I’m been reading some posts about a disturbing recent incident. In Iran, a woman was attacked by her scorned suitor turned stalker: he threw sulfuric acid on her face, blinding and permanently disfiguring her. He’s been sentenced to a punishment of having five drops of acid put in each of his eyes. The victim specifically sought this symmetrical retribution; she wants to make sure no other woman is attacked as she was.
Both the linked posts discuss the fact that this is cruel and unusual punishment, a human rights violation. They’re very right. This man has been sentenced to torture.
What struck me, though: cruel and unusual punishment relative to what? It’s very easy to sit here in the United States and say it’s barbaric to put acid into this attacker’s eyes. But what would happen to him here? He’d be thrown into a prison, where, chances are, he would be raped for years with absolutely no consequence.
Our courts don’t sentence convicts to torture. (Not that this stops our government from torturing!) No, we just let them be tortured by other convicts instead.
I’m not saying that Jill and Shaker Leigh (the authors of the linked posts) condone this. I’m sure they don’t. I’m just saying that we don’t exactly have a better system. So, I repeat: cruel and unusual relative to what? Would you rather be blinded with acid or repeatedly raped?
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