I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole eye-for-an-eye punishment system.This is likely due to my position as comfortable American who sees the worst of the world through her television and computer monitor rather than addressing the eyes of the beast directly. Though there is a certain poetic justice in such a penal code, I generally refuse to condone it.
I do have one exception: Acid attacks.
Few far-away stories of violence rankle my sensitivities more than those of acid attacks – likely because most of them are directed towards woman and occur mainly in cultures that subjugate women. For instance, on Nov. 12, Taliban militants sprayed school girls in Afghanistan with acid using water pistols. I suppose eye-for-an-eye isn’t exactly what I’m picturing as appropriate retribution for this attack. “Anal” and “repeated” and other words I won’t use at this juncture more aptly describe the punishment I would render if I had my druthers.
And I must confess that I was pleasantly surprised when The Houston Chronicle revealed several Iranian newspapers reported yesterday that an Iranian court, following Islamic law, sentenced a man to blinded by acid for doing the same to woman he loved to prevent others from marrying her.
How horrific that this would make me smile – especially as it is religious law dictating such retribution and I am a rabid agnostic. However, in all the years I spent conducting international political analysis and regularly exploring news of the globe, I have never read of a man (or woman) facing the same fate after conducting or ordering an acid attack – which happens much, much more than any of us cushy, isolated Americans would like to think.
Sure, it might be barbaric of me to have felt fuzzily warm inside when I read the HC article. But I think our own criminal system could use a makeover – caning, a very effective deterrent in Singapore, doesn’t seem too cruel and unusual to me. We simply cannot rehabilitate all those who choose to hinder the pursuit of happiness by others. Deterrence should be a much higher priority. And I’ll wager a bet that acid attacks would decrease if the requisite discipline would be by acid on the transgressor.
Last month in Somalia, Muslim radicals stoned a 13 year-old girl to death for adultery after having been raped by three men. Her sentence was carried out in front of 1,000 spectators. Eye-for-an-eye would be too good for the monsters who meted out such a perverted and inhuman abomination.
Wasn’t it Gandhi who said “An eye for an eye and the whole world will go blind”? Certainly true in Iran.