Assassination. Murder. Homicide. Manslaughter.

You see, people have different names for the act of killing a person which are categorized by the killer’s motive. Yet in the end, they are still the act of taking one or many lives. And in the name of justice, we have to put an end to that horrible action by either put them behind the bars for 2-20 years, sentence the killer into life imprisonment or the death penalty. We say nobody has the right to take another mans’ life, even yours, religiously speaking. Albeit the seemingly justifiable idea, we grant ourselves the right to condemn the criminal to death. Why?

The criminal killed a human, say, your father. Your father was a good man who never harmed anyone. Hatred, anger, and grief delved inside of you and they grew bigger and bigger every time you looked at that criminal in the eye. You feared him, yet at the same time, you just wanted to kill that asshole with your own hand. However, if you were to do that, you would end up in jail, or worse, be sentenced to the death penalty, so what’s the point of it? Leave it to the juries and the judges. Of course, you would expect that they would impose that the verdict on that vicious criminal.

And they did.

I guess everyone thinks that if you don’t kill him now, he will continue to do harm to many innocent people. Plus, an eye for an eye, that is the price he has to pay.

But if you kill him, will that make you a killer too?

Is retribution morally flawed and problematic in concept and practice?

We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing.
U.S. Catholic Conference

To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, it is not justice.
Attributed to Archbishop Desmond Tutu

If everyone has an inalienable human right to live, even those who commit murder, then who are we to take their right? Is it because when they start a murderous attack, they have already forfeited their right to live themselves?


In case you wonder what the differences between these four words, here are the definitions:

  • Assassination (n): The act of murdering (an important person) for political or religious reasons.
  • Murder (n): The unlawful premeditated (=intended) killing of one human being by another
  • Homicide (n): The killing of one person by another
  • Manslaughter (n): The crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or in circumstances not amounting to murder.

(Source: English Oxford Living Dictionaries)

Well, dictionaries always make words more complicated to distinguish so to make it easy, I will give you short definitions: 

  • Homicide (n): the killing of a human whether it is accidental or intentional.
  • Murder (n): intentional homicide or a homicide that occurs during the commission of a crime.
  • Manslaughter (n): Accidental homicide
  • Assassination (n): an obvious murder committed on a specific well-known individual to make a statement.

So all assassination is both murder and homicide, and all murders are homicides. But the fact that there is homicide does not mean that there was a murder.

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4 thoughts on “1. In the name of justice, I will punish you

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