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Violence Breeds violence!

There has been an outcry against the onslaught of senseless murders being committed lately in Lebanon. The distraught parents are crying out for harsh measures against the guilty. They claim that unless these criminals are put to their own death as retribution, there will be no stopping them. There are also calmer voices who still advocate moderation and claim the killers’ true suffering is to live with the weight of their sins and hard labor for this ought to be a country of law.

Needless to say, capital punishment has had its opponents and proponent throughout history. The Declaration of Human Rights gave each individual the right to live free and with dignity, and all the subsequent bills of rights have come to recognize the same. Yet many countries still adopted the death punishment including Lebanon in 1948. Since then and up until 2004 when it was last implemented, around 50 prisoners had been executed. There have been many amendments over the decades especially in the wake of the civil war. Numerous proposals have been presented to eliminate this law, but they all remain within the archives of the forgotten.

The rejection of the capital punishment is not based on humanitarian reasons as religion has a strong stance against it. Christianity’s 10 commandments clearly state “Thou shalt not kill”. Pope Francis called out saying that this commandment applies to the guilty and innocent. This punishment is not the only deterrent against crime, and it completely takes away the prisoner’s ability to once again get integrated into their community. No matter how one looks at it, taking a life is a crime no matter how humane the method implemented is. It is the end of all hope when Christianity is the message of tolerance, love, and forgiveness. Redemption is possible until the very last second of one’s life.

Although Islam has been known for the concept of “an eye for an eye”, but many Muslims claim that it is actually an ancient belief dating back to the Judaism and it does not portray the teachings of Islam that often call for tolerance and amnesty. While Islam is adamant there should be strict laws that deter criminals, it is also important to not lose sight of compassion. This type of punishment is often not implemented except in extreme cases. There are strict conditions that must be met in a murder case for it to be permissible, so it is clear that Islam is advocating peace instead of punishment.

Lebanon is not the only country with its fair share of criminals and unchecked weapons. It is crucial that laws that help prohibit the crime-taking place be forcibly applied such as controlling the spread of weapons. Better yet, they should work on improving the social and economic situation that lead to gun violence and murder.

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