[Buddha-l] Ethical Dilemmas and Death Penaltiesandmaliciouszombies for governor.

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 15 01:22:20 MDT 2010

> I
> wrote a letter to Amnesty International with the question what they think 
> of
> a 'voluntary death penalty' - meaning you either do the life sentence or
> voluntarily opt for the death penaly - and they replied they have no
> position on this issue. A voluntary death penalty respects both a person's
> rights and a government's right to punish a criminal. So, what's the deal?

Interesting attempt at a middle road, Stefan.

Opponents of the death penalty will offer a range of objections, from (i) 
anyone who would choose death is suicidal, and hence not sane, and hence not 
competent to make such decisions, to (ii) the State has no right to execute 
anyone, no matter what that individual might want at the moment.

Proponents of the death penalty will object that leaving such things to the 
discretion of someone deserving of capital punishment is an affront to 
justice; the guilty party relinquished the right to make such decisions when 
they committed murder (or whatever the capital offense).

Like most compromises, no one would be happy. There is a certain percentage 
of death row inmates who actively pursue their own death (a few notable 
cases where prisoners sue for the right to die), but this is a tiny 
minority, so it probably wouldn't be worth the effort it would take to pass 
it through legislation.

Perhaps someone with a "kavorkian, inc" tray can scuttle up and down the row 
of cells looking for takers or selling cyanide candy?

As is well known, Buddha apparently condoned suicides on occasion.


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