“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. ” (Genesis 4:8) Back in those days, murder was pretty clear cut. If you killed someone, it was called murder. Of course, if you had a reason, then it was justifiable. Back then, it was an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Or a life for a life. But in these fast paced and politically correct times, is there justifiable murder? Webster’s Dictionary says that murder is “the unlawful killing of another human being, especially with premeditated malice.
Unlawful killing of another human being. And most people would tend to agree, that there are circumstances in which killing someone else is just fine, and even desirable. But what are those circumstances? What exactly is justifiable killing? Is abortion OK? How about war? Euthanasia? These are topics that are in hot controversy these days, as civil rights groups battle political standings that have been around for dozens of years. Capital punishment is among those instances of justified killing that has been debated for years, and continues to be an extremely indecisive and complicated issue.
Adversaries of capital punishment point to the Marshalls and the Millgards, while proponents point to the Dahmers and Gacys. Society must be kept safe from the monstrous barbaric acts of these individuals and other killers by taking their ability to function and perform in our society away from them. At the same time, we must insure that innocent people such as Marshall and Millgard are never convicted or sentenced to death for a crime that they did not commit. In February 1963, Gary McCorkell, a 19 year old sex offender, was scheduled to hang.
But just days before his execution, the then Liberal cabinet of Lester Person commuted McCorkell to life in prison. His actual term was only a percentage of that. Less than 20 years later, McCorkell was arrested, tried, and convicted for the kidnapping and rape of a 10-year old Tennessee boy. He was sentenced to 63 years in prison. Once again, his term was reduced, and he moved to Canada. Prior to leaving Canada, he was sought by Metro Police in the attempted murder of an 11-year old boy. What has been gained by this?
Had McCorkell been executed in 1963, two boys would never have gone through the horror of being sexually abused. He killed two boys, and assaulted two others, eaving one for dead. He knew exactly what he was doing. What right does this man have to live? He ruined the lives of 4 children. What kind of a life would the state have been taking away in this case? An innocent life? A forgiving life? No; a life that was beyond the realm of reform, and did not care to be. There are those who claim that capital punishment is in itself a form of vengeance on the killer.
But in the same light, locking a human being behind steel bars for many years is vengeance as well. Adversaries of capital punishment claim that incarceration is far more humane than having the state xecute that individual. Is it “humane” that an individual who took the life of another should receive heating, clothing, indoor plumbing and 3 meals a day while the homeless who has harmed no one receives nothing? Capital punishment is not murder. Murder is “unlawful killing. ” Should it remain lawful? Definitely. Capital punishment is retribution.
Capital punishment is a penalty for actions a person has committed. Will it reform criminals? Perhaps, perhaps not. But capital punishment should not be dismissed because it might not effectively reform criminals. Capital punishment hould be kept, in fact, because it removes from society permanently those individuals which are undesirable and unhealthy to the rest of the community. Capital punishment should remain lawful, and therefore, not murder. Abortion has also been hotly debated over the years. Is abortion lawful killing?
Although both sides seem to be in utter disagreement, there are many agreements that neither realize. Both would agree that the life of a child is a precious thing that must be protected to the fullest extent of the law. They would also agree that it is a woman’s exclusive right to make decisions concerning her own ody. But what determines whether or not abortion is murder or not is: Is the fetus a person? That question is what has been fought over for decades. In 1981 the U. S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held hearings to discuss the question of when biological life begins. The testimony was revealing.
An overwhelming majority of the experts answered emphatically that biological life begins at conception or implantation. Although pro-abortionists failed to produce an expert witness who would testify that life begins at some point other than conception or implantation. hey did present an interesting point of view, which has become popular over the last several decades. This alternate viewpoint basically sees all life as a continuum with no specific beginning. It considers the continuum to run from sperm to egg, to singlecell zygote, to multi-cell blastocyst, to embryo, to fetus, to newborn, etc.
