The Most Premeditated of Murders

Way back in my freshmen year of college, I had to write a ten page paper against the death penalty. If I had to do it now, ten pages would have seemed nowhere near enough. I could go on and on. Fittingly, I chose to title it: “The Most Premeditated of Murders”.

Evidence aside, in the court of law what usually happens is this: whichever side of the case has the better lawyer wins. Because let’s face it, besides the victim and assailant, typically no one else knows the 100% truth. It’s a whole lot of speculation. You can never with 100 percent conviction and without a shadow of a doubt fully prove a person’s intent.

But what happened tonight in Oklahoma? That’s a [premeditated] murder in every sense of the word. Murder is, after all, the deliberate act of killing someone. If you aren’t familiar with what happened, here’s the short of it: a man was being put to death via lethal injection in Oklahoma using a new combination of drugs, and his execution was “botched”. End result? The man ultimately died of a heart attack forty minutes later.

Never mind the fact that the inmates, lawyers and advocates had argued that this new and untried [and untested] protocols could cause “levels of suffering” that would violate the prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the Eighth Amendment.

Never mind the fact the states were in this limbo because the traditional drugs were no longer being sold to the US on the basis of humanitarian grounds.

Never mind the fact that states have developed secrecy laws that basically allow them to keep hidden the source of their supplies and the content/combination of drugs being used… which is fishy enough to raise red flags.

The following is an excerpt from my aforementioned college paper, and I still believe it to be completely true:

Capital punishment is essentially a murder committed by the state. In a society that condemns killing, it is ironic that this country executes people as a punishment, which is without a doubt just an official murder. In no civilized society can society punish an act by participating in the very act that the condemned is being put to death for. Moreover, it definitely sends the wrong message because there is no logic to killing people who kill people to show that killing is wrong.

I am not saying the guilty shouldn’t be punished. What I am saying is this: a) you can never be 100% sure of guilt and you can’t undo death. With the number of stories you hear of the guilty being proven otherwise decades later, I can’t even fathom how many people have been put to death wrongly for crimes they didn’t commit; you can release them from jail, but certainly not bring them back to life, b) the system is racist. Let’s not kid ourselves and actually believe that the system treats each of them equally: the disparity between those who are given harsher treatments for similar crimes amongst Caucasians and those of color is ridiculous, and to tie into today’s unfortunate events c) the constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment” which definitely played a role in today’s execution without a doubt.
Every time we take one step forward as a nation, we seem two take two steps backwards in the wrong direction.

2 Responses to “The Most Premeditated of Murders”

  1. AMINA ALI says :

    Hey Summaiyah! Interesting article.

    I thought I agreed while I was reading it… but then I realized that our religion speaks about the death penalty and capital punishment in the Qur’an, I really don’t want to go into detail as I am not very learned about it, so it would be wrong on my part to do so. All I know for a fact is that our religion does mandate the death penalty, but before someone makes harsh judgement against it, we should educate ourselves about the rulings involved.
    Allah ta’ala is The Most Merciful and Forgiving.
    I don’t know if you heard about the story of the woman who committed adultery and came to the Prophet seeking for an appropriate punishment to free her of her guilt.
    SubhanAllah she was given the death penalty, but her rewards are immense.
    I know its easier said than done, but those who undergo the death penalty for crimes committed in this life, are for sure erased completely of their sins on the Day of Judgement!

    You’re right that no one knows 100% for sure what goes on between the perpetrator and the victim, but people on this earth should do the best they can in exacting justice, and if justice is not served at all (or not served correctly), we should know without a shadow of a doubt that Allah (swt) will exact justice on the DOJ, without fail. So those judges or those attorneys and lawyers who stand up for the wrong people… will be held accountable on the DOJ .

    And Allah knows Best :)

    • SummaiyahHyder says :

      Amina, that’s a good point. I was reading about the Islam perspective this morning too. There’s an ayat in the Qu’ran that says “Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom” in [6:151] so it allows for the death penalty, but in no way promotes it. Even in cases where it is allowed, there’s a lot written about how you must be able to prove intent for it to be permissible in Islam… which brings me to my point that it’s hard to prove intent 100%. Ultimately, I think only He can be the judge of that.

      Islam IS a very forgiving religion, however, and promotes forgiveness in many places in the Qu’ran. Even in cases of murder, there’s an ayat about that [2:178] where they the family of the murdered can choose to either insist on the death penalty, or to forgive the assailant and accept a reasonable monetary compensation for their loss (2:178)

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