Friday, January 16, 2015

Firing Squad for 6 Drug Offenders in Indonesia

I'm not exactly jumping up and down saying I think this is a great policy.  But think about Mexico and the gang violence south of the border.  Hundreds or even thousands of people have died as a result of gang warfare and intimidation.  Wikipedia has an article on the Mexican Drug War, and the article says the official death toll of the war is at least 60,000.  Some estimates put the actual figure at more than 120,000, with tens of thousands missing. 

I don't necessarily think that firing squads are a bad idea for drug gangs.  The death penalty makes criminals want to flee the country, and that's exactly what we want.  We want the gangs to flee. 

From an Old Testament perspective, capital punishment is appropriate for a person convicted of murder.  The problem with these drug cases is that the gangs are at an undeclared state of war with their own country.  They're not just drug cartels; they're murder cartels.

According to CNN, Indonesia plans to execute 6 drug offenders by firing squad.  For instance, one of the offenders was caught with "13 kilograms of cocaine" at Jakarta airport.  Two other offenders were caught with 8 kilograms of heroin.  Indonesia has very strict drug laws.  Five of the death row inmates are foreigners, for instance from places like Brazil.  Some of these countries don't apply capital punishment, so there have naturally been appeals for clemency from some of these countries.

The Indonesian government even had a press conference to show the offenders to the media.  There's a picture of the convict at a press conference, standing behind a police officer with a submachine gun pointed at him. 

From my perspective, society should aim to stop drug abuse.  My bigger concern is that these drug gangs are flagrant offenders, even worse than the ones pictured in movies like The Dark Knight.  They kill people.  They kidnap people.  They shoot at police.  And they're able to get away with this because the drug business is very profitable for some of them.  So while I don't necessarily think the death penalty is the answer, it's hard for me to say that Indonesia is sending the wrong message.  This time.