I remember in high school that my French teacher, and one of the strongest leftist influences in my life, Fabienne took us to a talk at UNC about the death penalty. The person speaking was the son of the Rosenbergs who were executed for spying for the Soviets, and giving them nuclear secrets.
It turns out that the government was right about Julius, but not about Ethel.
And so started my walk down becoming a pretty staunch anti-death penalty advocate.
Over the years I learned more, and everything I learned seemed to point me to the conviction that the death penalty is inherently wrong.
And now the country of Jordan has given me another data point.
These two executions carried out this morning are simply revenge killings. All over the world, we’re condemning ISIS as a band of extremists whose tactics and values are outdated, and unwelcome in the modern world.
And yet, in a moment where we can test that belief, we fall prey to Hammurabi’s code – “an eye for an eye” instead of focusing on our own modern values – right to a fair trial, punishment that fits the crime, etc.
I don’t know if Jordan holds to these values.
But the question I’ve been asking myself today is – who’s actually the worse offender here? ISIS for standing by their barbaric values and executing a prisoner of war. Or Jordan for responding in an equally barbaric way while decrying those barbaric values?
Am I the only one who thinks it’s Jordan?