By: Reyshirma Arguelles
LIFE is precious and there’s no point in killing off a criminal purely for vindication. Then again, stupid people make it so tempting to exact vigilante justice on account of what they call the principle of an “eye for an eye.” There’s no better option to deal with society’s cockroaches. An extermination is in order; an extermination of all rapists.
I was appalled as everyone else when I first came across a news report of yet another sensational news item about a 16-year-old church collector in the province of Cebu, found dead, topless, and with half her face peeled off. The details would make anyone’s stomach churn, but not in the same way that graphic slasher would. The crime was made more disturbing by the very fact that there are actual monsters walking among us, capable of acts that even the evilest of devils will never dare to undertake.
The case of Christine Lee Silawan has revived discussions on whether or not the death penalty should be reinstated. Due to the horrid nature of her death, documented and spread throughout social media, people are now clamoring for blood and are looking to prevent such acts from happening again, even if it means lynching the suspects. Indeed, the only way, it seems, is through corporal punishment.
An eye for an eye, and the moral outrage that came immediately after Silawan’s body was discovered is understandable. It could happen to anyone’s child and that alone should incite us into thinking that there are no safe spaces. Authorities are still on the prowl for suspects, which include an acolyte whom Silawan was friends with. The Department of Education, meanwhile, has advised schools to watch over their students and improve security within their premises. The Commission on Human Rights, for its part, has condemned the crime and committed to initiate its own investigation.
All this as social media exploded in a maelstrom of fury, with many expressing their desire for swift justice. There’s no point in trying to analyze how effective the death penalty can be in cases as this. When we’re confronted by the fact that there are people capable of utterly depraved acts, we cannot waste any time in imposing a mechanism for preventing anyone from going so far as to rape and kill and defile.
Then again, will capital punishment prove itself to be the panacea to our problem with gruesome murders? Will it actually scare the demons that lie within a small fraction of the population? Will it provide us the respite we need from the daily barrages of macabre news stories? Will it actually give us a good sense of security, knowing that retribution is always at hand? It’s too early to call, and we can already sense that the battle to reinstate the death penalty will initiate heated discussions, from the cafes all the way to the sacred halls of Congress. Only this time, there will be intense urgency for pushing the topic as a matter of public safety and justice.
I would like to come out in the open as a staunch critic of the death penalty, owing to the potential for error it entails that could kill the wrong people. Then again, I look back at our country’s most heinous crimes and I couldn’t help but to convince myself that the people behind them are not actually human beings capable of insight, but pests that need to be eliminated and forgotten. Rapists, most especially, deserve the electric chair since they cannot be counted as a member of the human race, along with people who normalize rape through disgusting jokes. That said, I do hope that authorities will spend ample time tracking the suspects and making sure they do the right thing by arresting the right people.
As for Silawan’s murderer, could we think of fate worse than death for this bastard? I would like to see him on a spit, being slow cooked to a crisp.