Regretting the cheers

I am sorry to learn that the president of my country, while speaking at campaign rally, crowed about the death sentence given to Saddam Hussein, prompting people at the rally to cheer the news. I think a more appropriate response to this grim news would be a sober, heavy-hearted sorrow.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has an unscientific poll showing that, at the time I checked it, 2/3rds of those who elected to vote on the issue recommended death as a punishment for Saddam Hussein. Fortunately, elsewhere in the world, according to CNN coverage, some others have questions about the wisdom of the sentence. Most of the questions appear to revolve around political issues, not ethical ones, though.

Why would anyone rejoice at the news of someone else’s death? I know that some who are close relatives of a person who has been murdered often feel relief upon the death of their loved-one’s killer; I do not doubt the validity of their feelings, but I still wonder about the value of taking another life. Perhaps I would feel differently had someone taken the life of a member of my family, but I certainly don’t want to test that hypothesis. After all, to test it I would have to wish death upon someone, and I don’t. I don’t want to wish death on anyone, even Saddam Hussein.

And I don’t think it appropriate to lead cheers about his death sentence.

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