Friday, January 28, 2011

Question of the Week: Vengeance

Someone you love deeply is brutally murdered and you know the identity of the murderer, who unfortunately is acquitted of the crime. Would you seek revenge?

That all depends. How much do I have by way of resources? I mean, billionaire Bruce Wayne had all kinds of advantages in order to become Batman.

I have no doubt that there's a big part of me that would want to. But is it really revenge that I'd be seeking, or would it be justice? If this person has been acquitted of the crime, but it's a known fact that he or she committed the murder, is that considered justice? Simply because of a technicality?

Revenge is defined as exacting punishment for a wrong, especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit. Justice is the administering of deserved punishment or reward. A known murderer walking free has not received justice. But if it were me seeking justice in that kind of case, it would turn into revenge. It seems the only difference between the two is the spirit in which the punishment is carried out. The murder of a loved one would certainly cause me to seek revenge with a vindicitive spirit.

But I don't think I'd be able to bring myself to carry out any kind of true vengeance. I would probably be a lot of talk, and even then it'd mostly be under my breath. I'd wish horrible things upon the murderer, but I'm not exactly Mr. Confrontation. My over-comic-booked moral code would want to rationalize justice over vengeance, and then, who am I to decide what's just? We live in a country where we're supposed to trust the justice system. It isn't perfect, but it's what we've got. I guess that's what I'd have to live with. It would be painful watching someone get away with the murder of someone I loved, but I don't think I'd be able to live with that person's blood on my conscience either.

*Question of the Week comes from The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

1 comment:

  1. I could do it, and I'm probably going to steal the question for my own blog. I understand your hesitation but my own moral code would demand it.