There is no justice for past wrongs. The greatest harm is to the
spirit of those still living. Revenge or retribution is a poor
substitute. Anyone who can feel better from seeing another
conscious entity suffer, perhaps doesn't yet know the meaning of
"human". Punishment as an example to other does more harm to the
spirit than it does good. The best we can do is to avoid passing
the specific anger on to the next generation.
Sure, I also sometimes have the urge to see someone suffer for
the wrong they did and I sometimes think up some pretty creative
scenarios. (Maybe doing it in my mind fills the psychological
need.) But I also ask myself (1) what good would it really serve,
and (2) who should I really be angry at - the central person, the
focus of attention, perhaps the scapegoat, or the culture and
conditions of the time that gave this kind of person the power to
do what he did. What it finally comes down to is that there is no
valid person on whom to focus my anger. Perhaps therefore I
"unfocus" it on society as a whole and try to, in effect, destroy
the society I'm faced with and replace it with another.
On the other hand, if it's clear that a person has caused great
suffering purely to gain his own small pleasure, it doesn't bother me
to go to the extreme in making sure that he doesn't do it again. I
support anyone available taking this measure as quickly and painlessly
as possible. But if it's found that a vigilante acted too hastily and
perhaps executed the wrong person, then he should meet the same end.
Admittedly, there are some wishy-washy words in there. How do I
compare someone's"great" suffering to another's "small" pleasure?
Send me your thoughts.
Dan Robinson, email@example.com,
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