Do we have the right to kill?

My husband came home last night touched by a story he heard on NPR.  Here’s the link in case you want to read it for yourself.

In short, it is the story of the struggle to find a vein inside a man scheduled to be executed by lethal injection.

What have we come to?  Who gives us the right to kill in cold blooded pre-meditation? And, if something like this happens where is our sense of wonder about divine intervention? Are we being given the opportunity to ponder our acts and perhaps see where our humanity has gone astray? 

In the comments section of the article, I came across this post.  It holds a pretty powerful mirror to us.  Of course it’s only one side… but it’s one I feel compelled to post here.  

David Gentry-Akin (davidvgentry) wrote:
I have long felt that the death penalty was evil; that it was a sign of the utter bankruptcy of our culture. What does it do the souls of the prison personnel who are asked to participate in such a heinous process? Killing is certainly wrong, but to kill with such cold, calculating premediation cannot but inflict enormous psychic violence on the souls of the people involved. Years ago, the lawyer of a mentally retarded inmate was interviewed on NPR after witnessing the execution of his client. I can still hear him through his tearful sobs, saying that this act ‘diminishes us all’. His words still haunt me. If this is not evil, I do not know what evil is.

David Gentry-Akin
Moraga, California

Thursday, September 17, 2009 2:36:15 AM

I’m haunted by this story. I feel it’s enormous weight on my soul. I want to remain open but can’t find that place where I can support Capital Punishment and still be true to my own self. In what way do I contribute to this reality where there are victims, perpetrators, judges…?

3 thoughts on “Do we have the right to kill?”

  1. this may not seem directly related but, unless i come up with a better plan, on friday i’m going to be killing my cat. she’s 17 or 18 and for 5 years or so she’s been only using the litter box erratically. i can’t share my home with an animal who does this. she’s a nice cat and she’s never hurt me, and she’s perfectly healthy. for 2 years i paid my cousin rent for her to keep the cat, but now she’s given the cat back to me. i tried letting the cat live in the finished part of my garage, but she pooped on the rug. i tried letting her live in my basement, but she did the same thing. my husband says, let Fate deal with her. leave her outside. to me that is more cruel than euthanizing her because it will mean she freezes over the course of weeks. Pennsylvania winters are not gentle. part of me thinks that killing her is completely cruel and i should not consider it, but then another part of me says, i’ve already unnaturally extended her life by at least a decade simply by letting her live in my home. as far as adoption, who would ever adopt a cat like this? thoughts please. sighhhh.

  2. I admire your honesty. My first reaction was to try and detach and not say anything but you ask for thoughts… I don’t have an answer but some questions. I feel like you are trying to decide the kindest way to end the cat’s life. If ending her life was not an option (that’s an IF – so humor me), what other options would exist? Why do you assume that there is no one who would adopt her? Perhaps someone with a barn where it’s not exactly outdoors and not exactly indoors. Have you surrendered this question to a higher source and asked for a guiding dream?

    If i’m truly honest with myself, I think I would come to the same conclusion as you and not be able to share my house with an animal that does this either. But thankfully, the desert temperatures are mild and the coyotes quick.

    Friday is three days away – ask for higher guidance…

  3. to RCHAPUT: do not kill the cat. You said that you extended her life by letting her live in your home. What kind of sense does it make to give life and then take it away? None at all. It is cruel. The only reason you should ever consider euthanasia is if the cat is ill, is suffering, and will not get better, OR if the cat is a danger to other people. This cat is neither. If you don’t want the cat anymore, there is surely someone else who would love to have the cat. It is true that animals are not on the level that we are but that does not mean you have the right to take their lives. Do you realize that the roles could have easily been reversed. Animals could have been above us, and we (the humans) could have been their pets. It was all in the choice God made. If you were the cat, would you think it was ok to die because ur owner didnt take the time out to just find someone more suitable for you? No.

    And as for ‘Do we have the right to kill?': My answer is no. You cannot punish someone for a crime by doing to them what they have done to another human being. What lesson does that teach really? It makes it seem like sometimes killing is ok. But it isnt. How can a prisoner learn his lesson if he’s not even alive to learn it. They think death is punishment but it really isn’t. By the time their execution date has come around most have realized the severity of their actions, and are extremely sorrowful and full of guilt; they have already repented and been forgiven and I believe will make it to heaven afterwards. People think that the world would be better off if that one criminal wasnt alive, if that person’s life was ended. But they are wrong. What they don’t realize is that death is just the beginning.

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