Abolishing the Death Penalty Saves Lives

And to be honest, that’s a damn shame. Some people need to be ended.

The name of this post is based on an article published by the Swedish version of the Associated Press, called Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå, in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. It’s worth mentioning that SvD is the most conservative newspaper in Sweden. In any event, the article states, loudly and proudly, that due to the financial crisis a number of U.S. states is considering ending the death penalty.

Non-Swedes might react at the blatant propaganda in the title or article; there is a clear assumption that the death penalty is equivalent to murder, or at the very least drunk driving without seat belts. For Swedes, however, this is not surprising. In fact, roughly two-thirds of the Swedish people are against the death penalty, and through a stranglehold on the media and what is politically correct, they’ve forced the remaining three million of us to shut up and conform. Admitting that you are in favor of the death penalty is near-equivalent to saying you like to rape dead animals. Even my parents, upstanding and successful citizens who’ve always done right for themselves, have politely taught me to never discuss criminal justice in public. It’s simply not done, unless you support the status quo.

A blatant example of this was a ten years ago when four young men were rejected from entering a party due to being rowdy. They returned and set fire to the exits, resulting in the death of 60 people and the injury of another 200. Take a moment to reflect on what you think is an appropriate punishment. Done? What they received by the Swedish justice system was between seven and eight years in prison (with porn, Internet, wages, weekends off, and college education). There are two noteworthy laws worth commenting here. The first is that Sweden does not allow cumulative penalties. Thus, it doesn’t matter if you rape one person or twenty, or kill one person or sixty. The second is that all sentences longer than two years are automatically cut in half.

In Sweden, murdering 60 people will get you between three and four years of prison.

My mother was out on a lunch a few days after the sentencing with a prominent local businesswoman, thought “conservative” by Swedish standards. It didn’t take long before the conversation drifted from work to personal things to politics. The woman said “I feel so terrible for those four young men. I wonder what their mothers are going through?” My mother was shocked, at first, and replied simply “No doubt something more bearable than what the mothers of the children burnt to death are going through.” This was met by a stunned silence. You don’t speak of the victims’ rights in Sweden. It’s simply not done.

In retrospect, it’s clear that the businesswoman wasn’t trying to be callous or heartless. This is simply the way most Swedes react. We have been taught that each and every person is worth an equal amount regardless of their actions. As such, a welfare recipient is worth as much as an entrepreneur. A journalist as much as a scientist. A murderer as much as a murder victim.

This is why the TT article proclaims that halting executions of the worst monsters among us is saving lives. Because to the majority of Swedes, you and I are worth no more and no less than those monsters.

There is one exception, however. Those who say that our actions matter, that we should be rewarded or punished based on what actions we take and not simply based on that we were born as humans; those people are are reviled and ridiculed, mocked and hated. They’re “intolerant”. And that simply won’t stand in Sweden.


~ by Escaping Perdition on February 18, 2009.

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