Why notions of justice fail victims

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

It’s amazing the audacity and chutzpah that Eichmann who organized the mass murder of millions, who personally oversaw the mass deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths, that he didn’t give them all a chance for clemency at Auschwitz, but of course he felt he deserved it. It has been revealed he asked for clemency.

And what is more extra ordinary is that at the time all these humanist people were opposed to his death penalty.

This is the fundamental problem at the heart of the western democratic framework. The concept is that every mass murderer deserve not only a fair trial and numerous appeals, but often is said to deserve all sorts of clemency, understanding, human rights, a nice prison cell, and often time off for “good behavior” and old age. So if you killed a million people, in most European countries the most you can get is a “life sentence” which amounts to 20 years. Many elderly Nazi murderers weren’t even sent to prison, because of “old age.” The very people who executed people due to old age, are the ones who get all the sympathy when they are in old age.

This is not a justice system. It is an injustice system. It is an injustice that those who deprive others of human rights should receive human rights. People always posit that it is because “we are better than them” that therefore people who murder, should be given all sorts of not only “rights” but also freedoms.

But that isn’t being “better”. It’s not “better” than some mass killer to let him run free and relax. It’s a misreading of the nature of justice. The concept of “we are better” is all about “we”, it means that “we” let some mass killer walk free because we need to feel good about ourselves. “We are not like him.” But the missing piece of this justice puzzle is the victims, the people who are dead, who have no freedom, whose lives were taken. Who speaks for them. The justice system is supposed to speak for them. But too often it speaks for itself, it provides clemency because it wants to show how “compassionate” it is and then get points for its “fair” policies.

People don’t like the concept of death penalty primarily because they think it tarnishes them, they become immoral because of it. The same people don’t like a real concept of life in prison, because they often have “compassion” for the wrong people, they want to feel good about themselves and morally superior, by giving compassion. They want to forgive others “sins” so that they can get points towards their being a “good person”, which creates a transaction between themselves, rather than asking about the transaction between the murdered and the murderer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s