There is this saying about tempering Justice with mercy. There is also that which says Justice delayed is justice denied. I would go ahead and add my own –
justice mellowed down is justice denied!
In many climes, the prerogative of mercy (or sentence commutation) often resides with the President or Head Of Government. The Head can choose to pardon inmates outright , reduce sentences, as he deems fit. This happens during a commemorative holiday or an important event. This discretionary use of power of clemency, like all powers, could be used, simply misused or completely abused. Like the Alams case of pardoning a convicted jailbird and thief. The reason for pardoning people in incarceration could range from true compassion, to reasons of politics, or purely selfish projections .
Recently, there was news of Obama Commuting Sentences for 46 Drug Offenders , and the question that came to my mind was, WHY?
This reminds one of embezzlement cases in Nigeria where the convicted one is given a mere slap on the hand for humongous financial crimes. One hearing of this Obama news left one with the same sense of injustice that accompanied the light sentencing of a Chief executive who robbed her bank blind evoked . Anger. Despondency.
The idea seems to be that, because an offense is not ‘physically violent’ then the penalty should not be disproportionately harsh, but I have a different idea about this.
Actually, it is very possible for a non physically violent crime to be more egregious than a physically violent one. It is not for nothing that we have a phrase like ‘verbal violence’. One the Holy books even talks about the power of the tongue thus…
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
Hitler started a World War with the power of his tongue. Government sentence people harshly for seditious statements because instigating violence massively can be worse than a singular violent action.
If I threaten you with a gun and command you to enter into a piranha infested pool, have I NOT commited MURDER (note that I have not physically harmed you IN any way, but have nonetheless taken your life! No human survives an intimate encounter with piranhas!)
This is simply to demonstrate that physical violence can happen without physically injuring with weapons.
You involve in narcotics, and the people on hard drugs go around to commit heinous crime, you are just as culpable as if you committed those violent crimes yourself. And this is why we see many countries (like Malaysia) reserving the Capital Punishment for drug related offenses
You are giving them a second chance?
We can safely conclude that those in this nefarious drug trade ‘Kill’ on a large scale even if they do so only indirectly. It would therefore appear that the penalty served on homicidal killers is appropriate for drug dealers and drug peddlers, and no tempering of justice with mercy should be entertained.
The question is, would the President mellow down the sentence passed on a violent serial homicidal killer (a drug runner does the same, serially killing many people in installments, without ceasing!)? .
Someone who goes to India to bring in substandard and adulterated fake drugs probably deserves the same punishment (or worse ) as that armed robber who Invades a bank, shooting to kill and carting megabucks away.
Perhaps we need to look at what constitutes ‘murder’, again.
What’s your take?