This view supports the rights of each mother and doctor to individually choose when, in the continuum, the fetus becomes a separate individual. Aside from the biological arguments, social issues have always been part of the controversy. Many of the mothers that get abortions are eenagers. Women from ages 17-21 have the highest abortion rate in a recent study by the University of California. Babies born to these mothers are often subject to poor lifestyles. The mothers are not fully capable of supporting themselves without a child, and with the added burden of a new baby, they are often driven to poverty.
The child grows up in an environment that is unhealthy, and often leads to violence. Additionally, more mothers in this age group than any other abuse drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. The results are premature birth, fetal alcohol syndrome, and low birth weight. These children have to go through life with defects, malnutrition, and are often, throughout their lives, underweight. By aborting these children, the unprepared mothers spare their children from lives of misery, or even mental health problems. Pro-life advocates suggest that an alternative to this is adoption or foster care.
These services, while sometimes productive, leave children feeling unwanted, unloved, forgotten by their real parents, and still miserable. Also, adoption does not save these children from fetal alcohol syndrome, or other birth defects. The hildren will still have unproductive and generally unhappy lives, if even conscious of their surroundings. Adoption does not spare these children from lives of unhappiness, and can often produce, from its effect, criminals from the neglect they felt as children growing up. Abortion is not murder.
The fetus is a living organism, yes; but so is the sperm that provides of its genetic code, and the egg that provides the other half. A plant is a living organism, but is not treated with such high reverence. The fetus is not a living person, and thus abortion is not “unlawful killing of another human being. A woman has rights over her own body, and should be allowed to do with it as she pleases. The fetus would not survive without the nutrients provided by the mother, and therefore it is still an extension of her body.
Abortion is not murder, but an effective way to deal various social problems ranging from unplanned pregnancy to the criminal population. Euthanasia is the final topic of this paper. Euthanasia is the most recent addition to the list of controversial methods of death. It was 1990 in Michigan that Dr. Jack Kavorkian received national attention for his physician assisted suicides. Is euthanasia murder? Should euthanasia be made “lawful killing? ” Euthanasia is the process of bringing death to patients that are willing, because of incurable, painful illnesses, to die. We deserve the right to choose when we will die.
In a life full of unknowing, we should have at least the small comfort of knowing that if we are deathly ill, we can choose whether or not we will live in pain. There are now guidelines for physician assisted suicide. The guidelines involve minimum amounts of time before euthanasia can be done, and methods of going about it. The guidelines ensure that the suicide can’t be one in error, that the diagnosis is 100% correct. They also ensure that there will no lawsuits from anyone, and that each member of the parties invloved have had ample time to think about the decision.
Last year, Janet Good, age 72, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and on August 31, underwent a 10 hour surgery at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. The prognosis was terminal. She went through hours of incredibly painful radiation therapy to slow the cancer’s progress, but to no avail. Every day is an ordeal. To simply get out of bed, she must take medicine to deal with the pain. She has been working with Dr. Kevorkian since her operation. She believes that every individual who is stricken with lifethreatening illness should have the legal right to die, if and when they see fit.
The doctors that assist in these suicides are not murderers, they are heroes. They spare their patients months or even years of excruciating pain when the final paramount to all their suffering is death. By helping their patients die, they help them reach their inevitable goal of death without the pain and suffering. Euthanasia is not murder. The patients make a willful decision to die, and the f the circumstance are right, the doctors help them by making their passage into death as painless and quick as possible.
Physician assisted suicide is by far one of the most humane things to do. Horses are put to death if they break or even sprain their leg because the leg will never heal. Dogs are put to death if they contract incurable diseases to spare them the pain. Extending this service to humans is natural and humane. In today’s society, murder has become a controversial word. No longer is it as simple as Cain and Able. Murder is not simply the killing of another human being, but the unlawful killing of someone else.
If that person commits an act that is horrible and vicious enough to warrant death, then that is precisely what that person should receive. If a mother does not wish to be pregnant, then it is her right as a person to abort the fetus before it is born. If a person who is in insufferable agony and pain wishes to die, then the only right thing to do is to give them their wish. But the controversy surrounding these and other instances of death will probably continue to divide the nation in two, and only when we, as a country, define murder in absolute terms, can there be political and social peace.