef­fect, the only com­pelling rea­son for cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment is vengeance. But lest we for­get, the de­sire for re­venge has be­come a pow­er­ful mo­ti­va­tion for peo­ple to sus­pend their hu­man­ity and com­mit mur­der, an act that could be heinous, and could be cov­ered by the very law be­ing pro­posed, and for which the state is now au­tho­rized to com­mit.

This would be in­deed a cruel irony, a most tragic con­tra­dic­tion.

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