There seems to be campaigns inside and outside Singapore aiming to get us to remove the death penalty from our system. Reasons were given on why Singapore should drop this “barbaric” way of punishment and join the rest of the “civilized” countries that had removed death penalty. In this article, I will analyze those reasons based on sound engineering principles.
Many countries had removed death penalty.
An engineer will consider the above sentence to be incomplete. Since many countries had removed death penalty from their justice system, how have they benefited from such move? Do they enjoy lower crime rate? Do they have a higher standard of living? Do they enjoy higher economic growth? The bottom line is how will the removal of death penalty benefit us as the people who do not murder or carry drugs?
None of the advocates of anti-death penalty is able to provide us with any answer other than some empty slogans. The situations in those countries without death penalty show us that there is no benefit for the people in removing death penalty. The only difference I can think of is the increase in the cost of imprisonment. Think. When you lock up those murderers and drug traffickers in jail, you have to pay for their lodging, food and medical care. Who will pay for these? Tax-payers.
In this regard, I am glad the Singapore Government has enough common sense in not apeing others without thinking on the implication.
Statistic shows that death penalty does not deter crime.
The idea behind this statement is criminals like murderers and drug traffickers commit their crimes without thinking of the consequences. So whether the death penalty exists, they will still commit their crimes. The engineer’s respond is, so what? At least we can be sure that with death penalty, those convicted criminals will not be able to repeat their crimes.
Another important question is, will the removal of death penalty deter crimes? Will the drug traffickers stop bringing drugs to Singapore if we remove our death penalty? Common sense tells us that being nice to the criminals will not cause them to commit lesser crimes.
Therefore, the only valid reason for removing the death penalty is the guarantee that it will reduce crimes and make our streets safer. Until that can happen, the engineering way is to keep the death penalty.
Life sentence is just as effective as death penalty and more humane.
Some people say that keeping the drug traffickers in prison for life will also prevent them from repeating their crimes. Sounds good but the problem is, prisons are very expensive. When you keep people in prisons, you have to pay for their lodging, food and medical care. Not only that, you need to employ an army of prison guards to take care of the inmates. These things cost a lot of money. Who should pay for them?
Will those human rights organizations raise funds to help us to finance our prisons so that our tax money can be channel for better use? The answer is clear. Those people are only good in empty talk. They can talk a lot on morality, but when it comes to real issue like paying for the cost of their plans, they become very quiet as though we are obliged to pay for them.
As a tax-payer myself, let me share my personal views. I pay taxes because I have no choice. The law says I must pay my tax or face the penalty. I also cannot dictate the government on how to spend my tax money. However, I can understand that the lesser prisons we have, more of the government’s money can be channeled into healthcare, education, economic stimulus programs and other things that benefit the people.
The removal of death penalty means more of the tax-payers’ money will have to be channeled into providing free lodging, food and medical care for the drug traffickers and murderers. Why should I (and other law-abiding citizens) be forced to bear the cost of sustaining these criminals? I have no desire to pay for those scums. Being forced to pay for the welfare of criminals is not humane to me. This is the real injustice.
There is no U-turn in death penalty.
The basic idea is if the person is wrongly convicted and found to be innocent, it might be too late. After the person is hanged, you cannot unhang him and bring him back to life. This is a real problem.
From the engineering perspective, the issue is in the system of conviction and not the death penalty. There should be sufficient fail-safe mechanism in the justice system to ensure that only the truly guilty person be hanged. Of course, some people may say that since nothing is perfect, there can still be innocent people being hanged.
In response to such view, my answer is welcome to the real world. In the real world innocent people die every day. Let me give you an example. Many innocent people have died in road accidents. We can always improve on the road safety but there will still be innocent people dying in road accidents. Should we close down all our roads to stop innocent people from dying?
The answer is clear. We know that no matter how much we improve on our road safety, there is bound to be innocent people dying there. Yet, we still want to keep our roads because they bring us greater benefits. We are willing to accept the fact that some innocent people may die. This is the price we are willing to pay.
The same applies for the death penalty. There may or may not be innocent people being wrongly convicted but the benefits from it is far greater. If you have never been to Singapore, I invite you to pay us a visit to look at our streets by yourself. Compared to may countries, our streets are safe and drug free. Will we continue to be the same if we remove the death penalty? I am not willing to take the chance.
Death penalty is too harsh for mere drug trafficking.
Let me be personal here. I have a four-year old son. My desire is for him is to grow up in a healthy, safe and drug-free environment. If I ever catch any drug dealer trying to get my son hook to drugs, I am willing to volunteer to push the lever for the scum to be hanged. If there are 100 drug dealers, I am willing to do it 100 times. (Of course this is subjected to the authority’s approval.)
I am sure all responsible parents will share my sentiment. Nothing is too harsh when it comes to protecting your own family from being destroyed by drugs.
There are reports out there that says Singapore has the highest per capita hanging in the world. In my view that statement is irrelevant. If one person brings in drugs, we hang one. If 10 come in with drugs, we hang 10. If a million come in with drugs, we hang a million. We have the right to defend our families from being harmed by drugs.
This is war. We have made it clear that we do not tolerate drugs in our country. Anyone who still brings in drugs to harm us is effective in declaring war on us. We have the right to respond in kind. There is no nice way of killing people. Hanging is the most cost effective and humane way available. This is our weapon against the drug traffickers.
Some people say that we should learn to forgive those criminals and not to resort to eye for an eye type revenge. I agree. I forgive all the drug traffickers who are convicted in Singapore. However, that does not mean we must forfeit our rights to defend ourselves. We have promised to hang those who bring in drugs above a certain limit. If they fulfill their roles in bringing drugs to qualify for the death penalty, it is the authority’s responsibility to give the drug traffickers the reward they deserve – ropes around their necks.
Hanging drug traffickers is not eye for an eye type revenge. If we want to have an eye for an eye type revenge, we should tie up the drug trafficker and stuff him with all the drugs he carry. We do not do that. Instead we show the convicted drug traffickers mercy by giving them a quick death.
My stand is, I forgive all the drug traffickers who bring in drugs to harm my family. At the same time, I hope all the convicted drug traffickers will also forgive the people of Singapore of doing what we can to defend ourselves from their drugs.
The above is not exactly exhaustive but I hope I have made my position clear. No matter what people may say about our death penalty, we Singaporeans consider it as the weapon of self-defense. Unless we can find better weapons, this weapon is here to stay. For those who still dare to defy us, we challenge you to come to Singapore with your drugs. We are ready with our ropes.