Let’s admit it- all of us know that killing is never taken as a justifiable act. In a typical movie scene and even in reality, we would have encounters where killers are sentenced to death for their crime. So, we are aware that killing is never taken as a morally justifiable act. However, there are a few facts that cannot be ignored and can’t really be regarded as killing. Euthanasia, capital punishment, infanticide and using non-human animals as a means of consumption or use fall under this category. There is a cycle of life that should go on and thus, by these means, it continues.
Every living thing has to die- let it be human, animal or even a tiny plant. So, what is euthanasia? Euthanasia is derived from the Greek word in which “Eu” means well and “thanatos” means death (Catholic Encyclopedia, 2007). The meaning is therefore comprehended to be “easy, painless death. ” Death is a natural phenomenon, a reality, a fact of life from which we cannot escape. However, today, the idea of death (which is of course, a reality) is taken for granted and hardly any thought is given to it while we are in good health.
The proposed idea of death rises when one’s health starts deteriorating for some reason such as cancer or any disease whose cure is difficult to find. If we look into the prospects of Euthanasia, it is not killing at all. It is more like giving freedom to an entrapped soul in a painful body. But, not all of us would have the same perspective… While it is illegal in many countries to do so, religion-wise, it is considered as morally acceptable form of killing. About 33% of the people who attended religious institutions regarded euthanasia as morally acceptable and about 48% agreed with them who attended nearly regularly to such institutions.
Based on a religious and spiritual perspective, only God can give and take a human’s life and there is absolutely nothing that one can do then (Religion Facts, 2004). To support my argument, I would like to state a real-life scenario that I encountered during my life that was unforgettable. In the year 2001, my grandmother was diagnosed with a tumor, a rare form of cancer that had no cure (all of us knew that). However, each of us strove to find the best treatment for her and this varied from expensive medicines to the extremely harsh chemotherapy sessions.
Within a year, her health started deteriorating even more- mostly due to the chemotherapy sessions that gave her a lot of pain. On quite many occasions during those sessions, she wished for death and pleaded us to get rid of all of her pain by giving her a painless death, which she said that she would happily go through instead of all the pain. It was hard for us to accept her wish and that was all she wanted. Before her death, we had to admit her to the hospital as she was extremely unwell and her tumor cells had multiplied to a great extent. She was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
When she told us it was her last wish to have a painless death, the doctors suggested pulling off the life-support system. Finally, we agreed as it was difficult for us to see her in pain that she was finding it hard to bear. When the task was done, she slept peacefully, without any pain for the first time in 8 years. Many said what we had done was a crime but they wouldn’t have said that when they would have seen her in the crying in pain like we did… A similar case took place in the year 1992 when a Hampshire-based rheumatologist intentionally gave potassium chloride, a lethal drug to end the life of his 70-year old patient.
It was Lillian Boyes’ begged Dr. Nigel Cox to end her life and relieve her from the pain of the life she was going through then. He was the first doctor in UK ever to be charged for euthanasia. In my perspective, what Dr. Nigel Cox had done was right (BBC News, 1999). Capital punishment takes a similar stance as well. Death penalty in capital punishment is absolutely vital for those criminals who have committed grievous crimes and lack the human values. According to Jessica Spinler, capital punishments ensure public safety and results in the formation of “incapacitation and deterrence.
Incapacitating a person is depriving him or her of the physical or intellectual power of natural of illegal qualifications. Executing a person takes away the capacity of and forcibly prevents recurrence of violence. Deterrence is the act or process of discouraging and preventing an action from occurring. The possibility of execution would give a potential pause in the thought process of the murderer, using fear as an incentive for preventing recurrence or quite possibly the first occurrence of murder. ” (Capital punishment, n. d. ).
Personally, it is impossible for me to believe that a criminal who is accused of crimes such as rapes and homicides to roam freely. That criminal is a threat to the society and must be executed so that there is a lesson for those who are committing or plan to commit a similar crime about the consequences. As the Old Testament states, “Whoever sheds man’s blood by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God, He made man. ” (Anderson, 2003). Furthermore, it would only be by capital punishment in the form of death penalty that would serve to protect the mankind from such psyched people.
An execution of a criminal named Carey Moore is held on 8th of May, 2007, who in 1979 bought a handgun to rob and kill the Omaha cab drivers. His targets were selected and mostly chose to kill the older ones. His last victims were Reuel Eugene Van Ness, Jr. and Maynard D. Helgeland whom he killed on the 22nd of August, 1979 (Prodeathpenalty. com, 2007). Now, should criminals like Moore be allowed to roam freely? Isn’t he a threat to the society? Isn’t his capital punishment justified? I will leave your senses to answer these questions… Killing of animals, in many senses, may seem inhuman but there are times when they have to be killed.
For instance, I have a friend who was bitten by a mad dog two weeks ago. He was given fourteen tetanus injections as the dog was wild. What do we do in such instances? The dog that injured my friend was obviously killed on the spot by the special guard forces present in the area. Aristotle states, “There is a natural hierarchy of living beings. The different levels are determined by the abilities present in the beings due to their natures. While plants, animals, and human beings are all capable of taking in nutrition and growing, only animals and human beings are capable of conscious experience.
This means that plants, being inferior to animals and human beings, have the function of serving the needs of animals and human beings. Likewise, human beings are superior to animals because human beings have the capacity for using reason to guide their conduct, while animals lack this ability and must instead rely on instinct. It follows, therefore, that the function of animals is to serve the needs of human beings” (Wilson, 2006). In other words, according to Aristotle, this procedure is “natural and expedient” (Wilson, 2006).