Should relatives of a murder victim be at the execution of the murderer?

Essay by maverick05University, Master'sA-, March 2004

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My initial answer to the question, "Should relatives of a victim be allowed at an execution?" was an immediate, "Yes." However, after thinking deeply about this issue, I realized I have more logic to answer, "No."

I feel relatives should not partake in witnessing the execution of their family member's attacker for several reasons. I believe it would not serve as a justification for vengeance; it might not help with closure; and it's an invasion of privacy

Victim's family members might choose to see the execution so they can fulfill their need for "an eye-for-an-eye" vengeance. The family members may feel that if they see this person be put to death for murdering their loved one, then they could have a relief knowing that this person died for what they did. However, I am not one to agree with taking vengeance on another person for hurting me directly or indirectly.

On a deeper level, I personally do not feel humans have the right to take another's life. I know this opinion could sway both ways. On one side, a murderer has no right to kill an innocent victim, whereas, the state has no right to put a person to death either. Ultimately, I believe God is the only one who can give life and take life. While family members might think watching the execution will help them achieve their vengeance and closure, I believe that in the end witnessing an execution will do more harm than good.

Seeing an execution is no easy event to witness, as many people do not observe executions on a daily basis. This fact, combined with the emotional trauma of losing a loved one, will only lead to the family member being left with horrid memories of the execution for a lifetime. Family members think...