The Day I Remembered I´m Not at Bethel

¨Piensas que deberia existir la pena de muerte?¨ This is the question my Ecuadorian Culture teacher presented us in class today. Pena de muerte = Death Penalty. What a wonderful subject for the bright sunny day I was witnessing on the other side of the window-pane. Not. Our teacher was asking us, as North Americans, what we thought about the Death Penalty. She was asking if we think it should exist.The death penalty does not exist in Ecuador, nor in any other country in South America. But it does exist in the United States.We then proceeded to have a discussion about the death penalty. However, the discussion seemed very one-sided. I was flabbergasted to find out almost everyone in my class–all North Americans except for one student from China–strongly believe the death penalty should be in every country, killing criminals around the world. I tried to defend my view against the death penalty a couple of times, asking if an act of violence, killing a criminal, solves the problem of the primary act of violence. I also asked if killing a criminal brings justice to the victim´s family… if retributive justice is really the answer. My North American classmates responded that ¨an eye for an eye¨ is clearly the answer. I suppose I have been spoiled living with people who have similar beliefs as me regarding subjects such as the death penalty. I´m not suggesting that everyone who goes to Bethel is strongly against the death penalty, because I also don´t believe that is the case. However, I realized today that I appreciate a classroom with an open mindedness that leads to enlightening discussions on both sides of an issue. While in Ecuador, I realized I found that just-environment that I wish everyone could experience at Bethel.