“an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”
mahatma gandhi’s wisdom concerning the biblical pronouncement of an “eye for an eye” missed the statement’s meaning. an incident in utah is proof.
leviticus 24:19-20, states that “.. a man who inflicts an injury upon his fellow man just as he did, so shall be done to him [namely,] fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he inflicted an injury upon a person, so shall it be inflicted upon him.” punishment proportionality was the edict.
the societal consequences of abandoning this principle occurred when mr. fred valdamar ortiz in utah was chased down by a mob and beaten to death. the apparent reason for his summary execution was that he had been accused of beating up his pregnant girlfriend, giving her a black eye. kutv
from the account, the individuals reacted to the woman’s accusation. it was reported that family members were scared to report him because he was on parole and that his probation officer would not have done anything to lock him up.
comment: from an outsider’s perspective, this explanation is problematic. had an act of domestic violence occurred and reported to his parole officer, he should have been subject to a parole violation. a violation could have resulted in incarceration. kutv additionally, a criminal complaint could have been filed for the act of domestic violence and he could have been arrested solely on the alleged criminal act.
domestic violence is not condoned. mr. ortiz, however, in the united states, had a constitutional right to confront his accusers. he was deprived of his right to prove his innocence. it is possible that girlfriend was not telling the truth. likewise, his punishment should have fit the gravity of his crime.
in sum, the mr. ortiz’ punishment, “a life for a black eye,” was in violation of torah principles. given this story, perhaps mr. gandhi would have revisited his view of “an eye for an eye.”
if you would like to read more blog posts, click here.