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There Should Not Be A Death Penalty This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   During a debate in my senior social studies class, I was finally able to make adecision about a subject that had been on my mind for a long time. "Should therebe a mandatory death penalty in the United States?"

At the beginning ofclass I thought, yes, there should be a death penalty, but by the time the classwas over, I realized that I am now against the death penalty and believe thatthere should be none.

The debate started out fine. Each side expressed itsown thoughts and then Mr. Cox, our social studies teacher, began asking each sidequestions. The one question that stuck in my mind was "Should the person who ismentally sick (or not knowing what he was doing) be put to death for murderinganother human being even if s/he didn't realize what s/he was doing? Should s/hebe sentenced the death penalty if s/he just made a mistake?"

Thesequestions brought my mind back to Christmas Eve two years ago. My cousin Jeff hadbeen delivering some kittens to the animal shelter with Tom's (his best friend)girlfriend. There was nothing funny going on between them. They were just doing agood deed on Christmas. When the two were finished with the delivery, they wentto Tom's house to see him. When they got there, Tom was in bed. He had beendrinking for awhile and was pretty drunk. Tom could hardly even talk. Jeff andTom's girlfriend walked into the bedroom and Jeff (who was not always very smart)kiddingly, said, "Hey, Tom, I've just been out with your girlfriend." When Tomheard this, he reached down and from under his bed pulled out a loaded gun.Within seconds Tom had shot my cousin Jeff in the head, killing himinstantly.

Tom didn't realize what he had done until after it was over andhe had sobered up a bit. Of oourse he was devastated. He couldn't believe that hehad shot his best friend.

That was probably the worst Christmas I've everhad and will never, ever forget it. I also will never forgive Tom for what he didto my family and especially Jeff. Even if it was just a mistake.

At firstI thought that Tom deserved to "get the chair," but now that I have thought aboutit more, I've become more aware of the circumstances and don't believe that hedeserved the death penalty. I believe that for Tom to spend time in prison is thebest thing. He can spend many years thinking about what he did. Just having tolive with the guilt is punishment enough.

In my opinion, the death penaltyis wrong. Although what Tom did was wrong, it was only a mistake. Letting him diewould not solve anything because two wrongs do not make a right.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Bobbi said...
Oct. 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm
I guess to some people I would seem cruel because I am for the death penalty. Many people who murder know exactly what they are doing, Ted Bundy, The Green River Killer. To those people they murdered if they were alive what do you think they would say? Do you know how visciously and conciously they murdered those people and many people would have them just sitting in jail. Thats ridiculous they knew what they were doing they deserve to die as well why put them in a prison and waste space when th... (more »)
 
californiagirl101 said...
May 18, 2010 at 9:04 pm
death penalty is outrageous, i agree with you:D
 
goddess_of_the_moon_123 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 23, 2010 at 9:35 pm
For one thing, I totally agree with you. But I'm curious: did your class talk about the strains on the country economically between housing a criminal for life and the death penalty? I find this to be an intriguing subject and I was just wondering whether that factored into your decision.
 
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