The freedom to live: Abolishing the death penalty

March 28, 2012
Some say revenge is sweet but giving somebody the death penalty for killing someone else is bitter. It makes no sense to execute an individual that murdered another person. Capital punishment does not solve anything, nor does it fix the problem. We as humans should not dictate who leaves this world being that the gift of life is more sacred than a one-week trial. Instead of somebody coming back to life, now you have two dead people. There are many pros and cons dealing with the argument of capital punishment. Some of the facts and opinions of this topic might be confusing, consequently, some of the facts are impossible to ignore.

Executing somebody does not reduce crime ( Sometimes it is the cause that sparks even more crime. Innocent people are killed with the death penalty ( This is a high risk because evidence, DNA, and witness statements are not one hundred percent reliable. Certain minorities are always the one’s getting the death penalty (Pakhare). Black people and poor people cannot afford good lawyers that can prevent the death penalty being an option. Most of the time black people are executed for killing a white person, but in comparison if a white person killed another Caucasian human-being, he/she is less likely to get the death penalty (Amnesty International). According to Amnesty International, “while African-Americans are twelve percent of the population of the United States, they are roughly forty-eight percent of the nation’s death row population.” Executing somebody basically takes away their human right to live. Killing somebody is not human-like: it is cruel (Phil B.). Even though this goes for murderers, it should not be an excuse that state officials use, because it breaks the promise to protect our human rights, and one of our human rights are to live. On the contrary, sometimes people are mentally ill and are executed but those people should be given leniency. Giving somebody the death penalty does not prevent crime it just causes more. Putting murderers to death sends the message that life is cheap. Before John Spenkelink was put to death, Florida’s murder rate was low; however, after his execution, the crime rate increased (Gottfried 46). With executions happening in Georgia, the murder rate was higher there, as opposed to the rest of the country (Gottfried 47). This shows that the death penalty does not really change crime rates. More crime just occurs. Gottfried once stated “Those against the death penalty use this example to argue that capital punishment does not stop crime.”

Much is said against it—that it is nothing but state-sanctioned murder, that is carried out unfairly, and that the risk of killing innocent persons is too great a price to pay for the minimal protection it provides and the justice it is said to purchase (Tunick 270).

This proves my argument that capital punishment is not humane. This also proves that it goes against the eight amendment: cruel and unusual Punishment. Ever since the 1970’s one hundred and thirty-one people were later found innocent after being convicted, and being on death row for years (Fathi). One hundred and thirty-one innocent lives were almost taken away. If that had happened the government could not reverse it. One hundred and thirty-one innocent people DEAD. Adding on to the previous statement, in twenty-three death penalty cases, twenty-three innocent convicted murderers have been executed between the years 1980 and 1985 (Gottfried 48). Another example is Randall Dale Adams. He was on death row for twelve years before being found innocent. Shabaka Waglini was also another death row inmate that was less then a day away from his execution until he was found innocent of the crime he was convicted for (Gottfried 49). Further arguments against capital punishment suggest that rather than preventing violent crime it is a contributing cause of it (Gottfried 46). That is why crime continues despite the fact the death penalty is still intact. The families of the executed will become desperate over the fact someone who was close to them was taken away (Pakhare). One family is already depressed. Why put another family through that? People should be given second chances in life. They should not be put to death by the state (Pakhare).
Some known facts about the death penalty that will prove why it should be abolished. When a criminal is executed, on the death certificate it is checked off as a homicide. Anyone that is against the death penalty would probably say this is the reason why the homicide rate is skyrocketing. In 1976, 82 percent of all executions were in the South, on the other hand 37 percent of that was held in Texas (Amnesty International). This is important because it shows how big of an issue capital punishment is in that state alone. In 2005, only 60 people were put to death, however there were more than 15,000 murders in that year alone (Devaney 10). If capital punishment is such a big deterrent, why weren’t all murderers executed that year? Only two percent of murderers receive the death penalty, the rest just get life without parole (LWOP) (Tunick 275). That two percent should not even receive the death penalty, they should just receive LWOP like the rest of them. LWOP cost between $750,000 to about $1.1 million, on the other hand an execution cost between $1.6 million to about $3.2 million. This shows that executing cost more than life imprisonment, which would put a deficit in a state’s budget.
Now that the facts were stated, here are some opinions about the death penalty. “The government needs to set a good example, telling people that any kind of killing, even state-sanctioned murder is wrong” (Devaney 5). Even if the government were to set a good example, it would not change anything. People will still kill. Thomas Epach once said “There must be some ultimate penalty for the ultimate crime done by the ultimate killer” (Devaney 5). This shows that people think executing an individual for killing would benefit off of something. But in reality it doesn’t solve anything. “Horrible acts should be punished severely” (Devaney 4). Yes many would agree, horrible acts should be punished severely but capital punishment is not the answer.
At this level, the definition of capital punishment goes hand in hand with every main point: capital punishment is the ultimate irreversible denial of human rights. The whole “eye for an eye” concept is illogical for the most part. As they say, two wrongs don’t make a right, so executing a murderer will not have any good coming out of it.

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