Through the ages punishment as a sociocultural phenomenon has changed its aim and methods; however, the main meaning to community hardly transformed. In some cases, this stage is the only one key chance to get free, prove the innocence by acting on someone’s behalf. However, in the modern world people, as their ancestors, sometimes refuse to renounce their commitments.
History of the human world offers a great number of cases, when people were protecting themselves in front of judges, juries and victims, but still unwilling to forsake their beliefs. Nicolaus Copernicus, Timothy Cole and, especially Socrates, are the most bright examples of the imperfection of court systems and, personal refusal to put away their feeling of being right. Nicolaus Copernicus was sentenced to death because of the refusal to renounce his beliefs in heliocentric system of the world (however, he was not the first to introduce this model of the universe) (Gingerich, 37). Timothy Cole was wrongly imprisoned for the rape of an Afro-American student, who died in prison because he never confessed. Only ten years after his death it was proved that he was innocent (Lavandera).
Socrates was a prominent Greek, one of the founders of European philosophy. He worked in the fields of natural science and philosophy; he educated people without having any income and as a result was accused of depravation and godlessness. One of the most useful sources from which modern generation can find out the exact details of Socrates’ trail is Plato’s “Apology of Socrates”. Due to the mostly historical work of Plato, people can get Socrates’ idea and the reasons why he refuses to renounce his beliefs. According to Plato’s testimony, Socrates was quite logical in proving, that his commitment was not a crime and his life was worth either truth or death (Plato. and Stokes).
In human society firmness, belief and self-esteem have always been the most honorable features. Nowadays we are taught at school to be resistant to harmful influences, believe in ourselves and be loyal to those, who are worth it. I am sure that all the time I try to follow these instructions in order to live a life of a respectful and respected person. At the same time, I understand all the threats of modern life and I am ready to take all legal actions in order to save my life. Additionally, I consider a person’s life one of the integral values of the modern world. In these terms, in case of me being convicted, I will try to do almost everything to escape imprisonment or capital punishment (which, in fact, is death penalty). However, there are some conditions, in which I will refuse to renounce my commitment even though I will be threatened by death.
The most important thing I can see in the modern world is human relationships. In my point of view, nobody can get through the life without the help of those who are around. Nothing is done by individuals, therefore, people are always working together to develop this world and become better. In my judgment, family members are the closest people to anyone. In my personal experience, my parents and siblings have always been ready to help me and even suffer for my failures. According to the unwritten rules of family relations and my own attempts to repay my relatives with the same devotion, I claim that even at the face of death penalty or imprisonment I will never betray my loyalty to my relatives. In case someone will accuse them of committing something illegal or immoral, I am ready to act on their behalf and protect their interests in front of judges or juries.
Formulating this issue more specifically, I will not be afraid of death or any other punishment when there is a necessity to protect them, their beliefs or behavior.
A Dialogue between Myself and My Accusers
Accusers: Today we judge you for withholding information about the location of the offender, which is your relative. Do you plead your guilt?
Me: I do not plead my guilt as I do not believe that any of my relatives could ever commit something illegal. Mutual aid and trust have always been the fundamental values of our family, like a great number of other life values and guidelines, such as ‘do not harm’ and ‘do not lie’. With certainty I state that my relative is the victim of misjudgment. Therefore, my accusing is unjustly too.
Accusers: Do you understand that, in accordance to the laws of our state, for the withholding vitally important political information about an extremely dangerous offender, you will be sentenced to death?
Me: I am familiar with all the laws of our state and I understand the conditions I am in. Taking the responsibility for my own life, I officially claim that I was not withholding information about any offenders as I have never been acquainted to one.
Accusers: Do you recognize your relative as a political offender?
Me: With all gravity I claim that I do not recognize any of my relatives responsible for any crimes. The law, which defines my relative as a political offender is old and unfair, it cannot be applied towards modern life, as it does not correspond with the conditions of modern life. In these terms, I find our court system imperfect and my relative’s accusation unjust.
Accusers: Do you understand that it is tour last chance to renounce your commitment and confess that you withheld information about your relative, who committed a crime against the state?
Me: I understand that the court wants me to confess and recognize my guilt as well as the guilt of my relative. As I have already said in front of judges and juries, I do not recognize my relative’s actions as threatening to the state. In these terms, I have nothing to confess about. Instead, I recognize the existing system of laws invalid and claim that my confessing will only support the system. Therefore, I do not confess as I do not observe my actions as illegal.
Accusers: For not following the court’s instructions and violations of the laws of our state, you will be sentenced to death for creating a threat to the state. Do you agree with that?
Me: I do not agree with the accusations, as I have already stated. However, if punishment is the only one way to leave me with my beliefs, I will accept any sentence. Unjust punishment is the worst lie; still, it is better, than betrayal.
Gingerich, O. "Did Copernicus Owe A Debt To Aristarchus?". Journal for the History of Astronomy 16.1 (1985): 37-42. Web. 5 February 2016.
Ed Lavandera. “Family seeks to clear man who died in prison”. CNN. (2009). Web. 5 February 2016.
Plato, and Michael C Stokes. “Apology of Socrates”. Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1997. Print.