When we talk about justice, we usually discuss what effects punishment will have on the criminal. We seldom think about how the punishment effects the victim or the survivor. Most times we wonder how this will rehabilitate the criminal, or what it will cost. This leaves us with a misunderstanding of justice. This type of justice is not justice. It is therapy.
So, when we look at crimes such as mass murder, we come to them with the wrong goals. We begin to ask what caused this or how can this be prevented from happening in the future. These are good questions, but they are not the point of justice. These questions also lead us in the wrong direction. This is the wrong direction because they lead us to think about the criminal and not the effects of his crimes. He is the center of our focus and concern. This has happened in the James Holmes sentencing.
Nine of the 12 jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial wanted to execute James Holmes, but one was steadfastly against the death penalty and two others wavering, a juror told reporters after the verdict was announced.
The verdict was never in doubt. James was caught and confessed. The reason for the trial was the question of his sanity. Was James mentally capable of facing trial and understanding the difference between right and wrong? The jury found that he was capable, finding him then guilty of murder. So, what caused the juror to waiver on the death penalty?
“Mental illness played into the decision more than anything else,” said the woman, who would not give her name. “All the jurors feel so much empathy for the victims. It’s a tragedy.”
Empathy for the victims and families were present, but sympathy for the criminal ultimately won the day. Ultimately, we find that the murderer was more sympathetic than the little girl who died or her father who was paralyzed for life. The thought that this was the case is a scary thing for our country. The victims of crime can expect less and less justice in America.
Loud sobbing could be heard from the family section, where some sat with their heads in their hands.
This juror has placed the right of the criminal over the rights of the victim. He/she placed James’ right to life over the right of the victims to have real justice. The idea that there is no act a person can commit that is worthy of death is an abhorrent idea, one that is based on humanism.
But how can we say that we hold to the sanctity of life and still hold to the death penalty? Well, it is simple. If we believe that God created all people in His image, then we can draw the conclusion this way. Man was created to act as a mirror in the world, meaning that we are to reflect Christ’s character as we live in His Creation.
Since we are to reflect Christ’s character, when we do not, there is a penalty attached. The penalty is for lying about the character of God. This penalty is to fit the crime. So then, for calling God a thief, for example, the penalty is to pay for the object twice. Once to restore the victim to his former state (justice to the victim) and twice for the injury to God’s name (justice to God).
The problem that we are facing in America specifically, and the West in general, is the loss of the honor and character of God. When we forget that God has given us Law, then we forget the victim. Dealing with the criminal only in the administration of justice leaves us with at best half way justice and at worse cruelty.
We must return to the Law of God as our guide before our society collapses. I discuss this in my book, An Everlasting Covenant. Get it in at Amazon.