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Before you ask yourself whether we should have the death penalty, consider: why hand out any punishments at all?Considering the three main families in the philosophy of punishment can help us organise our conversation.
They believe that for the child’s sake that they have the right to discipline the child in any way they see fit, including using corporal punishment.
A second point is that corporal punishment can be quick and effective: there is not much point reasoning with a screaming child in the supermarket.
It is possible to avoid the use of physical force in the home, and doing so will help us move closer to dream of removing violence from our society.
The execution, by hanging, of Yakub Memon for his part in the 2003 Mumbai bombings invites us to revisit the vexed issue of capital punishment.
An example is seatbelt use – now most people wear seat belts without thinking, whereas years ago the idea of using safety belts was strange to most people.
In the same way, banning physical punishment in the home will allow people to change their habits and break a cycle of violence.
Finally, most parents are reasonable and fair, and very very few would ever consider hurting their children by using unnecessary physical force.
There are several reasons however why we should stop using physical punishment even in the home.
Even a federal jury in Massachusetts, a liberal bastion, recently doled out the death penalty to the sole surviving perpetrator of the Boston marathon bombing.
And while the United Kingdom abandoned the death penalty in 1964 – the year of the last executions – nearly half of the British public favours a reintroduction of it (though that figure has been dropping steadily).