Death, not always a cruel punishment

Death, not always a cruel punishment


Nikolas Cruz, 24, was just sentenced to life in prison for killing 14 children and three adults and injuring 17 others at his former school in Parkland, Florida in 2018. The jurors have retained the “hateful, atrocious and cruel” character of the murders committed with an assault rifle. 

Given his young age, he will therefore spend more than 50 years behind bars. Several parents of the children killed were calling for his killing to be permitted in Florida. 

In Canada, capital punishment is considered cruel punishment that violates section 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, an ultimate desecration of human dignity.

According to the Department of Justice website, deciding if a given punishment is cruel or unusual, one must consider whether it is “grossly disproportionate”: if it is “excessive to the point of not being compatible with the dignity humane” and disproportionate to the point where Canadians “would consider the punishment heinous or intolerable”.

But isn't incarcerating someone for decades without giving them the chance to end their life just as cruel, heinous and intolerable? It's like keeping him alive simply out of revenge.

In Quebec, yes to the death penalty

Poll after poll indicates that a slight majority of Canadians and Quebecers would like the death penalty to be reinstated. In 1976, the House of Commons abolished it by a close vote of 130 MPs to 124.

In 2013, Canadians were overwhelmingly (63%) in favor of reinstating the death penalty, according to an Angus Reid poll. In Quebec, 58% of respondents were in favour.

Of those who were in favour, 57% felt that it would save money by avoiding the costs of keeping these murderers alive and healthy until to their natural death.

 In 2020, another national survey revealed that a slim majority still favored its recovery.

Death: punishment or deliverance?< /strong>

The societal resort to death is no longer the absolute taboo it once was.

The College of Physicians of Quebec recently asked to extend medical assistance in dying to babies under one year of age who are victims of extreme suffering caused by illnesses that destroy any prospect of survival.

L last year, TVA nouvelles reported that a mother in the Chaudière-Appalaches region demanded that her son be eligible for medical assistance in dying. Suffering from Mednik's syndrome, he was to live only a few months. He was now 4 years old and in pain every day.

As we consider expanding the circumstances in which medical assistance in dying should be offered, shouldn't we also consider that condemning someone one to prison for the rest of his life is a cruel and inhumane punishment. 

The individual who is subject to it should be given the opportunity to demand that society put an end to his existence. And that would mean significant savings for the State.

 What do you think?