The recent Jerry Sandusky conviction has me thinking about how I feel about punishment for people that have done horrendous things.
The concepts of Heaven and Hell, as well as Karma, offer some sort of penalty for doing bad things, but I don’t really believe in those things. I don’t think Karma is a real force acting on the universe, but I like the idea of it, so I try to at least treat it as real. The idea that a deity will punish transgressors doesn’t seem real to me.
I suppose it’s true that we should strive to be better than the awful people and not wish them harm, but I honestly can’t see myself thinking that way in extreme cases. If someone rapes a bunch of kids, or kills bunch of people, I hope that very bad things happen to that person. Some may find that appalling, but I don’t think that sentiment is likely to change for me. Schadenfreude is one thing, but hoping for retribution is another.
I think that if everyone turned the other cheek, there would be no one left but barbarians, and even then they’d kill each other off.
If this turns into a debate about capital punishment, so be it, but I’m talking about wishing ill on those who have actually committed heinous acts against other people.
So, when some atrocious person gets convicted of committing unspeakable acts on a number of people, do you hope bad things happen to them? Do you trust God to sort it out? Do you trust the legal system to be fair? Does my hoping for something bad to happen to them make me a bad person, even though my hopes influence nothing?