Drugs, Suffering, and The Justice Brought by Death Penalties (?)

Hello there, Arch-Mates,

About three or four days ago, Indonesia carried out the death penalties for six inmates–two women and four men–who were convicted of drug trafficking. Today, my colleagues at work talked about it, voicing their thoughts, giving the reasons of why they support the death penalty. When one them asked about my stance on this matter and I answered by saying that I don’t support it, they started to question me further–and also tried to give me further explanation, defending their stance. One particular colleague of mine elaborated her arguments even more, stating that the young generations are destroyed by all the illegal drugs, many innocent people died from accidents caused by driving under influence of drugs, and the ones behind all of the drug trafficking were usually men of power, super wealthy businessmen, and people with political power even, who stayed untouchable, and so on and so forth. From the way I saw it, it seemed like–whether she did it intentionally or not–she tried to persuade me into agreeing with her opinion. And I did, too. I agreed with everything she said completely–except for the bit about supporting death penalty. Then, she started to shared her personal experience.

Someone in her family was a “user” (drug abuser)–maybe he still is. She witnessed all the hardships her family had to face because of it and, in my opinion, she was scarred for life from that experience. She watched as each and every valuable things in her house was gone. She stared in horror as that person chased her grandmother with a machete. She felt powerless to stop that person beating her grandmother and left her bleeding. She suffered each and everyday her mom or her grandmother cried because of that person. Rehabilitation didn’t help as he would go back to square one once he was out. He had some kind of an on-and-off relationship with the cops and the jail cell. Narcotics had been the be all and end all of his life that he would do anything to get the damned drugs. His family had done everything to get the old him back to the point where they were finally give up, feeling helpless and hopeless, that the only wish left was for him to die soon. My colleague added with finality that:

“That is why everyone who had experienced that, people who understand that, people who had a user as their family member, must be in support of death penalty for drugs trafficker!”

You know what, Arch-Mates? That is the problem: I understand. I understand all too well that I could feel for her, too. I understand all too well that I could tolerate her eagerness in elaborating her reasons. I understand all too well that I couldn’t blame her for supporting the government to put an end to the lives of those people. Yes. I understand. Because I, too, had a family member who was a user. Even more, I use the word “was” here to indicate that the person had no longer lived on this earth, not because he can live a clean life now.

To say that he stole my savings and many other things in the house, forced my grandmother to give him money to buy the damned drugs, laughed while my grandmother was crying in front of him–and me–, going in and out off rehab with no luck and so on and so forth would be redundant at this point. All I can say is he suffered from the drug abused for ten years and tugged all of us along to suffer with him… And it was all started in his high school years when his friend was pushing the needle into his skin without his consent. Ironically, when he finally tried his hardest to be clean, when he started to successfully stay away from his fellow users, from the dealers, and from the damned drugs themselves…his health started to decline rapidly. The doctor said that his liver–and many other internal organs in his body–had been badly damaged. That, along with some symptoms that we suspected to be of HIV/AIDS, took him from us. He passed away when I was in my junior year of high school–was doing my homework in my room when I heard my grandmother started wailing down the hall.

So, yeah… I do understand what she felt. It was imprinted so deeply at the back of my mind that even now, about ten years after he passed away, I can still recall everything pretty clearly–though the experience itself was clearly not a pretty one. It also scarred me for life that I vowed to myself that even if one day I would try to do each and every sinful wrongdoings known to human kind, illegal drugs will be the one I will leave untouched–at least when I am still fully conscious and aware of everything. So, yeah… I also hold that resentment on drugs, drug dealers, drug traffickers, and every other people involved in this illegal drug business. However, I still also hold on my ground regarding giving death penalties for them.


Why indeed. Shouldn’t all that resentment give birth to hatred? Don’t I hate them enough that I want them die? I do. But, what for…?

If we can stop all these by keeping on killing each and every people involved, it should have been done all those years ago. But, guess what? It’s still a problem around the world now.

But, what about justice?

Please. Don’t make me laugh by stating that killing them means that we have establish some kind of justice. Many people died from ODs. True. Many people died from DUI accidents. True. Many more suffered when it’s their family members that abuse drugs or be the victims of the DUI accidents. Also true. So, killing 6 people–or 64 if it continues–as a revenge for thousands that died and many more that suffered is justice? No. I think it will only add the number of people suffering from it.

Once you are dead. That’s it. You are dead. Even if you believe in the afterlife, your business with this side of the world will be done once you’re dead. We will never know what kind of punishment you will get on that other side–you may even get none if it turns out that you had regretted all your sins before and asked for forgiveness and the One that Forgives All does forgive all your sin. So, that’s it. But, what about your family? The ones left behind? The ones that maybe your spouse, your kids, or your parents? The ones waiting for you to return only to find out that you will never come back? The ones who will mourn for your death? The ones who will be stigmatized for life because of something they may not even know before? The ones who will probably continue walking on that same path as yours, forced by poverty, ignorance, debts, and a million other reason?

Yes, please. Call me naive. Call me weak. But, I can’t find it in my heart to see those other people suffer.

But, won’t it be an effective shock therapy, though? If we keep on carrying out this death sentence for the drug traffickers, won’t other people think twice–or hundred times–before agreeing to bring the damned drugs to our country despite all the poverty and any other reason which persuade them into it?

Probably. Probably not. I don’t know. For me, that is still a hypothesis waiting to be proven. But, to start killing people and tossing their bodies as a warning, wouldn’t it be a horrifying act to make a statement?



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